Our relaxing trail was over and it was time to conquer the lower Blueberry Trail. This trail originated as a footpath through a valley, but it was widened so that vehicles could pass through it. Rocks and debris litter the ground throughout the beginning of the trail. Nothing too large, but the driver of a stock vehicle has to be mindful of where they are going.
Further down the Blueberry Trail, the dry terrain seems to immediately give way to wet and muddy terrain. This particular section of trail gets more difficult with each vehicle that passes through it. This Grand Cherokee makes short work of the mud with its long wheelbase and confident stance. Once you start, you better keep a steady gas-pedal! The mud is like pancake batter and the ground beneath it is dimpled like a golf-ball.
This Jeeper, presumably armed with 215 size tires, felt the wrath of the muddy section of the lower Blueberry Trail. The driver made an excellent effort, but the trail predetermined his fate! Backwards and forwards he rocked his Jeep, but it was to no avail.
It was not meant to be! He was finally pulled free of the gack by John Sanzi in his red Commanche with a big nylon towstrap. The strap was removed after the vehicle was freed and the driver in the Wrangler tried to continue once again... and again, John pulled him from the muck. It was no problem for this Jeeper! Half the fun of four-wheeling is getting stuck, and the other half is problem-solving and working together to get the vehicles unstuck or fixed.
Others drove through the mud with varying degrees of difficulty. It usually depended on how modified the vehicle was, but in a few cases, driver skill was readily apparent. Its not always whether or not you make it... it's how far your get with the equipment you've got. That is part of the challenge of four-wheeling. It is certainly a sport that seamlessly combines physical challenges with intellectual problem solving. The gang at All American Jeep have realized this, and they have also realized the value of this sport in American society, which is one of the reasons why they are introducing it to their customers.
We soon left the lower Blueberry Trail behind and moved on to the Impossible Hill trail which runs parallel to upper Blueberry and intersects at lower Blueberry. The Impossible Hill trail runs along the base of a steep and wooded hillside. This trail is also a low-difficulty trail, however, the Impossible Hill obstacle intersects the trail of the same name. Impossible Hill, although not impossible, is a high-difficulty climb up wet and loose terrain. Since we were a group composed mostly of stock, or near stock vehicles, we chose to focus on the Impossible Hill access trail.
This trail has been our most difficult trail so far, just due to the fact that there are multiple rock fields that have to be traversed. This was no easy task for some of the vehicles that were in our group. The drivers had to focus on the trail, and pay total attention to the spotter at difficult points as to avoid getting hung up on a differential housing. Fortunately, our group did very well, and everyone made it through unscathed.
Jen, having just gotten through the rock field in the above picture, continues confidently down the Impossible Hill trail. The trail, as it is seen in this picture, has some tame spots... but if you scan to the left and the right of the TJ, you'll see large loose rocks scattered all over the ground. These are the same rocks that cover the trail in different spots. It can get very hairy if you don't pay attention!
I remember a couple years ago, I bent a leaf-spring on my YJ on a trail like this. I was cruising along at a good clip, trying to catch up with the rest of the group, and... <BAM!> A stubby little rock, hidden in the grass caught a front spring-pad. It felt like I drove into a brick wall. It also gave me a couple more inches of lift on my passenger side front. Anyway, that was a lesson learned. Be careful at all times, just like the driver of this full-size Wagoneer.
It is still rather uncommon to see new Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ's in their natural environment like this. This WJ had a 4.7 and the new traction system that Daimler-Chrysler offers with its new Grand Cherokee vehicles. Fortunately, there was plenty of traction on these rocks! I wonder if the passengers in this vehicle even knew they were offroad. Its really good to see people using their Jeep vehicles.
By mid-afternoon, we were finishing up getting everyone through the Impossible Hill trail. At many points in the trail, the ruts simply dissappear and turn to rocks. Today, many of these drivers were climbing over rocks that came up to their center-caps. Tommorrow, (figuratively) many of them will be running with the big dogs.

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