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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.