<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Emergency Night Run!
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Emergency Night Run

By Chris Shontz

The trees loomed over the trail ominously, like the ornate frame of an oil painting from the days of yore. Branches and brambles jutted out, reaching for us longingly as our Jeeps crept steadily over the roots and stones that lay in our path. The forest became grim and ghastly, as unseen eyes seemed to peer at us from the surrounding darkness.

Finally, in a heartbeat, our vehicles fell silent, and the woods became hushed. Out of the darkness, a muffled, sinister voice in a drawn-out tone beckoned, "Join usssss...."

We came to a popular and somewhat difficult trail nestled in the woods called "The Clogger", I think. I recall the name, vaguely. If thats not its name, its something like that.

Here is a picture of the beginning of "The Clogger". It proceeds up a wooded valley, winding in and out of trees. Here you can see a muddy and technical ascent up a small formation of rocks.

The mud slicks up the rocks really good, so forward progress can be very difficult at first.

This is a picture of me ascending a field of small loose rocks, placed precariously on the hillside. These rocks tend to roll around underneath you, but fortunately, its not a very muddy section. If you come here while it's dry, and you're one of the first few vehicles in line, you'll probably find ample traction.

Our weary band of adventurers pressed on, despite the late hours or our endeavor. Somewhere down the hill behind me on "The Clogger," I could smell clutch.

Here comes Dan at awkwardly high RPMs up "The Clogger." I asked him as he passed, "What's cookin?," but it was obvious. Dan's clutch was heating up good, and making the trail ahead very frustrating. It was no matter. He was nearing the end where he'd be able to let it sit to cool off.

Dan and I both need to replace our clutches before a Tellico trip next month. At 60,000 miles and a lot of four-wheeling, they're starting to show signs of wear.

Mike explores the trail ahead on foot while we wait for Dan's clutch to cool off.

At a very odd hour, on a very odd day, Dan and I tackled "The Clogger" relatively successfully. I suppose it was nearing midnight by the time we finished the trail.

We turned the vehicles off, and all of the lights off in the forest, and listened quietly. Talk about eerie. It's not hard to let your imagination run wild in the engulfing darkness. It was awesome.

We waited roughly 20 minutes and fired the Jeeps up. Dan's clutch had cooled off sufficiently and he was moving forward with less effort now.

It was all easy-going until we reached the pavement. We drove back to the Hess station which has free air and made our way back to Lancaster County. We arrived home at around 2:30 AM.

 

Chris Shontz Chris Shontz is a staff-writer for Rockcrawler.com. Chris has a wonderful sense of humor and wit. His new wife, Jennifer, is very understanding.