Sub Killer

Nova Scotia's Secret Rock Garden
By Chad Lloyd
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For about six months now, fellow Right Coast Crawlers member, Bill Ansel, has been telling me that he found some areas that we need to check out. He feels that these areas could end up being Nova Scotia's closest thing to Moab.

I met Bill and Rowland Spear at the Tim Horton's in Halifax . Rowland was driving his new black TJ. Bill has a highly modified Cherokee, but recent setbacks (blown locker, ailing motor) meant that he was less capable than usual. Rowland's TJ is basically stock and my YJ is somewhat modified. Also on this trip with us was my son, James.

Sub KillerThe initial part of the Sub Killer trail is quite tight and cuts through the bushes near an ATV trail. This part of the trail requires extra attention to not end up scraping the trees, before it dumps you out onto what we call the main trail.

The main trail leads from the tight ATV trail to the rocks at the destination, and is in itself a nice trail. It winds its way along a point of land and the views as you traverse this part of the trail of the ocean and beaches are quite spectacular. The trail is very rocky, although none of the rocks was significant enough to hang me up. Rowland in the stock TJ was having a fun time, though. It was interesting to watch him working that puppy back and forth over the rocks, while seesawing back and forth across the trail looking for enough clearance. In the end, he ended up losing one of his side steps, but did not seem too concerned about it.


We carried on along the trail and eventually got kind of strung out. I heard Rowland say "I'm hung up back here", so I indicated to Bill that he needed help. Bill and I attempted a multiple point turn on the trail to go back and help him. What's that hissing sound? It's the air being let out of Bill's tire! DOH! By the time we got around to changing the tire, Rowland had extricated himself from his dilemna and had caught up with us. We carried on with Bill using his spare.

Shortly after the tire incident, we noticed a burned out wreck along the trail. Obviously, some bonehead(s) had stolen this vehicle, driven it into the woods, flipped it over, and torched it. As we got closer, it became obvious that it was a Cherokee. Bill said "That's a Dana 44 rear end!" Out we all hopped to inspect it and, yes, lo and behold, it WAS a Dana 44 XJ rear end!

Sub KillerThis was kind of unique timing, given that Bill had just blown the EZ-Locker in his rear end and was going through the old "do I upgrade to a stronger axle or try to get by with this Dana 35C junk" routine. Bill was also planning on going to 33's, so when you combine one blown tire (meaning he's only got three 31's left) and a found Dana 44, you get one upgrade from Dana 35C/31's to Dana 44/33's all at once! Won't Bill's wife be happy to hear about this!

We decided to carry on to the end of the trail and see how much of this junk (including the rear end) we could carry out on our way back. As Bill pointed out, "I don't appear to be in much competition for this rear end." So we carried on the rest of the trail, which included one creek crossing and more minor rockcrawling.

Eventually, we ended up at our destination; the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. There were gorgeous views of nothing but blue skies, crashing waves, and rocks as far as the eye could see. The rocks are huge in areas, and nice and pristine - no vegetation or moss - with massive amounts of traction available. They run the whole length of the shore, extending quite far inshore. There are miles and miles and miles of these types of rocks here, and one could easily play for weeks in here without hitting the same obstacle twice!

Sub KillerThis trail was becoming more and more useful all the time. The trail getting to the rocks was fine and was a nice little run that ended in a stunning place to have lunch. You could go home at that point and be completely satisfied with your spectacular day of wheeling, but if you've got the time and inclination, there were miles and miles of rocks to play with and you could play as hard or as easy as you liked. The ATV guys were hitting this spot, but we basically appear to be the only rockcrawlers in Nova Scotia, so the rocks were uncharted.

As this was the first time we had ever been here, we decided to make only a small foray into the rocks and return to map out a usable (low impact) trail at a later date. So I slowly crawled my way onto the shore so we could have lunch.

After a little time spent eating our lunches and admiring the incredible beauty of the area, we packed up a bunch of garbage left by hikers and sunbathers, and I tried to crawl my way off the rocks and back onto the main trail. I promptly got high-centered on some rocks. Some 8274 winching action promptly got me out of there. The trail back to the main road seemed to somehow have gotten rougher and we did a lot of carriage scraping on the way and I got hung up several times on my rear shock mounts. I'm going to have to relocate those!

Sub KillerAlong the way we also picked up about 300 lbs of garbage from our of the burned out cherokee. There was no way to get it out of there except drag it out small piece by small piece. Hopefully, it will all be gone some day. The rear differential ended up being useful garbage, and is now happily riding around in the back of Bill's XJ with a Detroit locker, 4.56 gears, and a really cool home-made disk brake conversion Bill did himself using Grand Cherokee parts.

Since that day we've been back several times, mostly on foot, to map out what we think is going to become one of our premier trails. We have the entrance almost worked out and now we can start mapping out trails through the rocks. Hopefully, we will complete this process by the time summer roles around so we can spend the summer on the glorious shore of the Atlantic ocean!

Chad Lloyd;
January, 2001

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