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Story by Ben "King-B" McCumby

Wheeling in the Last Frontier
Anchorage, Alaska

Day 2

Day 2 begins with the breakfast of champions (remember my Ho-Ho's and Twinkies mentioned before?). I'm telling you, fit for a king...(B) that is. After breaking camp, we backtracked a bit down the dusty gravel trail and came to a fork in the road. The right featured what seemed to be an infinite mud hole and the left seemed to be gravel and good running. guessed it... we traveled left. We drove for what seemed a few more miles and came to a small mud hole. Surrounded by 3 in. Alders it seemed the only way was "through" . We made it through the first without incident and did not even stop to take pictures (boo hoo).

The stock XJ made it through, and so did J's S-10 without any hang-ups. Since I was official picture taker, we did not get a shot of my MJ plowing through. NOTE: The huge splash you see is not necessarily from too much speed There is a huge drop-off right in the middle of this stream. Most Alaskan streams are not polluted. They are naturally dirty with microscopic glacial silt which can be a grayish to deep brown muddy color. Although, there are some great clearwater streams also for the angler types. Just not in this area.

Thinking the worse was behind us we traveled onward, only to come to a wonderfully HUGE, seemingly impassable, "black hole" of a mud pit, which MR.GMC had somehow neglected to mention at our meeting about 4 miles back. Out with the hop boots once again to check out the area. This pit made a nice 90 degree turn into oblivion and there, right in front of us was a Honda Fourtrax 4x4, completely buried in the mud almost to its seat! Totally abandoned, or so it seemed.

This is at about 2500 ft. above sea level. The one large advantege of Alaskan wheeling being up high is that no big trees get in your way after about 3300 ft.. It's all just big globs of small brush. Not much to winch too so a Pull-Pal would be a great piece of equipment to have on any Alaskan trip.

We freed the MJ in near-record time and proceeded to hack up underbrush to lay into the ruts so the others would not follow my path. Better them than me being stuck or getting the other rigs stuck. So we made it back home with bruised but not beaten ego's. Remember this, though, even though it may sound like a somewhat negative trip. You must agree with this quote: "The absolute WORST day wheelin'……Beats the BEST day workin'."

See ya on the trails,
Ben and the upgraded STOMPER

This was the "Black Hole" of mud holes that we came across. You can see it seems to go on for eternity and then makes an immediate 90 deg. turn and about another 500 ft. of mud pit surrounded by Alder brush. YUCK ! Time to turn around as King had only Goodyear AT's ( the best tires of the bunch) and was not in the mood for more digging, pushing, pulling, and swearing.

We then met up with a guy and his girl wheeling alone in what seemed to be a brand-spankin' new Z-71 GMC traveling back. Being only a one way goat trail, anyway, we were prompted to shove it in reverse to make it to a wider area to let the GMC pass. After backing up for what seemed an eternity we finally found a space that would let the truck pass. We could only pass one at a time, though, so it was like one of those switch-a-roo games or shuffling cards.

This was a good alternate area that we made it to. Although lack of good mud rubber under all of our rigs stopped us short of our goals. (Why is that always the case?)

Now I know what you're thinking and you are RIGHT! We decided to ditch the 4x4s for a few and hoof it up the mountain side to eat lunch. We saw some wildlife (a fox, a squirrel, and a beautiful Bald Eagle) to top it off. We also found a few bear tracks in some wet mud on the way back to the rigs left at the bottom of the valley. Without incident, though, to our dismay we did not see Mr. Fuzzy.

We reached our respective 4x4's and began the journey back home, me as lead dog, J in pursuit, followed by RD. When we arrived back at the last (first) mudhole I slipped off of the ledge and slid right into previous ruts, most likely put there by Mr. GMC getting stuck. I ended up high-centering so I began the dig, push, pull, engine revving, rock back and forth, swearing contest.

Here we are after the end of our jaunt inspecting any damages we may have sustained. And, of course, a final showoff of our rigs that tackled MOST of the day's terrain.

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