2013 XJ list Fall Crawl
Thursday was a lazy rainy day for most of the participants. I made a quick warm up run to middle fork and took a trip up and down the slip and slide hill. Several folks had trouble getting their rigs up to the campground due to the road being slippery. Jennifer had XJ cupcakes delivered from Bear Country Cupcakes.
Friday morning we headed out to the trails. We took 15 across the ridge on our way to the lower rock garden. A couple of places on 15 have become quite challenging. However every one made it without too much trouble.
We played around in the lower rock garden for a while before heading on to Rail Bed. While some were playing at the water fall, I made a run up Pinball. I was waiting for Derek to follow when I heard his voice on the radio. “I need a little help” he said. I backed down the trail and suddenly I saw tires where there should have been a Jeep. I drove quickly back up the trail and down one of the step bypasses of the waterfall. I collected the others to assist. We found Derek flopped on his side at the entrance to pinball.
Neal took his rig to the top of the hill and we used his winch to pull Derek back onto his wheels. His exo cage held up well and the damage was mostly a mirror and a crack in the windshield. We then headed into Rail bed.
I took the early exit to the right and almost made it to the top. I made several runs always stopping about six inches short of the crest. I got a quick tug and was out. Jennifer came up unassisted. Some of the larger tired XJ took the later exit.
After lunch, we decided to explore a bit and run Intimidator. The trail started out easy enough but about half way through there was a long rutted climb. The hill was just slick enough that you could not stay out of the ruts. The ruts were also deep enough that on 33 inch tires my diff was dragging keeping my speed down near the small ledge at the top. I got a tug from Neal over the crest and then tugged Jennifer up behind me. Derek tried next but with 32s he could not keep enough momentum to make the climb. We spit the group at that point with the smaller tired folks going back down and the larger tired folks continuing. The rest of the trail was entertaining with plenty of rocky climbs. We all met up at the middle rock garden.
Frosty made some heroic runs at the big rocks and ended up shaking loose a wire that shut down his diesel. Neal and Adam towed him back to camp. While they diagnosed the trouble I made a run to Walmart and picked up some electrical fittings to make the repair.
Saturday morning we got a leisurely start and headed over to Mason Jar. We took time out for lunch and the stadium. We then spilt into two groups. Those running Mason Jar headed to the beginning while the rest of us headed to the exit. We went in the wrong way and made it to the bog mud puddle before we stopped at a big rock in the center of the trail. We parked off the trial and hiked in just in time to watch the other make the entrance.
The hill was pretty dry so the guys enjoyed taking on the harder lines. Frosty almost felled one tree but everyone made it through without any carnage.
We then headed out along Fuqarwe which is a narrow trail with a few challenging spots for those with open diffs. We went to upper rock garden and watched as sheet metal was mangled on can opener and the other big rocks. We elected to head down early so that we could actually start dinner in the daylight for a change.
At the bottom of the hill, we decided to explore camp ground 4 which we may choose on our next trip to Harlan. There we found and irresistible jump. Frosty gave it a go and broke something in the front axle on the way up. He was able to reverse his Toy back to camp. There we used a floor jack to get it safely on his trailer.
The steak and potato boat making commenced and soon we were all stuffed. We enjoyed the fire and conversation well into the night.