Saturday, June 18, 2011

An Adventure Worth It

I believe in having adventures.  I mean, what would life be without a little adventure thrown in now and again.  Boring.  Just plain boring.

Now, most people dread adventure because typically that means something went wrong.  You know, getting lost, or having some kind of mishap.  So, most people tend to stay on the beaten path.  The easy way.  The highway.

Me, I like the dirt roads.  The back roads.  The, uh oh, there's grass growing in the middle kinda roads.  So, I took one today.

It was Forest Road 895 in the Routt National Forest, just a few miles south of the Wyoming line.  I headed, north, no south.....anyway, it wound around and around.  I had my trusty Garmin with me so I figured I could just keep following forest roads until the next highway on the way to Steamboat.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Garmin, but, I've found that it is nearly useless when you get off the well-traveled path.

I was doing great.  The road was good.  There was no one around -- which was perfect.  So I went on and on and was probably about 10 miles off the highway.  The Garmin showed that I would wind around awhile and end up on the highway I started on but, a good bit further south.  I didn't notice the North Platte River on the map.

The further I got, the less well-traveled the road appeared to be.  There have been recent rains and there were occasional rivulets of water (probably snow melt) and sometimes a pothole or rut filled with water.  But, the Garmin said all was good.  I kept going.

I crossed a cattle guard and the road was even less traveled but, still not too bad.  The occasional pothole with water became more frequent but, I was able to go around.  The scenery was gorgeous.  Open meadows surrounded by aspen and fir.  The occasional mud holes were getting a little worse and I was beginning to think I should turn back.  But, Garmin said it's good!

Then, I reached another cattle guard beyond which was a muddy morass.  I backed up until I could turn around and started back to the highway in defeat.  Oh, well, it was worth it just for the scenery and the quiet.  Then, ahead of me was one of those mud holes that worried me a bit on the way in.  I knew that if I kept to the high side I should be OK.  So, on I charged when, whoomp! the bottom fell out and I was stuck.  Not just a little stuck.  Seriously, to the frame, stuck. 

I got out and assessed my options.  Not good.  There was plenty of downed wood and rocks so I thought maybe I could dig down enough to build a bed in the bottom of the mud hole with the rocks and possible get enough traction to get out.  However, I was high centered and that presented a problem I wasn't sure how to address.  But, optimist that I am, and it being a long hike back to the last place I saw a human being, I started to dig and see if I could get unstuck.

I worked and worked and worked but, as fast as I could scoop the mud out of the hole, the more flowed in.  After about an hour I decided it was hopeless and started walking.

I walked about 3 miles before I met a Wyoming native in a 4WD Nissan Titan pickup.  I flagged him down to see if he would give me a ride into town (quite a few miles) to find someone to come pull me out.  He thought he could do it with his trusty Titan but, I doubted it given the depth of the hole that I was all too familiar with.  So, we drove back to where I was stuck and he said, "I think I can pull it out.  We'll hook onto the back with a chain (he just happened to have 2) and see if we can't pull you out the way you went in."  He then maneuvered around me on the high side and I got down in the mud and hooked the chain.  I think I need a Titan pickup.  It pulled me out without even spinning a tire.  I was impressed.

I then had to drive around the mud hole -- which I was able to do -- and back to the highway.  I offered to pay Matt (my Good Samaritan) but, he wouldn't take anything.  He then followed me to the highway to make sure I stayed out of any more mud holes.

Oh, did I tell you?  When I was walking up the road, I came upon a young moose munching Aspen leaves on the side of the road.  I walked to within about 100 ft. before she took off in her crazy, awkward gait into the forest.  A few photos of the trip below.  No, none of me stuck....

The moose.

A beaver lodge.

Just some scenery.

I think it was worth getting stuck.


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