We were ready to tackle Liberty Trail again, with our Jeeps and nerves prepared for the trip. It was a small group of five and a beautiful day, and we started the trail at about 10:30AM. We would get off the trail about 14 hours later, and each of us got a little to a lot of trail damage before we were through.
Monica went down the first hill, choosing to play in the rocks on the way down. She immediately high-centered herself on one of the rocks on the bottom, and almost resorted to breaking out the winch already, only a few yards from the entrance. She managed to wiggle her way off of it, though, and through it.
Austin, Cheryl and Don came through the rocks next, and they picked a good line through the middle of them. It got them pretty tippy in the middle and towards the end of the rocks, but they all came through just fine.
Eric brought up the rear and also got tippy in the middle. Then he got really, really tippy right at the end and his rear passenger-side tire went way up in the air. He was definitely going to flop over, right at the entrance! Luckily he thought to give it some gas really quickly, and he drove through it instead. We all had a good laugh, and hoped that this wasn't an indication of how the rest of the trail was going to go.
The early rocks are fun, like always. There was a lot of chatter on the CB at first, with everyone having a great time. Then it got quiet as we all worked our way through the section.
Cheryl caught a bit of bad luck, and got the first trail damage of the day. Unfortunately it was also the first trail damage for her new Jeep. She caught a rock underneath her driver-side corner panel and tore it right at the seam. At some point later she would catch the same point again, this time getting some paint on her license plate holder. The first damage is always the worst!
Don managed to hit something on the way in, too, and caught his passenger-side corner panel. It wasn't nearly as bad as Cheryl's damage, but body damage is still a bummer.
We all took a breather and then had fun going through the Gap. Monica put her passenger-side tires in it, enjoying the tippiness, and then everyone else straddled it. It was really close, but you could straddle the Gap with a Jeep if you barely hung on to the side with your tires. Cool!
We came around the corner and found ourselves at the top of the Waterfall. It was lunch time, so we stopped to eat. There was a bit of shade right above the waterfall, so we set up chairs and had a really nice lunch.
We all talked about who was going to go down the Waterfall. It seemed like everyone wanted to do it, but most wanted to see someone else do it first before committing. Monica had done it before on her last trip, so she would go first.
We were packing up our lunch gear when we heard some vehicles coming up from the other direction. We ran down to tell them we were there, and found two very well-built rigs. They parked on the sides of the trail out of the way, then decided to come up and watch us on the Waterfall. They let us take our time, and it was great visiting with them for awhile.
Monica went down the Waterfall with the same amount of banging and scraping as before. She went down it so there was a big drop, spending about a half of a second with her front tires falling through the air. The worst of it was getting her rear end down, and her spare tire carrier paid the price (it's loose, again). It was a good time, though!
After all of that, Austin and Cheryl decided they'd go around the Waterfall. Cheryl thought her longer vehicle would have problems getting by the tree at the bottom. It's definitely a tight turn.
Don decided to go for it. He chose a slightly different line, running his passenger-side tires over the ledge along the side instead of dropping through mid-air. It looked like he might get pretty tippy, but it actually worked out really well. Soon his front tires were on the ground, and it was a much more controlled fall.
While Don's rear tires were still at the top, the rest of the group noticed he was missing the bolt in his rear trackbar. He left his Jeep in the Waterfall and they replaced the bolt while it was so easy to get to.
He came down off of it, following that same line on the edge, and it was a pretty nice trip through the obstacle. Unfortunately, that left him firmly wedged between the tree and the rock, with about three inches to spare. He used those three inches to go forward and backward, eventually working his way around and through it.
After watching all of that, Eric went around the Waterfall and we were all past the first of the big obstacles.
In a few more yards we were at the V. Monica went down it, and then down the Wall. Austin followed her down, making it look easy.
Cheryl and Don came down next, not having any issues. Then Eric came through, getting some great flex.
The "poser cube" rock is soon after that, and we all decided to pose on it. Monica got some good shots, then went past.
Austin was next, and he took a wide angle at it. He slipped off of the rock the first time, but managed to hang his power steering box skid on the top corner of the rock. The back of the skid has a distinct edge, and that was caught. He tried to back up, but his gas tank skid was caught on another rock. He worked on it for a bit with a Hi-Lift jack and managed to get himself free -- and get a couple poser pictures in, too.
Cheryl rolled over the rock without any troubles, and we pointed out the big difference in our wheel bases. When her front tire was over it and she was on her rocker guard (like all of us) her rear tire was still a foot away from the rock where ours was right up against it. It didn't stop her, though, and she flexed her rear tire right over it.
Don had a couple arguments with a couple of rocks on his way to pose, but he got there and up on the cube without any troubles. He slid on his rocker guard and walked right over it with his rear tire, too.
Eric was last, and got some amazing flex. He got out and checked a few things under his Jeep while he was there -- it's a pretty convenient place for that. The rest of the rock didn't give him any problem.
We breathed a happy sigh of relief, as we were through the rockiest section. We were coming around a bend and Austin got a pretty impressive wheel stand. That made him grin even more than he already was.
There is a wide spot just before the end of the trail, and we stopped there so we could walk through Patriot Trail and decide if we were going to do Independence Trail or not. We walked up Patriot and couldn't believe people did it successfully, but most of us talked about how we'd be there someday.
We walked down Freedom Trail and checked out Bunker Hill on Independence (Indy). We thought about it, but decided we'd be smarter to turn around and do Liberty the other direction instead.
We walked back to the Jeeps and finished the rest of Liberty. The last obstacle on Liberty is just before the intersection with Patriot, and it can be difficult. Monica slid around a little bit, but she eventually made it through.
Austin found the line immediately and drove right through it like it was nothing.
Cheryl came through next and she could take the same line through it, and she didn't have any issues, though she had to adjust once or twice like most of us.
Don worked at it for a bit, but he just couldn't get over the last few feet of the rocks. He was ready to winch his way to the end, and then we heard a yell coming from Bunker Hill. We all ran over to see what was happening.
The people we had spent some time with at the Waterfall had a problem. A truck had flopped over right at the waterfall part of Bunker Hill. He had been attached to a Jeep with a tow strap, but there had been too much slack and he went over. We watched as they winched him back upright, and then he tried to start it. It didn't sound good, and it didn't start. They didn't need our help, so we went back to work on our own obstacles.
Don only needed a little bit of help to get through, and then he was done. Eric came up next and had a bad line on the rocks, making him get a little too close to the edge and going over. He adjusted his line and then he was through again.
We were all at the end and turned around, and it was dinner time. We had a few snacks as we prepared ourselves to go through in the other direction. We were ready!
Before we left, we looked at a bit more trail damage. Eric had managed to catch his driver-side corner panel on something, getting a little dent and some scrapes in the process. Austin scraped his corner panel, but luckily he had steel guards on them -- but unluckily he caught the top of the corner too, and that didn't have a guard. Don had managed to hit his gas tank skid pretty hard, hard enough to make it a little crooked.
We worked our way back, and we were making great time. No one had a single problem, and we were at the Wall in a short amount of time.
Eric tried a new line, running his passenger-side tires up near the far right side of the obstacle, and he drove right up it.
Don disagreed with a small rock that threatened his wheel well, but he ended up winning. Then he tried the Wall. He tried to go up the middle but he got really hung up.
He tried to winch himself through it but his winch cable snapped in half -- luckily it was a synthetic line so he tied it together and he was fine again. He stacked rocks and winched again, but he was having a hard time getting his rear tires up and over the obstacle.
His winch line snapped once again, and it was tied once again. More rocks were stacked, and he was finally almost over it. He dragged himself over the edge on his transfer case skid plate, but finally he was through it.
Cheryl went up the right side where Eric was, and she didn't have any issues at all. Austin followed right behind her and he also didn't have any troubles.
Monica got about halfway through it, but then she had a lot of troubles. She worked on it for a bit, but wasn't stuck on anything -- and still couldn't get through. Later, she discovered that her rear lower control arm on the passenger side had snapped in two at the weld, so this may have happened at the Wall, giving her troubles. She ended up having to winch up it.
Everyone got through the V without any issues until it was Monica's turn. It seemed like she couldn't stay on the right line, and couldn't get over rocks she wasn't having issues with earlier. Then someone noticed that her shock mount had torn off of her rear axle on the driver side, so it was removed.
Monica ended up on the far left of the obstacle, and when she got to the top she ended up with a big wheel stand, so she used her winch a second time to keep her front end down and she drove up it.
We started up again, and it wasn't long before we ran into two big vehicles coming the other way. They got off to the side and Eric got past them, and then one of his tie rod ends broke and his tires were facing away from each other. We stopped and chatted with the people we met while Eric changed it for a new tie rod end.
We weren't there long, and we kept going soon enough. Monica was still having troubles. Then she heard the sound of her tire tread hitting the plastic fender flare, but it was the rear tire. That's when it was confirmed that the control arm was broken.
Eric tried to use a ratchet strap and a Come-Along to pull her axle back, but it was pulling the rear end down to the ground instead. Unlocking the rear locker didn't help. She drove in reverse for a bit, and that straightened the axle out, but the Come-Along still wasn't working out.
We knew that the people we met earlier in the day were camping, so Eric finished the rest of the trail to go see if they had a spare control arm. Then Austin volunteered his control arm -- he would drive to the top, take his off, and Monica would use it to get up to Eric's trailer where Austin would get his control arm back.
Austin headed up to the end of the trail, then Eric called on the CB to say he'd talked to the people we met just a little while before, and they had a shop in Penrose with a few stock control arms. Eric bought two of them, and he was on his way back.
It didn't take him long to replace the broken one (which sadly was almost the same length as the other adjustable one). We were back and running again, and the rest of us finished the trail.
We were all aired up and ready to go, and then we found Don's front lower control arm snapped in two. Luckily we had the other control arm we had bought earlier, so that one got replaced too. It wasn't a good day for control arms!
It took us about six hours to get to the bottom, then about seven hours to get back out to the top. Though we all got a little trail damage we all had a blast. This is an awesome and extremely challenging trail!
Reports from Other Days: 4
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Liberty Trail. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.