We always finish the season with a trip to Slaughterhouse Gulch, and 2005 was no exception. We never really know what to expect with the snow -- it can be icy and dangerous just as easily as it can be mellow and easy. This year we missed out on some big snow and we found the trail to have an inch or two of snow in some places and nearly dry in others. Still, we had a great time on the trail like we always do.
Ladd was planning on catching up with us at some point along the trail, so we aired down and started off without him. The beginning of the trail had about an inch of snow there in the shade, and it turned out to be just about as much snow as we'd see.
Naturally we stopped at the "poser rock" to get some flex shots. Jed and Cheryl got close to the top of the rock and neither one got dangerously close to tipping over. It would be easy to tip over right here.
Eric got up on the rock next and didn't have any issues either. He tried to get up on the tree stump next to the rock but it was going to get even tippier -- this is a new stump because the entire tree was there last time.
The skies were blue and beautiful as we passed Stump Hill. It's still clearly marked as closed, but we could see tire tracks in the snow going up the hill.
We stopped for lunch right at noon at the meadow at the top of the hill leading down to the gulch. There was a couple inches of snow here but the sun was still out, and it was a great lunch.
We started down the hill and the snow thinned out almost immediately. It got drier and drier as we got lower, and by the time we got to the bottom there was hardly any snow.
We were wondering what the mud puddle would look like. It was a new mud puddle for this year and it was pretty hairy earlier in 2005 (and unavoidable). We worked our way through the rocks to get to it, and no one had any issues.
The mud puddle was completely dry with a little bit of snow on it. The shape had changed, too, and it was much easier. It would have been much easier even if it was still full of mud. The season had mellowed it out.
Cheryl found a way to make it fun, running her front passenger tire up along the slick edge on her way down. She got really flexy and managed to not slide and flip over on her way through it. It looked really cool!
Eric followed Cheryl's line and took the same flexy trip through the dry mud puddle. He also managed to stay up on the high side and not slide.
Bob did the same line but with a twist. He kept both passenger-side tires up on the ledge and drove through it really tippy. He managed to not slide in the snow and got all the way through it without having a tire fall off of the ledge.
Andy, Mike and Gary took a different line down the steep hill on the other side of the puddle area. Andy's Discovery weighed so much that he got a good slide down the hill.
The first uphill section of whoopdeedoos didn't have much snow on it, and it wasn't very muddy or slick. We were hoping for more of a challenge, but you take what you can get from Slaughterhouse Gulch. Jed had chains on his front tires just in case the trip down the other side was hairy, and he just walked right up the whoopdeedoos.
Ed decided to come up it fast and his door flew open on the way up. It looked like a bumpy ride.
Cheryl took a line through the worst of the moguls and got some great flex on the way up.
Eric did the hill at high speed for a new change of pace and he also had a really bumpy ride. He probably broke a record for getting up the hill the fastest.
Andy tried the line through the big whoopdeedoos but his Land Rover wasn't going to let him through it. He went around the biggest one and the rest of the hill didn't give him any troubles.
Mike worked at it without his lockers on and from the look on his face he was enjoying all of the extra work. It didn't take him too much effort to make it through the whoopdeedoos and up to the top.
Gary did it without lockers too, and had a great time wrestling with the whoopdeedoos. He kept at it and got to the top pretty quickly.
It wasn't long before we got to the fun flexy section at the side of the trail. When your front tire goes in the hole you flex your front end, and then your rear tire falls in the same hole. At that point, if you have good articulation on the front you get some good flex. If you don't, you get an impressive wheel stand.
Jed went through first and got some awesome flex. Then Ed came through and got the winning wheel stand of the day. It was great!
Cheryl, Eric, Bob and Mike all got some great flex shots, twisting their suspensions up on the way through. It's a great area to see how flexible your vehicle can be.
Andy found himself wrestling with some more whoopdeedoos a bit further down the hill from the flexy section. He tried a lot of different lines through it but he just couldn't get through it. He ended up backing down to take the flatter line and that went just fine, even though it was covered in snow (the whoopdeedoo side was in the sun and didn't have much snow on it at all).
Gary came right through the whoopdeedoos and got some great flex in the hole. Then we all climbed into the flex hole and did some muscle flexing of our own.
We were working our way up to the top and found that the only rocky obstacle was dry. At this point we finally heard Ladd on the CB. He had caught up with Gary and we were finally all together.
When we got to the mud pits we found them to be mostly dry except for one section that was a foot or two deep and not quite wide enough for one Jeep Wrangler to get all four tires muddy. There were a few fun hills but otherwise it was the least amount of mud we had ever seen there.
Bob and Mike both tried climbing up the wall of dirt on the other side of the mud section, but it was too steep and slick. Everyone else was playing, going up and down the slick hills.
There was one hill that had a deep groove at the very left of it. Bob tried it first and was promptly shoved up against the side when his driver-side tires fell in it. He was motivated to get up the hill, though, so he gave it some gas. That's when we all heard his u-joint snap. He drove up an easier side to go fix it.
Eric tried Bob's line up the steep hill but he wasn't going to make it either.
Gary was giving the same hill a try, and when he went to back up to try another line he folded his tail pipe under his Jeep. He drove up to take a spot next to Bob to try to saw the end off.
Ed tried it a little bit too, but the hill wasn't going to happen for anyone that trip.
Don jumped in Cheryl's Jeep and decided to go down the steep hill of mud and into the wet mud puddle instead of trying to climb it. The wall was vertical for most of it, and there would be a point where he could no longer back up. He crept down it and buried his front end in the thick mud, but he made it. A few guys held a tow strap on the rear end of the Jeep but he didn't need it.
Bob changed his u-joint and Gary managed to saw off enough of his tail pipe to get back in business. We headed back out to the entrance to air back up.
It's impossible not to do a few donuts in the snow there, and a few people started having fun in the slick snow. Eric came around a spin and hit a tire on an edge of frozen dirt and knocked his tire right off of his rim. He'd had the tires for a week and a half already, so it was time. He managed to get it back on the bead, though, so everything was fine.
Most of us went to dinner to enjoy telling stories about the 2005 season and the last run of the day. It's going to be a long winter.
Reports from Other Days: 14
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