Lake Shore Drive - 2003 Safari

by Merrill & Rosaleen

Friday morning four Jeeps (3 TJ’s, 1 Grand) from the Chicago area (part of a group of 23) set out for a leisurely ride on Lake Shore Drive. Of course, it wasn’t the Lake Shore Drive that we were used to. Once we got to the trailhead and aired down, etc., our trail guide, Craig , informed us that due to ongoing logging on the property, he had to make some on- the-fly changes to the trail. He nicely pointed out where we should have been going as we ventured into uncharted territory. It wasn’t too long before we were wending our way up a rock strewn creek bed that seemed to be getting progressively harder. Pretty soon we were climbing waterfalls. Lucky for us they were dry. Eventually we came to one waterfall that must have been at least 30” tall. As we watched Craig attempt to climb it, we all heard the loud snap of an axle.

Undeterred, he continued onward and upward and finally was successful. At this point, everyone started moving rocks to form a ramp so we could continue. Everyone finally made it over, some with some help and some with wheels at angles Jeep probably never intended.

When a comment was made about the trail being rated a 3, Craig responded that this section probably was closer to a 5.

We soon got back to the normal trail and were going along when some of the group got separated. When asked which way to go, Craig responded with “between the black and the brown cow”, which is exactly where we went. After the waterfall excursion, the rest of the trail seemed relatively easy, with the usual water crossings, hills, etc. However, the last hill prior to the lunch break was quite an eye opener as it felt as though we were going straight down.

We stopped for lunch at landowner Mike’s place, where he had generously prepared BBQ’d chicken and brownies. He also took all the young one’s with him to feed the fish in his pond. While we were busy eating, some of the group were busy replacing the broken axle.

Soon it was time for the afternoon section which was more hills and water and mud. The highlight of the afternoon, for those of us without front and rear lockers, was a trip through the ”Grave”, which is exactly what it looked like.

All in all, it was an interesting day and the hardest wheelin’ any of the four of us had ever done. Many thanks to Craig, Jamie and Jim for their excellent leadership and willingness and patience to help any of us who needed it.

Created: 05/24/03