Back 40 -- 3/29/03
By Kyle Thomas (Trail Wagon)
The day started very early. Tiffany (my girlfriend) and I arrived in Pittsfield
at about 7:00 am. Elmo was the only other Jeep at the VFW until his daughter
and her fiancé returned from the gas station. Soon others arrived,
but the turnout was not high, due to the not so perfect weather conditions.
We waited a while for Doug (Peej) to arrive, until we were informed that
he had a breakdown on the way, and he would be late. Luckily Dave (Mad
Dog) was able to rescue him and help get him on the road again. So, Walt
split everyone up and we all headed out. Some went to help Hammer on
remodeling a building for the church, one group went to Mongo, and
our group went
to Back 40.
Our group consisted of Walt, Pete, Heyworth, Tiffany, and myself. Doug
would later join us, and bring along a buddy to enjoy the trails. We
started out at Tom’s house where we all unloaded from the trailers and aired
down. We then headed out to run Back 40 in reverse, as our plan was to
cut a bypass around T-Bucket and the shortest route was to start at the
end. We had some small brush to clear, right off the bat, and then we were
headed in. We soon encountered the first rutted, muddy hill. Conditions
were very wet as it had rained just the day before.
We didn’t have too much trouble getting to T-Bucket. We had several
little hill climbs on which Pete and I had to take more than one attempt.
One particular rutted section provided quite a challenge. Walt ended up
winching through then strapping Pete through. It took me 5+ tries, but
I finally bounced through with tons of skinny pedal. Heyworth was able
to walk through with a little go juice. We then proceeded forward (or should
I say backward?) to T Bucket. There we got to shut the Jeeps down and break
out the chain saws.
The intention was to cut one bypass loop around T Bucket, for the
Jeeps that didn’t want to dive into the rutted ravine. What we ended up
with was two bypasses, one of which drives through an old pond, and down
the back of the dam. This route is the more adventurous route, and give
you a little thrill as you can’t seen anything before dropping off
the backside of the dam.
After we were finished at T Bucket, we headed back the way we came,
in search of a thrilling down hill section. It wasn’t long until we
met Doug as he was in search of us. Just as we were pulling up to Doug,
Pete had a little difficulty climbing an off camber hill. He ended up sliding
back and resting on a small sapling. We soon had him winched back on the
trail, and we decided to break for lunch.
Once finishing lunch, we headed back the way we had just come,
to show Doug the bypasses, and to familiarize everyone with the
On this section, we encountered a pretty nasty rutted section,
in which most of us had to make several attempts, and I had to
where I discovered that my low hanging alternator had taken in
more mud that
it liked, and had quit. So, we followed the emergency exit back
house, where I borrowed some water to wash out my alternator. Water wasn’t
enough however, so some convincing taps of a hammer were used to get it
back online. This was when I should have loaded up and headed home, but
I just wasn’t happy until I broke something.
So, we headed up Gasoline alley and proceeded to run some more
trail. It wasn’t 10 minutes later, that I was heading up another rutted hill,
that I bounced the front end into a rut, and SNAP! Broke a front axle.
This marked the end of my trail running. After some on trail mechanical
lessons, I had the Jeep driveable enough to get back to the trailer. This
is when Tiffany and I said our good byes and headed back home.
All in all it was a great day. The continually changing weather
made it interesting, but we all managed. We accomplished most
we set out
to do, and I think everyone had fun doing so.
A big thanks to Tom and all the other Land Owners for allowing
us to use their land, and another thanks to Tom for the use