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 emergency exit. On this section, we encountered a pretty nasty rutted section, in which most of us had to make several attempts, and I had to winch. This is 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 to Tom’s 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 of what 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 of some water to wash the alternator!

Created: 04/30/03
Page Owner: Kyle