Mongo - Trail Building 301 -- 3/29/03
Submitted by Jennifer

This last trail building weekend, March 29, was quite the trip. Mongo is no sissy trail. That idea was clearly reinforced this past Saturday (note the 301 level, 101 is for amateurs). Since I’m not near the columnist my Dad is as far as writing up jeepin’ articles goes, I failed to get all the names from Saturday’s crew. Sorry… I’m much better at hitting trees than remembering everyone’s name. :o) I do remember a few… Brad, Brady, Elmo (Mongo’s new fearless leader), me – Jennifer (a.k.a. Tree Girl), Barry (my fiancé), Todd Whitaker (Mongo’s new tail gunner), Randy, and Fuzzy… I apologize if I’ve left your name out.

We (Dad, Barry, and I) set out BEFORE the crack of dawn, only to arrive WAY before anyone else did. I was sure to voice my opinion on that one… I guess we had about a 7am arrival. After eating the normal delicious breakfast, I decided that if I was planning to come to life before hitting the trail, I’d need some cappuccino. Thank God the gas station had it. I believe we had about 7 jeeps when we were finally on our way to Mongo.

Contrary to Dad’s belief, Mongo is actually about 23 miles from the VFW. That seems like a long haul, but it’s worth the wait. When we left the gravel, we quickly learned why Mongo’s closet name is “Hell’s Hole”. Dad ended up being winched up that first hill. Then, amazingly enough, one of the guys tried the hill in only 2-wheel drive. Funniest thing… he got half way up and we all realized that his front tires weren’t doing anything. He finally stopped and said “Hey, I wasn’t in 4-wheel drive”. Needless to say, he walked right up it after that. Unfortunately, Barry and my jeep just wasn’t high enough to avoid dragging the pumpkins. After some futile attempts, I had to be winched. Bummer. Everyone else made it up alright.

Anyone who has been on Mongo knows that it’s just this giant hole in the earth and it’s composed of mostly sand. Much like quick sand in fact. After travelling a little farther into the trail, we actually went the wrong way and got into quite the predicament. Brad (the boy is fearless) attacked right away… Trouble is, we tried to knock down some of the hill because we thought that would make it an easier approach. Mongo and Brad’s jeep decided otherwise. Brad and Brady did a very slow motion tumble and hit hard on the passenger’s side. The window was knocked out and I think his hard top may be toast. But, both the guys got out of it just fine. Matter of fact, Brad wouldn’t get all the way out or let us winch his jeep back on all four tires until the appropriate amount of pictures were taken.

The whole trail was all mud and sand. The ground was saturated from the rain, snow, and thawing out. Oh yeah, the snow… Seems like every time Brad’s jeep did a new trick, we got a mild snowstorm. Wonder if someone was trying to tell us something. At any rate, it seemed like making it through the trail was becoming more and more of a useless effort.

It was VERY soupy and toward the beginning of the afternoon, nearly everyone was being winched in one spot or another. If you’ve seen Barry’s and my black jeep, you’ll know about the excavating bumper it has on the front. See, I like to see what our jeep can do and it turns out I can scrape up some serious mud and tree roots when the trail isn’t agreeing with the jeep. I believe I had dirt level with the hood of the jeep by the time that section of the trail was all said and done.

I guess it was around 1 when a couple of the Jeepers decided to call it a day. That left 5 jeeps. It was decided that we would walk the rest of the trail. Good idea if you’re a new trail guide/tail gunner… Bad idea if you don’t have an ounce of grace when it comes to walking in mud. Just a few minutes after part of our crew left, I started following Randy, Fuzzy, Dad, Todd, and Barry. Ever so graceful me ended up with my foot stuck in the mud and I promptly fell over. I got one heck of a mud bath that’s for sure. Since I was soaked, miserable, and freezing, Barry (bless his heart) stayed with me at the Jeeps while the braver, more graceful part of our crew walked the trail. When they returned, we called it a day.

We easily drove off the trail (we were very close to the road at that point) and waited while the trailer Queens loaded their Jeeps. We aired up and most of us went our separate ways… except for Dad, Todd, Barry, and I. Barry and I took a trip to Wal-Mart where I purchased a new and non-muddy outfit (people look at you funny when you’re caked in mud and in the clothes department…). The trailer Queens took off to wash their jeeps and clean up a little. The four of us met up afterward and had a nice dinner at The Pantry (well… except for maybe the 100 times we had to change our orders… but that’s another story!!).

It was a GREAT weekend, even though Mongo reared its ugly head. We all had a great time. I, personally, want to thank the guys who repeatedly stayed patient with me and winched or yanked me out of the various predicaments I got myself into (including getting stuck going down the hill… nothing a high lift jack and some helpful people couldn’t take care of… I KNOW… who gets stuck going down a hill…). I’m grateful to the crew for not writing me off as a “typical” girl driver. Hahaha As always, a great big thanks to the landowners. You’re the only reason we jeep fanatics have something to do on the weekends! :o)

Take care. See y’all in the woods next time!


Photos to be provided soon!

Created: 04/07/03
Page Owner: Jennifer