2006 Safari - Pokey's, by Karen

Saturday’s run started and ended with 24 jeeps. Some club member add-ins brought the total more than desired; but Pokey kept us moving backwards the whole day. We didn’t really drive in backwards, but we ran the trail entire trail in reverse order. Billy started our morning with a proud rendition of “Pokey, Pokey, Pokey of the Jungle….Watch out for that tree”, he sang it using the tune from ‘George of the Jungle’.

Pokey mentioned something about $100 for Rick Culberson if he could make it out of the new creek mud bank. Rick was the very last jeep, so there were lots of jeeps to dig ruts before Rick would get there. Everyone with lockers and a few without gave the mud bank a try; but Todd Veldhuizen in his blue YJ was the only one to climb out on his own. On Todd’s third and final try he bounced his wrangler up and out of the creek. The prize for such a feat was to snatch out the next 10 jeeps. Rick was the last one to get tugged out, but Pokey forgave bet, after everyone had a good laugh.

Rick’s next feat was an attempt to climb Big Dog Hill. He had only come down the hill before today. Rick got skeered when the front tires bounced off from the wall. Of course he encouraged others to give it a try; that’s when Mark Veldhuizen (Todd’s cousin) in his red TJ felt the challenge burning up inside. On Mark’s first try didn’t get very far, but the second attempt bounced the front end of the jeep away from the wall and it was perfectly balanced on the back two wheels and rear mounted spare tire. Thank the Lord for the spare tire, it was the only thing keeping them from rolling over backwards. “Pokey you got to get back here to see this one!” The trail members all ran to give assistance, the next jeep in line set up to winch and snatch block to the front bumper, to keep it from rolling back any farther. But the recovery operation was halted so that everyone with a camera could come by for their Kodak moments. While Mark patiently waited for assistance to get the front wheels back to earth, his wife and passengers held their breath and leaned forward afraid to move. With a little tug with the winch, Mark shifted to reverse and all the four tires were safely back on the ground. Everyone jumped out of the jeep quickly and with shaky hands they posed for a picture.

In the reverse trail order the next obstacle was climbing up (not down) Toboggan Hill. Most of the jeeps missed the left turn to bypass the hill. When Pokey arrived Rick already had one wheel five feet in the air, but made it through with some guidance. The best part was watching all the jeeps catch some air as the rounded the tree root about 1/3 of the way up the hill. Most of the jeeps walked up the side of the bank. Billy showed Dad that with his Cherokee and a determined spirit he could make up the hill through the ruts. Another Cherokee had some driver side body damage after falling off the bank down into the ruts. One wrangler had some braking issue, but luckily that was at the bottom of the hill. Shawn was driving Daryl/Graham’s jeep and with one wheel in the air the engine died. Brad jumped in to give assistance and they got it in reverse and then walked up the rest of the hill. Everyone made it up safely.

It was getting close to 3pm, so we walked though the morning trail, past the Hilton tree stand and on to hilly off camber fun. With the dry ground no one had any issues. The trail ended at Little Dakota waterfall. Rick was once again anxious to try it first. He got himself caught between the waterfall and a log (rock and a hard place) and needed chain saw assistance to keep moving in either direction. Jeff winched the log clear, but even with Rick’s best efforts he could climb the waterfall. Next Jeff Brown bounced up the waterfall at little bit at a time. He dad indicated he loved his bouncy set when he was a growing up. It was by no means an easy task, but worth every moment when he was named the first one to every make it all the way. Troublemaker had to get his name in the running by using the same line, he was also able to climb the waterfall. Some light rain drops and dinner bell made us all head back to town. As we drove away everyone waved a big Thank You to the land owners on the front porch of the farm house.

I would like to thank Pokey ,Billy and all the trail guides that helped out, it was a very special day to remember on Pokey’s Run.

Created: 4 June 2006