MAXIMUM ARTICULATION 11
It was a Sunday night, I had settled into the TV watching position, cup of Decaf, dog on my feet and my favorite blanky, and then my phone beeped. One word… “Stuck”. Well shit… next email was a picture of his dash with GPS coordinates. Then finally a call from the 1 person who had some cell reception, we need help snow is deep we are not moving, and some better coordinates. Thing was it was an area I knew but had been a long time since I had been in there. Well time to pack up, get some warm clothes on, gas up the CJK8 and toss all my extra recovery gear inside just in case.
Now I have never been a follow-the-GPS bouncing ball guy but here is a good reason to have some knowledge on these systems. I’ve been playing around with the free version of GAIA, and its been tracking pretty good. Punched in the coordinates and it gave me a trail marker to go find.
What I didn’t know was they put it out on a Facebook recovery site, and a few others decided to go as well. A group, who knew what they were in for including Bruce Cook were working their way in from the way the group went in, while I was on route to the way they were trying to come out.
After leaving my route and the GPS coordinate with my wife, I headed out into the night. Once aired down and heading up the plowed portion of the road I hit the snow bank where the plowing ends and came upon a local who was pulling two other “rescuers” out of the 3 feet of snow that started from that point on. Nothing short of big tires and low air pressure was going to get anyone any further. As it turns out the local knew the area better than I did and was game to jump in and come along.
After this point the snow was deep, and soft on the sides outside the packed sections were sleds and trucks had packed the road. After some twists and turns the flood lights lit up a row of headlights… there were 12 of them stuck for the most part, and Bruce was arriving from the back and helping move then forward. I pulled out the first Jeep just to watch his sink 5 feet from where I pulled him out. So I dragged him to what I thought was a nice packed section from my drive in – nope 5 feet stuck again. So I gathered three of the rigs together, latched onto the first one, made sure they were all down into the 8 PSI range and I dragged the first jeep the 3KM to the plowed road, only to see some big holes a couple hundred feet from the road where – allas another group had attempted to head in to help only to have to winch themselves around and head back out. After airing up a couple of the Jeeps. we headed back in for a second batch. After the second group of 3 were out, Bruce had managed to get around and started hauling small groups out to the road as well.
It was rolling into dawn when we finally got the last of the group to the plowed road – and that’s when my master fuse blew…. Seems all the banging and tugging knocked something loose, after replacing the fuse (I carry lots of those) and a couple jump starts I bypassed the fuse and got my Jeep to pavement where I fetched my truck and towed it home around 8AM.
There are lots of things that could have been done different even on my part, where I headed out alone, and upon seeing so many Jeeps I forgot to use Chris’s phone to let my wife know I had reached the group so she could sleep rather than worry about where I was. But in the end no one was going to die, though explaining to most of their bosses why they were not at work Monday morning might have been tough, but being prepared for something like this to happen is the most important lesson learned, some fun on our parts for managing to get them all out and bring some light hearted recovery cheer to a group who did not look very happy when we found them. So after reading this I’m sure you can draw some lessons of your own. I too have made that call, and I’m sure I will again and there was no way I was ignoring it, I might just need these guys myself one day!