Playing in the Snow (and beyond)

This winter has been rather brutal. Not so much with the large snow falls or the cold, but rather the fact that I haven’t really been able to get out and go off-roading. All summer and into the fall, the top was down almost daily. The doors came off regularly and I enjoyed that wide-open feeling. It has been bitter cold and not appropriate for top down weather. It is a little hard to get motivated to going out on a ride for me during the winter months.

The last week and a half has been a somewhat interesting set of conditions that led to some great Jeeping! Last Saturday I asked my daughter to go on a trail with me. To my shock, she agreed without hesitation. I had heard rumors of some trails near Hazleton near the power lines. I pulled up a satellite map and began searching. I found what I thought would be a trail and a logical place to start. So, off we went. I had a pin in a map on my iPhone…wish us luck. What we found was a very fun trail that led to the top of the mountain along the power lines. It had it all for us: dirt, mud, rocks, snow and ice! The higher the elevation the more snow and ice we encountered. Once at the top, the exit to the roadway was blocked. Because of that we had to back-track. Which was just as fun as going up, maybe more-so. I dropped a pin at the top so that we could pick up the trail from there.

After heading back up via the road, we found the trail and set out again. This trail was much deeper with snow and no-where near as travelled. Near the end of this segment we got into a little bit of trouble. I wouldn’t say we were stuck…but, we were at a standstill. Because of the deep snow AND large rocks, I had tried to take what looked like a better line to get down to the road. But gravity had a different plan. We began to slide sideways down between two boulders. Front end near one boulder and backend near another. I tried to turn the wheels and climb out but we just spun. Were we stuck? Were we in a bad place? Am I going to have to use my wench and recovery gear? I jumped out and took a lay of the “land.” It wasn’t really land, just rocks and snow. I stepped down about 2-3 feet. Clearly we were straddling the trail. I walked around the jeep to make sure we weren’t sitting on rocks in any way. We were clear. But how to pick up the Jeep and turn it 90 degrees? If I could back up onto the boulder in the back the nose would dip into the trail and then we could turn and make it out. Seemed simple enough. AND it was. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to back up the boulder and then just turn the wheel and drive out. Whew. Trail completed and I learned more about what my Jeep was capable of and a little better understanding on how I approach difficult lines.

My week of killer Jeep play wasn’t over. We had been threatened several time with Nor’easters in the past few weeks but nothing. That all changed during the middle of the week. We got anywhere from 11-12″ in a fairly short period of time. I got out and played a few times that day. It was awesome how well my rig handled the snow. Depth wasn’t an issue and neither was sliding. I could barely get it to slip at all while in 4 wheel high. In 2 wheel drive the back end would slide around with ease. But once I put the transfer case into 4WD it was solid. It was almost a white-out and visibility was short. No other cars were on the road so that wasn’t really important. I really enjoy the fact that when driven carefully, I can go anywhere in this thing.I went and picked up a few neighborhood kids and them sledding with my daughter. They had a blast on their sleds and I had a blast in my Jeep! I was channeling my inner-kid!

I have washed my Jeep twice this week. I don’t mind. Once to get the mud and snow off from the first trail ride and the second time to get the snow and salt off. I don’t want rust. But, more importantly, I want my Jeep to be clean. I like getting it dirty AND I love getting it clean! The stark contrast between muddy/dirt and clean is awesome. It brings me so much joy. I am so happy with my color choice because of that contrast!

Today was in the mid 50’s and the top went down. Even if only for an hour or so for a trip to Costco. I’ll take any excuse to get out. I’m officially ready for spring!!! Tell me about your winter in the comments.

 

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