Trip Report for Canada Day Long Weekend

Discussion in 'CA.BC- Peace Canyon Toyota Swamp Donkeys' started by Deny, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. Deny

    Deny

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    Hi y’all,

    Well kids, time for another trip report, this time for the July long weekend. And before I start, I have to tell you this trip was amazing, and I highly recommend, anyone that is interested, has the time and money, and doesn’t mind a few scratches, to come and join us on the August long weekend for the trip to the same area. PS: this report is LONG, so strap on your seat belt, shoulder check to see if the boss is standing behind you, or skip to the pictures if you don’t know how to read fast!

    I was the only Swamp Donkey / Coastal Cruiser in attendance, but joined by a few Peace Country 4x4 guys, and one Dawson Creek 4x4 club member (plus a bunch of friends and family back at camp). It all started off meeting at Al’s place in FSJ on Thursday evening and leaving as a convoy, of my cruiser, Adams TJ, Al with wife Kelly and two dogs and a parrot in a dually with a camper towing Al’s V8J40 on 35in boggers, and Rick in large pick up with camper. The highway to Tumbler Ridge travels thru very nice scenery, and as we were driving, we drove beside the most spectacular rainbow, and under the craziest thunderstorm I have ever seen. The rain was just pounding down, making the highway seem like a water crossing, while I still needed my sunglasses on because the sun was low enough to be just under the cloud to the west. Just an amazing site, and an indication of things to come! After stopping for fuel in Tumbler we continued about 40km south and only had to travel a few kms on gravel into camp on the edge of Stoney Lake.

    In the morning, we awoke and headed out quite early (CC time) to start traveling the 20 km up the Wapiti FSR looking for the Wapiti River Campsite and the Onion lake trail (this was a scouting trip for the August long weekend). We found the camp and a bunch of quaders from Grande Prairie, but no trail. The camp was real nice and big, perfect for Aug. The quaders told us where the trail started so we went off looking for it, but no go. So we came back, and one of the nice guys rode his quad out to show us the trail head. Wow, talk about driving into the ditch and bush, looked more like a hiking trail! Anyway in we went (or dropped more like it), and the trucks started getting a nice scratching as this trail was almost overgrown even for the qauders. We go about 500m in when we needed to winch up a steep climb up a bank and out of a muddy creek crossing. Before I could even give it a go, more quads arrived telling us we would never make it, that they could barely get their quads up and had to do a lot of winching themselves. We all agreed to turn around, but deep down, I know we could make it, and if we have some hardcores coming up from Prince George, we might try on the August long. The nice quaders from the camp had showed up just to check to see how we were doing, and told us we might be able to do the lookout trail, so we decided to go there instead.

    Back at the trailhead, Al took off his hood and strapped it to the top of my roof rack (along with his soft doors) because he was having overheating issues (apparently this is pretty common with his truck, as I have seen lots of older pictures of his truck wheeling with no hood). So now we drove in search of the lookout trail. We hit this nice 2wheel drive road with lots of mud puddles that was a blast to drive down, which would eventually hook up with the trail. However there were a few creek washouts that we had to cross and ford the creek that was about 35in deep in some spots. Cool road for sure, but the better stuff was yet to come on the trail. We drove though some more mud puddles, which reminded me of the new 4x4 commercials with tough trucks spraying mud high in the air. We drove by a small quad trail crossing the river, which we had to return to because we didn’t find anything else. It looked fairly unused, so we didn’t think it was right, but what the hell, let’s give it a go.

    Climbing up instantly after the creek crossing, the trail consisted of overgrown bush (some times all I could see was the jerry cans on top of Adams Jeep while he was only a few feet ahead of me) and really deep cross ditches. There were a few creek crossings where bridges had been removed that were quite the challenge, but nothing real bad. Pretty early on I got the old manual steering wack on the thumb as I hit a bounce just after shifting down from 2nd to 1st low. We soon found we were climbing quite high into the mountains when we got some glimpses through the trees of the valley below.

    Arriving at a bridge removed creek crossing, we realized we had to do some road building, because the quads could barley squeeze through. Even though Kelly wanted to turn around, we continued to shovel. Then Al tried (even though both Adam and I also have 35in tires, Al is SO and has a rear air locker, so most capable). At first dropping into the quad ruts was a problem, but eventually Al made it and then let the V8 roar as he climbed the opposite bank, with one side in the quad ruts, and the other up high. Nice, he made it! (to our amazement, I bet Al was just as amazed, because it looked almost impossible). Next was Adams turn, and being unlocked he had some more trouble getting into the ruts, but with more shoveling, he managed to get down into the creek. Then up, but unfortunately, Snap! The rear Ujoint on the driveshaft blew, and left him in a steep position in a creek that made my mosquito killing days seem like nothing. He quickly pulled the shaft out, only to see he snapped the bolts also. We winched him to Al, as there were no trees around, and we decided to keep my truck on the other side as insurance to be able to get back. We didn’t get very far, because a front wheel drive truck on this trail is almost useless. Kelly wanted to turn around, but Al thought we were real close to the top, so we jumped into the back of the cruiser and carried on till we got to another deep creek crossing requiring digging. We had to finish this trail another day, because we needed more than one vehicle just to be safe, and we turned around. On the way back, Al didn’t see a small cross ditch and bam! All three of us in the back seat flew up into the soft top, and got a few bruises on the landing. This is where Al’s shackle bolt either fell out or snapped which we didn’t find out till we got back to the broke jeep. (sorry Adam, I just sort of like saying broke jeep)

    We got back to my truck, and it was getting late, so Al started jacking up his truck to see if he could use one of my bolts that hold my shackle in the back from twisting, and Adam started winching off my truck in order to get to the other side. The jeep was on my side now, but the bolt was too big, so Al decided to just keep going with the spring sitting on his frame on one side. He also had to winch off my truck, so it was a good thing we left my truck where it was, but a bummer I didn’t get to go through another cool obstacle.

    On the way down Adam needed a few tugs over some of the steeper cross ditches (some of which I was rubbing the back of my truck on!). Back at camp, we found it to be really windy, but not too bad, and soon had the campfire burning and beer drinking good time. Al and Kelly’s daughters were there, along with many friends, a few little kids, and man, more dogs than people! Soon darkness set in and the kids were awoken for the $100 firework show. We were soon joined by a few gals that were working (oil field work never stops, not even for Christmas!, according to Adam) that handed out flags, not Canada flags, but they had to do, and we all sang O’ Canada! Made me feel proud to be Canadian, as this group sure was patriotic. Then the kids went to bed, and the drinking continued into the wee hours of the morning.

    Next morning Adam tried to no avail to fix his truck, and Al filed out his shackle to fit my bolt in so we could do some wheeling. This time Kelly, feeling bruised from a full day of wheeling stayed at camp, and only Rick went with Al, while Adam jumped in with me. Just before leaving camp, we ran into Rod, his dad from Australia, wife, two kids (baby was only six weeks old!), and two dogs pulling a tent trailer behind their Cherokee. So we waited for them to set up the trailer, and Rod and his dad, riding shotgun, joined us on our little adventure.

    We drove up the Wapiti FSR again, and decided to see how far the fun 2wd road goes, cause apparently it hooks up to the Wapiti FSR. It only went another 500m past where we turned around last day, and opens up to a large oil and gas plant with a large gravel highway leading to it. Soooo, back up the look out trail we go. Rod with his mostly stock Cherokee on 31’s was all over it (you know this truck wheels, as it is missing all stock plastic bumpers and lots of character dents). Going up the trail, Rod got high centered on one of larger cross ditches, and wanted a tug back. OK, I thought he might get stuck again, but this time he took it with some speed, man this guy was an animal when it came to putting the right foot down! Every time we stopped, Rod’s Australian father would bug us that he hasn’t seen any wildlife, and that there is no wildlife in Canada. He really wanted to see some.

    We finally got to the big creek crossing which I didn’t get to try the day before, and Al made it look easy, after we did some digging to make it easier to get back. Next was Rod, his father was really doubtful, as was Rod, because it looks a lot harder than it is, plus no unlocked truck had made it yet, since this is where the jeep got broke. Rod got down into the creek no problem, then with his heavy foot, just flew up the other side, with Adam wondering how Rod’s jeep didn’t break, and his jeep broke. Rod yelled out a huge Yee Haw and excitedly babbled something about the gas peddle is a switch or something like that. Me next. I got into the ruts, and was going ok, but I was more top heavy than these guys, and I laid my truck on its side on the bank.(the damage, I found later at camp, was a sort of deep scratch / dent on my door and hard top, and a smashed side lens). My drivers side tires were not even totally in the air yet, so Adam jumped on my sliders, but it wasn’t enough, so I called out for some more bodies, and Al jumped on and I was able to drive out. Now into the creek, and I simply copied Rod’s driving style and flew up the bank.

    Next was a cross ditch that had no bottom on the down hill side, which the cruisers could crawl around, however the Cherokee was too long, so Rod decided I should guide him onto an old log that was spanning the ditch, above the nothingness, I pleaded with him that he was crazy, and how does he know it won’t break, or actually go deep enough into the ground on both sides of the ditch (he didn’t even get out to inspect) and his back tire will fall into nothingness, but to no avail. He crawled over the log with my directions, then the switch went on and he bounced the Cherokee’s belly over to safety. Not only is Rob a funny guy, he sure is entertaining to watch while he wheels, as it is never a dull moment.

    We ran into some quaders coming down, and they asked us how we got there, and told us we won’t get to the top, but hey we thought we would give it a try anyway. We got to the creek we had to turn around at the day before, got out the shovels, and had to chainsaw an old stump out of the way, so we could get our oversized quads through this obstacle. It was steep going down, but pretty easy and uneventful.

    The rest of the trail to the top was nice crawling over washouts and the water eroded road, but quite simple and fast going. Man, we still had a ways to go to get to the top though! Snow patch, awesome, then the top. I can not explain the excitement and beauty of the top, as I am speechless, all I can say is we got there and even though the trail continued on the ridge, we stopped and took pictures and just marveled at the scenery (I took about 7 pictures in a 360 degree direction off the top of my roof rack!) I asked the Australian, “So what’s better, this or the wildlife?” he said “Screw the F’n wildlife, this is just amazing!” You would have to see it to believe it, but I still get tingles just remembering the feeling of adventure, and accomplishment. The pictures below do not do it justice (as most don’t). I cannot wait to go back for the August long weekend, as this type of wheeling is the whole reason I wanted a 4X4 in the first place.

    Anyway, enough of the mushy stuff, there is more to this adventure. After settling down, we continued on the quad tracks along the ridgeline. Totally cool to look at nice views on both sides of the truck. Then we came to an old burned down forest on the hilltop, which had been weathered. It looked like a mystical forest from a fairy tale, as we wound between the trees, they made the loudest cracks I have ever heard on my roof rack, as they must have almost turned to stone by now. We stopped again just below the large lookout tower and last mountain knob we had to climb to get to the very top, to let the views sink in a little. Then Rob was off to the trail up the knob that cut between two large snowdrifts, only to have to back down and try the climb 3 more times until finally giving up. While Rob and his dad threw snowballs at each other, I decided to go over and see what was up. They said it was just too steep and loose, so I figured one run would be a good try. I flew up, bouncing off all the rocks, only to dig down and bog down just a few feet from the crest of the steep part. Damn, my legs started shaking, as my truck was so steep, and one rock, as I backed down could bounce my manual steering, and it would be one crazy roll down the mountain side, did I mention we were above the tree line? O well, we left this little last bit for another day, as Al did not want to try (not only was he a bit intimidated, but his V8 was sputtering a bit too much up at 6000ft)

    Before going down, Al filled his cooler with snow for the kids back at camp (the kids really enjoyed it, however the mother that got some shoved down her pants was not as amused!). The trip down went pretty quickly (2 hrs to the trailhead), except for me not being able to climb the steep bank and having to winch up (they did say I did a cool 1 ft wheelie on my third atempt), and me flopping on my other side (no damage) and had to get a tug, because although I had a few people on my step, my spare tire was digging into the bank (probably also preventing any scrapes and lens breakage). On the road out, we played a little on the creek crossing, but it was getting late so we headed to camp. About 2 kms from camp Rod got a flat, and lucky I had my $9 CN TIRE air pump because his spare was low on air (Al does have an ARB but he was so far down the trail and no CB).

    Back at Camp, Adam went home to fix his broke jeep (he will bring a spare drive shaft/ axle/ bolts to august long), and we drank some beer. Morning came, and since most were leaving, including Rod, as he wanted to take his dad fishing, we also decided to pack it up and head home.

    THE END

    Hope you enjoyed this little (cough..long) story, if you read it, because it took me three lunch hours to write! Anyway, if your in the area August long, come out and give ‘er a try, because (It’s not a trip of a life time, but) it is a really cool trail. If you can’t make it, hopefully this report makes it feel like you’re there.
    Cheers,
    Deny
     
  2. Deny

    Deny

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    Al dropping into the creek on the road leading to the lookout trail
    1. Al dropping into creek on road.JPG
     
  3. Deny

    Deny

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    Sorry about the tiny picture, but I am out of space, and I didn't want that Bowie guy getting his undies all twisted up because there were no pics. I will get my buddy to post a few more after work today.
    Cheers,
    Deny
     
  4. cobra

    cobra

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    Hey guys and gals, here are the pics Deny wanted me to post.

    Deny driving through creek
    2. Me driving thru creek.JPG
     
  5. cobra

    cobra

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    Al climbing up bank where Adam broke his jeep
    3. Al Climbing.JPG
     
  6. cobra

    cobra

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    This is wierd, Deny says he can post quite a few pics and all i can post is 2 and then max out? o well see ya
     
  7. bj70_guy

    bj70_guy

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    Nice trip report Deny - now buck up and get a star so we can see your damn pics! :D
    Send me a few and I'll post 'em if you want.
     
  8. Deny

    Deny

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    Thanks Norm,
    I sent the pics to my brother, but I'll try and send them to you too, and we'll see who can get them up faster. I'll try and find your email address, hopefully I still have it somewhere.
    Cheers,
    Deny
     
  9. bj70_guy

    bj70_guy

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    eat my dust, Deny's brother :D
    4. Rod Climbing.JPG 5. Deny Climbing.JPG 6. Me dropping into creek.JPG
     
  10. bj70_guy

    bj70_guy

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    more...
    9. Al at top.JPG 11. Me trying to get over .JPG 12. Going down.JPG
     
  11. Deny

    Deny

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    Thanks Norm,
    "Eat my dust"! LOL Jim probably won't even wake up for another hour, take a few hours to get his greasy hair looking good, and won't check out mud till sunday! :D
    Cheers,
    Deny
     
  12. Ratpuke

    Ratpuke SILVER Star

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    Jeepers

    Leave you alone for a weekend and you just have to go out and get into trouble :rolleyes:

    Looks like I missed a good one. Need glass? I'll see Bruce this weekend.

    Nice pics.
     
  13. Enigma

    Enigma

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    Nice trip Deny, looks like some pretty nice country. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun.

    Jeff
     
  14. Deny

    Deny

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    Thanks Charla and Jeff,
    I didn't get in any trouble, and yes we did have a blast, and can't wait till the August long weekend, except now, because of all our pictures (AL and Kelly took over 60 pics) and our enthusiasm (sp) most of the Peace Country guys want to go, and there might be more than 10 trucks there, plus the PG club and Grande Prairie guys, will make for a long day on the trails. But should be a good time.
    Thanks for the glass offer Charla, but I think I'll just mickey mouse something for now, because I have replacement lenses back home.
    Cheers,
    Deny
     
  15. jfc

    jfc

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    GLad every thing ended Happily ever after.

    Guess I'm to slow to post any pics.
     
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