The first one happened on a Tuesday evening when a bunch of 6 thought it might be a good idea to have some fun exploring lanes. Well, at 9PM in the middle of the winter this idea was a bit on the loose side from the start on. Nonetheless we had a good start and found some lanes already torn up by heavy machinery where we couldn't do any more damage. All went well until someone pronounced at a rest "Oh well, let's continue for some 10 more minutes. But then I'll have to get home."
That's the moment Thor and Zeus grinned at each other and started to long for their weapons.
Immediately after the break we found some extreme slippery spots. And tight they were. At one moment I had the glorious idea to let Eugene pass in front. He's quite familiar with this end of the woods. Beside he drove one of the best equipped Jeep CJ's I've seen. Double lockers, special suspension, Monster Mudder tires and an experienced driver usually get through everything. Or at least almost everything.
Just moments later the track got invisible but traces meandered down the hill between the trees. Somehow I felt it to be a good idea not to follow him until he was safely down and I proved right (not too common). The track got steeper and steeper and Eugene felt it was enough. Just a tad too late. The mighty CJ slid down slowly and aimed for a tree. Luckily it missed and came to an halt. Backtracking was impossible as not a single wheel found traction on the slippery and half frozen hill. And going further downhill looked not too promising. Who knew what fate awaited him at the foot of the hill. Maybe a 10 feet drop into a dry riverbed. Or into a full riverbed.
After some headscratching my Land Rover was called into action as I was the only one with a winch. Now my winch is a Milemarker hydraulic winch. It's driven off the steering pump and can pull for hours without stopping. A great lump of iron. Sadly the genuine Land Rover steering pump is not up to the job. Its flow rate and its peak pressure are about 30% under what the winch requires. Anybody familiar with hydraulics can tell you that this isn't very good.
But we hadn't much choice. We tried it first the gentle way using a single line and a straight pull. After almost 6 months of not being used the winch fired up on first call. It pulled very good. But it pulled the wrong vehicle. So we changed the setup and wedged the Rover against 2 conveniently placed trees (remember the slippery ground). This brought a steeper gradient where we had to pull the Jeep up so we had to double the line. Almost 50 meters weren't enough so we had to insert an additional strap. So far so good.
As I wrote the steering pump doesn't deliver enough so the pull was slow. And I mean SLOW. Doubling the line halfed that speed even more. This left plenty of time to think about Murphy's laws on 4-wheeling.
Laws of Infernal Dynamics:
1. An 4x4 in motion will be heading in the wrong direction.
2. An 4x4 stuck will be in the wrong place.
That's classic. We already confirmed this when driving into this situation.
Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.
Almost one of the basic truths in life.
When the going gets tough, everybody leaves.
So I pulled. And pulled. And..., occasionally stopping to rewind the cable better. All this nice action took us from 10.30 PM until well past midnight. I was home at 2 AM. Not a thing to do every day.