Two Rivers Jeep Club: 2001 4x4 Blast Trail Report

Mossy Mountain Trail


Tom’s most Excellent Adventure


Saturday Morning, August 18, our intrepid band of Off-roaders, led by Tom Miller, departed the Legion parking lot under a sunny sky and unseasonably cool temperatures. Our group was a fairly balanced collection of Jeep Cherokees, Wrangler YJs and TJs, a Wagoneer and a Toyota (Yoda). The group headed out towards Mossy Mountain, with light banter on the CB Radios. After a quick trailhead meeting, our group began a nice, relatively uneventful ride on Mossy Mountain.

After negotiating around half of the trail loops planned for the morning, our lone non-Jeep vehicle began having some intermittent problems with its four-wheel drive. After some quick trailside work, the problem was apparently resolved and the group moved on. The group negotiated the rest of the trails planned for the morning run with little incident (ok, the writer managed to crunch his front bumper) and enjoyed the scenery and challenges of the Mossy Mountain.

After taking a break for lunch, the group fired up their trucks and began trail riding again. As the skies darkened, we were worried that a sudden downpour would cut our day short…thankfully, the skies threatened but never rained.

A short break was taken to allow the group to watch the excitement of some more heavily modified Jeeps trying to get up Susie’s Knob. The ride was now being led by Kerry, with Tom Tail Gunning the trail. The four-wheel drive was acting up again on the Toyota, which resulted in some very interesting "Full Gonzo/Bonsai" runs to clear obstacles. All in all, the trail ride had been relatively uneventful… As we neared the end of the Mossy Mountain part of the trail, the group started coming across more difficult sections of the trail.

The first real "Challenge" was a 100-yard (or so) long mud pit-basically a slot car track of mud. Most vehicles decided to bypass this section…however three Wranglers (two YJs and a TJ) and Tom’s XJ took the challenge and neatly cleared the mud without need of straps or winches. The next major(?) obstacle would not be so easily tamed! At the "Transition point" between Mossy Mountain and Magic Mountain there is a creek… To the right is a bypass that is basically a "V-cut" drop-in - pull-out situation…not too bad. To the left is a very similar "V-cut" situation…with the exception that it is full of water.

All the vehicles opted to take the bypass, not knowing what lay at the bottom of this "three foot" pool of water…well, all vehicles except Tom Miller! After sizing up the hole, Tom (who, by the way, had his mother along with him for the ride!) dropped into the pool of water. With water washing UP the hood and onto the windshield, Tom gunned the engine and began pulling out of the pool…then, the engine died and he began backsliding into the pool (with small minnows flopping off the front bumper!!!)

With cries of "Hook up the strap, I’m sinking" coming from inside the stricken Cherokee (and other chants coming from outside the vehicle), another Cherokee was quickly backed up and hooked to a tow strap. After moving bystanders out of the way, the pull was on! Tom was truly stuck. After failing to extract Tom with the strap, out came the Winch cable, hookups were made, and the Safety sand bag was placed onto the cable. Slowly, slowly the Cherokee inched out of the creek.

Once on terra firma, water poured out of the back end, and every other nook and cranny capable of holding it. Tom popped the hood open, and the process of checking for damage began.

Plugs were pulled, distributor cap dried, air cleaner pulled and drained and the oil changed. Still, the engine would not fire. Resigned to the fact that he was going home on a strap, Tom directed Kerry to lead the group on Magic Mountain, with Bill assuming tail gunner duties. The Toyota and another Cherokee remained with Tom to work him out to the trail exit.

The rest of the trail was uneventful, as the remaining vehicles handled Magic Mountain without incident. The group split up into two parts…those who wanted to play a little longer on Magic Mountain and those who wanted to get back and cleaned up. Those who left escorted Tom’s injured Cherokee back to town on a tow strap, flashers going to let all know we return our injured warriors from the field in class.

As an addendum, Tom’s Cherokee, being the ever faithfull steed, was running in time to bring him to the Party Saturday night! Our thanks to Tom, Kerry and Bill for a Good trail ride and some truly memorable moments!


John Huebner

Shadowfax-1989 Jeep Wrangler

Two Rivers Club Member