Early Season Snow Run 11-14-2020

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tobyw
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Early Season Snow Run 11-14-2020

Postby tobyw » Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:24 am

The weather reports had been telling tale of impressive amounts of snow at the higher elevations, so we decided we should investigate. Meeting up at the West Richland Maverik for the ritualistic coffee and burrito, we launched in darkness around 0630, hoping to be among the first to touch the newly fallen snow as we made an attempt to summit Darland. We truly had no idea...

I had loaded up my junk the night before, and OG was running bobtail in Ginger:

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Westbound and down, the sun slowly crept up behind us:

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As we made our approach to the snow park, we started seeing signs of all the snowfall that had been reported:

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We unloaded and aired down:

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Making our way up the middle fork, the snow was several inches deep and pure powder. It was very easy going, with fresh powder exploding over the hood as we intentionally blasted a few drifts. It was clear, however, that we were not the first up the hill on this fine morning:

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But then... at roughly half way to Tree Phones... no more fresh tracks!! Virgin powder!!!

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Still extremely easy to navigate through, we continued on to Tree Phones:

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We jumped out of the Jeeps to soak in the unbelievable early season dumping:

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So right up to the intersection at Tree Phones, even with unmarked bumper deep snow, the going had been laughably easy. But about 17 inches West of that intersection... it wasn't easy anymore:

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The snow and what lie beneath changed just enough that there was no longer any traction whatsoever, and with pig-heavy JLU-R's there is simply no chance of getting on top and floating, even with low single digit air pressure. With that said, we gave it the ol' college try and proceeded to make slow progress onward, a couple Jeep lengths at a time. OG and I traded off a few times breaking trail:

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Coming to a climbing curve in the road, our progress slowed even further as we fought for inches, and OG decided it might be best to release a few more of the psi's from his tires. While doing so, a pair of legit tube buggies rolled up behind us, and after a brief BS session with them, they took the lead and broke trail. With both of them on 40+" tires, both having sweet LS engines and probably 1/2 of the weight of our portly JLU-R's, it was easy to understand how they could make much better progress. But that's not to say it was exactly easy for them either... We sat back and enjoyed the show with our seat heaters humming as we all trundled along up the hill:

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At one point, OG decided he wanted to get a better camera angle of the lead buggy breaking trail, and ventured a little too far to the starboard side of the road. The bow wave of snow piled up behind him as he tried to reverse his way out of the situation was simply impressive:

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A couple tugs with the kinetic rope proved futile, so the winch was deployed and we were back on track just in time to get another 100 yards or so of progress to again catch the trail-busting buggies:

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Now, I'm not entirely certain what all transpired, but it involved a turkey sandwich, a black dog, a bad GPS data log, and some deep deep snow:

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Eventually we made it to Clover Flats and had a quick bite to eat. The buggy guys had been laying down truly heroic levels of effort to get us all this far, and as we munched on manifold-warmed sammiches we discussed options for the rest of the afternoon. It was almost decided to turn tail and make a beeline back down to the snow park and then take the North Fork up to see if we could get to Blue Lake, but after a quick recount of the votes it was decided instead to continue our way toward the summit of Darland. OG and I continued to empty our lunch sacks as the buggy guys went back to work (notice the powder blast from the maroon "CJ" 8) )...

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Approached striking distance of the summit, the drifts were getting simply massive, and after several valiant efforts the buggy guys called it a day. It had begun to snow and conditions were deteriorating, so overall it was right decision. We turned around and headed back down the trail (after winching me out of the ditch after an embarrassing attempt to back down the trail :oops: ), arriving back at the snow park with the sun setting hard. I loaded Oscar up on the trailer while OG gave Ginger a shot of much needed air pressure:

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The road trip home, while generally uneventful, was eerily dark in a driving rain that was falling all the way to Benton City. We had outpaced the storm, as it didn't start raining at my place until about 20 minutes after I shut the truck down in the driveway. Overall it had been an epic day of snow wheeling, and a big thanks to those buggy guys for breaking trail all afternoon :thu: :thu:
Yep, I've wheeled one of those, too...
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OldGreen
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Re: Early Season Snow Run 11-14-2020

Postby OldGreen » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:00 am

I wonder how much more in snowed last night??? Excellent recap of the day's events.

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Wrench
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Re: Early Season Snow Run 11-14-2020

Postby Wrench » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:19 am

:thu2:

Awesome!
Paul
'84 XJ, '92 YJ

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Lurch
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Re: Early Season Snow Run 11-14-2020

Postby Lurch » Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:36 pm

Looks like a good time.
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