Seven of us got a wild hair and decided to do Nightmare last night. Two LJs, 4 JK 2drs (one a stock X and one a stock Black Ops) and a Toyota Landcruiser. All very experienced wheelers.
Our thought process began with, "I have an idea". Well we all know how those sagas end don't we? This one was not so bad but there were offerings given to the trail god(ess). So please, join us and ride along our “3hr tour”.
The night began with a simple airing down of the tires, a brief trail meeting and placement of those without CB's or new to the trail in the center of the pack. Good thought process right? We all thought so. HI HO HI HO off to wheelin we go. Along the fire road to the trailhead the radio chatter was something like, Oh man the colors really come out at sunset. So pretty back here back here this time of day. And the kicker statement, “It appears that the rain didn’t do much back here”. Oh the carnage that ensued upon us over the next several hrs.
Our first carnage story begins not more than a couple of hundred yds into the trail when the yota got itself high centered on a rock that didn’t used to be there but was somehow avoided by the other 6 of us. I asked the guy in the stock X to back up and did not provide any direction to the young man as the trail is “wide” here. Welp, bad mistake as the X was backing up he got way to close to a rock wall on the passenger side and successfully removed both stock fender flares as well as creating a new recessed body panel. Now I am fond of saying, “We are not close unless it is in the paint”, but this was a little over the top as he was not only into the paint but the body panel itself. This same Jeep will come to lose the driver’s side rear fender flare as well. As the owner said, “been meaning to get flat fenders guess this is a good as time as any.” That’s the spirit. Broken parts are nothing but weakness leaving the Jeep. Once we freed the X of the cliff side and the Yota freed itself from its high centering we were off. Here the canyon didn’t look so bad but you could not see trails from other vehicles so we were dang near the first since the rains.
Next carnage incident was one of the JK’s getting itself high centered on a rock and most likely bending one of the control arms to the axle. From flashlight and headlamp inspections it didn’t look good. He was so stuck that we actually had to winch him off the rock. Morning inspection will reveal to what depth this damage was. Oh, somewhere along the trail the Yota managed to hit him as well. Didn’t see it, just overheard them chattin.
Apparently water also weakens the ancient volcanic ash we wheel upon. This was discovered when one jeep decided to take the path that had already been cut. The front did fine, the drivers rear decided to slip a little thus causing the trail to release and get the jeep stuck. Yup, 37in tires, lockers, 3.5in lift, all USELESS. Couple of people got on the high side and we rocked the jeep clear. So we found a work around and as the rigs traversed the new way through, the path was improved with each passing rig by putting rocks here and there so by the time the 7th jeep rolled through it was a cake walk. Have to go out this morning and check underneath for any carnage done to the slippage.
So while out on the trail the only other saying that leads to a good story is, “Hold on, I wanna try something”. There is one area on the trail where you have to make a 3 point turn and for the way we were going this maneuver is performed while being off camber to driver. One of the LJ owners decides another way looks good. So to test his theory he gets the stock black ops jeep to do his testing. With some struggle the Black Ops Jeep makes it through but not without remodeling one of his stock fender flares. Here the individual was actually bummed because he uses part failure as an excuse to mod. Next up, the Yota. Now I have seen this guy do some amazing things in this Yota and this was not one of them. By the time all was said and done, passenger rear quarter panel damaged was performed. He eventually got the long wheel base vehicle through the obstacle. Now the interesting part to this is that the guy who said, “Hold on. I want to try something”, didn’t even take this route. He went up and over on the three point way.
The rest of the trail had its challenges such as deeper water holes which in turn meant higher ledges to climb. We had to bring the stockers and such through another way and stack some rocks to get them through but they did it with ease. At the point of the deep waterhole there were no more tire tracks so whoever went down the trail did not go any further than this point. We did. The rain that passed through really moved around the rocks and performed some really good mods to the trail. Good being a very relative term. After the waterfalls the trail mellowed out, relatively speaking as from here on out the only way you knew you were on the trail was that you were not climbing up one of the canyon walls.
Tonight this trail took us 4 hrs. This is normally the amount of time it takes us to do this trail and Last Chance together back to back. That is how much this trail has changed. Of course being dark added to this time but it shouldn’t have been that much time. At the end of the trail we parked, watched shooting stars, admired the Milky Way, and witnessed lightning on the horizon. With the late hour that was upon us the call was made to head on out to the 14 and air up.
On the bright side several of us got to check out our new lights. Our jeep is sporting the D2’s and one of the others had the cube lights from Rigid Industries. Both options are awesome on the trail and really bring the sun to the night. Another got to check out his Vision X fog light replacements. One guy just completed installing a G2 Dana 44 onto his Jeep so that got tested. Another had new lockers and 35’s put on, we worked both of those new installs pretty good on this trail.
That concludes our 3hr tour, which ended up being 6hrs. Thanks for coming along. Sorry there are no pics as the flash tends to wash out the carnage and just doesn’t seem to capture the moment that well.