Learned a few lessons late this afternoon....thought I'd share.
My 12 y/o daughter asked me if we could do a quick jeep trip today. So about 2pm her and I head out toward the Whatum lake area here in Hood River County. I expected there to be a little snow, but nothing too undoable. Thought we would be out and back in 2 hours. (umm... dont most survival stories start this way?)
All was good as I follow the same road I explored back in the summer. Snow is a few inches deep, with tire tracks. Up the FS-Road we go, snow gets deeper and deeper, tracks are good, no issues. Up up we go. "Wow its so beautiful..."
Suddenly the tracks just stop, and its apparent whoever made these tracks got stuck here and managed to turn around. I decide its time to turn back as well. This is where things got tricky. While trying to turn around there was zero traction and the rear end was heading toward the edge-o-drop-off on the passenger side (daughter remided me of this every 1/2 second or so...) Annnnd... we are stuck.
So... now I do a little gloved-hand digging, and NOW I decide to air-down my BFG AT's w/<1/4" tread left. This doesnt work. Still stuck. Almost-bare-tire tread is packed with snow/ice. spin spin spin.
Its clear that winching out is the only option (I'm solo out there..). I think to myself, "Boy, I sure hope my winch works" (I bought the jeep a year ago from a friend. Never tested the winch, but had been meaning too prior to any snow or mud 4x4'ing) I run the cable out to a tree, post-holing thru thigh-deep snow.
So I end up having to winch off of 3 different trees, basically doing a 3-point turn via winch. Not much fun at all. I was able to get turned around enough to get back in the existing tracks, and get enough traction to get moving again.
I was 15miles from civilization, with spotty cel service, and the sun was setting. Would have been screwed if not for the beautiful Warn winch on my front bumper...
Here's what I learned: (I knew these before heading out...but failed to prepare accordingly)
1. Dont go alone if going into a situation where getting stuck is likely (ie, deep friggin snow)
2. Dress for conditions ( I was good from the waist-up, but pants & shoes...not so good)
3. test your equipment before you get stuck
4. carry equipment to help get un-stuck (like a shovel...duh!)
5. have survival gear - for when you get to spend a cold night stuck, or have to walk miles and miles to find help and/or cel service
6. Air-down BEFORE getting stuck
So a quick trip ended fine, with only an hour of stress getting unstuck and really wet, cold legs. Such a simple thing like trying to turn around in mildly-deep-snow almost turned into a major event.