Well finally the day arrived and the 6 vehicles met up and we aired down and proceeded to have to wait for another 60 mins because the Ranger was running late. Because it had been about 2 years since I was last in there, I was for the first 30 mins slightly geographically displaced when it came to finding the right tracks.
It also didn’t help that in the last 2 years since I was last there, the park has now been opened up a lot more to mountain bikes and hikers / runners as well, so some of the old tracks are now downhill mountain bike trails.
I could just change the title of this little blurb from club trip to Recce Run and that would of course totally absolve me from the shemozzle that was the first 90 minutes of our day.
Eventually though, we ended up where we should have and the tracks got progressively more fun to drive. One of our new members Gerry – who is also new to 4wding – was on his first trip with us and told me that he really enjoyed himself so that’s always a good thing.
Actually, thinking more about what Gerry said, going forward it might be a good idea to take all of our new members who are new to 4wding to Nerang to give them a nice easy intro.
You could tell that a lot of the tracks we were driving on hadn’t seen any decent amount of vehicle traffic for a while – either that or the 200 has suddenly grown about a foot wider – as it seemed like every 5 minutes Lucy and I had to stop to remove a branch from under the 4wd – we found out later that one of these braches had split our fuel return line at some point during the day.
After we stopped for morning tea – thanks for the chocolate slice Di – we headed into the northern part of the forest and onto slightly more difficult tracks. It wasn’t long after this that I had the brilliant idea to take a slightly more over grown track that my topo map said led up out of the valley were in and up onto the ridgeline.
This track really hadn’t been driven in a while and was extremely rutted and loose. I got to the bottom of the hill, selected low range and hit it. About half way up there was a decent rut just before a hard 90’ left hand off camber turn.
I stuffed up my approach and reversed back slightly to reassess my line, put the boot in and let the traction control, good tyres and a healthy dose of right boot got me around the corner and once again heading upwards.
Lucy had gotten out to spot me around the turn and so she sorta – kinda got left behind. This turned out to be a good thing as Jake – who is one of my friends and is slowly being convinced to join the club – managed to land his Pajero straight into the rut and that’s where he stopped.
We repositioned the cruiser and tried to do a slingshot recovery using the winch on the front of Phil’s shorty. Phil will take this opportunity to brag about just how strong the mighty shorty is because we didn’t manage to move the Pajero, just skull drag the 200 forward.
I will take the opportunity to remind Phil of just how soft the ground was right where I happened to be parked…
So long story short, the slingshot didn’t work so we had another think about it and Phil came up with the idea to re-hook the snatch onto the front of the cruser to act as a brake and then to simply winch the paj back down the hill to clear the rut.
Wouldn’t you know it? 10 mins later we were packed up and everyone was heading down the hill.
At the end of the day, even though it took up over an hour and several discussions on the best way to proceed, no one was hurt, no vehicles or gear got damaged and I am now allowed to buy a winch for the 200 so it’s a win win.
After we made it back to the intersection of the hell track, I called a lunch stop and we took the opportunity to debrief on what we had just done and what we could have done differently.
After lunch we swapped drivers and Lucy managed to get us to a gate that marked one of the entrances to the forest. According to the map, we simply had to get to the gate and turn left to follow the fence line.
So a quick snappy about turn and we headed back the way we came. We found another one of what is classed an advanced track and put it back in to 1st low and crawled down the hill. Personally, I think this track should be rated as intermediate but as we didn’t get the chance to drive it going up, I couldn’t really say.
Eventually we ended up back at the gate we came in on and after locking it behind us, we reinflated our tyres and headed for home.