Graydon and Katie Weideman in a CJ7 on big tires (Katie is the trail boss)
Ed Clark in a TJ on small tires
The goal for day 1 was to avoid breaking stuff so that we could have a day 2. We arrived early and were on the trail before 9. We took 3C out of the parking lot and just a short way down the trail it was discovered the CJ's four wheel drive wasn't working. After several minutes of beating on the t-case shifter and careful analysis of the problem we settled on locking the hubs and continued down the trail. We took 3C to C and tackled the large rocks in Walk in the Park. Feeling pretty accomplished after Walk in the Park we were rolling along a perfectly flat dirt road checking the map for the next big obstacle when Graydon's jeep encountered a small dogwood sapling. His front diff was hung on the stout little stump and we had our first stuck of the trip. After several jokes were made and pictures taken to ensure future jokes could be made a hi-lift jack was used to raise the front enough to drive off the stump.
We headed a little further down O and the CJ began to overheat. We pulled the thermostat hoping it was stuck closed but had no luck. We settled on replacing the 20 year old radiator and there was a short intermission to fetch and change it. Once running again we decided to fool around on the comp course while we observed the performance of the new radiator. After climbing some steep hills that our seat of the pants tilt meters told us were surely only meant for the baddest of buggies (upon further inspection perhaps that wasn't true) we deemed the radiator working and headed back into the woods.
We took A to B to Pole Line to Power Line and ended up at the "Big Rock" marking which I think is off 10A. On my first trip I was rejected when attempted the "Big Rock" and now after several years worth of upgrades I intended to redeem myself. After easily bouncing over the rock we fooled around the the clay mud a bit and I realized I had never even attempted "Big Rock" and it was just some lesser rock off the the side I had tackled... After a few failed attempts at the actual "Big Rock" we decided to move on to trail 20.
A short ways down trail 20 we discovered reusing the paper gasket on the CJ's thermostat housing was a poor decision as it was leaking pretty badly. While we waited for the engine to cool I made a failed attempt at another large rock. This time my rear bump was hung up on the ground and a little rock stacking was needed to get back off the obstacle. Once free we called it a day and grabbed some dinner at the "Diner" in Pine Grove where we were staying.
After sealing up the CJ's thermostat housing, topping off the fluid, removing the hood for optimal air flow, and crafting a swell overflow reservoir out of a Mountain Dew bottle we were ready to hit the trails again. Today we opted for the northeast property. We headed down N4 to X3 to 40 and did a portion of 31 black. We then took 40 to T (maybe T6?). We stopped to watch some very fashionable jeeps climb Tip Top (green hill climb) and then headed down T1 to Talisman.
After carefully examining lower talisman from the top we decided it was doable and set out to find the bottom. On the way we found the bottom of upper talisman and I decided to give it a go first. After some excellent spotting from Graydon I crested the top of the hill. While trying to pull back on to the green trail at the top I encountered one of those pesky dogwood sapling stumps and spent some time rocking back and forth trying to get free only to land on it's nearby cousin after doing so. I eventually negotiated the stumps (probably took longer than the red hill climb) and we went to spool in the winch line that had been hooked up to limit the distance I roll in the event of disaster. We learned the winch was dead and wrapped the line around things and moved on. We decided to skip lower talisman as the upper section had resulted in enough puckering for one trip.
We ran BFG and then headed to Devel's Den which was packed. We watched a few rigs, including an early 00's extended cab silverado, make the climb. We eventually headed back to the blue trails, 35, 32, 36, 34 and eventually back to the section of 31 we missed earlier. On the black portion we missed there happens to be a jeep trap sized appropriately for short wheelbase jeeps. Graydon fell victim first and having a warn winch he winched himself out. Having seen the failed line I was sure I could make it but eventually ended up in the same hole. A tug from the CJ was needed to free my jeep with the smittybilt winch.
After 31 the CJ was getting hot again, evidently because it had to pull the stuck TJ, and we decided to call it a trip.