• WillG

On the Trail: Day1

Updated: Jun 13, 2018

We rolled out of bed the next morning eager to get started. While Dan prepared breakfast Mike and I cleaned up, and started putting our gear away. A quick plate of bacon and eggs and with a little assistance Dan was packed up and we hit the road just as the sun was fully up.. The plan for the day was to cruise down to the border, set our GPSs and odometers and begin tracing our way north. The border was a little closer than we thought and at about 9am we were sitting in front of the Welcome to Utah sign. We headed north through Monument Valley, stopped for a quick jewelry purchase for the girls back home and a quick stop as we passed through Mexican hat for gas and back to the Valley of the Gods.

Out of the Valley of the Gods, back up the Moki Dugway and on northward we continued through the morning and into the late afternoon. The trail was a mixture of gravel roads and sandy trails that seemed to meander their way generally North. We quickly learned that when the road ahead dropped down into a dry stream bed that caution was always required. There were often hidden ruts, rocks and wheel eating drop-offs that hit at speed could tear your truck to pieces.

Most the day was on open gravel and sandy roads. With several small stream crossings. Toward the end of the day as we were beginning to look for a camping spot we came to a very recent washout. Having taken all the minor obstacles of the day in stride Dan picked a line that would drop him down into the wash at the lowest point of the newly washed out bank. But rather than square to the bank he entered at an angle and as his front passenger tire dropped down, the embankment gave way along the length of his Land Rover and he slid sideways into the wash coming to rest only inches before the truck rolled onto the passenger side. So precarious was his situation that even turning the front wheels threatened to tip the truck over.

Experience and training quickly kicked in for Mike and I. We did a quick assessment of the situation, first attaching a single line to the back of Dan's Rover for stabilization, then running another from the other truck through a block to his sliders to keep him from tipping over. Only that morning we had been joking about finding someone on the trail who needed our help and using all of our substantial recovery gear to get them out. Little did we know that it would be Dan who needed the assistance, but most of our recovery gear got used that day. 2 Warn winches, 3 ARB tree straps, an ARB winch extension, 2 ARB snatch blocks, our Factor 55 Flatlinks, and Hitchlink, and almost a dozen screw pin bow shackles before it was all done 2 hours later. We were finally able to slowly lower Dan to the bottom of the wash and hold his D2 steady as he drove forward, off the crumbling bank. After a little reconstructive surgery on the bank, Mike and I were able to climb down the wash in the Toyotas without incident. Patience, good communication, the right equipment and experience made it a good story, not a trip ending rollover.

With daylight quickly fading we managed to find a campsite nestled in the trees just out of sight of the road and we setup a quick camp, made dinner and settled in, exhausted ready for an Adult Beverage, a meal and sleep.

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