What an absolutely great day of off-roading. Full-sized off-roading events isn’t something we do a lot of mostly because we haven’t really had enough experienced trail guides to take on the challenge. Most of our members are ATV and SxS riders. However, we recently put the call out for some new volunteers to assist with running Trillium Off-road Recovery in general, and we were very fortunate to get some great people willing to step up and help with online moderation of the Facebook Page, website administration, and low and behold…an experienced Trail Guide!
And with that, it was time to host a Newbie Run. With the date set, and the announcement made we quickly filled all available spots, and even had a waiting list. As it would turn out, only half would show up but that made for a nice low stress drive through the woods.
We rendezvoused in Bobcaygeon and after a few words by TOR founder Evan, then Shaun (our new Trail Guide) announced that we would be taking on the Picard Lake trail. This is a level 2+ trail with a nice mix of rock, hard pack, and a few puddles. This trail is a lot harder in the Spring though after the winter thaw, and the puddles can be quite deep. For us though, the 22km trail made for a perfect day.
Now we weren’t expecting to need any recovery equipment but we came across one muddy section and Trail Guide Shaun warned that a choice could be made; you could either drive straight through the mud patch without issues, or you could tackle the pit on the left with at least 70% chance of getting stuck.
One person took on the challenge but as a newer off-roader, the inevitable happened…he got stuck. There was no doubt that he would be he knew we would pull him out. As it turned out, he was the 2nd last vehicle in the group and the our last driver was Drew. This was deliberate. Any well organized trail ride will have an experienced, and well equipped person in the back….just in case. After a few minutes of attempting to get unstuck on his own, Trail Guide Shaun called it as officially stuck and Drew moved his massive Dodge Ram into position.
Shaun and Evan both like to take such opportunities as teaching moments (it would be a shame to waste it). So while Shaun rigged up Drew’s winch with its synthetic winch line, a soft shackle, and a clevis for the hitch receiver, Evan explained to the rest of the group why we use certain types of equipment for certain types of recoveries. In this case, the vehicle was pointed nose down in a mud hole, and with the suction from the mud, a winch pull was the best choice. A recovery rope would not have been suitable for this type of recovery (they aren’t as good in situations where there is suction from mud or wet sand). Once hooked up, the stuck vehicle was quickly and easily winched free of it’s sticky trap.
The rest of the trail proved uneventful, and the treacherous and deep pond right at the end of the trail was surprisingly shallow despite the recent rain. Although we did find several puddles to splash through earlier.
All in all, it was a great day. It was a nice small group, the weather was great, and we got to demonstrate how to safely do a mud recovery.
With a very busy upcoming schedule, we may not get to host another formal 4×4 run this year but you never know. So stay tuned and keep your rigs ready to go!