November 14, 2009
Naches All Day Run
Hosted by Eldorado Dust Devils
Pre-Run Minimum Requirements:
lockers front and rear
Darel and I were a little nervous about joining Winton and Maureen Jondahl and their son, Nick on this run - we just were not quite confident that our little CJ was ready for Naches in the snow -- and we were right to be concerned...
We found out first thing Saturday morning that the run was being hosted by the Eldorado Dust Devils - a group notorious for running through the forest at break neck speeds.
This is the vehicle that lead the run - Scott Freary's (sp?) highly capable shiny orange and stainless custom...
On the way to the Naches Trailhead - this guy needed a RockStar from his cooler and these guys don't slow down so he crawled out of the truck and into the back to the cooler and was getting back in when I snapped this shot. All this while cruising down an icy road at about 35mph.
Following is a video of the one of the guys from PNWJeep running the Naches Trail "rally style" the night before our day run - these guys are crazy!
Most of the Dust Devils vehicles were very well equipped and most of them had small blocks. The most popular tires for the day were the Krawlers (very agressive - soft compound). Everyone had bead locks and ran very low tire pressure.
These trails offer "more or less" one way travel and once you're in the door - you're in it for the long haul. No turning back, no "safety" exits - once you drop your junk in, you are responsible for getting your junk out or risk blocking the trail and suffering the wrath of those lined up behind you...
Naches in the snow is not for the faint of heart! My favorite for the day was the "Jeep Luge" also known as Bull Run. This is approximately an 1/8 mile very steep drop consisting primarily of ice - once you drop your front shoes over the edge it is a one way ticket to the bottom. Go ahead - creep over in low gear - doesn't matter - Zero to 35 instantly! Hold on and hope for the best. Driving a short wheel base CJ-5 "ups the ante" for the ride of your life...
Following is a video taken by one of the Dust Devils on the run - I would never have been able to hold onto the camera in the CJ - we were getting bounced around like a pinball. Check out the "oops" marks on the left side of the trail pointing at the tree - at the 35 second mark.
One guy gernaded his clutch at the top and freewheeled to the bottom -
This was a funny sign at the head of the trail. Later found out that it was posted by a group of Novice Land Rovers coming the other way on the trail.
Some nice scenic shots at the Naches Trailhead and along the trail.
After cruising through the Naches Trail in record time - we headed over to Kaner trail - I think they wanted to get to Funny Rocks but we never made it...
Here is Winton Johdahl scratching his way up this nasty muddy hillclimb in the "Lucky" Jeep - I think he was the only 6-cyl that didn't have to winch up.
Here are a couple videos of one of the Devils in a CJ with a V8. On his first attempt he didn’t make it to the top and could not hold his position – so guess what? He went for a high speed nerve racking slide all the way back down to the bottom. The second one he actually made it to the top.
If you weren't able to complete the hillclimb on your own - you had to highmark and somehow hold your position so the cables could be run to drag your junk to the top.
Needless to say - our junk needed a tug up over the top. Darel couldn't secure a high mark and had to keep the tires turning in low gear while they ran winch cables - he smoked the left rear tire for almost 10 minutes while they secured him to the other Yellow CJ at the top of the hill...
There were at least 4 pretty intense steep uphill climbs always coated in either solid ice or slimey, gooey clay-like mud. Heading up was always a wild ride - but what really put the "uck" in pucker was sliding backwards down the icy hill, in the dark, twice as fast as you went up. There is just no smiley for that emotion...
Our winch cable was a rats nest by the end of the day - there was simply NO TIME to stop, untangle it and respool - it was GO GO GO all day long. Some of the "Devils" will stay back to help you winch your junk up the hill and then we're immediately off and running again. The only reason we were able to eat lunch and pee was because one of the Devils busted two drivelines on Ardvark Hill and they had to weld one of them up just to be able to get his rig out of there.
I sucked the air out of the cab of the Jeep on at least a few occassions - white knuckle is putting it mildly... I was feeling pretty puny until I read some of the other posts on the NWJeep Forum. Almost every post has the "freaked out" smiley
in it - apparently, I wasn't the only one in a panic that day...
We had a great time and were completely exhausted at the end of the day. My thanks go out to Nick Jondahl and the younger generation Dust Devils for helping run winch cables up those steep slopes all day. When I thanked two of the younger Dust Devils for their help while Darel was holding his position on Kaner Trail Hill – they just replied to me, “That’s what teenagers are for!” with a big smile on their faces – good people raising good kids…
And of course, thanks to Winton and Maureen for letting us stay with them in their Five Star motorhome while ours was in the shop for repairs – I am sending my accommodation reviews to Travelocity – two thumbs up!
After surviving the day and giving it some serious thought – here are MY equipment recommendations for running Naches in the snow. Think you want to try it without the recommendations below - be my guest, but please remember to bring your own mountain goat...
Post-Run Minimum Requirements:
35" tires or larger (and they better be Krawlers)
lockers front and rear
Mountain Goat to run winch cable
V-8 (a 6 cylinder just can't generate the wheel speed needed)
nerves of steel *
(* optional - lack of common sense)
Here is a link to the rest of my pictures - I'm sorry there are not very many and they're not very good - my primary objective for the day was to get out alive!
Here is a link to the PNWJeep forum thread about the run: (CAUTION - not necessarily PG-13)