with Terrina Harris
Gitchee Gumee 2006
Has the Michigan Department of Natural Recourses (DNR) put the last straw on the camel? Did they break his back? Are the majority of full size trucks going out of state or even out of the country to wheel? Maybe not all of them but we do now. For years we have tried very hard to stay local and support the state we live in. While not a large group we respect the land keeping to the trail and ensuring our grandchildren have a place to go. For many years we have visited the trails to the north of us. Baldwin, Cadillac and Drummond Island. During one of our visits to the upper lower peninsula area we got a ticket for being out of bounds. We take full responsibility for being on the power line 2 track. It was when the DNR officers that drove up like Starsky and Hutch telling us they could impound our vehicle if they so desired, that made for a bad off road experience. This happens a lot here.
Drummond Island was our choice for the last six years. There is a club that puts on an annual event there and they do one heck of a job. Last year even with all the permits and working with the DNR they had trouble. Just before the event started the DNR closed several sections of the trail to the event. Guess what they were the fun sections. This year they followed the event participants on quads and trucks. Adult supervision? Also this year the best section of trail was turned into a road for the installation of a bridge. This may very well be the last year for the Drummond Island Adventure run for us and the Jeep Jamboree. So much for having a nice trail and supporting the community.
So what in the world does this have to do with Gitchee Gumee? It just so happens it is in Canada! Our dear friends Jim and Kim M. have been telling us for better then 10 years you have to come to Canada, the trails are amazing. For us there will not be anymore wheeling in Michigan. It is off to places that are private or that have listened to the full size groups and have trails that are more then gravel roads.
Larry has been bugging me too. Every year it is "but we have to go Jim said so"! This year we went. OMG I can not believe it took us this long to make the trip to the great white north. The Attica Badlands are a blast and the owners and staff make you feel like your at home. Paragon, Tellico and the other areas are also great trails, but.
I have never seen anything like the tails just north of the Sault in Ontario Canada. These pictures of course do not do the trails justice.
The first day we went on a stock run with the trail leader for the weekend. He was off to check out the trails and we wanted to get out of the motel. Spent the whole day saying, "this can not be a stock trail". Being a stock run we figure we would be in two wheel drive and just enjoy the fall colors. Wrong! Stock in Canada means 31's and a locker are a darn good idea.
Our second day of trails we spent 8 hours and 90 miles on the trail. You know you are in for a day when the trail leader stops at the last gas station on the edge of the world and tells everyone "better gas up we are going to be out there for a while.
This section is called the "narrows". To the right is a vertical rock face and to the left is a 700 foot drop off into the woods. Sure am glad we were in the Samurai, many times a small vehicle has the advantage. In this picture the passenger tires are stuck on a stump and hanging off the trail and on the way to the bottom of the valley.
To the right out of camera view is a bridge we wanted to use. It was deemed unsafe so we had to clean up a old two track to get around the obstacle.
I know there is a trail in here somewhere
Somewhere under the truck is a two foot log that is nearly a foot off the ground. Putting the winch cable away in this picture
Just over the hill behind all the action was a monster hill that everyone had to winch up. Before the hill was a truck eating mud hole. You should have seen the rocks under the mud. Jim and Larry are the only one who did not have to be winched through it. The group spent a lot of time on the wire.
Just as Jim crested the top of this hill things went south fast. He had no traction. All he could do was hang on as the truck slid in the dinosaur snot and nearly hit the tree.
I wish you could see the scale of this obstacle. Jim in his Tracker sits on 37 inch tires and the rocks and mud made for a real exciting ride.
Back in the center of the trail and now under some control. To get to this point it took a winch and a lot of work. In the mud are rocks the size of a Samurai.