**Wednesday: Poison Spider / Golden Spike
The Pinzgauer guys and I wanted to take on a tougher trail, so we chose
Golden Spike on Wednesday, since there wasn't a safari group on it that day.
Although the whole family had been with me up til now, only Forest dared the
Spike with me. Since this trail is very long and can be difficult, we got
away early - leaving camp around 8:00 am. This is a long arduous trail for
me, but the obstacles are great and the scenery is so fantastic that I have
to do it at least every other year. For leading the Pinzgauer group on the
trail, I was named an "Honorary Pinzer".
We got through the Poison Spider portion of the trail pretty quickly,
arriving at the Launching Pad around 10:00. After cresting the top of the
Launching Pad, Brian noticed something weird with the front axle on the 6x6
and we stopped to take a look. Apparently, there is a big bolt that locates
the end of the axle in the swing housing. This bolt had fallen out
somewhere, allowing the axle to twist at a weird angle. We jacked the front
up and twisted the axle back where it belonged and rigged a socket in there
to keep it from twisting. The repair proved adequate for the rest of the
About half way to the Golden Crack, we were going across some ledges and
heard someone yell "MAY DAY" on the CB. There was a lot of chatter on the
radio and I though someone was just joking. Just after that, Paul came on
and let us know that Douwe had tipped his Pinzgauer on its side coming over
one of the ledges. Luckily, nobody was injured. Apparently, the limited
articulation of the swing axles on the Pinzgauer make them go over a little
easier than I would have thought if you drop off a ledge on an angle and
steer away from the wheel that drops first.
We got the Pinz righted with a strap and several human bodies pulling. Try
that with a mog! The only real damage was the windshield and frame and some
boxes on the left side were tweaked. It started right up and we continued
up to the overlook to do trailside repairs.
At the overlook, we could see a pretty good storm rolling in, so we
continued on. We got a pretty good deluge, making me very thankful for the
hardtop and heater. Traction remained pretty good even with water pouring
over the rocks. The weather cleared up just as we reached the Golden Crack.
There was a line to cross the Crack, so we got out and watched the action
before we crossed. There was a group of guys from Wyoming or Montana who
offered some counterweight for the Pinzs so they could cross the crack.
At the Golden Steps, there was an Xterra group who had passed us earlier in
the day. One of them from New Jersey had rolled all the way over off the
Golden Steps. They were in the process of jacking the roof back up so you
could see out and kind of close the door. It was getting late in the
afternoon, so after offering help which they declined, we drove up and
passed them on the steps.
After the steps we were doing some route finding and Brian tipped the 6x6 on
its side driving through a deep crack. Similar circumstances to the earlier
tipover, but with less damage. We played a little on Double Whammy - Brian
walked right up, I didn't make it this year although I did dump my cooler
out the back in the attempt. Park did the most amazing pogo stick
imitation trying to get the 710 up it. After he and I gave up on this, we
got back on the trail and moved along the Gold Bar Rim portion of the trail.
We got down to the Gooney Bird just as dusk was coming. This is about as
close as I have come to coming out of the Golden Spike before dark.
Brett Pickering arrived in camp sometime during the morning, so he went with
Kent, Ron, and Greg on Poison Spider a little later. Since it is up on the
same plateau as Golden Spike, we were able to converse via CB for a good
part of the day. This proved helpful as we could compare notes with them as
the weather got bad.
Wednesday night, Scott Ingham's mother provided finger foods to snack on.
Greg held a great auction that was a lot of fun, low turnout
notwithstanding. The important thing is the costs were covered, several mog
vendors pitched in, and everyone had a good time.