For my Sleeping Beauty/Teapot Mountain recon hike I decided to drive out as I possibly could before setting off on foot.
To begin with I took the same route as last Monday driving south from Superior on SR177 to FR 315, then driving east as far as the power lines when I turned south on old FR2261. Instead of stopping at Red Tank like we did on Monday I continued on. On Monday Tracey had no interest in staying in the vehicle so we turned around, but now solo I was up for a bit of a challenge. Little did I know just how much of a challenge it would be.
I was doing fine for about .4 miles but the track got steeper with almost a 40 degree side-slope dropping off to the right. The first inkling I had of trouble was when the front right front tire lost grip for just a moment, gaining it almost immediately, then the rear did the same. It was at a spot where the left tires were on grass-covered terrain the right were on loose rock. Now that's when I should have stopped, but then in the end it made no difference because there was no place to turn around anyway. So I continued, seeking a spot to turn around safely.
Then just a 100 yards farther the track became loose rock all the way across, and that's when the Samurai was tipping so far over to the right that when the rocks gave way I was sliding sideways down-slope. It did no good to turn the wheel to go up because that just made it slide farther down.
This happened within a second or two, but surprisingly I didn't utter a sound... I didn't even have time to think oh pumpkin!
All that was racing through my mind was how can I make physics work in my favor?
And in that instant I realized the only way to stop the slide was to turn downhill
. Not another 20 feet downhill and it drops off, where I'd end up rolling sideways a good 100 yards down into a ravine, so I was thankful I slid only 8-10' down slope before I got it stopped.
But now, how do I get back up on the track and turned around? I've got a winch but with nothing but prickly pear cacti around me that was out of the question. After a quick scan below me, I realized I had just enough room to turn the wheels hard right back DOWN to the edge of where the slope drops off when I would be facing straight uphill. I did just that then it was a matter of engaging the locker and just going for it until I was far enough up above the track that I'd have grass-covered ground for traction, when I turned across the slope again. The moment I was facing back to where I came from I stopped and decided it was time for my hike.
After the hike I realized I still had the previous section where I lost traction momentarily, and now that it had already been broken loose I did not want to take the same line. I tried it just a few feet up-slope hoping with both sides on grass-covered terrain I'd get by safely. I almost made it past when the rear gave way and slid a few feet down-slope. Thankfully the front held enough that with a heavy but even foot on the gas I was able to crab just far enough until the rears grabbed and I was back on more level ground. Whew! That was more that I bargained for, but all's well that ends well, I guess.
Only a few photos of the drive here on HAZ, hike and
drive photos are here: