Trail Reports

Table Mountain view

The once eagerly awaited wheeling trip to Table Mountain is now legend. The trip came at a perfect time as everyone was getting pretty fed up with the relentless rain, cold and gray skies - a well into late Spring phenomenon known to restless Seattleites as "June Gloom."

Where are we?After some initial email confusion over trail closures in the Table Mountain area the group felt pretty comfortable with some good wheeling opportunities in the hills above Liberty, just west of Table Mountain.

The group caravanned across I-90 to Cle Elum where we gassed up and met Andy's dad in his Jeep. So along with John, we had two Jeeps in the group.

campfire

popcornWe found a nice spot at the Liberty Williams Creek Campground in good time. A couple of hours later Rodney, Kelli, kids Evelyn and Henry, and their two "small" dogs (a Great Dane and a Newfoundlander) pulled into camp with their FJ40 and 80 series and enough equipment boxes to supply an invasion of Canada. Moments after arriving we were hanging around Rodney's 40 when green fluid began shooting out of the cowling air vents - a cracked upper radiator hose.

Hill climbSaturday saw a full action-packed day of wheeling. Prefect skies and temperatures seemed custom made just for us. No trail carnage this time. But just before noon some of the rigs made a miss turn and went up a steep hill. John, Rodney, Max and Kelli then waited while listening to concerned chatter that Alan needed help and that his engine had died in a tough spot on the hill. Long story short was that his recently installed alternator was not charging the battery. Todd and Alan (with a borrowed battery from Rodney)  then set off back down to Cle Elum to hunt for a replacement alternator. The six other drivers then pushed off for more wheeling which included a great lunch with killer views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

Later in the day the group went back down to the Ranger Station parking lot to wait for Todd, Alan, and hopefully a replacement alternator. About an hour later they showed with good news and bad news. The good news was that Alan's alternator was fine but the required wiring connector was missing. His battery had not been getting any charge all this time! More time was spent trying to rig up a temporary wired connection. The group, now all together again, then set off for fresh hills and more wheeling.

The late afternoon was great: some steep, challenging hill climbs, deep off-camber descents, and some great hilltop scenery. The only misstep was more time spent fixing more radiator leaks, this time on Alan's rig. We then made our way up and over to Table Mountain where we ran into some benign looking but very slippery snow. After a few rigs got stuck in the white stuff we all decided to head back down a bit to camp in warmer conditions. Heading out of the snow saw a couple more stuck rigs. Max got to use his fancy long strap (long unused to this point) to tug a couple of rigs out of the white glue.

The second night was great as well: a nice camp spot between Liberty and Table Mountain, some snacks, more beverages and a good fire to fight off the cold mountain air. After dinner the moon came up and bathed the area with a blue glow.

Sunday, Father's Day, began with bacon, eggs and lots of coffee. The group then left in stages. Great weekends always seem to fly by...

Jeep

Hill top

Dogs and repairs

Climb

Snow

Alan in the snow

freezing at night


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