Horror Stories and getting in over your head on the Trail.

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Ghost

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While experience is gained over time on how to be more prepared and possibly recognize potential hazards, spend enough time on the trail and things are bound to happen.

While I get sometimes "Sh*t just Happens" maybe by sharing the worst of our adventures we can save an OB member some heartbreak as they venture into the unknown?
 

MidOH

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Just up to my neck, not over my head.

But did forget to check the depth of a mud puddle in the flattest boring-est part of Florida. Jeep YJ's will actually float awhile before sinking. Spun a main bearing getting out. Pretty much gave it away for scrap.
 
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Ghost

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Just up to my neck, not over my head.

But did forget to check the depth of a mud puddle in the flattest boring-est part of Florida. Jeep YJ's will actually float awhile before sinking. Spun a main bearing getting out. Pretty much gave it away for scrap.
Great clip, a true classic and one of my favorites of the time along with Lawrence of Arabia.

As for the Jeep...... DANNNNG!
 

Specter

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I was in Greece. We were in an area that the local guide told us not go to because of the steep inclines and soft terrain. The day was going great until we found ourselves on a narrow trail that turned inland and upward, away from the shoreline we had been driving beside all afternoon. Before we knew it we were a few hundred feet up, wheels spinning and, ever so slowing, sliding backwards down the hill. All I could see in my rear view mirror was a few hundred feet of land before it gave way to a cliff and, ultimately, the sea. Through the dust, I couldn’t even discern the dirt road we came in on. Our negative slide picked up speed, and suddenly our windshield was being peppered by dirt and rock, indicating that our slide was causing an avalanche of sorts. With forward progression and braking not even a possibility, and the fear of being only seconds away from going - or being taken - over the cliff and into the drink, I did what any idiot would do - I cut the wheel. With my right arm I grabbed the wheel and cut it as hard as possible. The rig swung on the loose terrain and, miraculously, we ended up executing a near perfect J-turn. Of course, this only meant that we were now facing our demise head on and at a faster pace. With the edge rapidly getting closer, I put the brake to the floor and somehow had the presence of mind to also engine brake. Slowly, our momentum slowed and we came to a stop. For as long as I live, I will never forget the feeling of that truck stopped, not thirty feet from the edge, a whirlwind of dust blowing by us as we sat catching our breath and watching a landslide of rock going over the edge through the dirty, and now cracked, windshield.
Our nerves shot, we departed the area the way we came and went directly to the rental place where we rented the rig. Upon arrival the gentlemen gave us a quick look and in broken English said, “I told you not to go to that area”. The lesson is this - “there is no knowledge, like local knowledge”.
 
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Ghost

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I was in Greece. We were in an area that the local guide told us not go to because of the steep inclines and soft terrain. The day was going great until we found ourselves on a narrow trail that turned inland and upward, away from the shoreline we had been driving beside all afternoon. Before we knew it we were a few hundred feet up, wheels spinning and, ever so slowing, sliding backwards down the hill. All I could see in my rear view mirror was a few hundred feet of land before it gave way to a cliff and, ultimately, the sea. Through the dust, I couldn’t even discern the dirt road we came in on. Our negative slide picked up speed, and suddenly our windshield was being peppered by dirt and rock, indicating that our slide was causing an avalanche of sorts. With forward progression and braking not even a possibility, and the fear of being only seconds away from going - or being taken - over the cliff and into the drink, I did what any idiot would do - I cut the wheel. With my right arm I grabbed the wheel and cut it as hard as possible. The rig swung on the loose terrain and, miraculously, we ended up executing a near perfect J-turn. Of course, this only meant that we were now facing our demise head on and at a faster pace. With the edge rapidly getting closer, I put the brake to the floor and somehow had the presence of mind to also engine brake. Slowly, our momentum slowed and we came to a stop. For as long as I live, I will never forget the feeling of that truck stopped, not thirty feet from the edge, a whirlwind of dust blowing by us as we sat catching our breath and watching a landslide of rock going over the edge through the dirty, and now cracked, windshield.
Our nerves shot, we departed the area the way we came and went directly to the rental place where we rented the rig. Upon arrival the gentlemen gave us a quick look and in broken English said, “I told you not to go to that area”. The lesson is this - “there is no knowledge, like local knowledge”.
Crazy story with "the lesson" being a very valuable piece to pay attention to.

Listen to the locals. They are the ones that usually know the current or most recent conditions and if your vehicle is capable.
 
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oldmopars

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In the late 90's I was in the Air Force and met a couple of guy to go 4 wheeling with. Andy and his wife wanted to go one weekend and we headed up to an area called Elbe Hills.
His wife had a medical condition and required oxygen to stay alive. She could go a few hours without, but not long. So, then brought the tank of oxygen with them on the trail.
As happens at Elbe, things started to go badly. We decided to do a trail called the Busy Wild. We should have been done with the trail by early afternoon. However both his jeep and mine kept getting stuck. We would get stuck, winch out, get stuck again, repeat, etc. About 6pm her tank ran out of oxygen and we were not even close to the end of the trail or anyplace to exit. It took us till 11pm that night to get both rigs off the trail. By this time she was nearly passed out and in bad need of oxygen. I have never felt so helpless and frantic to get off the trail. She made it home and recovered, however she only lived a few more years before she passed away.
I will never hit a trail like that again with someone with medical issues of that kind. I would have never forgiven myself, or him if she had passed away on the trail. An extra tank would have made all the difference.
 

Ghost

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In the late 90's I was in the Air Force and met a couple of guy to go 4 wheeling with. Andy and his wife wanted to go one weekend and we headed up to an area called Elbe Hills.
His wife had a medical condition and required oxygen to stay alive. She could go a few hours without, but not long. So, then brought the tank of oxygen with them on the trail.
As happens at Elbe, things started to go badly. We decided to do a trail called the Busy Wild. We should have been done with the trail by early afternoon. However both his jeep and mine kept getting stuck. We would get stuck, winch out, get stuck again, repeat, etc. About 6pm her tank ran out of oxygen and we were not even close to the end of the trail or anyplace to exit. It took us till 11pm that night to get both rigs off the trail. By this time she was nearly passed out and in bad need of oxygen. I have never felt so helpless and frantic to get off the trail. She made it home and recovered, however she only lived a few more years before she passed away.
I will never hit a trail like that again with someone with medical issues of that kind. I would have never forgiven myself, or him if she had passed away on the trail. An extra tank would have made all the difference.
Wow that is a really grim story but thanks for sharing it. The whole point of me asking is to hopefully use these stories be a teaching opportunity. Not looking to embarrass anyone or call anyone out. Just hoping to get people thinking.
Thanks again for sharing!
 

Specter

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In the late 90's I was in the Air Force and met a couple of guy to go 4 wheeling with. Andy and his wife wanted to go one weekend and we headed up to an area called Elbe Hills.
His wife had a medical condition and required oxygen to stay alive. She could go a few hours without, but not long. So, then brought the tank of oxygen with them on the trail.
As happens at Elbe, things started to go badly. We decided to do a trail called the Busy Wild. We should have been done with the trail by early afternoon. However both his jeep and mine kept getting stuck. We would get stuck, winch out, get stuck again, repeat, etc. About 6pm her tank ran out of oxygen and we were not even close to the end of the trail or anyplace to exit. It took us till 11pm that night to get both rigs off the trail. By this time she was nearly passed out and in bad need of oxygen. I have never felt so helpless and frantic to get off the trail. She made it home and recovered, however she only lived a few more years before she passed away.
I will never hit a trail like that again with someone with medical issues of that kind. I would have never forgiven myself, or him if she had passed away on the trail. An extra tank would have made all the difference.
Wow. Now that’s a story. Glad it all worked out and the story can serve as a lesson for others and not a regret for yourself. Thank you for sharing.
 
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Specter

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Wow that is a really grim story but thanks for sharing it. The whole point of me asking is to hopefully use these stories be a teaching opportunity. Not looking to embarrass anyone or call anyone out. Just hoping to get people thinking.
Thanks again for sharing!
Truth be told, Ghost, this could be one of the most valuable threads going.
 
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Ghost

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Truth be told, Ghost, this could be one of the most valuable threads going.
Thanks Specter I’ve spent a lot of time helping people get out of bad situations. Many times it being no fault of their own but more often than not just people making poor decisions. If this Thread gets one person to stop and think “this might not be a good idea” it worked.

That is kinda my PC version. The darker version has to do with the burden of zipping up bags but I’m trying to keep things upbeat :laughing::laughing::laughing::laughing:
 
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Roam_CO85

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Good thread to start! I learn by doing with that said. Think you learn quicker by doing something incorrectly and redoing it the right way! Lessons learned as a firefighter those lessons from what not todo and many lost their lives because of it.

I learned at an early age even an hour long go play in the snow wheeling trip can take a long time if you get complacent and aren’t prepared for it. Got high centered in a snow drift. New rig at the time so didnt have much for self recovery. But had a shovel and some water. Felt like I dug for hours everything was so froze solid but finally got out like 4 hours later. All the vehicles to this day have a shovel in them. Even the honda accord daily driver. But even if its a 15 min drive to trail run up into the forest i dont ever go ill prepared anymore. That day getting stuck i was 16 barely driving for 4 months.
 
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Specter

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Great point, Roam. As I always say to friends and colleagues, it isn’t the people who plan to go out into the field for weeks that get lost or stranded, it’s always the people who dont’t plan on being out very long and are just going out in their own backyard. The reason is that people who plan to be out for weeks are in a different mindset, and go out prepared. It’s why I say that the word “just” is the most dangerous word in the English language. Any time you hear “just this long”, “just this far”, “just this place”...what you are really hearing is someone underestimating the potentials.
 
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Ghost

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Great point, Roam. As I always say to friends and colleagues, it isn’t the people who plan to go out into the field for weeks that get lost or stranded, it’s always the people who dont’t plan on being out very long and are just going out in their own backyard. The reason is that people who plan to be out for weeks are in a different mindset, and go out prepared. It’s why I say that the word “just” is the most dangerous word in the English language. Any time you hear “just this long”, “just this far”, “just this place”...what you are really hearing is someone underestimating the potentials.
That last part is golden! So true
 

MOAK

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About the dumbest thing I ever did, circa 1977, was to go down a partially snow covered, wet and muddy trail up in the Rockies. No map, no compass, no extraction equipment.. it was an easy 1/2 hour drive down the tight twisty two track into the gully. At the bottom? Dead end. Did I mention we were driving DOWN? We had to go back UP.. The 40 is and was a very capable LC, however, open diffs and 0 extraction equipment.. after a couple of false starts I soon realized momentum and lots of digging by hand, might get us up and out.. we got about halfway up and darkness settled in. We spent the night there.. next morning the same exercise using speed and momentum.. all told it took us 6 hours to get out. My hands were numb from moving snow and ice, and the Cruiser was banged up pretty good on all four corners. We were hungry, tired, a little beaten up, but we made it.. lesson learned
 
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