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OBH Tree Run 12-08-07 on Lolo Pass

Chris W. offered to lead the annual Christmas Tree Run again this year.  As usual a group met up at the Mt. Hood Info Center off of Hwy 26 at 930, and from there headed up to the trailhead/parking area off of Lolo Pass Road.  Where I met up with them.  We all got aired down and chatted a bit, and then the group headed up Lolo Pass Road.

 

We had Chris in the lead in a full sized Ford pickup, two guys in an older Blazer (sorry, forgot the names), Harold, Chris, and kids in a newer FJ, Lihn, Stephanie and kids in the buggy, a couple in a newer Toyota pickup, and a small plethora of Jeep Wranglers; myself, Todd, Corey, a couple who’s names I missed, and Beth and friend in her XJ.  If I missed any one, sorry – I should have written it all down.

 

It was a beautiful day, we couldn’t have asked for better.  Blue skies, incredible views, reasonable temps (for this time of year).  We headed out and within a mile or so started seeing snow on the ground.  We zipped on up and started passing other tree hunters along side the road.  It didn’t take much for us to reach the top of the pass where there were a few other vehicles. 

 

 

After some thought, play, and talk we headed down another road.  I don’t recall which road was which number.  At this point the Toyota decided that he wasn’t set up for this and they headed back out – I am not sure but I think they had street tires which would have made things interesting for them.  This road wasn’t bad either, after a while we came to a junction and headed up, we of course wanted to get higher and hopefully into deeper snow.  Well, about 50 yards up we found some.

I found myself digging a hole, so I thought “its time to go to 4-Low”… but, there wasn’t any on my rear axle.  We dinked around a bit, and Chris backed down to where I was and made a flat spot in the snow and I got a tug back and then pulled up into it.  We got underneath to find that the all-thread that hooks the linkage together for my Atlas was missing for the rear axle.  This took some time to figure out a fix.  The first ideas didn’t work, the last one worked partially.  It wasn’t a real fix, but it allowed me to continue.  Chris somehow got it to shift into low range, and there I stayed.  We then headed on up the road.  After a while we came to a junction, with a road going downhill and a road going up hill with a sign saying trailhead 2.5 miles.  Away we went up the hill!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got up to the top without too much troubles and found some beautiful views at the trail head for the Mazama trail.  We also found a good spot for people to cut Christmas trees.  4 people/rigs picked out some really nice noble firs for their trees.  Almost made me wish I had gotten a permit.  These were some nice quality trees, the kind you pay big $$ for at the u-picks.

 

After much talk and play and tree cutting we realized the sun was starting to go down, it was getting colder and it was time to go.  We headed down without incident.  Then we headed around on another road that was going to loop back into the main Lolo Pass Road.  Once we got down to bare gravel I had Chris do his thing and we put my rig back in 4-Hi.  We took a small detour through some interesting water crossings, washouts, and hills on this powerline road. 

   

 

 

  

 

    

 

Turns out we were not where we wanted to be so we headed back out and up the road.  Only the snow grew deeper and I once again found myself stuck.  After some trying and mucking about I finally realized that my front was in 2wd and got it back into 4wd and up the hill I went.  And up and up and up.  

There were a few rigs that were getting stuck here and there, but nothing too major.  Chris and the Blazer were trading off on breaking trail.  At one point the snow got deeper and I got sideways and was waiting… and waiting… and waiting… Chris finally came down to check, and discovered me sitting there, while the others were further down the hill and out of sight working to unstick another rig.

 

We were almost to the top, and in the interest of time Chris just tugged me up to where the snow was less deep (rather than try to get me in 4-low again).  Once up there, it was up to the top of the pass, and down the other side. 

 

 

 

 

 As I discovered coming down the hill was another matter.  My death wobble was back.  Anything over about 20 mph set it off.  So I made a slow trip down to the parking area.  Once there we aired up, chatted, and folks headed out.  Being low on gas I had the FJ follow me to the 76 station down the road (Welches) to make sure I didn’t run out on the way there.  From there I started the trek home… at about 25 mph.  Once aired up, sway bar reconnected and with a nice heavy load of gas I was able to go slightly faster.  But not much.  The XJ passed me going down and waiting in Sandy for me to come by.  They were concerned about my having my 4-ways on.  We pulled off and chatted for a few minutes.  I greatly appreciate their concern, however there wasn’t anyone could do for me, short of bring me a truck and trailer.  Lol.  It was a long slow trip off the mountain, thru Gresham/Troutdale and then the long trip on the freeway to the dam, across and home.  I got in about 945 that night, after leaving the gas station at Welches about 7pm.  That seems about right.  1 hour up at 60 and 2.75 hours back at 25.  Boy was I beat by the time I got in.  Great day, great run, lots of great folks!   =)

 

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