This past weekend I went to the EC4WDA Region D Trail Fest, my first event as a member of the Long Island Offroad Club. Well, I guess I was a member since I heard the club president, Greg, had my check. Anyway, I arrived at the starting point at 7:30 and met Rich, the trail leader for the Lamentation Trail. After getting coffee, I met Mark Sailer in person for the first time, although I knew him from the Jeep list. Mark was driving his '86 CJ-7 with new to him 33" BFG MT. Soon Jim Guld showed up in his '95 Dodge Ram 1500 I think with 35" BFG MTs, but it is hard for me to tell tire sizes on anything that isn't a Jeep. I'd met Jim once before and knew him from the offroad list. There were also 15-20 other trucks on this trail ride and at least 3 stock vehicles. The trail was rated a 6 on a scale of 10.
Around 8:30 we moved out. It was a short ride to the trail head where we stopped to air down and lock hubs. Soon we hit the trail, down a section called "Junk Yard Alley" named for all the vehicles that didn't survive the trail and are there to this day. There was one or two minor mud holes on this section, just enough to get that mud on the exhaust pipe smell. We proceed down another loop that unfortunately Jim had to pass on, since it was too narrow for his full size pickup. Due to our recent drought, we made it through with no problems
We regrouped with the full sized trucks and started climbing to the top of Lamentation Mt. on a trail that had some fun rock steps. The "Cigarette Lighter" was the first step to give us any trouble. A guy in a CJ-7 had trouble getting over it, finally realizing one of his hubs wasn't engaging properly and he had an open front. He go over on momentum in 2WD and pulled aside to fix his hub. A full sized Chevy pickup managed to hit one of his cross members on the small protruding rock at the top of the step and give spectators a view of the shower of sparks that give this obstacle its name.
After the "Cigarette Lighter" we continued easily up some dried out mud holes that are normally quite difficult. We stopped around 1 for lunch at the top of Lamentation Mt. Nice view up there. Jim's '95 Dodge going down "The Squeeze"
After lunch we headed down mostly on the same trail, but we also took a spur to "The Squeeze". The Squeeze is formed by two rock out croppings that create an interesting off camber situation. Since the out croppings have steep sides you have to go down with one tire on top of the out cropping and one in the middle. I watched Mark go through since his CJ is similar to mine and he caught a lot of air with his left rear tire. I went through next and it felt like I caught a lot of air. I steered into the potential roll and the rear dropped down. Jim did catch a bit of air, but his long wheelbase Dodge made it look easy.
Even though the dry weather made the trail a bit easier than normal the trip was a lot of fun. I met a lot of great people and got to wheel for the first time with Mark and Jim. Hopefully, I'll be wheeling with them and the rest of Long Island Offroad again soon.
Mark's '86 CJ-7 going up "The Squeeze"