“Not again?!” That may be one of the first thoughts in our reader’s minds. “Not again” could also be a first thought in some of our member’s minds. The reasons for hitting a trail multiple times in a year are numerous. Here are just two good reasons; 1) CCSSAR personnel need to have more than just a familiarity with the heavily used trails in our area, 2) Northern Nevada trails can be driven once each month throughout the year and provide a new and different challenge each time and every time! That alone is one of the things that makes “wheelin'” here so much fun!
Case in point; the video below was taken at about 8:30am during a recon of the Brunswick Canyon area one week prior to this training event. Snow on the frozen ground in the morning with all the severely eroded washes containing fast moving surface water. The afternoon sun then melted the snow bringing out the mud and muck.
As the following event photos will attest, conditions one-week later were totally different. Limited snow, almost no moving water in the washes, increased road damage due to erosion, and the vehicles kicking up dust in-between the dried mud ruts as they traveled. The erosion damage to the road can certainly impact travel, which is why CCSSAR provided the PSA about the area a few weeks ago.
As of this event, all the “improved” rock washes crossing the roads had been washed out entirely. One of which hid its dangers very well; approaching from the North looking to the left the wash appeared navigable with a high clearance vehicle. What was hidden about middle of the road was a 18 inch drop in the wash. Looking to take full advantage of every training opportunity, the group was not briefed on specifics regarding the upcoming obstacles but was given a general warning. Those not on the previous week’s recon were also put at the front of the caravan.
The desired training opportunity was achieved!
High centered in a wash that had significantly more fast moving water in it the week prior, SAM2 provided an easy pull to get its twin out of trouble. No damage done and a lot of experience gained both on analyzing obstacles and getting vehicles out of them.
Continuing South the Team headed down Sand Pass Road towards the former Bunker Hill Mine. This area provided different challenges as the snow had not cleared in a number of spots forcing some back and forth snow packing. Even with that effort we ended up about 200 yards short of our destination. It just wasn’t worth all the effort.
The next target area was the effluent reservoir and a road that heads East then South again towards Sunrise Pass. This area was “basically” clear of snow but did have fresh mud and the expected erosion changes to the road. Also lying in wait was a large tree that had fallen across the road sometime in the January/early February timeframe. This obstacle had been noted by Unit members on a previous adventure and assumed, due to the conditions, to have not been cleared or driven around yet.
What was expected was found! Rather than making a new road, which regrettably is a common practice by some off-roaders, the Team Members decided to add another aspect to the training day by clearing the obstacle from the road. Breaking out some winching gear in an effort to put that equipment to use, the Team also got an opportunity to see how effectively this winter’s moisture had saturated the soil. As assumed, trees that would normally function well as a change-of-direction anchor were unable to maintain their grip on good ole Mother Earth. That generated Plan B as seen in the video that follows:
Trail clearing complete, it was time to head to the house. Members had gotten yet another opportunity to exercise Unit equipment, drive in differing conditions over a variety of terrain, test out a winching option, and use a tree to grade a soggy road. Not as much fun as blocking a highway and landing a helicopter on it…but, not a bad day.
Bonus feature; a photo from Carson River Canyon with the river running at 4,500 Cubic Feet per Second (CFS) on March 11. Just around the bend in this photo begins “Train Wreck” which is a Class 3 rapid when the river is moving at 1,000 CFS. Train Wreck isn’t even a ripple on the surface at 4,500 CFS.