Evans Creek ORV, WA
3 members of PNWX (Schlud, Evergreen and MudPhud) decided to take a scouting run of Evans Creek ORV near Mt. Rainier in Washington State. Evans creek is traditionally run by Jeeps, Scouts, Toyota's and other built up rigs that obvioiusly don't care much about body damage. Our three trucks all had ARB's with winches and mud tires that would prove valuable during the run. We aired down at the staging area and headed up the 311 trail which is the traditional starting trail for most rigs. We soon came upon a mudhole that's eaten quite a few rigs. With the shortage in rainfall this summer, we found lower levels even though we took the harder path on the right. The trail continued with the winding offcamber tree runs that we've come accusomed to in the Northwest. The turns and trees on 311 were much tighter and closer. Almost each key tree having paint on the bark, and glass at it's base. About midway though the trail we came to a set of double offset holes dug into the trail with a tree and roots at the base of the offcamber slope (why is there always a freakin' tree or rock at these points?). No lockers and IFS wasn't going to let us up, so out came the winches. MudPhud pulled on a tree down the trail and made it up. Evergreen tried a tree closer to the trucks that would pull us away from the roots, but was a very short pull. Nonetheless he made it up. I messed up and let my winch pull me to close to the winch point. Now my tail end was right against the roots and I couldn't pull any closer to the winch point. Dumbass. We had Evergreen back down the trail and get a tow strap attached to my front tow hook. With him pulling we were able to drag the front end of the truck into the direction of the trail while releasing tension on the winch. But not before hearing a nice "crunch" at the back corner of my truck. Fearing the worse I asked Mudphud to check it out, but the good news was it was all plastic, and none of the sheetmetal had cratered into the tree. Phew.
As we neared the top of 311 we came to a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier. It's probably the most photographed shot from trail reports at Evans, but is truly spectacular in it's scale and beauty. Of some interest is that the glaciers appeared dirty. This was due to the drought and unusual heat we've experienced, exposing the Mt. St.Helens ash from its eruption over 20+ years ago. While there a '47 Jeep came up the trail with two Binders close behind. We talked trucks for a while and then the Jeep owner asked if we had a cell phone. He called his buddy in town and made an order for more beer. Soon after we heard chatter on the CB's that a QuadRunner had flipped and the driver's leg was broken. More info came across that the Search and Rescue squad was headed up the wrong way. We grabbed the cell phone and were able to relay messages to local authorities. Technology is great when it works, plus were each given a cold frosty for our help.
Next we headed up to trail 519 which was listed as "More Difficult". Besides being overgrown and a few dropoffs we couldn't figure out the rating and quickly dropped out of the hillside. We found a rock edge to play on as we weren't ready to hit the road, and then MudPhud headed up into a trail he had seen. After hearing the spinning of tires we heard on the FRS that he "really wanted to get over this rock and thought he could make it up the rest of the trail." Well, we spent a good hour at least working up over the rock cliffs, broken rock, loose soil and a nasty incline. After several stucks where we even considered winching, we finally made it up the climb and around a tight bend to find...a dead end. Well the climb was worth the practice, but would have been cooler if we could have continued to the road our GPS showed was nearby.
We headed back down the road and found a ravine to play around on near trails 196 and 195. We were losing sunlight so we went back into town but the Pick and Shovel resturaunt was under rennovation. We had some cold beers next door, and met a wasted bartender who didn't know how to make the Nachos that were on the menu (huh?). So all in all a good trip. We know we can make it through some of the trails, and will definitely be back. A broken taillight was the only damage.
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