The Rocky Mountain
On Sunday the 25th of August 2002, five 4x4 vehicles left Excelsior Motors at 9h30 am sharp and drove out in convoy towards Lessyton. The drivers and vehicles being,
Simon Morris and Ben Nel in the Datsun Tracker 4x4, also known as "The Mountain Tortoise", then we had Chris and Lynn Smith in their Nissan 3.2 single cab 4x4, this vehicle is also known as " Hogwash", Gilbert van Zyl, Chris Futter, his son and then my beautiful wife, Miche'le were in Gilbert's Toyota Hilux, double cab, 2.2 petrol double cab 4x4 , Gilbert says that Toyota's do not get stuck ? Ha Ha.
We then had Waen, Phylicity and their daughter Monique Moss in their Isuzu single cab 4x4 diesel, this 4x4 is known as a " Mean Machine", it handles the muddy sections of the trail without getting stuck! and then there was Hein Kumm and his co- driver Butch Kriel in the Nissan Patrol 4x4.

When we all arrived at the start point of the trail, the drivers concerned locked their vehicles front hubs on the wheels, Simon then gave a short talk about safety and warned that this 4x4 trail would be very slipperely and muddy and that we must please help each other. We all then aired down our tyres, my tyres on my Tracker I aired down to one bar pressure. Remember I only use Firestone A.T.X. 215 x 15" tyres, I find these tyres are best for all the different types of terrain that I drive, they have never let me down.

Have you ever asked yourself when you drive your 4x4, " what is the one thing that stands between you and overcoming that killer obstacle?"
Is it a combination of urges and needs, or instinct and intelligence? After you've been driving for a while you take for granted what you've learned and how to approach each challenge and trail each time. But you have to remember that instinctual driving habits will come as you get more experience. Also remember when we are all out on a trail drive we are there to help each other when required. One last thing that a driver of a 4x4 must remember, "Even the toughest guy or girl can handle a little bit of driving advice".

Simon and Ben then took the lead and we crossed the first stream with out any problems and the next stream crossing and then the trail took us slightly uphill through and over a little rocky twisty section. With a mix of vigor, strength, innocence, ego and impish high spirits, we all decided to take the difficult section past the old grave yard, down into the black rock axle twister river bed route, all went well until we came apon a large pool of water, the night before we had had fifteen milimetres of rain, Chris Futter walked through to see how deep it was, tripped and went for a swim, it must have been" The Rocky's" that he was wearing? Well the water was not too deep and thus we all went through with our vehicles without any problems. We expected that the Toyota might get stuck, but with Gilbert's expert driving tecniques and calm handeling of his 4x4, his vehicle once again surprised us all.

With The Tracker being up front, Ben and Simon were waiting for the rest of the vehicles to catch up, somewhere behind us you could hear Hein Kumm with his muscle, six cylinder diesel motor reving up with brute force, as if it was a wild horse bringing up the rear.

The trail then consisted of a few more stream crossings, steep inclines and very snotty black muddy terrain, this trail is the gateway to "I wonder what is around the next mountain?" After we had finished drinking some hot coffee and a few refreshments to build up some more strength, Hein and Butch took the lead and disappeared down the trail, the other vehicles proceeded carefully on, after a while we were surprised to see Hein walking back towards us on foot, he had entered a new section of this trail that we have just opened and managed to bury both his right wheels in a shallow sloot, which we are still sorting out to prevent further erosion, thus out came the kenetic strap and the high lift jack and base plate which is in fact a thick piece of oak wood. We managed to lift the rear of the Nissan high enough to place Hein's vehicles spare wheel under the rear right wheel and some rocks. Once the kenetic strap was hooked up to the special towing hooks using special rated bow shackles and to Simon's Tracker 4x4. Ben Nel was appointed as the man in charge and once everybody was safely away Ben gave the necessary signals and
out came the Nissan without any damage to the vehicle.

While we were sorting out Hein's vehicle, Waen Moss was busy getting a fire going for the braai, which we all thoroughly enjoyed, Gilbert van Zyl who ownes Bloms Butchery brought out some delicious cheese sausage's which were also braaied. Thankyou to him for his kind gester. Chris Futter shared his fantastic biltong with us all, which came from Nic's Butchery. During the braai a floating trophy was handed over to Hein Kumm, it is known as The Booby prize, consisting of two round huts with chimneys sticking out of the roofs, made from black wood. I am sure that Waen Moss is glad that he has now got rid of it as he was the person who won it on The Adventure 4X4 Trail. This prize is awarded to the driver who gets his vehicle stuck, thinking that his 4x4 can go anywhere. It started raining again and thus we all then proceeded back down the trail, with Chris and Lyn Smith leading the way, all went well until Chris crossed a shallow stream and just could not get his 4x4 up the other side due to the ground being soggy and wet, Hein Kumm then managed to get past Chris's 4x4 and then really made the terrain very mushy due to excessive wheel spin and brute force, after Hein managed to get his vehicle through onto firmer ground, Simon took another line and managed to get through with a little help from the guy's pushing from behind, we did the same for the Hilux and the Isuzu, out came Ronny Renger's snatch block which was on loan to Simon and Chris Smith's thirty metre rope, then the tree protector strap and once the snatch block was properly attached to the thorn tree trunk we used Waen's 4x4 vehicle to pull C hris's vehicle through safely, this snatch block is a wonderful piece of equipment, I believe that if you drive a 4x4 vehicle you shood have two in your vehicle, I sure will be making myself some.

We then came apon The Olde Swimming Hole, also known as Derrick Biggs Fun Hole, he got his old C J 2 Willy's Jeep stuck in the water, okay he was driving up and down showing off. This time we all proceeded through spraying a little mud and water here and there.

At the end of the trail everybody said that today was The Ultimate 4x4 Drive that they had being on and to our fellow club members and friends you all missed out on a very enjoyable day, okay there was no sunshine, it looked like it might rain, it did but all the 4x4 vehicles handled the trail surperbly, without any getting damaged or anybody injured. It was very very muddy, our vehicles would just go their own way no matter how much a person tried to steer in a straight line, sometimes you just had to call for help and direction, when this happened out came the green plastic trackes which were placed under the wheels that were sliding. A set of tyre chains would have being helpful but we prooved that, with a little team work and thoughtfulness there are always other means available to get a vehicle out of a difficult situation.
On behalf of The Queenstown 4X4 Offroad Club I thank all the drivers for joining us on this trail.

On the 5th of September 2002, which is next week Thursday we will be having our Anual General Meeting at The Queenstown Automobil Club house which is at The Queenstown Airport. Time 18h30 for 19h00, if you own a 4x4 vehicle or are interested you are welcome to join us, a cash bar is available and sausage rolls will be on sale, please let me know if you will be joining us? After the meeting tales of the past 4x4 trails, how we got stuck on The Rocky Mountain 4x4 trail today and new friendships will be formed, there will also be photographs available from the past trail as evidence to what we had to do on this past trail.

The venue for the next 4x4 trail will also discussed, see you there?

The Chairman
Simon Morris
tel 082 499 1924