Kim and I have a new sport: 4WD action in the Ghost. Grant Statham and I had a go at it a week or so back that culminated in his Nissan Pathfinder stuck to the ears in mud, Brad Wrobleski's exceeded the operational limitations of his Jeep, I'm starting to see a pattern here. Anyhow, on Nov. 27 we went through the Waiprous to have a go at Hydrophobia and maybe another route. Here's how it went:
6:30 Leave Canmore, CBC radio reports minus 20. Winter is here, this is good as it ought to freeze up the stream crossings which have been not so solid this season.
7:45 The first water crossing is frozen solid, we drive across with no issue.
8:00 The second and more serious water crossing looks sort of solid, but suspicious. We have to cross, so we drive in. This is where things get more involved.
The ice is about two inches thick, so the front tires ride up on it and then smash through like a Russian icebreaker. The ice a little farther from shore is about four inches thick, which is too much to smash through. The approach ramp is too steep to back up (and it's also a skating rink), so I try to drive forward through the ice, but it is indeed too thick and the water is rapidly getting deeper. Hmmm....
8:30 After Kim spreads dirt all over the entry and thanks to studded tires we get back up on the bank with one well-frozen truck. The question now is what to do; it's still early enough to at least do Hydro, so we make like beavers and go to work on the ice dam. The water behind it is at least three feet deep, and with the thick ice we can't keep busting across it. The idea of being stuck in 40 inches of freezing water at -20 a long way from nobody is not appealing. The solution is to lower the water, break the ice up a bit, then drive through. Right. Ice dam trenching commences.
After an hour of trenching and digging with ice tools and shovels, we succeed in lowering the water about 16 inches, but we show a smidgen of common sense and decide to let the ice freeze up some more and come back tomorrow. But the adventure isn't over yet. As we walk back to the truck it just looks different; the lower grill guard isn't there.
10:30 We find the grill guard, the ice had ripped it off when I backed out.
The grill guard just isn't going to fit back on so good no matter what.
12:30 Back in Canmore. There's supposed to be a grill bit there. All in all it was a fun morning, we'll try again tomorrow. Driving in the Ghost is always half the adventure--on a good day. I just ordered a winch and locking differential to help me get in touch with my inner redneck...