Graven­hurst Area

4WDrive - - Contents -


Nine ve­hi­cles and 18 off-road en­thu­si­asts met at Cana­dian Tire in Graven­hurst, Ont., Oc­to­ber 21, to fol­low the Hal­ibur­ton ATV As­so­ci­a­tion’s (HATVA) marked trails around Black Lake and head for Black Lake by­pass, near Dorset along Hwy 35. Among the se­ries of off-road ve­hi­cles, Jeep was well rep­re­sented with five JK’s of var­i­ous years, trim lev­els and mods, plus a few other mod­els to round out the group. While there was a plan in place, things didn’t go quite as well as we hoped.

Our day started out driv­ing to the Pine Springs Road area, lo­cated north of Hwy 118 and east of Hwy 11. We stopped to air down our tires and repack our gear at this clear­ing. As it was also moose hunt­ing sea­son, we spoke to a few dif­fer­ent groups in the area as well.

The first leg of trail was a graded dirt road. Re­cent log­ging op­er­a­tions had cleared and filled at least five kilo­me­tres of trails to such an ex­tent that we lost the trail mark­ers! How­ever, since the route seemed to be go­ing in the di­rec­tion we were headed, we car­ried on at a good rate of speed. That was un­til we got to some loose fill over a cul­vert and many of us needed a tug to get through.

The re­cent cut and fill also meant that some sec­tions were a bit spongy. We passed a se­ries of side cut trails, but con­tin­ued on. It was around this time that we started to lose the ATV trail mark­ers and ended up on a trail with only snow­mo­bile mark­ings. Once we got to this swampy area with mul­ti­ple streams flow­ing through, we be­gan to re­al­ize we were on the Black Lake North Trail, and not the Black Lake by­pass we hoped for.

Tire size and treads were part of the so­lu­tion to han­dling this ter­rain, but winches were the or­der of the day for any se­ri­ous de­fi­cien­cies. None­the­less, the com­bi­na­tion of sat­u­rated soil, rocks and tree roots made for slow progress through this sec­tion. There were mul­ti­ple ways through, which were slightly less (or more) chal­leng­ing, but it all de­pended on ve­hi­cle width and wheel­base. A few were able to trudge through with­out a tug or

winch, so they felt pretty good about that. What’s more, the fall con­di­tions were mild, and the wet leaves added to the slick con­di­tions.

One mem­ber of our group, Dave, gave the tough con­di­tions a good run with his air lock­ers en­gaged, but he got caught in a rut, which took his ve­hi­cle right around to face the op­po­site di­rec­tion. Although he was able to re­verse and get back on track, he gave us some good en­ter­tain­ment.

Af­ter this, we stopped for a wellde­served break as ev­ery­one had brought their own lunch, drinks and snacks. An­other mem­ber, Colin, was left in his socks af­ter his shoes got stuck in the thick mud – but at least the temp was mild and the sun was out. At this time, some mem­bers of the group re­called mem­o­ries of hav­ing taken this trail be­fore and spoke about the var­i­ous predica­ments and jams, which in­cluded a ’07 GMC1500 Z71 that broke a front CV and blew a tire.

We also soon re­al­ized that this trail dead ends at Black Lake, which meant we had to go back the way we came! While we were un­de­terred – as we were en­joy­ing our day – we de­cided to carry on and fol­low the trail af­ter all.

A side trail down a hill looked like it might lead around the west end of the lake. Three of us ven­tured down the steep rocky hill, while wiser mem­bers of our group fur­ther back sug­gested over the CB that not ev­ery­one should pro­ceed un­less it was clear and lead some­where. Sure enough, the trail didn’t lead any­where (for us any­way). Con­se­quently, we needed to winch back up the hill. As Mo was sta­tioned at the top of the first cor­ner and Ken was at the top of the next cor­ner, we man­aged to get the ve­hi­cles back up the slick, muddy, and rocky hill in a fairly short time.

Once back at the top, Dave and Brenda took the lead to dou­ble back on our route since it seemed that was the only way out. Mo and I de­cided to go to the end and get a few pic­tures of Black Lake be­fore turn­ing around to re­join the oth­ers.

None­the­less, it was a nice calm day on Black Lake and all of us made it out safe.

See you next time!

Many of us needed winch­ing as­sis­tance to get through the re­lent­less muck.

Here’s Mo get­ting strapped out and no, he’s not be­ing pun­ished!

Ken and An­gela - JKU, Paul and Colin – JKU, Jeremy and Do­tah – JKU, An­drew – JKU, Mo and Brian – JK, Brenda and Dave – TJ, John and Janet – 4Run­ner, Or, Dar and Ilya – G Wagon, my­self and Al CJ7

The sticky mud had Colin in socks when his shoes got stuck in the mud! At least the temp was mild and the sun was out.

Dave gave it a good run with air lock­ers en­gaged to make it through but got caught in a rut, which took his ve­hi­cle right around fac­ing the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

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