CLUB: JAM­MING WITH THE NOVA SCO­TIA JEEP CLUB

Ev­ery year, Nova Sco­tia’s An­napo­lis Val­ley buzzes with ex­cite­ment dur­ing the pop­u­lar NSJC Jamboree.

4WDrive - - Contents - WORDS BY LARRY HAIGHT

If you have qual­ity in­gre­di­ents and a proven recipe, you can make great jam. In early sum­mer through­out Nova Sco­tia’s An­napo­lis Val­ley, or­chards, vine­yards, and gar­dens cover the fer­tile val­ley that has been farmed for nearly 400 years. With so much agri­cul­ture, there’s never a short­age of in­gre­di­ents for this sa­vory spread. Ask any hard­core 4x4er, how­ever, about the best jam in the area and chances are likely they will rec­om­mend the Nova Sco­tia Jeep Club’s (NSJC) an­nual Jamboree.

In its 12th year, the NSJC 2018 Jamboree at­tracts en­thu­si­asts from across the Mar­itimes and be­yond, to the Fox Moun­tain Camp­ing Park on South Moun­tain, lo­cated just out­side of Ayles­ford.

As the event takes up to al­most a year to co­or­di­nate, the NSJC Jamboree’s or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee con­sists of Jes­sica Patey, James Chisholm, Mar­lene Walsh (co-chair), and my­self (co-chair). For the 2018 Jamboree, plan­ning meet­ings started just after the 2017 event and con­tin­ued through­out the fall and win­ter. Early bird reg­is­tra­tions be­gan from midNovem­ber to the end of Fe­bru­ary and the reg­u­lar priced-regis­tra­tion was open un­til late May.

A cru­cial in­gre­di­ent of “the Jam” is re­li­able and knowl­edge­able trail guides. We reached out to the the guides in late Jan­uary and once they were se­lected, de­ter­min­ing the trails was the next phase. In the An­napo­lis Val­ley, there’s many to con­sider and we had two days of trail runs that ranged from ‘Stock Doable’ to ‘Ex­treme.’ Plus, John Cran­field and I in­struct a Jeep­ing 101 pro­gram on Friday and a mod­er­ate stock trail run on Satur­day, which is also open to non-101 par­tic­i­pants.

Come spring, the as­so­ci­a­tion was kept busy with choos­ing t-shirt colours for guides and par­tic­i­pants, swag for the goodie bags, book­ing the en­ter­tain­ment, and co­or­di­nat­ing the guides and trails. One of the last tasks is pre-run­ning and clear­ing the trails for the Jeep­ers. A con­sid­er­able duty, this usu­ally takes a few week­ends ahead of time, as well as through­out the event.

This year, the event kicked-off June 21 – the first day of sum­mer – and through­out the day par­tic­i­pants took their Jeeps through the tech in­spec­tion (to de­ter­mine what level of trails they are best suited for) and chose their de­sired trail to run over the week­end.

To make things more in­ter­est­ing, there’s al­ways friendly ri­valry be­tween trail guides

as they try to con­vince par­tic­i­pants why their trail is the best choice. Trail se­lec­tion is not just about the ve­hi­cle, but it’s also about the driver’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The high­erend trails in­clude ex­treme rock crawl­ing (where un­der ar­mour is a ne­ces­sity) while oth­ers con­sist of pure mud where huge tires and winches are es­sen­tial.

As Thurs­day drew to a close, a trail guide meet­ing was held to re­view the ba­sic rules of the event. In ad­di­tion to no al­co­hol or drugs, driv­ers must tread lightly and en­sure that no one gets left be­hind.

The next morn­ing, on Friday, the Jeep­ers en­joyed break­fast and after a few late com­ers ar­rived, a par­tic­i­pants’ meet­ing was held fol­lowed by the start of the main event.

At 9:30 am, all groups, ex­cept Jeep­ing-101 par­tic­i­pants, headed out for a full day of fun, chal­lenges, adren­a­line rushes and ca­ma­raderie. The Jeep­ing-101 par­tic­i­pants stayed be­hind for a Pow­erPoint pre­sen­ta­tion, safety demon­stra­tions, lessons on how to use a trail jack and winch, plus a trial run on a small trail to put their new-found knowl­edge to the test.

By late af­ter­noon, the camp­ground buzzed with happy at­ten­dees. As we gath­ered for din­ner, sto­ries were shared re­gard­ing the ex­pe­ri­ences of the day and many en­joyed this down time after a long day run­ning in the wilder­ness. By 7:30, the RTI ramp was set up so the driv­ers could test the flex­i­bil­ity of their rig. It’s al­ways en­ter­tain­ing to see how much (or how lit­tle) some of th­ese Jeeps can flex. Even though David Web­ber won with the high­est score, he over­did it on Satur­day and flopped his TJ on its side. Other events also in­cluded a skills com­pe­ti­tion, which con­sisted of a cou­ple of ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing ‘blind folded’ and ‘tur­tle’ rac­ing.

At 9:00 a.m. on Satur­day, there were six line­ups for trail runs and you could pretty much de­ter­mine the trail level by the size of the Jeeps. A lot of driv­ers lined up for Cran­field’s Re­venge, which is the mud trail and des­ig­nated for Jeeps with 37” tires or larger. An­other ex­cit­ing trail is High Volt­age. This is a rock trail for Jeeps that are equipped with rock rails, skid plates and good-sized rub­ber.

Tia’s is also pop­u­lar, and is named in mem­ory of Tia Au­len­back, an avid Jeeper who passed away of Cys­tic Fi­bro­sis. This was her favourite run as it con­sists of very tight, tech­ni­cal spots, mud, and steep grades. Two more great trails in­clude Half Moon and In­ter­na­tional. Th­ese are ‘Stock Doable’ trails and while they en­tail mild stretches through the for­est, they still of­fer a few chal­lenges such as flooded ar­eas and rocky sec­tions that al­ways re­quire spe­cial at­ten­tion.

John­sons Set­tle­ment is an­other ‘Stock Doable’ trail but has a very chal­leng­ing rock gar­den that stretches a few hun­dred me­tres. With the di­rec­tion of the trail guides, a begin­ner Jeeper can get through it, but it may take a bit of time. The trail guides of­ten re­mind the driv­ers not to be alarmed if you hear a frame rail or skid plate bang on the gran­ite.

Black Rock is the des­ig­nated 101 trail and is an­other favourite among at­ten­dees with its se­ries of chal­lenges, beau­ti­ful scenery of the An­napo­lis Val­ley and Bay of Fundy coast­line. The real high­light, how­ever, aside from lunch at Halls Har­bour Lob­ster Pound, is the teeter­tot­ter in the woods, gra­ciously built for Jeeps by the land owner.

Later in the day, back at Fox

Moun­tain, the clos­ing cer­e­monies were held where more than 50 par­tic­i­pants won prizes, which in­cluded a range of im­pres­sive gear in­clud­ing lift kits, winches, tires, bumpers, LED lights, re­cov­ery gear, and much more thanks to all the great spon­sors and sup­port­ers of the event.

In fact, the first win­ner won a set of Toyo MT tires, gra­ciously pro­vided by Peck Auto Per­for­mance and Off Road. A first for the Jamboree was a tie for Trail Guide of the Year be­tween Ja­son Des­paties and Jonathan Mur­phy with Jonathan be­ing the ul­ti­mate win­ner. After the cer­e­monies, it was time to en­joy some live clas­sic rock per­formed by Brass Knuck­le­head.

On Sun­day morn­ing, the fog was thick as par­tic­i­pants emerged from their tents and trail­ers and pre­pared for the jour­ney home. After such a great week­end, the feed­back was in­cred­i­ble and many com­mented that 2018 was the best Jam ever.

So, after a few great days on the trails, it’s only nat­u­ral that with the right in­gre­di­ents and a proven recipe, Jam can be suc­cess­ful. Be sure mark your cal­en­dars for next year’s event sched­uled for June 20-23, 2019.

Lots of gran­ite on Crusher.

Lunch break at Halls Har­bour, the Black Rock Trail group.

Alan Jus­ta­son gets blind­folded.

Got mud.

Lots of mud on Cran­field’s Re­venge.

Jeff Hurl­burt loses a tire.

The Bay of Fundy Coast­line while trail clear­ing.

David Web­ber wins RTI on Friday, but fails on the trail Satur­day!

Tia Au­len­back’s me­mo­rial plaque.

Jonathan Mur­phy named Trail Guide of the Year.

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