The wheeling trip from hell!!! Coal Creek

Discussion in 'Carolina Trailblazers' started by lockedup5, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. lockedup5

    lockedup5 overcompensating underachiever

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Burke County (Hildebran)
    I would like to report on our wheeling trip from hell. Or should I say one hell of a wheeling trip? I have to say the CTB was handed their butts to them at Coal Creek this weekend. We had a good size group of ten very capable rigs including Jeeps of all varieties, Toyotas, and even a full size Bronco. I for one was surprised so many rigs showed up based on fuel prices and the distance everyone had to travel.
    The wheeling trip from hell started out as a normal run of the mill ride on Saturday. I specify the day because the trip unfortunately continued well into Sunday. We met as normal a little after 9am and had a short informative meeting and discussed the plans for the day. We decided we would rack up a few easy trail miles before lunch and then maybe hit some more challenging trails after we stopped for lunch. So we headed out on the trails and rode trail 2 and 16 which were classified as moderate trails. We all enjoyed an uneventful morning ride we even stopped for a little sightseeing when we ran across a nice waterfall. When we finished up trail 16 it was almost lunch time so we studied the map and decided we would continue on and eat lunch at the beginning of trail 23 which was classified as difficult. I have to say the person that classified that trail was a real idiot. Difficult is a gross understatement for this trail. After getting our bellies full we headed out thinking this would be a good short challenging trail for the afternoon before heading back down around Rattlerock trail area. Keep in mind the map said it was only 2.2 miles long. It was around 1pm when we left and we hit a couple challenging wash outs and by 1:30 or so we ran across a short climb that had some of the smarter ones second guessing this trail while some of us hard headed ones wanted to trudge on not knowing what lied ahead. This first climb did require everyone to stretch rope. When I got crossed up pretty bad and on the verge of rolling I decided to use my newly rebuilt winch I was anxious to try out only to find out I had pinched my controller lead in my door and burnt the wires off the old 8274 so I had to be winched up with the assistance of Cory Lowman. Happily while everyone else was winching up I managed to rewire mine and got it working. Before the trip was over I really got to break it in pulling I’d say well over 2000 feet of cable if not 3000 plus. I pulled more cable in that 22 hrs than my whole 3 years of wheeling combined. It’s a good thing I got it working because we didn’t get another one hundred yards before the fun really got started. When I got to that section Jason Lacky was already towing Michael Juarez behind him since he was winchless and almost burnt his winch up pulling two vehicles. Once I winched up to where they were we decided for me to snatch Michael up the trail from behind. Once I pulled him as far as I could I used him as an anchor and pulled myself up. After about five or six times doing that and mangeling my snatch block we got to a little open spot and decide I needed to tow Michael while I snatched myself up. This was around five o’clock and the sun was starting down when Robbie Mozely made the statement that it would be well after dark before we got off that damn mountain. I thought it won’t take that long. Boy was I wrong. From the little open spot it was maybe 500 feet to the top give or take a hundred feet to the top of the mountain. With Jason Lackey, Larry Smith, and a couple others working their butts off pulling cable and moving my snatch block we managed to pull this section of the trail in about 1.5 hours or so while towing Michael behind me. I have no clue as to what all went on behind me during all this. I am hoping someone will do a little write up and tell us what all happened in the back of the group. It was around 9:30 when we finally got everyone to the top. Everyone was give out but happy being at the top assuming it will be easy sailing back down the other side of the mountain. You know what assume means right? It makes an ass of u and me and that it did. After eating a little supper and calling the wives we headed down the mountain only a short distance when Jason came over the radio and stated “Guys we may have a big problem.” The trail made a hard left turn straight down the mountain at a very, very steep angle. By this time my Mason was wore out and already asleep and I was getting concerned what I was going to do with him if we got into a dangerous situation. Jason and Larry scouted down the trail and found two ledges with in forty feet of each other that I would compare to Easy Out in Mt. City. They were probably four to five feet plus drops considering I was bellied out with my front tire close to a foot off the ground. This was about the time I started getting real concerned whether we were going to get everyone off that mountain safe. From there we devised a plan to anchor three or four vehicles together with our winches and let each other down one at a time except me and Michael. Since he didn’t have a winch RJ had to let both of us down at the same time. Thanks goes out to Larry Lowman and Daniel Lackey for taking care of Mason while I was let down I don’t know what I’d done without ya’ll. Needless to say I was very apprehensive about being lowered down the side of this mountain with two of us on one winch cable and my D-rings about to pull out of the back side of my Jeep. But we had no other choice. It was about 12 AM Sunday morning when I got to the bottom of that section and I had to walk back straight up the mountain maybe 200 yards just to turn around and carry Mason back down to the Jeep. By this time my ass was dragging. Rodney Eppes was the last one to come down and unfortunately he had to let himself down backwards while acting as an anchor for a couple others. I was not up there at the time so I don’t know what or how things went. I can only imagine what Rodney was thinking going down all this backwards. Hopefully he will chime in and give us the play by play. By the time Rodney got down it was probably around 3:30am or so. A few of us in the front decided to scout ahead and see what we had a head of us. We found a split in the trail with in a hundred yards and decided to stay straight instead of turning left down the mountain and Jason seemed to think that trail was more of an atv trail so we decided to turn around and go the other direction. Jason and Larry went ahead and called back and said it was fine and to come on. Well two of us went on down about fifty yards when Jason called back and said “Stop! This is not good guys”. According to their report the next section was worse than anything we’d already done and there was no way we were going to be able to go that way. From this point we really had no other options or any clue as to where we were and how we were going to get out because we knew there was no way possible to go back the way we just came. We had vehicles very low on fuel and it was pretty cool with a good wind blowing. Everyone including me was getting very concerned about how we were getting out of this God forsaken place alive and with our vehicles. There was even a little chatter about calling 911 for some help. From this point we decided that Jason and Larry needed to go as far as they could on the atv trail to see if there was any way to get our full size vehicles through. Robbie had his chain saw so we thought we could cut ourselves a trail if need be. After about 20-30 minutes the Lord smiled down on us and RJ got a phone call from one of our scouts and said they made it through and ended up on the same trail just before the first hard section we had to winch up. I could just hear the sigh of relieve all the way back through the caravan. So we all started our engines just hoping to make it out without running out of gas. Around 5:30 we winched the last Jeep out of the big wash we had come up the day before and we were home free. Now we just had to figure out where we were and how to get back to the parking lot. After a wrong turn or two and having to turn around we made it back. I pulled into camp at 7:30 and the sun was already up. This was after I ran out of propane within 200 yards of the campground entrance. Just luckily Cory had a little left in one of his tanks to get me back.
    I will always believe that the good Lord was with each and every one of us for the twenty-two or so hours on that mountain looking over us especially the downhill part. All it would have taken was one sleepy mistake or one faulty winch, cable, or strap and our night could’ve ended in a very, very bad way. I still can’t believe we made it through all that with the worst thing happening is a flat tire on Randy Sloan’s Jeep and an air compressor problem on mine that was easily fixed. This trip is one that will go down in the CTB history books and will be talked about by the campfire twenty years from now. Some may not believe or understand the story but the nineteen of us that was there was lucky to live through it to be able to tell about it. All I have to say is there is no picture or words that can really make someone understand the night we had on Hell’s Hill as I’m now calling it. You just had to be there.
     
  2. 77GreenMachine

    77GreenMachine Phillip Talton

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Location:
    Trinity, NC
    awesome story man! thanks for sharing. glad everyone made it safely home. have some crazy stories myself but nothing like that. makes me think real hard about buying a GOOD winch.
    got any pics of this trip?
     
  3. amcjeepman

    amcjeepman Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Reidsville, North Carolina
    That sure tops the Robbinsville 13.5 hr winch fest from several years back, hate I missed it.
     
  4. Webbinator

    Webbinator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    York, SC
    What, no pics. LOL, just kiddin'. Awesome writeup on the ride. Glad everyone got back to camp unscathed except for frazzled nerves. Long day to say the least.
     
  5. lockedup5

    lockedup5 overcompensating underachiever

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Burke County (Hildebran)
    I've got a few pics I'm going to post when I have a little time.
     
  6. Lankford

    Lankford Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Sophia, NC
    I took a couple pics before the winch fest started.
    ai1000.photobucket.com_albums_af129_lank727_CTB_Coal_20Creek_20March_202011_DSCF1172.jpg
    ai1000.photobucket.com_albums_af129_lank727_CTB_Coal_20Creek_20March_202011_DSCF1158.jpg
    ai1000.photobucket.com_albums_af129_lank727_CTB_Coal_20Creek_20March_202011_DSCF1159.jpg
    ai1000.photobucket.com_albums_af129_lank727_CTB_Coal_20Creek_20March_202011_DSCF1161.jpg
    ai1000.photobucket.com_albums_af129_lank727_CTB_Coal_20Creek_20March_202011_DSCF1162.jpg
    ai1000.photobucket.com_albums_af129_lank727_CTB_Coal_20Creek_20March_202011_DSCF1164.jpg
    ai1000.photobucket.com_albums_af129_lank727_CTB_Coal_20Creek_20March_202011_DSCF1165.jpg
    ai1000.photobucket.com_albums_af129_lank727_CTB_Coal_20Creek_20March_202011_DSCF1169.jpg
     
  7. lockedup5

    lockedup5 overcompensating underachiever

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Burke County (Hildebran)
    Here is a few I took. After the winch fest started I didn't really have time to take any.
     

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  8. lockedup5

    lockedup5 overcompensating underachiever

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Burke County (Hildebran)
    few more
     

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  9. k5-1402

    k5-1402 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Burlington
    This trip definitely made me realize that being locked front and rear with good tires was not enough. A good winch is the first priority for the jeep before I hit anything more aggressive than Uhwarrie. I felt very bad about other people having to winch me up the hill, but it also made me very glad i spent money on solid bumpers and tow points.

    This trip also reminded me about bringing everything you might need for the trail, even if its only supposed to be a day trip. As it came night fall and people were getting colder and running low on gas and starting to ponder if we were sleeping on the trail i remembered all I was taught when i first started wheeling about preparing for anything, but then pushed to the side i never used it.
    From now on there will definetely be extra coats, food, water and FLASHLIGHTS (i think there were only two or three between all of us) in the jeep.

    Thank you to everyone who helped Sara and I, (believe it or not she said she would go again), through the trail, especially Jason and Kenneth and rest assured, I will have a winch very soon.
     
  10. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Great write up! I hate I missed this run, especially now! Glad it all worked out for everyone.
     
  11. Dylan W.

    Dylan W. lone resident of Bro-Lite Island

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Mocksville NC

    yeah that was no fun at all...but looking back, it's always great memories.

    I also remember riding windrock a while back and going up up up up then back down down down a trail that took forever and was no fun at all. Seemed like that trailride took quite a few more hours than expected also.

    Ya take the good ya take the bad you take em' both and there ya have...WHEELIN':driver:
     
  12. LARRY SMITH

    LARRY SMITH Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Location:
    Gastonia
    Ride

    This was one of the best rides I have done in a long while. Sure it was long, only because it was extremely wet. I plan to do this trail again in a couple of months, when it is dry, if I can get people to go with me. I have ridden Coal Creek many times and know there are numerous trails of all levels. It is a great place.
     
  13. lockedup5

    lockedup5 overcompensating underachiever

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Burke County (Hildebran)
    Larry I'd go back w/ you. I would like to actually see the trail we rode in the day time. We just need to start it a little earlier.
     
  14. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    I will have my rig back together in a week or so. I would be in as well Larry!
     
  15. Jeremy1977

    Jeremy1977 Well-Known Member

    Great story! Praise the LORD! I have been there and its not fun. Glad you guys got out ok.
     
  16. Granny

    Granny One day at a time...

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Location:
    Cabarrus County (Rimertown)
    I talked to Robbie on Sunday evening and got a few bits & pieces of, but the writeup was definitely the frosting on the cake... good job, Kenneth!
    Honestly, I think I am comfortably happy that I stayed home this time. This is a little more than I want. Glad y'all made it out OK and no casualties. :driver:
     
  17. frankenyoter

    frankenyoter No Rain, No Rainbow

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    DARK CITY
    I rode that place twice on bikes and both times I had no clue where I was. I recall thinking that they needed better markings on trails and an accurate map. Once I rode to the wrong end thinking I was almost back to the truck. Never wheeled there, but I can only imagine. Great write up. :popcorn:
     
  18. GubNi

    GubNi 8 lug disc brakes?

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Jonesborough, TN
    Larry count me in if you go back also. Pm me
     
  19. StrokedWJ

    StrokedWJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    Fletcher, NC
    Is trail 23 Atomic ridge? On our first trip there we got to this big-ass rock and decided we wanted our doors to keep opening/closing so we turned around...LOL.

    aimg.photobucket.com_albums_v366_rradford9_atomicridge.jpg
     
  20. lockedup5

    lockedup5 overcompensating underachiever

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Burke County (Hildebran)
    If I'm not mistaken 10 of us came down that around mid night that night. It looks alot different durning the night.
     
  21. rjm11cj7

    rjm11cj7 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Valdese
    No that is the first obstacle that we all went around and still all winched
     
  22. lockedup5

    lockedup5 overcompensating underachiever

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    Burke County (Hildebran)
    You sir are correct. I remember walking down that now while we were scouting the trail. We did choose the lesser of the two evils and still winched everyone.
     
  23. rodney eppes

    rodney eppes Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    Mt.Holly NC 28120
    Poor Ol Tail Gunner

    Well, I did leave some comments on the CTB site. Just found Keniths' story. Terrific story, & every word TRUE! Glad there weren't more of us. WE had more than we could handle. I don't think position in line [tail gunner], made much difference. Great pictures; just turn them up about 45 degrees. Imagine being dark, no moon, too muddy to walk, & feeling LOST! Only packed lunch, & 1 mini flashlight, that should have gone dead. It still burns! Most of the pictures, look like a highway, to what we winched. Thanks to ALL that helped pull cable. Did all I could; some are in better shape, than others. When I had to winch down backwards, RJ, did most of cable work, while Robbie directed me with a flashlight. THANKS Guys! I was more than nervous about my winch spooling backwards, by itself; not to mention bad wire rope. I hit the parking lot with 1/4 tank, of 21 gal. RJ, how far did U run on empty???:shaking:
     
  24. tincan

    tincan New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Location:
    Knoxville TN
    To bad you didn't do a little resarch about what you were going ride. There is a bypass about 30 yards before that big drop off coming down the trail. You can run that trail both ways but that is considered running it backwards.
     
  25. rodney eppes

    rodney eppes Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    Mt.Holly NC 28120
    I certinaly agree on research, but most had maps, don't remember a bypass being shown, & in the darkness, we didn't see anything. There is a real lack of signage,& or trail markings.
    Thanks for the input.
     

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