Last: The Worst Day
Around this same time I moved from Lake City to Sherene's house in Ballard. I told myself that the next time I moved I would go somewhere with a big garage. Well, Sherene didn't have a garage, in fact, the only place to work on the jeep was on the side of the street. But it was a real quiet neighborhood and she said I could build a darkroom in the basement so that made up for the lack of a garage. Also around this time I became an official Cliffhanger member and it was at a monthly meeting that we planned our next trip.
Dale and some friends had visited some old mining camp up by Mt. Baker many years ago. Somewhat recently Dale and Don had tried to make it back up to this camp but couldn't make it very far past some obstacles. Well, they wanted to try again so we planned to go up that way the next weekend. Once we got up in the right neighborhood where logging roads would take you back to the trailhead we found out that the whole area was run by a timber company and the road we wanted to find might not be accessible any more. We drove back to find it anyway and sure enough about 100 yards from where the trailhead started was a big gate. It turns out that whole area is now an Elk preserve so there is probably no chance of ever getting back to Three Lakes again.
We couldn't go home without doing some sort of four wheeling so we headed back south down to the Lake Cavanaugh trails we had done before. We started up one that Dale and Don knew about before. It started with a long hill climb that looked really easy because it had bricks on it to keep it from eroding. Don made it up to the top and around the corner but when I got up to the top and tried to turn the corner I started spinning my wheels. It was a "pure traction problem" as Dale put it. The gooey clay had clogged up my AT tires and I was just spinning on the bricks. Don had to winch me up and around the corner. We went through that trail with no other problems and came out back on a logging road.
We then decided to go back up the same trail we went on before where we had to winch up Al. This time it was a little wetter and more eroded. Don made it up through the tight root notch with little problems. It was no problem for me because I was so narrow and I made it up again through what I now call "Flatfender gap". Dale had problems though. His jeep is basically the same width as mine except he has a Dana 30 front axle which is 3 inches wider and he also has 10" rims. Well, he had a locker in the back but didn't have any in the front like Don so he was not able to get up an over this root. We pulled out his winch cable so he could pull himself up the gap. What eventually happened was he wedged himself in-between the root on one side and a tree on the other and snapped his winch cable. That was enough for the day anyway so we headed home.