by Ken Sears
It started innocently enough—a short trip to Chappa Spring (southeast of Shoshone). With about 10 vehicles in tow (an unfortunate word, as it turns out), we started out and half an hour later, we were there. There was water in the spring, which is surrounded by palm trees. Old cars, a cabin, animal pens, and assorted buildings adorn the site, with a small stream running down the middle. It’s quite a surprise to see this much water in the middle of the arid surroundings.
While looking at the map, I saw a loop trail that would take us back to Shoshone. The night before, I was talking to Bob Oliver, an Old Timer. (An Old Timer is a man who is retired and talks youngsters [me] into doing stuff that will get them into trouble.) He said "Young fella, yesterday I ran that loop trail. It’s OK. Follow the pink ribbons." I was nervous about following pink ribbons. I prefer blue ones. But I said "Let’s go." Everyone followed. I was surprised--they don’t know Bob Oliver (O.T.) like I do.
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Down the trail we went, following the pink ribbons and tire tracks. At 3.75 miles, we were going to turn toward Shoshone. I looked hard for the turn. Diane was with me and she was looking too (or so she said). But I (or we) missed the turn.
Some weeks before, a woman (she shall remain anonymous) told me there is a road that goes from Chappa to Tecopa. At this point, we weren’t lost. We knew almost exactly where we were. But here was the chance to drive a new road to Tecopa.
Darn! There’s another pink ribbon! The good news is that it’s taking us toward Tecopa. For a few miles, everything was fine, but the wash was getting soft and wet; but we pushed on. The rest of the vehicles were following me like lambs to the slaughter. Finally the hard road to Tecopa came into view but where are the pink ribbons? Oh, no matter—all that separates us from the road is…is…is…MUD. And lots of it! I was a quarter mile from the road so I gave it a try, but it was no use. I bogged down. Everyone stopped except Tom Church. He didn’t want me to be stuck by myself so he got stuck too. Everyone else is OK. Help! Help! We were not stuck bad. Dale Self and Jeep came and quickly un-stuck us.
We have to turn back. On the way back we were off our original track so we stopped to look for that other loop to Shoshone. Dale and I drove back to find the track back toward Chappa. The rest of the people stayed where they were and the GPS crowd (John Page and Jim Neeld) started playing with their gadgets. I quickly found the track back to Chappa, but just as quickly, Jim found the loop road out. This is when the trouble started.
The rest of the vehicles started toward Jim and so did Dale and I. Soon, Warren Alksnis was stuck. I was about to get stuck. I drove over a thin layer of dirt covering a pond. Two hours later, after trying shoveling, a high-lift jack, one tow strap, unloading the vehicle, and one pull vehicle, I was still stuck—major stuck. It took all of the above and two vehicles to pull me out. We rejoined the waiting group and Jim Neeld led us out.
The moral of this story is…If an O.T. and an anonymous woman tell you about a track with pink ribbons, DO NOT take the road unless they are with you!
Thanks to everyone for helping get the stuck unstuck.