Looking North from Longwater Gulch

Hackett in January

     Well it’s January and once again our minds are on Hackett Gulch. Typically this is the last major run of winter before the serious snows hit. So off to Sedalia we go for the meeting point. I got there a little after 8 am with my son Joseph. With no one else there yet I switched on Channel 4 and waited. Soon I heard Bruce Minney calling for all Rising Sun rigs on their way to Sedalia. Bruce was the trail leader after Rob blew his head gasket and had to bow out. Turns out it would be Bruce and myself that day.
     We left for Deckers where we would pick up my cousin Bruce Luer. Yes there is more than one of us in town. He moved out here more than 25 years ago and his first ‘wheelin rig was a ’72 FJ-40. Bruce had listened to my stories of this club I belong to and finally got a chance to come along. He says he still loves to wheel just as long as he doesn’t have to drive anymore.
     So having picked up my cousin we headed for the main access road to the trailhead. While airing down to the usual 10 - 12 lbs. a group of 4 j**ps passed us by. As the day went by they would affectionately become known as the "Poodle J**P Club". Dubbed this by my cousin from his observation of a dog in each rig.
     The access road was icier than usual and we had to be more careful. When we came to the first long uphill climb Bruce Minney had to stop on his way up. The last member of the "Club" had lost traction half way up. Bruce finally got him to understand that airing down was a good thing. He eventually made it to the top where the rest of the "Club" was waiting for him. We took note that no one came to help him so we vowed to stay in front of the "Club" the rest of the day. Boy I like wheelin’ with the Rising Sun folks. We take care of each other. The only way to wheel.
     At the trailhead we checked air pressure and headed out just as the "Club" drove up. The trail, as was the access road, was also icier than usual so we took our time. Bruce had jumped in with Bruce by now to see how these rigs work versus his old stock unit. Big difference. The first obstacle was the rock and we conquered it easily all three times. Pictures and video you know. The next obstacle is that deep holed uphill portion that the ARB’s made short work of. My cousin true to his word still did not want to try this section by himself. We took a short break at the top.
     I was headed downhill when Bruce came on the CB and said he had a bad rattle. Turns out his right rear shackle had broken the mount point and was hanging free and clear. So that plastic coated cable he had been carrying for years and years finally had a purpose. We used it to tie the shackle to the mounting bracket and off we went. So now I’m trying to decide how much of this cable I should carry. Boy you can drive yourself nuts on this stuff.
     We got to the Platte River with no further problems and crossed on the ice to the bottom of Widow Maker for lunch. There is now a pipe and cable fence across the bottom of that obstacle. So after the Widow Maker stories and lunch were over we backtracked to the point where you go back downhill to cross the Platte again on your way to Longwater Gulch. Just as we left our lunch spot I cut a sidewall on a tree root of all things. Being we were aired down this let the sidewall get under the root and a pointed finger of the root hooked on the sidewall. Because I was rolling forward it had to catch and tear it out. Now I have to buy new tires. Worn down tires with a brand new full size spare. ARB’s don’t like the difference in circumference.
     When we got back down to the river I watched Bruce drive on the ice again to go around the open water and promptly drop his front end through the ice to where water was over his hood. I guess 2" of ice will hold up a team of horses and a load of hay but not a ‘cruiser as my cousin and I related back to our grandfathers old farm stories. With nobody else around and Bruce's winch under water and ice that left the 3500 lb. Cheeseman 4runner to pull him out. It took many full power hits but finally he came out. The engine hadn’t ingested any water so we were ok but this was our finest hour.

Abandon ship!

     We then crossed Terryall Creek which was not deep at all and the trail was dry for the most part. At the last crossing of the Platte Bruce did get out and check if there was enough ice for that team of horses and load of hay. Only then did he hurry across the ice. Then I new it was safe too.
     Longwater was a quick run out as we took our last views at the magnificent scenery of the Platte River valley. This truly is a beautiful area and a wonderful place to camp and fish.

Cheeseman's 4Runner

     Our last treat was of a picture-taking affair by some people on the side of the trail. One guy had the left front tire of a Cherokee up on a one-foot high pile of rocks. This was obviously a mighty obstacle worthy of recording on film. We very politely joked of nominating him for poster boy for 4 Wheeler of the Year.
     And so we aired up and drove off into the sunset after another day of awesome wheelin’ Rising Sun style.

Greg (Cheeseman) Luhr