Past Trail Rides of 2-Big Broncos 4x4 Club
Northwest Chapter

Impromptu on Reiter Pit - November 16, 1998


Impromptu on Reiter Pit Trails -- Gold Bar, WA

Map: Gold Bar, WA (Isabel Lake)

Overview

Reiter Pit and attached trail system is new to us. We found the gavel pit wide open and fun for playing around. The trail system will require more exploration and mapping on our part.

Our recommendation is to always travel with another truck - and a tow strap.

Directions to Trail Head
Out of Monroe, WA on Highway 2 you will pass through town of Gold Bar to Reiter Road exiting north off Hwy 2. Continue on Reiter Road for a couple miles finding Reiter gravel "pit" on the left side. Our trail head gets started just beyond Reiter Pit also on left side. Follow the trail/gravel road into power line trails and beyond to our first river crossing.

Impromptu run out of Reiter Pit
Joe Coppick's dad was in town on business, so we decided to leave work early and explore the area around Reiter's Pit. We got to Sultan at about 14:30 and found Reiter road, which heads north off of Highway 2 (just northeast of Seattle).

After about two miles on Reiter road, passing a gravel pit on the right side we came accross an off-road play area that is commonly known as Reiter Pit. We found a motorcycle (and rider) playing around there and asked for directions to Isabel Lake Trail. Just past the end of the pit we found a trail off to the left and followed it.

(we're not sure if this is Isabel trail or not)
This trail went through several large mud puddles, followed the powerlines awhile, then headed uphill and into the woods. We soon came to a creek crossing. It has rained the past few days so the creek was about 36 to 45 inches deep and 30 yards wide with a very swift current with rapids and torrents around and over the many large rocks.

It looked pretty nasty and turning back was probably the best move....so we put it into 4Lo and crossed! Kurt went first and went through the shallow part easily. The current pushed his rear end around a lot in the deep section and he bounced around quite a bit. He got some water in his Bronco, which came in through the open window.

Joe's Dad drove Joe's bronco through second, while Joe stood on the bank taking pictures. He followed Kurt's line and made it across just as easily. The plan was to stop, pose for a picture, and then pick up Joe (and me), but once he was going he didn't want to risk stopping and went right across the creek.

This left Joe standing on one shore with the two Broncos on the other shore. Kurt had to come back across a second time, pick up Joe (and me), and cross the creek for a third time.

Joe got in as a passenger in his own Bronco (with his Dad driving) and we continued up the trail. We came to some steep mounds and twisty turns as we continued along the trail. There were three more stream crossings, some of which had very challenging approach angles. There was a steep hillclimb with many slippery and wet rocks. At one point Kurt became fascinated with an old logging rope beside the trail, so we named the hill "rope rocks".

We came to an old log bridge over a small waterfall. The bridge was constructed sometime in the early 1940's for logging the area. It consisted of several thick cedar logs laid across the chasm close together. Some sections of the logs had rotted and fallen through and rocks had been placed in some of the holes. Carefully avoiding the large gaps in the bridge, we crossed with Kurt in the lead and Joe (returning to the driver's seat) followed across. Because of the approach angle, the front and rear wheels ended up in different grooves in between the logs so the broncos went across the bridge a little sideways.

Once across the waterfall, we faced a steep, rocky climb with water flowing down the trail. It was as if we were driving upstream in a steep mountain creek-bed. This was an interesting trail! As we went up and around the bend we came to a washout with several large, wet logs among the rocks.

In a very narrow section Kurt's forward progress was stopped when a log caught the inside of his rear wheel. in the process of maneuvering to get around this difficult section of trail, his bronco got sideways with his front bumper touching a log and the both rear wheels slipping. One front wheel was slipping also so there was no going forward. Unfortunately, his 9" rear differential was pushed up against a very large rock, so there was no going backwards either.

So there we were, standing on slippery wet rocks, ankle-deep in a cold mountain stream, at about a 25 to 30 degree incline, with Kurt severely stuck. It's 16:45. It's dark. Kurt didn't bring his hi-lift. He didn't bring his floodlight either.

Joe positioned his bronco so that all of the lights were aimed on the scene and carried his hi-lift jack up for Kurt to use. (I, meanwhile, found a nice dry spot to curl up and watch the antics) The first plan was to jack up Kurt's bronco and push it over onto the top of the rock and then try to back down the hill.

After getting Kurt's bronco on the jack, Joe's dad had a great idea: get a tow-strap around the rock and winch it out of the way. Kurt secured the rock and Joe hooked up the winch. Joe and Kurt made sure the rock moved along the proper path while Joe's dad skillfully operated the winch. It worked perfectly! The huge rock was relocated to a low spot in the trail and Kurt was soon unstuck.

Because it was dark, we decided to turn the broncos around and head down the hill. (I slipped on a rock at this point and got my fur all wet and was NOT HAPPY about walking through the water to get back into the bronco.) While turning around, Kurt bashed his tailgate into a tree, damaging it slightly. His rear window won't go up now, and I bet it was a cold ride home.

So now we went back out the way we came, but in total darkness. we crossed the log bridge by the light of the headlights and the bright white of everyone's knuckles.

The small stream crossings in the dark were very challenging and at one point both broncos slid into a washout, but escaped through judicious application of power. (thank goodness for the Detroit Lockers!) The real fun came when we arrived at that 30 yard creek crossing.

Imagine if you will: sitting in your bronco on the edge of a creek. It's pitch black out and you can barley see the far shore. You have no problem seeing the white foam of the rapids in your headlights, but you know that you will have to cross with your lights off. You know the creek is over 3 feet deep part of the way, and the bulbs will probably burn out if they are submerged while turned on. wow, that current is strong!

So that's how we felt as we did our best to pick the right line before shutting down the lights and plunging into the water. Joe went first, his dad holding a maglight out of the window to illuminate the worst spots. he made it! only a little water came in through the door, and power steering held up, although the alternator was slipping a little under the wet belt.

Joe let the water drain out of his lights, then turned around to point all of his lights at the creek to light Kurt's way. Kurt headed in and made it most of the way across and then ran up onto a big rock and got stuck. oh no! that water is starting to come into the truck and man is it cold! He backed up (with the help of the current) and took another line, started slipping over the rapids, caught a rock and bounced back onto the proper line, got traction, and leaped right into the shallow area!

Man, that was close. It was 2wd the rest of the trail, which just had some big mud puddles and then on home. I'm sure the 2-Big Broncos 4x4 club will be back to this trail.

Trail Length - More then 1.5-2.0 miles

Time Required - 3-6 hours Depending on weather, truck(s), and abilities

-Bernoulli, the Coppick family good-dog

Kurt Hartsig - bigbroncos@yahoo.com
1986 XLT BroncoJoe Coppick - 1975 Bronco