I, Hatch from Safari Straps, his son Kevin and two other Jeeps tackled the Dusy-Ershim trail in the Sierra Mountains. We drove 6 hours to the trail head. The trail is 33 miles long and has some of the most intense off-road driving I have ever done. And I spent 20 years in the Army driving Jeeps and Humvees all over the world. We wheeled for 5 days on what seemed to be a never-ending rock crawling trip.
Day 1 and 2 were the best days of the whole trip. We tackled Chicken Rock. It is a smooth slope that goes up at 45 degrees for about ¼ mile. Looks worse that it is. But it will make you think about it while you are looking at the sky driving up! We camped at Courtright Reservoir and caught some very nice rainbow trout that made for some good eats!
On Day 3 we tackled the infamous Thompson Hill. Thompson Hill is like doing the Hammers on a 45 degree slope at 9500 ft. The rocks are relentless and seem to move around after every Jeep goes across them. Trying to get the right line is very difficult as each Jeep moves the rocks around as they drive over them. I followed a CJ and we did a lot of rock stacking to get him through and then had to restack the rocks for me as he shot them out all over the place. At one point I had to put a tow strap on the CJ while he was hung up. The scary part was he was uphill from me and I had to pull him back towards me. It was a very slow, methodical move! I don’t have many pictures from Thompson Hill as we were too busy trying to survive it to take many pictures! After we got through Thompson Hill we made camp at Thompson Lake.
Day 4 saw us head for Ershim Lake. The trip to Ershim lake was a long one. We were going to split the trip to Ershim Lake into two days by staying at East Lake but decided to wheel all the way to Ershim Lake from Thompson Lake so we could spend two days camping before we wheeled out. The trip took almost 8 hours over some very treacherous terrain. Not as bad as Thompson Hill but pretty close in some spots! Needless to say we were all exhausted after that day of wheeling.
Day 5 was relaxing at Ershim Lake. We did some fishing but didn’t have the success we had on Day 1 and 2.
Day 6 we headed to Lake Camp Lake for overnight stay.
Day 7 was the day we wheeled out. Just as we started back on the trail the CJ lost it’s clutch linkage. After some very quick trail repair we were on our way. A little down the road my steering stabilizer got all jammed up and locked up my steering. After we removed that we were again on the way. Those were the only two mechanical failures we had on the whole trail. That in of itself is quite amazing considering what we put the Jeeps through. As we left the trail the most amazing views came into view. At 10000 ft. we could see all around the mountains. The views were amazing and to see all the lakes from that vantage point was breath taking!
We completed the trail and of course after airing up my JK developed Death Wobble. We tightened some steering bolts and off I went. I had to adjust the steering several times to get her home but she got home in one piece.
Now the fun begins…cleaning everything up and repairing the damage!