For any Jeep owner, mud is an obstacle of conquering. We see mud and immediately we are fearless children who know no limits. Mud is just wet dirt calling our names to sling about everywhere. Mud is a wanton desire to cover our tires and every inch of aluminum and steel. A good mud hole is also disguised as a treacherous foe to any overly fearless
seemingly arrogant and skilled off-road driver. Jeeping 101 tells us to always survey any obstacle, including mud.
Imagine our excitement on a warm, partly cloudy day in Prescott, Arizona. Winding dirt trails, pine trees, mistletoe, rain spurts and cool mountain air. Varying elevations of hidden valleys of alligator Juniper surrounded by soft, pristine prairie style hills littered with sandstone that resembles any fiery Arizona sunset. Mingus Mountain trails showcased the beauty of Arizona in all her glory.
As we began our descent off the trail we found what could only be any Jeep owners delight: obstacles. Obstacles in the form of the rich, rugged red sandstone generally found in Sedona. Obstacles by way of mud puddles from the recently rain quenched area. Shifting on the fly into four wheel drive we flexed our way along the rocks and slung mud when we could.
Until we came across the mother of all mud.
She taunted us. She was calling our name. She told us we couldn’t do it. She begged us to come play.
We were suckers. We violated a cardinal rule of Jeeping 101 which was to validate if any other tire tracks had been seen in that area. Validate if any other vehicles had gone through, as in seen on the other side of, the mud. Mud is oh so deceiving due to the hidden dangers and risk.
Blessed were we that we never Jeep alone. Jeep Rule #1 is like any other rule, the buddy system. Our dear friends were there to help be our moral support when we felt defeated and the gravity of the shit began to sink in to our situation. By shit, I do mean shit…the mud hole which was actually a putrid, rotting pile of waterlogged cow manure began to seep through the doors of our Jeep. Mind you, we are lifted on a 2.5″ Rock Krawler Stock Mod lift with 35″ tires and the funk of mud and water filled up the entire wheel wells and spilled into the doors and onto our floorboards.
We were in logging country, we could conquer this situation, somehow, someway. Quick thinking as I evaluated the situation and our surroundings. Visions of grabbing some logs for traction, sinking thoughts of possible flood damage, explaining this to my insurance company, offers of jumping out to help our dear friends that were also knee deep in the crap trying to push us out. I saw the logging truck and knew there was a winch on board, or at least that was the story I told in my head. Telling The Chad we needed to get that guys attention to help us before the stench and mud swallowed us whole. Emphasizing the situation for dramatic effect.
The Chad’s fight or flight reflexes kicked in. We threw open the top, The Chad jumped out and he asked our friends son to flag down the driver of the logging truck. All the while we kept the engine running, as The Chad leaped out I jumped into the driver seat and kept feathering the throttle to prevent the engine from stalling and taking on any water and mud. Praise God for our friends, all of our cat like reflexes, as well as the generosity of the logging camp driver who used his winch to humble us in our moment of broken pride and spirit, albeit a bit embarrassed too.
Where there is mud there is water. Water, if too deep, can cause serious damage to your engine, differentials, transmission, and, with newer models, the electronics. Mud acts in the same fashion as water only thicker, sludgier and quite frankly she’s a bitch to get out of the cracks and crevices of your Jeep. Think sand in your shorts at the beach.
What any driver needs to keep in mind is not lay off the throttle (gas) in order to prevent stopping and bogging down, as well as to prevent taking on water in the engine. A Jeeping 101 rule of thumb regarding mud should always be to never be too overly confident. When in real doubt, hop out and check the depth or avoid altogether if you do not feel comfortable in these driving conditions or obstacles and or do not have proper clearance. Remember to always Jeep responsibly.