Adventures above treeline

Hello all, are you glad the summer is over? Well I'm for it! It wasn't much of a summer around the ole cabin. Moose hunting for the month of September is now over. Though to be honest with you, not many were successful in getting their moose due to the area they were hunting in and warmer temperatures. Now that is over once again some of my trail buddies have decided to go and see if they can find and view the moose that did make it through the hunting season. Viewing should be easy now as the moose rut is about to start. This trip entailed collecting several of us with 4wheelers, one such 4wheeler being a Rhino. We picked an area we have been to before with some moderate success. Our trip down the road would eventually take us up to higher ground. After parking and unloading, adding the gear and rations we were off and running down the dirt road. From there we would turn off towards the higher elevations. Once turning off the road and onto the trail head, we had to go about a city block through water that came up and inside the Rhino floor. No problem here as others had to pick their feet up on the other 4wheelers that followed behind us. As we moved along over what we call a trail, leading us slowly up, the ride turns into a hysterically funny "hold on" rocky ride. It's amazing how the Rhino will move over rocks of many sizes, uneven ruts, valleys and what is left of some tree stumps with little to no problem. I hadn't once even thought about putting on the seat belt, though I did have several hand grips to choose from when we did lean - never once thinking I was going to fall out. As we slowly climbed higher up through the evergreens and various trees, the landcape opens up to a wonderful view down below.
What lies ahead of us is rolling tundra with peaks and valleys and a rocky trail left by many before us who have made the same trip up above treeline. There was a coolness in the wind that blew that day but all of us had dressed for the weather and came prepared. Our first stop at the top clearing we waited for the other 4wheelers to catch up and took a break stretching from the tretcherous ride. Ah it was nice to be up top again. It's always about the view looking down and across and as far as the eye can see when up on the mountains. Soon after our little break we were off and running again heading over more rocks that lie in the trail. Riding along I just soak in the view heading over to a ridge overlooking a valley where down below several of the guys had some luck in past years of hunting moose.

After several hours of riding to various spots and taking breaks searching mountain sides for moose, we were able to spot a bull moose and several moose cows. But as our luck would have it, they were on one side of the valley and we were on the other! Not as close as we would like though we did get to see moose which was our intention. Any day away from the cabin chopping wood for the winter months and the other required work is fine by me. One does not pass on a ride in a Rhino up above treeline. After a good day for all of us up on the open tundra we headed back across. My trail buddy I was riding with had the idea of taking a different route back down just to mess with the other guys on 4wheelers. The trail is rutty and lots of rocks lay on the trail in spots, with all the rain we received this year what trails we did follow were soft. We collected ourselves after our last break of the day and headed off. The tundra landscape is made up of scrub brush flat at times, roving hills and creeks all running down the mountain, of course. As we moved along approaching various parts of the trail, it was clear to me why we took this direction, mud, mud and more mud crossed our path! We stopped to survey several spots to see which would be the easiest route to travel. I got the feeling the guys thought this was no problem - until each of them started across the mud and found out differently! The end results would not be a pretty outcome.

One started across on his 4wheeler taking a direct route that would only bury his machine up to the bottom of his fenders. Rhino to the rescue for a pull out. Another 4wheeler turned over, and another almost getting stuck but did mange to get through the worst area of the mud. All meeting up again and deciding to make a new route in a different direction through a creek up a small hill and back to the trail that would lead us back to the route that brought us up here. Now of course, you have to go back down from where you came from. Only this time decending down the steep path required going over the same rocks (some I would call small boulders), crossing a moving creek and feeling rocks hit on the skid plate that protected the bottom, applying the brakes more than you would like, heading back through the evergreens and spruces slowly making our way towards the base of the mountain and back through all the water. Single file. Once down each of the wheelers took off down the dirt road to rid the build up of mud, better yet why not head to the neartest moving water, the Little Su River and run the wheelers through the water washing off the wheels and under the frame. All in all it was a great adventure up above treeline, seeing some moose, the openess of the tundra, guys having fun on their 4wheelers. As a passenger riding along in a Rhino, oh yes, you can bet there lies another adventure to the same area next year after moose hunting season is over.
Hope you are all having a nice fall and have winterized your surroundings!
See you on down the trail...
Buford T. Porcupine


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