June 19 2011
This might be an old post but one worth sharing, two Jeeps a CJ on 39s, and an LJ on 38s hydro locked and buried in the swamp on the Lingham Hydro Line. Hats off to all involved in the recovery, it’s people like you guys that keep the camaraderie going. The original thread was started on Jeep Kings and can be viewed here.
I just wanted to come on here and get a bunch of things off my chest. Some of it will sound repetitive to a few of you and this may not seem too interesting to many, but I just wanted to acknowledge everyone for the role(s) that they’ve played in collectively accomplishing what seemed to be the impossible. Before getting specific, I wanted to clarify a few things to avoid any misunderstandings.
I e-mailed Grimm from Rob’s cell phone as I sat comfortably inside BadThumper’s Rubi (watching helplessly as so many were busting their asses). I was watching these diehards (for hours upon hours) in the longest swampy mosquito-infested water hole as they worked together in beating their equipment and bodies to the breaking point (of their own free will)… all of this to recover people who they have probably never even heard of… Ok, everyone knows Rob, and the outpouring of support for him was extended to me without prejudice. I’m not kidding when I say that they all had huge smiles on their faces. I would have felt better if some had expressed any sort of resentfulness for having to go through such an undertaking, but no. As I sat there reflecting, the extent of this massive undertaking was sinking in profoundly. I found myself struggling to come to terms with all of the many sacrifices that everyone was selflessly making on account of us. (fuel costs, dropping their personal itineraries and prior plans at a moments notice, sleep deprivation, the water, the bugs, lost time off work, or going to work on little to no sleep whatsoever, hurrying on such short notice to make last-minute repairs to take part and assist, to breaking on the trail pushing their rigs to their limits… you name it). A truly humbling experience to say the least. I feel a sense of appreciation on so many levels that it can’t be justified by expressing them in words.
I did want to touch on the fact that I sent Grimm a short “trail recovery progress report” to relay back to those on JK who couldn’t attend and who were still following the thread closely. I’ve never seen such a mission-oriented group of guys in my life. They didn’t let off with the pace and it was clear that there was no way that they were leaving there without accomplishing what they came there to do… no matter how long it would take! They drove in there in daylight and left the loading site to watch the sunrise after spending the night on the trail. Giving up, or quitting was just not an option to this band of brothers. I felt awful that I wasn’t in there grinding it out with the rest of them and it made me feel so inadequate and undeserving. It was a very humbling experience, to say the least. I’ve never felt so shitty about something in my life and I got to the point where I really needed to vent a few of the things that were going through my mind to someone I know that I can express some of my frustrations to. After passing along that brief progress report to Grimm, I continued my e-mail in the next paragraph “Between you and me” kinda ranting about the mixed-up emotional state I was in, but it got posted along with the message that I wanted to pass along in the opening paragraph. I’m not reneging on any of the things that I said, In speaking to Grimm I wasn’t very clear either. I want everyone to know that I didn’t want the post to be about “my” struggles, or being interpreted as though I am complaining, or trying to lay blame on anyone. I was experiencing a moment of weakness and just blowing off steam to a friend in confidence as I was trying to process everything that impacted my poor judgment on the trail. I didn’t mean to drag this out in this way on an open forum, or anything. I really just want to express nothing but gratitude on this thread and focus on the good that I saw. I know that I did already, but to clarify once again… I don’t blame anything that led us to our predicament on anyone, but ourselves. At the time, I was really confused as to how while we were traveling along on the main trail that we went from 2wd high range for over 20 km at 25-30 km/h like I had anticipated to almost suddenly impassable 4ft+ water (at the deepest spot) 90% of the way to dry ground in a 450ft water crossing with seemingly no clear exit in an instant. I don’t know if I was in complete denial, or just so bewildered that I just thought that I wasn’t looking closely enough, or what. I think that after 1.5 hrs of that kind of consistency we became complacent and had allowed ourselves to be in a situation where our focus had slowly shifted enough that we dropped our guard like a frog in lukewarm water who slowly boiled over and we’re in too far before we realized it. Regardless, We’ve been in this sport long enough to know better and that’s the bottom line. I take full responsibility for my mistakes. What we’ve learned will never lose its importance.
With that cleared up…
I, and I’m sure that I speak for Rob when I say this too… we just wanted to openly acknowledge and thank the many selfless individuals who played such an integral role in ensuring that this recovery would be a huge success (against seemingly impossible odds). In no particular order… and I hope not to forget the names of the many great people who worked so hard while shying away from accepting much of the credit.
Dean and his monster Jeep on 44’s. Without you literally being in the trenches as far in as you were… this recovery would not have stood a chance. If you would have said, “enough is enough” (which I would have supported wholeheartedly) the recovery would have certainly fallen apart like a house of cards. I’m still in disbelief of your tenacity. You never once looked like calling it a night had ever crossed your mind. Had you not been there, we would not have our Jeeps right now, and nor would you have sustained the damage to yours. You pulled, winched, and drove your Jeep harder than most would ever be willing to for hours in total darkness. Please assess the damage to your front axle. I could clearly see that you need an outer, but let us know for sure once you’ve looked at it more closely. Rob and I want to pay for the shaft(s) that broke in that rescue.
Grimm, Andrew, Jenna, and all of those who’ve been bumping the thread and passing on the message to nearby clubs and forums… Thank you for helping to keep our search from getting lost in the pile.
Headhunter, that tip to get on Dentmyride was a true lifesaver. The moment Rob got on there, word got around to the locals in the area and he was inundated with calls offering assistance right away. Lowrad, you were one of the key organizers who was able to recruit such a motivated bunch of guys. When it was going on, you all looked like unstoppable machines and once it was all over it was like the adrenaline had worn off and I was surrounded by a bunch of zombies. You were exhausted and stumbling from sheer fatigue and it was apparent how far you guys dug down to wring out every last ounce of energy you had. You are a man of your word and got a team that could help get us out… just like you said.
Thanks to good guys like ELDiablo who were able to round up separate parties ready to act at a moment’s notice and all of the offers to drive our Jeep home on floats. Many of you gave notice that you were on standby to TB, or bring a recovery vehicle and that meant a lot to us to know that there were so many of you who were willing to help, if need be.
Thanks, BadThumper for the ride out from the loading site to the trail and for being so reassuring, keeping the mood light, and for offering me drinks, food, bug spray, and for checking in on me to see if you could do anything for me. You made me feel like we’ve known each other for years. I was trying to stay cool and calm when you were forging through the water hole to strap up even though I was feeling really uneasy. You backed out and said “My clutch is slipping, I gotta pull out” instead of “Andre looks like he is about to shit his pants!”. You stayed with us until the 11th hr and left yourself little time to get to work on time in the morning.
Rob was saying that one of the guys wore chest waders and was in the water the entire night with him doing a lot of the unpleasant stuff. Things that I should have been there to do
Ron was also a guy who made a real difference. He offered to sit in the water-logged soaking wet passenger seat (and backrest) to help me steer for the times that I had only one hand on the wheel and the other hand on the brakes in the twisty downhills. and simply sat the 2+hr ride out of the trail to keep me company. Zook was another one of those guys who makes you feel like you’ve been good friends for years. He shed a flashlight on the trail the best he could as I tried to see the obstacles between me and Bushwackers Cruiser. Man, Bushy must have suffered some mild whiplash after 2hrs of towing my sorry butt off the trail. Your Landcruiser worked like a champ as it crawled my boat anchor up some of the steeper more technical parts of the trails.
Thanks to everyone for recognizing the efforts of the recovery team(s). They all deserve to pat themselves on the back for a job well done. I applaud you and am giving a standing ovation for you all (in my mind) I can’t repay you all or thank you enough for what you guys did for us so willingly and without hesitation. I will always have your backs and please let us do more to compensate those of you who had to go out of pocket for this. I enjoy being the guy who is there for others, but I feel like such a freeloader when people rally in support of us the way that you guys did. Also thanks for taking some pictures and posting some of them on the thread
Thank you to all of the local club members who were there to help, including North Hastings, Northumberland, 4wildrides, BadThumper, New Frontier, and anyone who may have slipped our minds at the moment. Man, we’ve met so many good people. My wife doesn’t know anything about the weekend adventures other than that we got stuck real good and when I told her of the rescue efforts, she asked me how it is that I’ve always been so lucky. She says that I seem to always be surrounded by such good people as if we gravitate towards each other. If my wife doesn’t see it, that must confirm that I don’t deserve this kind of treatment either! LOL! Too bad she will likely never know just how tried and true of a friend Rob is to me. He never mentions it and doesn’t even like it when I bring up what he did for me. A great guy! My thanks go out to the OPP and the 2 officers Kevin Brown and his partner who gave us their extra coats and sweater to wear on their ATVs. The medics waiting at the trailhead… just everyone in general. Thank you. Please put up any pictures of the recovery that you have.
Also, I found that I have an extra shackle that doesn’t belong to me and I noticed that I am missing a yellow 30ft tow strap. If anyone is missing the shackle or has my tow strap please contact me when you can.
Again, thank you for all of your contributions and generosity. We are forever in your debt. I am dozing in and out in front of the computer. Fingers crossed that we included everyone! LOL!
Andre & Rob