August 22. 2013
Driving down the Denali Highway about 30 miles from Cantwell, I saw two men on the side of the road waving and looking like they needed help. I stopped and they told me they were hunting about 15
miles down the trail off the highway and their ATV got stuck. They had a winch but nothing strong enough within reach to hook it to. I grabbed my gun and unloaded my RZR while Beverly agreed to stay
with my motorhome, trailer and dogs on the side of the Denali Highway. The men jumped in my rzr and we headed into the wilderness.
Both hunters were wearing amo belts and had rifles plus handguns. It didn't take me long to slow down and get nervous. I started asking them personel questions. They are in the Air Force stationed
near Anchorage. The one siting beside me was from Alabama and the young man behind me was from Montana. It was their first time hunting in Alaska and their side by side was new. They planned to
camp out on the trail so the UTV was fully loaded with supplies to last several days. Soon, I spotted their machine with relief. It was sunk deep in the mud. Really a big side by side too, I think it was a
Honda, like a big red, and a four seater to boot pulling an atv trailer. We jumped out and the first thing one man did was grab his hand gun, take it out of the holster. Holding the gun, he looked at me
and I froze. With a worried frown on his face, he handed the gun to me handle first and asked me to put it in my RZR and keep it dry. I backed my rzr up to the mud and hooked my tow rope onto my
hitch and they got under the cold water and mud and hooked it to their UTV.
It was a lot heavier than my rzr and we didn't make much headway. They shoveled the mud from under the tires and I carried the wood that they had for their fire to them and they stacked the wood
under the tires hoping for traction. I finally moved the big red machine about an inch. The younger man ( twenty-three, he said) pushed while the other man about 25 years old steered. Another inch is
all we advanced. And so it went. Finally I truned my rzr around deciding to put some of the work on my winch. After much more digging, I asked them to unload their big red machine and they did. It took
a while as we didn't want to get all their supplies in the mud and water. Thankfully they stayed in the wet mess and passed the stuff up to me on the grass. We started pushing, pulling, and straining
again. Inch by inch we finally got it up on the grass. We reloaded it and they hooked up the atv trailer and off we went to find the highway again. A few miles down the trail the atv trailer broke loose and
turned over. The hitch was broken and we had to leave the trailer behind. We loaded the stuff in the big red.
Arriving at my motorhome, we were wet, cold and hungry. Thanks to Beverly for making us hot coffee and cooking a fast meal. I only made it another 20 miles down the Denali Highway that day. I pulled
over in a nice dry scenic spot and enjoyed the evening sunset. Please go riding, hunting, etc with a buddy who has a machine. You need two machines for a safe trip. Although I do feel more safe
everytime I go riding on Alaska's wilderness trails because the people I meet their are so friendly and giving, I know nature and machines are the ones that rule. The weather can turn very bad at
anytime, machines are unpredictable even if maintained regularly, and Murphy's Law always follows me. Be Prepared with two ATVs, tools, first aide kit, extra fuel, fresh drinking water, food, guns, and
amo. Oh yes, two dogs help too. I just wish I hadn't watched the movie "Frozen Ground" last week.