Things got all "Jack London" on me...

Use that 4x4 switch on your Path and go get dirty!

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Things got all "Jack London" on me...

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:25 pm

Yup, it's snow season here. I drive an '06 Pathfinder (with a new rad) as my gravel road / off road fishing and kayaking vehicle. New Toyo AT2's have made an impressive difference. Besides airlift bags and a bunch of racks it's stock. It presently has a pane of window glass replaced by duct tape. More on that in a bit.

This story took place last weekend North of Lake Superior. I decided to go for my first brook trout ice fishing trip. I picked a small cold water lake a bit more than 20 km North of the Trans Canada Highway. The ice should be around 6": Plenty thick for walking.

On the drive up the temperatures were dropping and the 5 cm of snow in the forecast were well on their way. I pulled into the lake and was listening to "Quirks and Quarks" as I got changed. As I exited the vehicle the sleeve of my heavy winter coat brushed the "Lock" button on the armrest as the door swung shut. FUuuuuu...

The ignition was on, and I was locked out. I was dressed for the weather but had nothing with which to break into a vehicle. With the ignition on I knew had limited time in which to open the Pathfinder. I tried prying open doors, the tailgate glass, all to no avail.

After accepting that glass must be broken I tried using one of my ice self-rescue picks to break the small rear passenger door window. Did not meet with success. Even a good sized boulder merely bounced off (!). Losing my temper, only slightly, I found a nice baseball bat sized piece of hardwood which did the trick. It also put a nice dent in the door as it snapped. (It's Ok, It's not the first)

As I open the door I set off the alarm. The horn beeps with a lower and lower tone! The battery was just about done. After turning off everything and waiting for half an hour I tried starting the vehicle. Nothing but clicks.

Thankfully I was prepared to survive a night in a snowstorm, but not comfortably. It also dawned on me that the road leading to this lake would not see a snowplow. If the truck didn't come out by morning I may be leaving it till April. 18 km of plowing? Ain't nobody got money for dat!
Hiking out seemed like the best option. I loaded up a backpack with warm clothes, food, water and my one and only fishing beer. I also had a lighter, headlamp, GPS, and cell phone; which at this location is merely a paperweight.

I started my four hour hike in a fairly foul mood, but kept reminding myself to not "walk angry". I walked at a steady pace, in a sweatshirt. My heavy coat was trapping too much condensation. The snow became more than ankle deep after an hour or so. After about 4 hours of brisk hiking my heavy boots had chewed some bloody holes into my heels, and I found some relatively fresh tire tracks.

I followed the tracks to a camp (cottage) by a lake and knocked on the door. The young lady who cracked the door slammed it shut with alarming force. I can only assume my appearance was alarming. Her father and boyfriend (?) were kind enough to drive me back to my truck and give me a boost with their F150. A 40km round trip to help a stranger! ...on my next trip in the area I will leave a two-four :-)

On the drive back to the Pathfinder the driver of the F150 asks "You didn't come down with a dog did ya?"
"No, why?"
He points at my still-visible tracks, which are paralleled by a large set of canine tracks. "No I don't own a dog. I guess that was a curious wolf?"
The wolf tracks were visible off-and-on for the next 2 km before the snow obscured them.

That's why I still have a duct-tape window in my Pathfinder. Replacement will apparently be installed last Wednesday, uh, no, make that on Monday. Maybe...

Lesson learned: Hide a spare key on the vehicle.


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Postby leadpig » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:52 pm

Great story!

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Postby NVSteve » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:03 am

leadpig wrote:Great story!
Ditto! I keep one of those emergency glass breakers in the center console, but kind of pointless if I were in Heisenberg's situation. At least in my case, I always have skis with me when I'm out on snowy roads. Not that I wouldn't still be pissed.

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Postby Touchdown » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:19 pm

That is a great story!
Glad it all worked out.

I'm thinking a little mace next time might come in handy if the critters get more than curious!

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Postby Heisenberg » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:21 am

Yup, it was a learning experience. Wolf attacks are pretty much unheard of around here, at least on healthy humans (pets disappear on a regular basis). I have had a few run ins with them in the past, and mostly they just seem curious.

About that mace thing: I just took the bear spray out of my fishing pack, as the bears are now fast asleep. Bear attacks have increased. Some of my acquaintances have bear stories which make the above seem like a walk in the park.

While the Pathfinder is not an exceptional rock crawler (by Jeep standards) I've found it to be unbelievably good on forest roads and in the snow. Decent tires make all the difference. I recently mangled the plastic front bumper by plowing snow with it. A heat gun took care of most of the damage...


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Postby Graham W » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:56 am

I know this thread is old, but was pleased to see all ended well

on trips ive often thrown in the boot a trolley jack and breaker bar, and a starter battery pack.

Have often thought of putting a keysafe on the rear chassis. couple of my mates surf and lock their keys in there so not to loose get wet or nicked.

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Postby palmerwmd » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:27 pm

Also just read this now. What a adventure!

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