This past weekend we made the trip to our first Chattanooga Offroad Monthly Meet! Put on by Chattanooga Offroad, this monthly gathering brings together rigs from all over the Southeast to meet and ride Tennessee’s awesome off road mountain trails on the first weekend of every month!
Starting our morning off at a Starbucks in Calhoun, Ga we met up with the Georgia 4Runners group and headed north. Immediately falling behind due to the size and lack of power the Trooper possesses, we eventually caught up with them at Mean Mug Coffeehouse just outside of downtown Chattanooga, the first meeting spot for the day. After grabbing a quick bite and cup of coffee, the caravan of 30+ vehicles headed to the South Pittsburg to meet a few more rigs and stage for the trail ride!
Once we were gassed up, Georgia group #1 headed to the Franklin State Forest for what we thought was going to be a nice easy day on the trail, we were wrong. Our group comprised of everything from complete build to stock 4Runners on their first outing. On the way in it was immediately apparent that the weeks of recent rain the Southeast has received we’re going to come into play.
Being the Troopers first time out we weren’t sure what to expect but we were quite pleased that it performed as advertised. Coming factory with 4.56 gears and a front locker, there wasn’t much that it couldn’t do. Following behind Matt Brueck’s built Nissan Frontier Pro 4x , we splashed and sloshed down the trail until we came across a fork in the road. Left would take us into a long, deep mud pit, right take us through some tight trees and over some fallen timber. Initially going right, we realized the fallen tree was quite slippery and was causing trouble for those ahead we cut left and powered the last third of the mud pit. Once we were through, we ended up at a cliff side photo spot and a turned around prepared to head back. And this is where our day went sideways…Heading back down the trail we arrived back at the dreaded mud pit, and the recovery seminar began. On our way back Georgia group #2 caught up to us and began to have some issues on the same tree we avoided the first time through. The next hour or so was spent freeing and turning around the oncoming group, including breaking out the Hults Bruk Akka to dispose of the aforementioned slippery fallen tree.
Once Georgia group #2 was turned around, we began getting ourselves out of there. There were two choices, back through the mud pit, or back the way we came. In retrospect the mud pit was the better option as more modded half of our group powered through it. (The Trooper would have made it I think.) So our only option was a small but extremely rutted incline, which we soon found was only do able with help. Fortunately, we had an awesome group of guys out there helping with the recovery! Matt Brueck, Steven Lash, Don Whitten, and Mason Gavin (on of the event organizers) among others really stepped up and got everyone out without any trail damage. None of which would have been possible with out the help oh Caleb Wilson and his bad ass 1st Gen Tacoma pulling everyone out!
Successfully getting back to the trail head, we were finally headed to lunch! Karley and Mason, the event organizers, had arranged a place for us all to meet and break out our cooking gear lakeside! Hanging out for an hour or so, trading stories, eating food, and showing videos, it was time to head back to the Peach State. Loading up the Trooper, Kelli (my copilot) and I kicked the mud off our boots and headed home! We really want to thank Chattanooga Offroad for putting this event on. The event was great, with lots of awesome vehicles and fellowship among other enthusiasts of the outdoors. Make sure to catch their next event Coffee & Copilots on 2.2.2019 at the CVT Store! Check their Facebook and Instagram for all the details!