Stuck in the Mud

I truly believe that some of the most memorable outdoor experiences include mud and trucks. Regardless the size of your tires or the make and model of your favorite off-road vehicle I’m confident that you have a good old-fashioned gettin’ stuck story.

This is a tale about a Saskatchewan range road (RGE RD), two Fords, and three friends who failed miserably to push a rental vehicle out of a rut – albeit a really deep and sloppy rut. On a recent trip to the Quill Lakes Region of Central Saskatchewan I tested the resolve of a Ford Expedition and the patience of my snow goose hunting cohorts – 2-time World Champion goose caller Field Hudnall and camera operator Jory Baugher.

It was mid-May and we were on location actively pursuing snow geese with my good friend Prairie Rose Outfitters owner Craig Rath. The weather was good and the hunting was even better. The snow line had only recently retreated from the Dakotas, melting rapidly north, leaving this area of the Prairie Pothole Region dotted with fresh pools of water and remnant sheet ice. It was a great habitat for traveling waterfowl.

The reverse migration was in full swing as ducks and geese instinctively made the push north back to the breeding grounds. By all accounts this was an unusual year, historically the snow is gone weeks earlier with the large flocks of migrators following close behind. We took full advantage of the recent change in weather; as did the farmers who had been patiently waiting for the snow to melt and fields to partially dry so the spring planting process could begin.

While scouting one fine evening I chose a road less travelled. Turning north off Canada’s Yellowhead Highway onto a range road that will remain nameless, (Craig will undoubtedly appreciate my discretion) I failed to notice the absence of fresh tracks. But, in my defense the road surface looked and felt solid underneath my tires. In fact, we traveled a good half-mile down that road before things got interesting, and by interesting I mean sloppy. We experienced the typical side-to-side fishtail action, the always-popular spinning tires with audible boost in RPMs, and finally, the unavoidable stall. Then there was a short moment of silence as we all began to calculate our distance from the nearest town; and two seconds later an assortment of colorful words filled the air.

I think it’s important to note that you reach a point in every pre-stuck scenario where one of two things occurs: 1) You immediately recognize your predicament and stop or 2) you hesitate ever so slightly, maintaining diminished confidence in your current heading, and then giv’er hell – I chose the latter. Unfortunately things didn’t turn out as I had hoped. Long story short, having farmers in the field proved beneficial. Our savior was a 7.5-liter 6-cylinder diesel 8240 Ford Tractor.

So, this blog goes out to all those anonymous rural strangers who are quickly befriended by the recently stuck. To those farmers and ranchers who willing put their tractors, chains, and tow straps to good use while refusing to accept anything other than a firm handshake as a token of appreciation, I thank you!

Mike Garner Outdoors
mike garner outdoors

Chippewa has teamed up with Mike Garner, a lifelong sportsman and television personality with a love for everything outdoors, to bring you Mike's journey across the United States in his Chippewa boots.

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