March 17, 2004
The 4wd safari was really exciting with a course including a variety of obstacles with each one becoming more extreme. There were five vehicles all with couples except me. A various stops in the course our guide who was on a walking trail near us would have driver and passenger change seats. This meant I was the only one who got to complete all of the obstacles. Terrain was up and down hill with plenty of potholes and mud puddles. Nothing more than two wide logs served as a bridge at one point.
We stopped at different places to receive instruction on how to navigate the obstacles. These included a large, slick, flat rock at such angle that we wonder if the vehicle would tip over onto it’s side. Another was a fairly steep ravine filled with water that could flood our brakes if we went too fast.
At one point all vehicles were halted and everyone got out to listen to the guide. We were standing a shear drop that if it was straight down it was only off a few degrees. Two metal tracks each the width of a tire were being hosed down by the guide. We were given instructions that we were to drive right to the edge and stop keeping a grip on the steering well to keep it straight and foot glued to the brake pedal. After a comment made by one person, thinking along my thoughts, we were told we could not close our eyes because the tracks were not there to keep the wheels in line, but as a guide. We could in fact jump the track and be in trouble. He gave us an explanation of how the brakes lock up and at what point to take your foot off and return to traction by accelerating. Now the guide gave a gently push and away I went. Wow, what an experience. The vehicle didn’t flip, didn’t careen into the walls very nearby, I was just fine.
Each of quickly parked our jeeps and ran to a viewing spot to see the others come down and to hear the sounds of the brakes skidding as well as any from the driver. This was one time I was glad I was not last in line as I usually am or else I would have missed out on this. To see the sheer drop from above, to drive it, and then see it from the bottom was really awesome. $80
From journal NZ Whitewater Sledging