• Welcome to the new NAXJA Forum! If your password does not work, please use "Forgot your password?" link on the log-in page. Please feel free to reach out to [email protected] if we can provide any assistance.

TORXreport: Northwest Fest 2014


NAXJA Forum User
NAXJA Member
TORXreport: Northwest Fest 2014
Naches, WA
June 27-29, 2014​

This year was the NWC's 11th annual Northwest Fest event, and personally my eighth year attending. The BOD this year chose to once again host it out of Naches, WA. A great centralized area for the chapter, which has some amazing wheeling, and gorgeous views.​

I had a pretty busy week leading up to NWF, but somehow managed to get all packed and loaded to roll out late Wednesday morning. I crammed the Nail Salon full of camping gear and raffle prizes, and hit the road. No bubbles, no troubles on the drive up.

I rolled into camp around 3pm, to find Redjeep2.0 all set up and out playing with his tripod. Later that night, and early the next morning the Skinner Boyz, and Curtis rolled in.​

We all slowly got rolling the next morning and decided to head out to run some trails on the south side of 410.

My rig shut off unexpectedly on the climb up to Little Bald Mountain. After some quick troubleshooting we narrowed it down to a pissed off CPS. I put it in it's place, and it behaved itself the rest of the trip. Our group at the top overlook.

Pictures were taken.

The views never get old, year after year.

There's a small cabin at the top that a local snowmobile club looks after.

I had a look inside. It's actually pretty cool, and I could see it being a sweet place to spend the night in the snow. I signed the NWC into the guest book, and closed the door behind me.

From Little Bald Mountain, we continued up the ridge to the beginning of the 696 Mud Springs trailhead. This trail is usually 50/50 on whether it's snowed in or not. Progress was good, but we did hit a few drifts.

This one actually turned out to be pretty fun to traverse. Even got a smile out of Nick.

Adam gave the wife a little scare on his way down.

Moving on.

Mud Springs makes it's way along the ridge side, and winds through the trees. Not a difficult trail, but pretty scenic and fun.

We stopped to grab a bite to eat, and Curtis noticed his power steering fluid was literally boiling out of the reservoir.

We finished the trail, made our way down the hillside, and took the highway back to camp.

While refueling at Whistlin' Jacks we saw a few XJ's roll by. Always a nice sight during NWF. A little while later we came across those same XJ's stopped alongside the Little Naches road. I had a suspicion they were looking for camp, and come to find out they were.​

Once we arrived at base camp, I met Jim in his "Adventure" edition XJ, and Nick and Hiedi who all made the trek out from the Spokane area. Rod and his crew had arrived, Joe had made camp, and the BronzeWyrmFamily rolled in a bit later.​

Rod was itching for a night run up to Ravens Roost, but 13 miles of gravel didn't sound that appealing. Adam, Nick with Jim riding passenger, Curtis, and myself all headed up Kaner Flats for a night run up Aardvark Hill.

Pit stop.

Aardvark was dry, and we all were able to crawl right up the main line.

We made it back to camp in about an hour and a half, and Jim was still grinning ear to ear.​

The next morning we all lined up, ready to hit the trail 0930.

Over the night before we received a good shower, so the trails were good and slick. Nick quickly got a taste of the Naches sidehills.

We got to the first big hill climb, which proved to be a good slick challenge for most.



Eli was sporting a YJ open/open on 33's. He needed a little assistance making it past a root at the bottom, but eventually climbed to the top.

Joe brought up the tail, and as usual made short work of it.

The group continued on, and eventually found themselves at the bottom of Aardvark Hill. With Mnkboy riding codog, I was first to give it a shot. I locked the rail shifter in second, and pinned it to win it. We quickly found ourselves basically doing a semi-controlled U-turn middle of the trail. I just wasn't finding any traction. I got the nose pointed toward the by-pass, and once again pinned it to win it. Momentum was key, and I never let off until I was over the top.​

I hiked down to catch Adam in Quad Trails one shotting the main line.

Curtis is always entertaining to watch on the trail, and he also followed Adam right up the main line. Some logs stopped his progress, but he was able to find traction and roost his way to the top.

Others played it safe with the bypass, which by itself was no easy task with a sharp corner.
Jim kept up like a champ all day with his open/locked rig on 33" All Terrains.

Nick and MnkyboyJR main lined it.

Eventually we popped out into the Lilly Pond meadow.

Waiting for the tail end to catch up.

At this point I proposed the question of what we wanted to do at this point to the group. Head down Lilly Pond to the rocks, or continue over the ridge and make a day out of it. I was pleased to hear pretty much everyone was in for making a day out of it. Only old timer Mojojojo chose to head back to start drinking beer. I can respect that.

The rest of us pushed on up the ridge. The trail then began to break out of the muddy tree sections, and break out onto the rocky ridge side.

I knew this particular rocky section would be a good obstacle for the group. Last year it seemed like the right side was more dug out, so I opted to try the left side. I hooked a tire on a tree root, which quickly filleted my sidewall. I pulled cable to a flat spot where Jim, Chris, and Curtis basically changed my tire in pit crew form. Thanks, guys!

While I was blocking the left line, most of the group made there way up the right line. BronzeWyrm went left.

Jim went left.

Shortly after we crested the ridgeline, and found ourselves wheeling through a landscape of charred and burned trees. Mid summer of last year the area experienced a pretty decent forest fire.

It was kind of surreal to wheel through considering last year this was all dense forest we were bouncing our rigs through.

Making our way down String trail.

From String we hooked up with Tipover trail, and made our way down the hill side.


From Tipover we began Tripod Flats, which continued to meander through the trees. We were going on six or seven hours at this point, but you couldn't let your guard down. Jim managed to lose a mirror, GreashamNick lost a window, SpokaneNick added a good scuff to the driver door, Curtis broke a window, and I'm sure a few others added a new scuff or two.

Eventually though we were back on top of the ridge, and headed to the rocks. My plan was to stay to only stay for a bit at Funny Rocks, and save the real fun for the following day. However, it was hard not to jump right in. Adam drove up the Ledge Climb, and headed for the Crack, while Ryan proceeded to total his rig on the Ledge.

MnkyBoy and I watched as he broke an axle, sheared one side of his motor mounts, put the fan through the radiator, and then bound up the shafts enough to pop out both ball joints. That's a bad day right there.
While Ryan was getting started with repairs, Curtis also got into a pickle on the Crack. Bent draglink, and broken axle.

With some time consuming trail repairs getting started I talked to the rest of the group, and insisted they head back to camp (mistake #1). I tried to describe the route out best I could (head down hill, stay on the main road, etc), and give a brief overview on my (come to find out sketchy)map. Joe, Eli, and SpokaneNick then headed out for camp. Meanwhile the rest of us circled in on Ryan to assist with repairs, but mostly supervise.

Surprisingly Ryan got both ball joints popped back into place, radiator pinched mostly shut, fan removed, and stubshaft clearance for the trip down. Once he was up and running he was out of the rocks like a bat out of hell. We had to stop a few times on the way down for more water. At one pint on the side of 410, we waited for the troll to come out from under the bridge. :D

I have to hand it to Ryan though for never giving up, and the group for sticking with him all the way back. With his motor nearly seized up from overheating, Ryan did make it back to camp under his own power.

After an 11 hour day on the trail I was glad to be back, and stoked to see more people had made it out. Ruger81 brought out his snow wheeler, CrazyMaci and family came out, Mark in his newly built WJ, Weirdo from China, and even ZJScott.

While BS'ing with the new arrivals Redjeep2.0 mentioned that Joe, Eli, and SpokaneNick weren't back yet. Uhh... what?

We quickly got a plan together and figured they must have made a wrong turn coming down from the rocks, and may be broken down on a dead end road. Nick and I got back in our rigs and set out to back track up to the rocks, while BronzeWyrm would head up to Ravens to see if he could establish radio contact.

While on 410 just before the 1701 turn off I had a oncoming rig flash their lights at me. We didn't hear anything on the radio, and didn't get a good look at the rig. We pressed on, hollering on the radio. Then suddenly we got a response from Joe, "Hey this is Joe and Eli, we wound up in Ellensburg!"

Did he Ellensburg?

Turns out they did make one wrong turn, but followed my directions in "heading downhill". Unfortunately they wound up on the other side of the mountains in Ellensburg. Fortunately, Joe, Eli, Nick, and their passengers all had great attitudes, and were able to laugh it off.

The next morning I made my rounds getting a feel for what everyone wanted to do. I personally wanted to run trail over to the rocks via 617 Lilly Pond. Rod was once again the odd ball out, but after some convincing he was game to.

We had a big group (~15 or so), and it took some herding at first to get everyone rolling together, but eventually found our pace. Thanks Nick, Joe, Jim, and Adam for keeping the group together. It's nice knowing I can count on the mid packers, and tail to keep the group going.

Lilly Pond was flat a sloppy mess. The whole "letting it roll" tactic went out the window on the first hill. It was basically "let it slide".

The group did great though, and spaced out on the hills, and made sure everyone got through okay.

Bottom of Lower Woodpecker hill climb. GreshamNick, SpecFab, and WJMark all blazed up it. The rest of us made our way up the road and through the wash out.

We got to the Five Fingers, and raced up them.

Continued along the ridge line.

Again, the views...

Tail end of our group rolling into the Funny Rocks.

Those who wanted to ran some lines on the rocks. Rod on the Crack.
John on the Ledge.


Nick on the far left.

I took a few up around the top. Larry just wanted to wheel, and did an awesome job dropping down the v-notch.



Little bit of classic FJ.

At this point a few of us headed over to moon rocks, while a few stayed back to assist in a trail repair. Josh found himself feeling a bit light.




TheChad out on the rocks.
As the afternoon rolled on we chose to head back to get ready for the evening festivities. However, first Larry had to be plucked off a bathtub sized rock first. It seemed like we had four XJ's circling around the rocks trying to get to him first.

After we extracted Larry we cruised down the hillside and back to camp. Little group shot action.

As soon as we rolled back to camp the skies opened up. I honestly wasn't sure how we were going to pull off a BBQ and raffle in the rain. Luckily, the NWC members stepped up, and really helped us out. Thank you Chad for moving your trailer and EZ up to help with the BBQ. Also, a big thank you to Nick and Heidi (Renegade401) for offering up your Evacuation Canopy (aka Parachute for all you suckers who didn't make it to NWF) for the raffle and campfire. It truly made NWF this year, and will be something we all remember.


The SpecFab BBQ and NWC Raffle went off without a hitch. Huge thanks to everyone who made it out this year. This wouldn't be possible without all of you. I thoroughly enjoyed our group this year.

Good times.
^x2 if you got anymore pics of me or if anyone else got more pics of me, pm me them or post up. I'd like to get them
looks like a great trip! Wish my leave was earlier. but im sure towards the end of the month there will be other trips. Great report and pics!
Thx to all you guys for getting me thru a most excellent trail weekend!!
Will spin and win again!!
Jim aka Superskid

I cannot remember meeting a person that left more of an impression than you did with me Jim. Thanks for coming out! I hope to spend many more good nights around the fire with you.

John and the family!