Brother Pop had driven to Snowbird, oh, at least 100 times, but it didn’t matter. He was lost. Instead of turning left at Big Y, about a mile from the cabin, and coming up the left fork of Juanite Creek he kept on going straight, up the right fork of Juanite.
[Snowbird is in the mountains of North Carolina, pretty close to Tennessee, in the middle of nowhere. The nearest town, Robbinsville, population 620, is 22 miles away.]
Pop and two buddies had driven to the mountain from Gadsden, AL, in Pop’s Ford Ranger, pulling a trailer loaded down with two ATVs. His buddies had also been to Snowbird many times. How all three of them missed the turn I don’t know.
Whoever was driving just kept on keeping on, up that old logging road, and the further they went the worse it got. There were deep ruts in the road, deep enough to bury somebody, but they straddled them and kept on going. There were 10, 12-feet tall trees growing in the road too —that was a another clue — but they just ran over them.
You would have thought that somebody, at some point, would have said, “You know what? I think we’re going the wrong way.” But nobody did.
My brother and his buddies didn’t figure it out until they just couldn’t go any further — the truck was surrounded by trees, broken behind them and standing tall in front and on both sides. There was nothing to do now but turn around.
It was was raining a little, cold, and getting dark when the three men got out of Pop’s pickup and unloaded the two four-wheelers. They couldn’t back the trailer down that road, no way, and turning the truck around was gonna be a drill. They were in a fix.
They decided to try to make a little room to turn around by unhooking the trailer, pushing it backwards a little ways and over to the side.
But they couldn’t unhook it.
The trailer was locked on the trailer hitch ball and they had left the trailer hitch key back in Gadsden.
No matter. If they couldn’t take the trailer off the trailer hitch, they would take the trailer hitch off the truck — they would unbolt the hitch ball.
But they couldn’t unbolt it.
They had left their toolbox in Alabama, too.
No matter. They decided to cut the trees blocking their way and carve out a place big enough to turn the truck around.
But they couldn’t.
Their chain saw wouldn’t start.
Three strikes. Isn’t that all you get?
Postscript: Pop and his buddies called it a night, left the truck and trailer where they were, and rode their four-wheelers to the cabin. Next day a bunch of us went back with a wrench, took the ball off the hitch, and got that truck turned around.
NOTE: I was up at Snowbird earlier this month and I meant to take a picture of that so-called road. I’ll get one next time.
Coming Monday: The Nankoweap Trail: Don’t Look Down