That's how we handle situations like this, but if you don't have a winch (or a wench, for that matter), things get a little trickier. In this case, Katrina Campbell "egged on" her husband Jerrod to take their '88 Suburban through a mudhole near their home in Milton Freewater, Oregon. The Sub bogged down a few feet from the end, and after half an hour and one failed recovery attempt, the Chevy was stuck and submerged to the floorboards. A Dodge 1/2-ton Hemi came to the rescue and yanked the truck out, but not before the flooring was trashed, along with the front wheel bearings and seals. Katrina admits this wasn't the first time she'd ever persuaded Jerrod to go where no Suburban has gone before, and offers this bit of advice: "Lesson learned-don't take the wife four-by'ing."
Jordan Zee sent us this pic from a four-diamond trail at Barnwell Mountain in Texas. Jordan, who's still inside the truck here, was attempting to pull out a stuck Jeep Scrambler when, as he puts it, "I goosed it a little too hard and it rolled over. The best part is, it wasn't my truck-it [belonged to] the trail boss' wife"-as did the youngster being pulled out in the photo, though at the time of the roll he was "well strapped in and all smiles." (Safety first again.) Total recovery time was about three hours, with the only damage a busted driver-side mirror. "She told me not to worry about it," Jordan says, noting that "she didn't use those off-road anyway."
A reader known only as "Pottsop" sends this Worst Stuck from the Everglades, where he and a buddy were wheeling one afternoon when they decided to "hit a little mud." As it turned out, "it wasn't so little once we got in." Three different trucks were enlisted in the recovery, with a tow strap yanking the disabled Dodge some 6 inches at a time until it was finally freed from the greasy goo-a full four hours later. That was only the beginning of the fun, though: according to Pottsop, it took three hours of pressure washing and another hour of cleaning to fully demudify his pickup.
There's certainly no shame in getting sideways on a trail like Pritchett Canyon, but for Corey Osborne of Montrose, Colorado, getting stuck was the least of his problems. Getting back on all four would normally be no biggie here, but Corey notes, "trying to give directions while still inside the vehicle proved challenging. A couple of straps pulling the wrong direction slid me completely crosswise along this steep rock face. Once I was able to get out and get my winch hooked up top in front of me, it was much easier-yet even backing up to get another run at it proved a challenge as I was still on the side of this rock face. Luckily, no one was hurt and there wasn't a whole lot of damage. After 10 long hours spent on the trail with his buddies, Corey considered himself "one of the lucky ones" for managing to finish without serious breakage.
Justin Thorn of Carleton, Michigan, was out wheeling his '99 Dodge Ram when he got stuck in the mud on a local trail. But this was only the beginning of Justin's fun as a Chevy pickup rolled over while trying to yank him out. Along next came a fullsize Blazer, which also got stuck in the same mudhole. Finally, a 950 Cat loader was called into service-and as you can see from the photo, this was not going to be a low-buck recovery. The next day, an excavator was hired to pull out the stuck vehicles, and after shelling out some "cold hard cash," Justin came to a painful conclusion: "Buy a winch" next time, he says.