We arrived in Polebrige, MT salivating from promises of huckleberry bearclaws. Leaping out of the ZR2, I had Dexter’s leash in hand. Snarls and barks from my best friend erupted below. Turning, twisting to find the source, yet once I did I hadn’t a clue what to do.
A white-coated dog you’d expect to find chilling on the fringes of the Alaskan wilderness had an off-leash advantage on Dexter. Knowing it’d be stupid to reach down and pull off the other collarless dog if I wanted to keep my hand, I first tried pulling Dexter away from the confrontation. After not so much success I then put my body in between the two, and finally tried to get Dexter back up into the truck; this last one is difficult when you’re dog is being attacked and wants to defend himself.
My fiancee, apparently the ‘fight’ in ‘fight-or-fight’, tried kicking the other loose dog away… But do you know what ended the whole kerfuffle? My dad calmly telling the other dog to “get out of here”.
A man from another truck slowly sauntered over to us during the situation; we assumed it was his dog at first, but told us that the aggressor was also the owner of the Mercantile. Hair from both dogs settled from the air, but after an inspection of Dexter we didn't find that any blood was shed.
We didn't inform the owners of the events because honestly the staff and signage looked as though they wouldn't have given two shits.
The lesson being, if you find yourself in Polebridge, MT don’t let your dog out of you car.
We gathered out breaths and a dove into our bearclaws.
Driving our hunger earlier in the day was an escapade towards Hornet Lookout. According to Google Maps, the view of Glacier National Park over the valley would be very much worth the effort.
The paved-at-times North Fork Road out of Whitefish was run as expected, spraying up most of the dirt and mud you see on the sides of the ZR2, but eventually we arrived at the turn to leave the valley and start ascending into the mountains.
I don't know why I wasn't expecting snow to be a problem, but it didn't cross my mind until we were stuck. The warming temperatures from Spring left most of the tracks down in the valley drier than my chapped lips, yet after climbing for a few feet the more-shaded single-track up to the lookout tower slowly started to expose patches of snow cover.
The ZR2 powered through a few sections of snow, but was about to be defeated. Tires were still pumped up to road-speed levels of 35 psi as I honestly just forgot I should have tried deflating (new to this whole offroading thing, get your laughs in now...).
We encountered an uphill section of snow cover on a crowned road with a small ditch on one side and a cliff on the other. Naturally I veered toward the ditch knowing I'd probably slide on the snow from experience with RWD sport cars.
The ZR2's tires plowed a top layer of snow to either side, but left below was a thick icy patch frozen solid from the re-solidifying melting snow atop. The tires just spun and we slid closer and closer to the ditch with little forward progress. After seeing another endless patch of snow ahead, I knew it was time to give in and turn around. However...
...it was now time to try out my new traction boards!
The ZR2 still facing uphill, I began using one of my ARB traction boards as a shovel to scoop snow from the front wheel. I then placed the board ahead of the left-rear wheel that sat defeated as helpless as a dog on an ice rink.
Climbing back into the ZR2 I gently applied power, and would you believe it, the thing just drove out!
Ultimately an unsuccessful climb, but lessons were learned for when we attempt a second ascension in a couple months. And I still had fun.