As the rain got heavier the steep track from the hut was looking increasingly foreboding. I was trying to politely rush Robbie along, “Oh, your waiting on me are you?” he said, relaxed, as always. “We better move or we wont get up the hill” I said. We left the hut, wipers on full, low range gear box engaged. With only a couple of minor slips we were up the hill and onto the plateau. Relieved to be over that hurdle, we continued. The farm track had turned to mud and was as slippery as all fuck. The only option was to drive out at a snails pace. This I did. To err on the side of caution I stayed on the side of the track that didn’t have a 300m drop on it. This lead me to slipping off into a ditch. We got out of the truck into the pissing rain and gathered what rocks we could find to wedge under the wheels. After about 30 miserable minutes getting soaked and straining my back lifting big rocks, we got the truck out of the ditch and continued. Sitting in the truck, soaked, back hurting, I just wanted to get out of the place. Robbie briefly had the same idea but shortly after he said “Well, were here to fish, aren’t we?”. That we were! The words hardly left his mouth when we slipped off the track again, a sudden jolt into the ditch. I turned to Robbie to see if he was okay, he looked a bit shook with a mark on his forehead and the rear view mirror had turned around. He was getting a little whiter and his head hurt a bit but he was fine. Due to the decline in the track the truck popped out of this one no worries at all. Another kilometre or 2 down the track we were at a good point to drop into the river to fish a favourite pool of ours. We gathered some motivation, put on some dry clothes and started the long and steep decent through terraced hillside, beech forest and into a gorge. On arrival, the river was clear but the rain kept coming. We knew our time was limited, the river was bound to blow out. We saw 2 trout, Robbie got one and I got the other. Then at the head of the pool I saw another. As I fished to him he became harder and harder to see as the river got dirtier. He made four pretty full on but failed attacks at my streamer and then fecked off. It was time we did too, we did not want to get stuck on the wrong side of the rapidly rising river! I took a few quick blind shots up into the head of the pool with a heavily weighted streamer, got a cracking 7lber and then we left the gorge. We climbed back up the mountainside to the truck. On the drive out we had no more slips and managed to fish for another couple of hours when we got to the safety of the non-gorge.
The Hilux has been through the mill lately. 4x4ing is certainly something one gets better at. Like anything, when you have nobody to teach you the learning curve is not very steep! I think I need full on mud tires instead of my All Terrain ones. Also dif-lock, a winch, a snorkel, some proper tow ropes and as Robbie advised, a lesson! I’ll keep trying and hopefully I wont kill the truck doing it.