The Fox Forest Project.

Slowly the trucks crawl towards the wood. The deep ruts prevent them from loosing their way. Some branches scratch across the windshields and roofs. Behind the last vehicle the branches close like a curtain and again the grassland calms down. There is no chance for quietness inside the wood as we tackle the first ascent.

Rudi Fuchs, our guiding fox, has spent many hours scouting this route. He knows exactly how much speed his Montero will need to reach the summit. Franz carefully eases his Nissan towards the climb. By and by his car convinces him, that it needs a bit of punch to get uphill. Martin in his Montero and Roland with a Suzuki luckily hit the best track and make it with their first attempt. Jacky used a hidden ditch to park his Toyota rather deep. Now he takes no risk and rushes his truck uphill. Herbert easily drives his CJ7 equipped with 33x9.5 Mud tires accompanied by the soft blubber of the V8.

Coarse tread and supple torque help me and my Montero to climb the muddy hill. Some time later, while playing among inviting knolls the tires bite into the grassy ledge and the right rear tire raises high into the air like the leg of  a dog at his beloved tree.

The narrow trail leads on downhill into a nice valley. Some minutes ago the sun found a way between the clouds. Now the light again is gray and the river covers itself with faint traces of mist like pulling on his sleeping gown. We follow the winding path up he next hill. First there is a well kept forest trail. Then it becomes a soft dirty two track. The trees close in and the gradient increases. We're about to reach a vast grassy slope when the demons of this wood take their chance and suddenly the friction of our tires is gone.  

Our pussy-footed drivers Herbert and Heinz quickly make it without any fuss. There are no dead leaves left after Franz and Jacky pushed up their rigs. Some of us need several attempts to find a possible ascent. There's no detour so we simply have to make it along the main track. Our guides use their training practice to climb the slippery trail and lead us to a short brake on the grassland. 
 There is a patch of old rotten grass. Herbert wants to  find out more about it and takes his jeep deep down into the muddy ruts. Gladly Rudi extracts his winch cable to catch this fat prey. Some frogs indignantly leave their winter home. Then it's my turn to try out something new. Slowly the wheels of my Montero flatten out the grass. Like a carpet it takes the weight of the car and carries me through. It takes some others who follow my tracks until the grass makes way for the slime and goop to suck at Rudis tires.  At last  even our guide's white Montero gets some bio-paint.

We are not prepared for it, when the witch of the Fox Wood strikes again on a harmless looking path. Some try it fast covering their trucks with dirt swaying along like drunken ducks. Others prefer to sneak up on the slippery path carefully avoiding spinning wheels. No chance. You just have to find the perfect match between gaining speed and aiming straightly.

Again the wood engulfs our trucks.

Some months ago a severe storm broke down trees and locked the way with branches and stumps. We have to squeeze through narrow gaps between  the remaining trees. Luckily the soil is nearly dry. So we can take our time to put the wheels exactly where they have to run. Some off camber patches become nasty when you have to back up. To know this keeps your concentration busy.
At last we reach the paved road leading down the mountain. We gladly accept Jacky's invitation  to a relaxed finish of this trail ride through the mysterious Fox Wood. With hearty food and refreshing drinks we spend the evening talking about the trip. It simply is great to have a bunch of good friends and enough room for off-road trips.