Waterfalls & Winches, 1st Look at Cline
To The Best of My Memory - by  Kenneth "Joe" Gaw

I met up with Clint at his place around 6:15am Saturday.  We then met up with Stacy, Manny, Nik, and Dana at Stacy’s place, and headed out for Brookshire to pick up Larry and his Bronco.  The caravan included Stacy and Larry (pulling Larry’s Bronco), Clint and I (pulling my TJ), Dana in her H2 (pulling her TJ), Manny in his TJ Sahara, and Nik in his newly purchased Rubi (only 4 weeks old).  We continued on to just outside San Antonio, where we met up with Shane Hill (TX4WD Fratt Chapter, Oakey.net) who guided us up to Cline Ranch in Lakehills, TX. 

About 10 minutes away from the Ranch, the skies opened up, and poured down quite a bit of rain.  When we finally got there, Brad Cline (property owner) met us at the gate and let us in.  While we were unloading, some Bronco guys (and girl) from Lone Star Bronco’s showed up, and doubled our size.  After a waiver signing, we were on our way through the property, with Stacy riding in Larry’s Bronco, Clint in Nik’s Rubi (Clint was to assist Nik, as this was his first time wheelin’), Dana in her TJ with her dog Cody, Manny in his Sahara, Shane in “Oakey” with Brad Cline, and me in my TJ, along with others in their Broncos. 

It took me some time to soak in the scenery.  Having wheeled only in East Texas, it was a pleasant change of landscape.  Dry creek beds, granite slates, loose rocks, dry waterfalls, and thick brush were just some of the challenges that awaited us. 

The ranch is set up with one main trail that runs around the property, with various obstacles and bypasses along the way.  The Fratt Chapter of TX4WD and their volunteers had been doing a great job in clearing and creating trails and challenges. 

After rounding a narrow, slick pass, we came up to an un-named trail.  It is not yet named because no one has made it up all the way.  The first to make it up will get to name the trail.  The first third of the climb isn’t so bad, but going into the second third yields loose rock and gravel, and because of the heavy rains earlier, it was very slick. 

After several failed attempts, we headed further down the trail to try another obstacle. 

The entrance provided a tight right turn, into an un-nerving off-camber position.  This was the most off-cambered experience I have gone through, looking at a slated granite rock bottom to my right, and nothing but sky on the left.  It made me really appreciate front lockers, as only my driver tire was on the ground for a while.  After making it through, we continued on to the next stop, which was a dry waterfall of about 3 feet, with slated ledges.  Here is where we got to see one of the Broncos lay itself over and blow a bead. 

With the help of a winch, ratchet strap, air compressor, and a lot of sweat, Landis and Sally (Lone Star Broncos) was up and ready for more.  Of course, it took so much air to seat and inflate the tire, that Larry’s compressor got hot enough to blow the line with a loud pop and hiss.  After re-grouping, we went to the next obstacle, which was only a hop, skip, and jump away.  Apparently, the “regulars” that visit the park often, stated that normally, most all the rigs can make it up the obstacles without problem, but because of the brief rain we got, most everyone had to get winched up at each obstacle.

This next obstacle was no different.  As easy as it looked, it was difficult to get any traction.  Here is also where Manny kissed a tree with his Sahara rocker accents, and where Nik put his first noticeable rock damage on his 4 week old Rubi (it was his driver’s side rear bumper end that suffered the impact while backing up—which reminds me… Nik, if you still want my old bumper end to replace yours, let me know).  The next obstacle involved more winching, and at one point, two TJs as anchor points to a YJ winching up a Bronco.

Since time was running out, the group split up, and our group decided to go to the top of the hill to get a view of Medina Lake.

Needless to say, it was a spectacular view from the top.  I was able to snap a few photos and then it was time to head back down and load up.  It was after 7pm before our rigs were loaded onto the trailer for the trip back home.  On the way back, our caravan stopped for fuel and food.  Then, right before getting back to Houston, Clint’s trailer had a tire issue, so we pulled into a picnic area, unloaded my TJ to lighten the load, and removed the problem trailer tire.  From there, I drove my TJ the rest of the way, and Clint was able to pull the trailer back home without incident. 

Overall, I had a blast on the day run.  It was refreshing to have a change of pace and to go somewhere different for wheelin’.  I would like to say thanks to Brad Cline and his family for allowing us to explore and enjoy their property.  I know I look forward to our next visit to Cline Ranch.