Aaron Brown is a Carpenter from the Hunter Valley. He splits his time off the job between getting his builders license and hunting adventure in his Ford Ranger. With an off-road vehicle like the Ranger, there are countless activities he likes to get involved in like surfing, camping, exploring the wineries and having a good ol’ bush bash.
All images provided by Aaron Brown’s Instagram, follow his adventures here @azdogg_adventures (https://www.instagram.com/azdogg_adventures/)
Where: Killingworth or Killi Loop
When: January 2016
Vehicle: Ford Ranger
Rhino-Rack: What is it about 4WD adventures that keeps you exploring?
Aaron Brown: The unexpected. If you like an adventure, then you never know what you’re going to find or where you’ll end up.
Rhino-Rack: Did that happen on this mission through the Killi Loop?
Aaron Brown: Absolutely, what started out as a twohour messabout, took a turn for the awesome... purely because we wanted to see what was up the next track. The trip ended up being an epic eight hour adventure, I got home at 1:30am and it was one of the best nights of my off-roading life!
Rhino-Rack: Wow you’re a true urban pioneer! How did you prepare for the trip? And what were the goals?
Aaron Brown: There wasn’t much prep for this one, just some research on the Killi Loop itself. I got on the phone and checked the tracks, the main entry and exit. But once we started getting into the thick of it, that all went out the window, and we followed whichever track looked the most challenging.
I had previously been into one end of the Killi Loop with my ‘missus’ and some friends, just after I got my Ford Ranger. I knew that there was more to see and more tracks to test out the truck. I called up my mate Chriso, he’s got a Nissan Navara D22 and he loves to have a crack at anything. After reading different online forums and talking to some people around town we were keen to hit it.
Rhino-Rack: What were the weather and terrain conditions like?
Aaron Brown: It was warm and sunny, pretty dry on most of the tracks but some nice mud holes, and some fun creek crossings to deal with.
Rhino-Rack: So how did you go from a two hour trip into an eight hour mission?
Aaron Brown: The adventure kept getting better and better. We used our two hours but then kept checking the next bend. This was about three weeks after some pretty hardcore storms and a lot of heavy rain. There were massive trees that had fallen over and a lot of the tracks were washed out. Everything took a little longer because of this. The sides around some of the tracks and trees were challenging to negotiate tight turns and big rocks all at 10:30pm. To top it off we had to come down a huge hill one at a time spotting each other as there was a huge off camber track we had to do to get down. It wasn’t the best feeling as it lead us into a tight creek section.
Once Chriso was down, we both walked the next part of the track which had only a five metre run up into a rutted out step. We could winch out of that or another track which to me looked easier, but there was nothing to winch up so Chriso gave the step a go. Not having any lockers made it difficult so he went down the easier track, but then got stuck and had nowhere to go. We had to bring my truck down and it was too hard for the Ranger, even with a rear locker, so i winched out safely. I then made my way up only to have to reverse down the other track so I could hook my winch up to a tree and then Chriso could winch of the back of mine. After about an hour and a half, we were back to the tracks and slowly making our way out after midnight.
I told my fiancé I was going to be home by 7 [pm], needless to say she wasn’t happy when I didn’t come home... because we had no idea where we were (Aaron says this laughing).
Rhino-Rack: How did Rhino-Rack products help to facilitate your adventure?
Aaron Brown: I’ve got the Rhino-Rack Pioneer Tradie on my truck and I love it. I also have the High Lifting Jack and the Shovel Holder Bracket at the moment, and just have matrix strapped down on the rack for easy access. The whole rack and mounting brackets are strong. At one point in the night we had to negotiate a very tight and tricky 90 degree right hander through two trees. I only just fit through and the track went down into a creek and my shovel and jack were hard up against the tree on the right. If i didn’t have the Pioneer Tradie and the Shovel Holder I definitely would have rolled the truck down the hill, or at best crushed the top of my canopy, which isn’t exactly what you want on a two-month-old truck.
Rhino-Rack: What are the logistics of the adventure that other thrillseekers can follow?
Aaron Brown: For anyone looking to go into the Killi Loop, you can have heaps of fun and hit some hard and easy tracks, but make sure you have a minimum of a snatch strap and another vehicle. For anyone looking to do some extra four-wheeling and some serious driving I would definitely recommend you have all recovery gear and a winch. I would still be stuck in there if I didn’t gave the winch. I used it about six or seven times.
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