A Wedding in the Hammers

Jun. 01, 2003 By ORC STAFF

A rare scene is that of a rock-crawling club meeting atop the infamous Jackhammer in Johnson Valley, CA for a wedding. I was honored to be among the friends and guests of David and Lujan of Lake Arrowhead, CA for this memorable event.

Matt and I arrived around the camp of the Tin-Benders (an extreme rock-crawling club in Southern California) early Friday afternoon to find Dave replacing a hub on his 1985 Toyota 4-Runner. Covered in grease and getting frustrated, Dave did not look the part of a groom just hours away from his wedding. However, in what seemed like minutes, they were rounding up the vehicles to start the ascent up "Jackhammer" - a well-known trail feared by inexperienced rock-crawlers and a nemesis to others.

I was not about to take my girlfriend's TJ up the trail so I started looking for empty seats. Todd, a Tin Bender, was more than happy to me offer shotgun in his Toyota crawler. Matt hopped aboard the groom's Toyota. Little did I know that Todd was leading this little run.

I was immediately impressed at Todd's control over the initial entrance to Jackhammer. What a ride. I guess there really is a "trail" there if you look hard enough. With just a little finesse, he was able to crawl up the initial waterfall. Dave was next. (pic)

Roughly ? of the way, just about 20-minutes into the trail, Todd was working slowly as the group behind him was moving up. I jumped in and we continued up. At the plaque, (pic.2) we heard a "snap" from underneath the Toyota - sure enough, the top leaf from the passenger side pack snapped in half! Not a problem, however, as Todd just attached his winch cable to the pack and continued on - without me?

I hung around near the plaque to check out the remaining crawlers. Dave, the groom, was close behind having minor issues, but climbed through the tough areas with ease. Then, just behind Dave, two Tin Benders figured that it was time to race. Yes - a race up Jackhammer. These guys provided entertainment, however, as the two vehicles passed, we realized that our rides were gone. Whoops. We ended up walking the upper 3rd quarter of Jackhammer to the vehicle meeting place.

Just below the top of the hill, Matt and I arrived to find Dave changing into "proper" wedding wear. Once he was ready, we continued up the last hill (a slippery, loose-rock version of Lion's Back with a nice drop off either side).

The weather was phenomenal - a light breeze and a picturesque view were all a part of the natural decorations awaiting our newlyweds-to-be.

The bride arrived just minutes later with Chris Geiger of Allpro Off Road in Hemet, CA, behind the wheel of one of his very capable rock rigs.

What a site - The bride climbing out of this lifted vehicle in her wedding gown.

The ceremony promptly started with Lujan being escorted to an area near the edge of the plateau. Her escort, Todd, was nominated to give her away as he was the "oldest" of the group! Camo, the Universal Life Church Minister, performed a quick, yet classic, ceremony. In a casual fashion, he pronounced them, "Husband and Wife," before remembering the rings. A quick twist of the wrists and the newlyweds were hitched!

Immediately following the ceremony, Lujan threw her bouquet to the two remaining girls at this ceremony. Then, Dave removed her garter and tossed it overhead to a lucky bachelor.

This was truly a unique experience. I cannot remember how many times I heard, "I am going to do something like this next time I get married."

Next time?

---> More Pictures HERE



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