to sink or be stuck in a swamp or something likened to a swamp where escape is virtually impossible without forces beyond the ability of self or the impaired machine. -ATVR Off-Road Dictionary
It's a given, venturing into the unpredictable conditions of the off-road will eventually lead you to fall victim to an off-roader's worst-case scenario, which is best known as "swamped." Unless your interpretation of extreme is conquering the kiddy bog, you've likely experienced the dreadful feelings of helplessness that occur when you and your 600-plus pound ATV are sucked deep into the bowels of a bottomless pit. If so, certainly the aroma that radiates from these cesspools (often due to months of rotting critters and vegetation stewing in the boiling sun) serve as a natural trigger in your brain to steer clear of making that mistake twice. Shifting into forward or reverse in a desperate attempt to escape only creates further disappointment as it ultimately breaks loose your lugs and begins digging your ATV deeper (not to mention voiding your warranty) and deeper into the quad-swallowing pit of mysterious contents.
If you find yourself "swamped," you might as well forget the assistance of modern innovations such as four-wheel-drive, diff-lock and large lugged meats, as it's just too late for these fancy features to work their magic. Your best bet in these desperate moments is a good buddy (who could care less about his hygiene) to lend a helping hand, a powerful winch (pray to God it's rated over 1000 pounds) and, most importantly, a significant nudge from the big man upstairs as you slip and slide helplessly out of frustration.
Most riders who've experienced a "swamped" situation eventually escape with just a good scarring to the ego and a major need for a bar of soap (and possibly a bottle of bleach). Unfortunately, an unlucky few end up sinking too deep, are forever lost and are even rumored to be captives of the Chinese government for entering illegally. OK, a bit of an exaggeration, but the more painful and embarrassing a "swamped" scenario is for the victim, the more enjoyable it is for our YouTube generation to be entertained at your own personal expense. We've captured and documented a variety of "swamped" scenarios we've come across recently; and no, you won't find them on YouTube! I take that back, it is a possibility!
Our staff often recruits new "photo monkeys" (aka ATV test pilot/action photo models) who are generally just shy of being seasoned riders. Training them is not exactly an easy task, but it almost always has its benefits for those of us who've been around for a while in the form of entertainment. For some reason, when Photo Monkeys first join our crew on tests and shoots they all at some point feel the need to lead the pack on our test rides to prove to our crew that they're extremely fast and talented riders; and with smirks on our faces, we let them do just that. In fact, we pretty much always know (due to many years of experience) that a good "rag on the newbie" opportunity is literally right around the corner when they anxiously pick up the lead.
In our last issue, we recruited our newest Photo Monkey, Chris Johnson, to assist us on our power steering comparison. I've got to say, the kid held it together and impressed us (actually robbing us of a good laugh) throughout the entire day, but as expected, the approaching dusk brought familiar results. In textbook fashion Chris grabbed the lead and was heavy in the throttle. Before a grin fully formed on the faces of both Associate Editor Mike Newsom and myself, he buried the quad completely down to the frame in some of the thickest fresh mud in all of Georgia. After satisfying our need for laughter and degrading his sense of worth in life for an extended period of time, both Mike and I came to the rescue and winched our Photo Monkey to safety. Hopefully, he learned that faster is not always faster!