Getting Bad Stuck in the UP Mud July 2023

Great life lessons come from getting stuck in the UP mud.

Today’s video is all about the unpredictable challenges of off-grid living.

Imagine this: you’re living in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the year 2023, embracing self-sustaining practices and enjoying the freedom of being off the grid.

But when you load your Great Pyrenees into the car and try to drive off, to go about your daily routine, disaster strikes.

You find yourself stuck in thick, grimy deep woods UP mud.

Muddy Trials: 3.5 Hours of Off-Grid Struggles in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Trying to get unstuck

When you practice off-grid living, you’re always trying to get unstuck.

Old habits, issues, emotions, and all the stuff that bugged you in the heart of civilization eventually follows you into the woods.

But today’s situation is unique.

The stuckness is literal.

The “towel method” didn’t work.

Getting stuck in the UP mud and nothing you try gets you unstuck.

Getting stuck in the UP mud and nothing you try gets you unstuck.

The car’s wheels spin hopelessly as the clock ticks away.

Three and a half hours pass and frustration sets in.

The novel writer in me keeps saying, “You’ve crossed the threshold in your story. This is the ‘tests, allies, and enemies’ part.

The hero of my story, me, is faced with the bigger question. Keep going?

You have no choice–keep going.

You try everything, from rocking the vehicle back and forth to using towels wrapped around the front tires, but nothing works.

The mud holds your 2009 Chevy Traverse captive, refusing to let go.

As you pace around, trying to come up with a solution, you realize this is a real-life test of your off-grid capabilities.

Off-grid living’s challenges are not limited to generating your own power or growing your own food; it’s about the resilience to handle unexpected challenges.

You grab a flat shovel because the rounded one is still up on “the ridge.”

You begin digging, paying attention to not puncturing a tire.

The mud splatters, covering your clothes, shoes, and face, but you keep going, fueled by the determination to conquer this muddy obstacle.

You come to realize you’re not going to succeed on your own.

So a mile down the road lives a neighbor, George, who answers the phone.

Only with the help of his four-wheeler, winch, chains, and patience does the car make it up the hill, out of the morass.

You manage to free your vehicle from the clutches of the mud. Driving out of the woods offers a sense of satisfaction, but bathes you in concern.

You now know there are new limitations to what you’re trying to accomplish and Mother Nature isn’t in tune with your plan.

After a good hour to hour and a half of George’s assistance, you realize that self-sufficiency is a lofty goal.

Self-Sufficiency still requires reliance on others.

Others on YouTube talk about significant levels of self-sufficiency.

But the clear evidence is that this is not 100 percent attainable.

In the end, we all need help from others in one way or another.

Life off the grid is not always easy, but it’s these muddy trials that truly test your mettle.

They remind you of the importance of adaptability, resourcefulness, and never giving up.

But they also teach us that good neighbors help us get over the fence hurdles of life.

Thanks, George. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This is an image of the tree line from the new County Road 510 Bridge near Marquette, Michigan.



  1. Off-Grid Living Chores | Exciting Week 3 in the Beautiful UP - […] Yesterday’s link to getting stuck in the mud! […]

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Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander, a selfie from camping for 13 weeks in 2022 on the Claxton family land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northwest of Marquette.

Donald J. Claxton is
‘The Timberlander’

Hello, I’m Donald J. 

I refer to myself as “The Timberlander” because I love off-grid living and woodworking.

My Great Pyrenees, Maycee, and I enjoy spending our time in the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

In the UP, I craft, make, grow, run, carve, and generate:

  • Custom crosses
  • Timber frame shelters
  • A garden
  • My water
  • Basswood figurines and ornaments
  • My own power

Check out my crafts for sale in The Timberlander’s Treasures.

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