Nice pics but be careful going through mud like that. The alternators in the Escapes are not protected at all and heavy mud can easily kill them.
I was on an off-road trip a few years ago in PA (see the sig pic) where 5 out of 7 Escapes died on the way home because of some mud... Here is a link to a video that shows the mud puddle we drove through:
I am the camera car in the video. The first Escape and the last (mine) survived. The rest all failed. That puddle didn't look like much (and in fact, the one in my sig pic was much deeper) but it was thick. We actually drove through it 2 times. This video shows only the second pass.
On another board, there was another young fellow who went mad in some mud. His Escape was literally covered top to bottom. He also had a dead alternator a few hours later. Someone on that board made a custom sheild after hearing about all the failures but he didn't really get into detail about how he did it.
the uniroyals blew so bad man... it was like trying to skateboard on ice.... only momentum and speed got me thru a bunch of the mud... the other times i just rode one side of wheels in it, then the other side on the back pass.... i am definitely on the look out for some decent trail rated tires... something on and off highway friendly.... but i just need to find a partner to ride out with, that way we can spot and pull each other out of a sticky situation...
futameca, im actually in north central cali, the Navy base NAS Lemoore... near Hanford, and Coalinga. a little south of fresno.... that area... lots and lots of farm land, but next to nothing rain. the sequoias are near by, but not much off-roading thru mud up that way... anything south your way??