I had quite a driving adventure Saturday.
I went Geocaching in Land Between the Lakes in KY/TN and headed back lots of old and sometimes poorly maintained dirt and gravel trails. Most of the day was smooth sailing, just being careful not to hit chunk rocks or tree limbs, but I unintentionally found a hole the Escape didn't want to power on through.
I had passed a difficult spot in the road with deep muddy ruts to find a downhill grade with some more rutting, so I decided to back up and just park at the top of the hill, since it was only 150ft or so to my destination. Well in the process of trying to reverse my track I slipped into the ruts and got temporarily stuck. I had friends with me so I had help filling in the ruts with nearby fallen tree limbs and such. After some back and forth, finally got on top the filler and out of the rut, but I still had to go down the hill and turn around. I maneuvered a lot coming up trying to stay out of the ruts, leaning the Escape on it's side and getting up on the opposite bank, but always sliding back into the rut. We filled that rut at the place I was hung before and the Escape tracked right up the hill and out. I would have loved to had video of all this, but in the process of trying to get out and not be seriously stuck in the middle of nowhere, none of us thought to film it.
For a mechanically stock Escape on road tires, I was impressed. I had to ride it hard sometimes, but it came out the other side covered in mud and looking like a real 4X4.
Here are photos and soon I'll post a video of me going down one of the trails.
Before getting stuck: