A few days ago Husband and I were in the Eastern Sierra; Husband was scouting deer trails, since he has a deer tag for that area this year. (His shooting is atrocious, though, and he hasn’t had much time to practice at the range, so I suspect the deer are in no danger.) The last morning of scouting trips, he jauntily announces “don’t worry, if I get stuck, I’ve got all the stuff I need to get unstuck.” Right, I thought. In this mostly-sagebrush National Forest, what are you going to attach your winch TO?
There’s lots of ways to get unstuck if you get stuck. For example, a high-lift jack can be used to pick up one end of the Jeep or the other and move it left or right (taking advantage of the fact that a hi-lift is inherently unstable thus once you get the Jeep in the air, you can push the Jeep off of it to either the left or the right), or can be used (with a strap) to pick up a wheel and rocks, boards, or logs stacked under the wheel.
Regarding a winch and what do you attach it to: Most places I wheel don’t have trees, they have rocks, generally about the size of your average Toyota. Just attach a strap around a rock, attach your hook to the strap, and pull. If you’re in a sandy area with no rocks or trees, you have a spare tire and a shovel, right? Dig a nice deep hole, toss your spare tire in the hole, attach your winch cable, shovel half a ton of sand back on top of the spare tire. Presto, instant sand anchor. Not that anybody with half a bit of sense can get stuck in sand, because all you have to do is pick up the Jeep with your hi-lift, toss your boards under the wheels, and move on out. (What, you do have a couple of boards in the back of your Jeep, right?).
That said, I’m careful when I’m solo to not go into really isolated places where no one will be along for a while. And I also have a SPOT emergency beacon device if all else fails. And I try to go only places that I’ve previously scouted with a group and know I’m not going to get stuck there. So far, so good…