Snow comes to the Rubicon

Although winter does not officially start until December 21st, snow has fallen on the west shore and put a white blanket on the trail.

The report I got was a fine sugary type of snow. The group made it to the turn for the Buck Lake Trail. That first climb out of the staging area can be a tough one.

Placer County has agreed to NOT pile snow at the entrance to the trail. If you see snow piled there, not just pushed to the side of the road like the rest of the residential area, please send me a picture and the date you found it. 

As always, if you go, please be safe. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Never go alone. Bring proper supplies to spend the night, just in case.

The last few years have seen rigs abandoned on the trail in the middle of winter. One guy was prepared but had a string of bad luck. The other rig should never have been on the trail. Don’t be that guy this winter.

Rubicon Ronin


Ball hitch for RTF trailer

My truck is a little on the short/small side when compared to my Jeep. The truck is on 33s and the Jeep is on 35s. There’s two more inches of lift on the Jeep than the truck. When I tow the RTF trailer with my truck the trailer has a mean rake to it. It’s like six inches lower in the front.

So, I got creative:

20181105_123421_resized

The adaptor pins on to the trailer like the swivel hitch it came with. The ball hitch is bolted to the tubing so my welds aren’t tested. The two nut/bolt combos are welded over a hole in the tubing and so can be tightened to prevent more play in the system. The spot welds around the nuts were rushed and look terrible. I’m out of practice and used the smaller 110v welder. It was raining. The dog ate my welding gloves. I’ll think of more excuses later.

When I use the hitch below, the trailer is just about level behind my truck. And it’s not too tall to hit the tailgate if I lower it.

20181105_123442_resized

I’d like to add a box to the trailer but there’s no easy place to put one.

 

Rubicon Ronin

 


Rubicon Trail Marker Placed

20181103_133133_resized

Okay, let’s go through the process first.

The block was brought over the hill from Plymouth by John Briggs last week. The day before it was placed, he dropped the RTF trailer, with the block, in the Tahoma staging area.

Yesterday, two different rigs were used to get it to the intersection of the Rubicon Trail and Forest Road 03-04. (We’re not going to discuss why we had to bring in an alternate  rig to finish hauling the block to the intersection.); where it was unceremoniously dumped.

DSC_0050

It didn’t land quite like we planned but we got it moved to the right place with a little winch work. We did have rigs blocking the trail for awhile but people understood why.

20181103_133122_resized

So, the granite marker is along the Rubicon (the trail on the left), as pictured above but it’s also along Forest Road 03-04, below (the trail on the right).

20181103_133125_resized

We had considered placing it down the Rubicon a little bit (and on the left) but it would have been harder to see as you approached the intersection and would have been much more difficult to place. The block still might get moved next summer, depending on feed back.

So, if you read the words on the marker, you know this block was placed by RTF in 2010. Well, not really. This is 2018 and there were no RTF representatives present yesterday. It was actually a Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s effort to place the block. I was actually still on the board of RTF in 2010 and I don’t remember discussions regarding the wording and placement of this marker.

Questions were raised as to why there was no arrow, why the mileage was larger than the “Rubicon Trail”, why was there any mileage info on the block at all, why was the block in Plymouth for eight or more years, why mention Barker Pass Road, where was RTF to help place it, and on and on.

Moving on, it says “Barker Pass Road”. Well, again, not really. Now, back in 2010, I might have been referring to Forest Road 03-04 as Barker Pass Road but it’s really not. Forest Road 03 would be Barker Pass Road as it runs from Lake Tahoe (at the Kaspian Camp Ground) up and over Barker Pass as you travel west. Sort of like Donner Pass Road does through Truckee and then over the pass. Barker Pass is at the intersection of the two Forest Roads 03 and 03-04.

Another issue is the lack of a directional marker on the block. It says Rubicon Trail but it also says Barker Pass Road. But it doesn’t tell the first time traveler which one is which.

We discussed several ways to improve on the message: add an arrow to the top of the block, place a metal plaque (with an arrow) over some of the words, grinding off some of the words, flopping it face down and starting over, etc.

Let me know what you think needs to be done, if anything.

There is concern with the holes drilled in the rock. One goes all the way through and is two inches in diameter. Three others are only 1/2 inch and aren’t too deep. If water gets in those and freezes, the block could split in half. We had a volunteer to come back and fill the whole to prevent that from happening.

So, in the end, thank you to everyone that showed up to help place this boulder, mostly John Briggs who got this whole project in motion, but also to Tony who is taking the picture below. Pictured: Galen, Kade, Doug, John, Mike.

DSC_0076

 

 


ENF finishes work on closed ‘meadow’ routes. ALL are now OPEN for use!

Way back in 2011, 42 OHV routes within the Eldorado National Forest were closed because someone filed a lawsuit claiming they were damaging near by meadows.

A few years later, 18 of those routes were reopened after it was determined that they NEVER were damaging near by meadows. Yes, it took years.

The Deer Valley Trail, although cleared of damaging near by meadows, took longer to reopen due to endangered species concerns.

Well, the ENF has finally finished repairs to all of the routes in questions and all of the once closed routes have now been reopened. Of course, most of those are approaching their seasonal closures so check for the status before you head out.

Here is a link to the Forest Service news release:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/eldorado/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD601691

What I would ask all of you to learn from this is you need to need to develop a very close relationship with your local FS representatives.

What should have happen in this case was local OHV clubs keeping an eye on these trails to do maintenance in certain places to prevent damage to near by meadows. Now it’s hard for the basic Jeeper to know when that type of damage is being done but a few of these trails were obvious issues.

The Richardson Lake Trail was one case. For a few years I had notices a section that literally went through a meadow and it was looking bad. I had a plan in the back of my head to move small boulders to eliminate the mud by harden the crossing, but I never acted on it. My bad, the route was closed for years.

With a close relationship with your local FS rep, maybe there could be an immediate field trip to each meadow to evaluate, in a very public way, the condition of each trail and to develop a plan to repair each trail rather than close it.

The anti-OHV people will do anything to close our trails, we need to do everything to keep them open.

 

Rubicon Ronin

 


ENF prescribed burns coming

The Eldorado National Forest has released plans for their fall prescribed burning projects.

Although there’s nothing close to the Rubicon, there are fires along the route to the Rubicon.

The link to the Forest Service’s page on the projects is below. The easiest way to figure out where things are happening is to click on the map and zoom in.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/eldorado/home/?cid=fseprd560831&width=full