“Turn Around, don’t Go Around”

So, “Turn Around, don’t Go Around” has been the unofficial motto of this website. This weekend it came in to play twice. The first time, we didn’t go around, we cleared the trail. The second time we turned around.

Traveling down to Rubicon Springs Saturday morning (10-22-16), we came up to a rather large tree across the trail.

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In two different places, people who didn’t know any better or were to lazy or unequipped to deal with the situation, drove around the tree.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to photo our method but a single winch line and a snatch block was all that was needed to clear the trail.

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The tree will need a more permanent solution but I think it will wait until spring.

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The rocks should hold the tree off the trail until we can cut it up and remove it completely from the trail.

At the bottom of Cadillac Hill, we turned on to the Long Lake Trail to check conditions. We didn’t get too far and found trees down. We cleared a few and kept going. Then we got to this:

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At this point stopped driving and walked in to the campground along the river to check things out.

We had a chainsaw if we really had to go down this trail but we were planning on camping in the springs anyway.

The Hi-Lo’s will ad this to our schedule and try to get the trail cleared as soon as possible.

Did I mention the Springs…

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After probably ten inches of rain in the previous week, there were puddles everywhere. Also evidence of the river rising out of the banks and moving toilets, wood and misc. debris down stream.

We camped along the slabs.

 

Rubicon Ronin

 


New trailer hitch

For those of you following my website, you know of my issues with off-road hitches. Here is a link to the two previous postings:

https://theotherrubicon.com/?s=hitch

The “Lock N Roll” Great Lake Forge hitch didn’t seem to like the tight turns and difficult terrain of the Rubicon Trail. I bent two of them! Though I must admit, I did roll the trailer twice with that hitch.

So I’ve moved on to the Max Coupler hitch by Kilby Enterprises:

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After unbolting the previous hitch, I inserted a 18″ ‘receiver’ tube and drilled two vertical 5/8″ holes to mount the receiver tube to the trailer. A third horizontal hole mounts the unit in the receiver tube and trailer.

FYI, the wheeled trailer stand gets removed before hitting the trail.

I lucked out and the first hitch configuration I used to mount the unit to the Jeep got the trailer pretty level. If I hadn’t bent the stock Jeep ball hitch, I think this would be dead level.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get a chance to test the new set-up this season. Although I will be out on the trail, I don’t think I’ll be needing the trailer. I’ll post up again after I test it out.

 

Rubicon Ronin

 


Tahoe side points of interest

Both Placer County and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) are looking for a list of Tahoe side points of interest along the east half of the trail within Placer County.

The LTBMU is putting together a new map for the staging area and would like to add these points. I think Placer wants them for a map for their website.

Here is what I have so far, please let me know what I’ve missed or if you call any of these by a different name:

Highway 89

Entrance @ Residential

Quad Rental Parking

FS 14N34: Noonchester Mine Road

Overflow/size Parking

Bridge (Car Wash)

Staging Area

Gatekeeper (sort-of)

FS 14N40: Buck Lake Trail

TNF/LTBMU boundary

FS 3102-26 (turnout)

Adopt-A-Campsite: Elevated

Adopt-A-Campsite: Snag

FS 3102-24 (Campsites across from Miller Lake)

Boat Ramp

FS 3102-22 (Campsite on west end of Miller)

14N39: Richardson Lake Trail

The Pond

FS 03-04-12-05: Ellis Peak Trail

FS 03-04: road to Barker Pass

Pacific Crest Trail

Bottom Dollar Hole

Potato Patch

Old Water Hole (filled)

FS 16E76: Barker Meadow OHV Trail (lower)

Hummer Bend

Helicopter Flat / Birthday Cake (the mountain in the distance)

FS 16E77: Bear Camp

FS 16E78: Observation Point

Trees Section

Creek Crossing (with log water bar)

Upper Hairpin

Morris Rock (The Steps)

The Notch (Squeeze Rock)

U-Rock (Formally V-Rock)

The Cadillac (over the side of the trail)

S-Turn

Lower Hairpin

Roots & Rocks Section

Granite Outcropping – alternate route

The Driveway

The Graves

FS 16E12: Long Lake Trail

Miller Creek

County Line

 


RTF finally puts out a newsletter

For literally three years, I been asking for some kind of documentation of what RTF does: agendas for their meetings, minutes from their meetings, an outline of what was discussed or even a quarterly statement of what they’ve done, what they’re working on and what their next project will be.

Three different directors had promised to make this happen over the years but nothing ever came of it. Well, here it is…


What’s New on the Trail?

We at RTF have been threatening to put out a newsletter on a quarterly basis for a while, and this is our first edition.  We hope it reminds you how much we all love the Trail, informs you about things that are going on out there, and lets you know what RTF is doing.   Here we go…

 Merlin Scott and John Pardi Announce Retirement

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 merlin_scott

After many years serving the Foundation and the public on the trail doing educational work, Merlin and John have announced that they will both retire after this season.  Merlin wants to spend more time at home and has a bucket list of travels he wants to take.  John has said he wants to pay more attention to projects at home and his Land Cruiser parts business.  Both have told us that they have great memories of their years of work on the trail, and that moving on was a difficult decision to make.

We will miss them both, and have a difficult time filling their shoes.

Trail Projects

Each update we will update status on projects recently completed and those upcoming.  This has been a whirlwind year.  Shannon Chard, in her first year as Trail Boss, has really set a pace.

Helicopter Project

Using grant funds from the California Office of Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR), El Dorado County contracted with Siller Brothers to provide 25 hours of flight time doing work such as moving rock, hauling material in for the Rubicon Green Bridge rebuild project, and placing a bathroom at Buck Island.  This all took place in May, when the weather wasn’t so great…the project was visited by rain, snow, lightning, and even a little bit of sunshine.

Winter Camp

As many are aware, the trail at Winter Camp has been a problem for Winter Closures for several years.  The rock work done by DOT in 2010 had been swallowed up by the sandy roadbed, leaving a hole that consistently has deeper water that has triggered a closure.  In a carefully coordinated effort, FOTR volunteers placed chain link on the sand to form a grid that should keep the rock from sinking again.  As soon as the grid was placed, approximately 60 yards of rock was put on top of it.  Within a few days, Forest Hill Fourwheelers came through and spread the rock to completely cover the grid.  This effort will harden the trail surface and prevent winter closures from this spot for years to come.

Soup Bowl

This project will be undertaken on October 15th.  That’s late in the season, but it’s been a busy year!  In the last several years, El Dorado County has embraced a philosophy of “keeping the hard line hard (and hardened) and keeping the easy line easy”.  At this point, Rubicon is by no means the most difficult trail around, but it is still enjoyed for its challenges. That means we want to keep the difficult lines so that those who want to, have that challenge.  At the same time, not everyone wants that much challenge, or is up to it.  That’s why keeping the “easy line easy” is important; to keep folks with smaller rigs or less experience from digging holes, driving off trail, or widening the trail in order to get past hard spots.  Soup is a perfect example of this philosophy.  The hard line on the left is all hardened (nothing but granite) so that it doesn’t cause silt to enter the drainages, and the easy line on the right needs to be kept easy and erosion free.

That’s what this project is about.  Each year the sandy area at the bottom of the easy line fills with soil, and each year it gets dug out by wheelspin by the end of the season.  That soil drains toward Winter Camp and eventually into streams, rivers, and lakes.  When the Water Board Cleanup and Abatement Order was rescinded, El Dorado County made a commitment to continue to recognize and mitigate problems like this, and RTF supports that effort while keeping the trail open and challenging.  This project will add a concrete footing to the easy line to prevent wheelspin and erosion.

Rubicon Bridge

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The bridge at Rubicon Springs has existed in many forms over the years.  Up until 1937 it was a user constructed log bridge that washed out and had to be rebuilt often.  In 1937, the County erected a proper wood bridge that washed out sometime in the mid-forties.  Then in 1947, the County raised the abutments and placed the existing green steel bridge structure with a wood deck.  It has been rebuilt several times, mostly by volunteers; in 1962, in 1978, in 1991 and in 1996-1997.  Of late it hasn’t looked so great…the approaches were too small for modern rigs and were eroding, the stringers that hold the deck up were rotting on the ends, and the runners were all but gone.

In a cooperative effort between El Dorado County, FOTR, Jeepers Jamboree, and RTF, the bridge was stripped to the metal frame and all the wood was replaced by larger pressure treated timbers and extended wing walls were poured to improve safety on the bridge approaches and prevent further damage.  This was an amazing volunteer effort that spanned months in planning and totaled up hundreds of hours of work in just a few days to get it done.  Special thanks to the Hi-Landers club, and especially to Bill Eister, the wood crew leader, and Wayne Lippert, the concrete crew leader.  Without their expertise and hard work, it would not have happened.

Black Tie and Boots

Save the date for Black Tie and Boots, it’s Saturday, March 11th, 2017.  We hope to see you all there!  If you would like to be sent an invitation or would like more information please contact us at chris.cowan@rubicontrailfoundation.org.

Cantina

RTF’s 12th Annual Cantina for the ‘Con, held at the Loon Lake Spillway over Labor Day weekend was a huge success.  A giant raffle, fantastic prizes, great tacos, and good times…what’s not to like!  Over $40,000 was raised to support efforts on the Rubicon Trail.  Thanks to all our supporters, vendors and attendees, who donated, bought tickets, and enjoyed tacos.

Elections

At our December 14th, 2016 meeting, the Rubicon Trail Foundation will hold regular elections. There will be a total of six seats available, five of which are held by sitting directors that are re-running for their seat.  The remaining seat was held by an individual that has decided not to run again.  Anyone who is interested in serving on the board should contact the president, Sean Russell at 530-417-0031 or sean.russell@RubiconTrailFoundation.org.

 Rubicon Trail Foundation

 PO Box 2188

 Placerville, CA  95667

 www.rubicontrailfoundation.org


 

 

So some interesting things to note:

  • None of the trail projects noted are on the Tahoe side.
  • There is no mention of RTF accomplishments
  • There is no mention of current RTF projects
  • There is no mention of what RTF plans to take on moving forward

Not the newsletter I was hoping for, maybe they will read this and put out a better newsletter next time.

 

Rubicon Ronin