The Eldorado National Forest has put out the following press release closing its OHV trails on December 1st, tomorrow. For us that means the Richardson Lake Trail but it applies to most all OHV trails on the ENF.
This is unfortunate as the Richardson Lake Trail is covered with snow and not susceptible to damaging the soils under the snow. Maybe in future years we can ask to have the Richardson Lake Trail remain open as an over the snow route for ‘wheeled’ OHV use.
Trails within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) are also closed for the season but the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) has not posted any early closing yet. The trails on the TNF are scheduled to close January 1st.
Eric Agee, Chairman of Rubithon and past FOTR Trail Boss, has posted up about changes to the air ambulance support along the Rubicon and other areas. I thought I should share this with all of you in case you were looking for coverage.
It’s not clear of there is an FOTR or other group discount.
Well as many of you are aware, there have been some big changes concerning CalStar. They are now a member of the much larger AirMedCare Network and are no longer offering memberships as CalStar alone.
Unfortunately there is no longer a $30 family membership available. Under the AirMedCare Network, Rubithon group members will still get a discounted price over normal cost with our rate being $55 for the entire household. Note the name difference. Under the CalStar plan, there had to be a family relationship; under the new plan, it covers anyone that resides in the household regardless of relationship. As with the CalStar plan, it will still cover your children while they are away at College.
For those of you that in the past had both CalStar and Reach coverage to increase your protection, this new cost will actually save you $40/year since both CalStar and Reach are AirMedCare Network members so you will no longer to have to maintain both to maximize your coverage.
On the plus side of all this, the coverage under the new plan is much greater than under CalStar alone.
I will be attaching some JPEGS that describe some of the increased coverage areas and added benefits. For starters, those that go to King of the Hammers, you will now be covered as the air ambulance company that covers Johnson Valley is also a AirMedCare Network partner. This is new as compared to CalStar alone.
You can find much more information on their website www.airmedcarenetwork.com
I have not yet received the new enrollment forms from them, but have been assigned a group number. We should have the new forms shortly.
Thanks for your time, and feel free to email me or call with any questions.
Eric Agee KJ6IZI
Chairman of TLCA’s Rubithon
A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, I mean Hi-Lo’s meeting…
I took a short trip up to the Rubicon staging area just to see what was up. I got there and there wasn’t as much snow as I thought there would be. So I headed up the trail.
It was a beautiful drive. Still a little bumpy at lower elevations but it smoothed out as the snow got deeper.
Miller Meadow was partially frozen over.
Miller Lake hadn’t started to freeze yet.
I turned around at the wide intersection of Ellis Peak and the Rubicon. There were tracks further up the trail but I had a meeting to go to. On the trip out, I could see that my diff was dragging on the snow. I am running 33″ tires on the Colorado.
As always with winter travel, be prepared for anything. Here is one example. Not only is there a snag over the tail that will come in to play with more snow, but there is a tree down on the edge of the trail that will soon be covered with snow. If someone were to drive over it, they would puncture their tire.
My advice, stay in the middle of the trail.
This snag will surely fall over the winter. Always carry a saw in case it falls after you’ve passed and need to remove it to get out.
Remember the side trails within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit are already closed. That means the Buck Lake Trail, Middle Fork Trail and the Noonchecter Mine Trail. Not all have gates, and not all gates are closed, even if they should be. It is the users responsibility to know where they are and if the trails are open.
The Richardson Lake Trail is open until January 1st, as is Ellis Peak Trail and other in the Tahoe National Forest.
Always be prepared to spend the night: heat source, shelter, sleeping bag, food, water, etc.
So, yesterday (11/9/16) was a busy day.
I had a 30 minute meeting at 10am with the LTBMU to discuss updates to the new map for the staging area. I got out of that 30 minute meeting at 10:50am. Just enough time to make my 11am meeting with the new Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership.
Short story there, this is yet another group formed to ‘restore’ a part of our forest. I’m not yet sure who is funding this effort or why this section of forest was picked. But, Amy Granat of CORVA asked me to be a part of this discussion due to my local OHV knowledge. In order to get an interview with the group, I had to be ‘officially’ affiliated with some recognized group. So, CORVA made me a ‘Field Representative’:
While in the meeting with Lake Tahoe West, the LTBMU texted me to ask if I had time to meet at the Rubicon staging area to discuss ‘things’. Instead of driving over 50 and up 395 to get home, I went back up 89 to the staging area.
On the drive north, I took a few pictures of the recent Emerald Bay Fire. This is just south of Emerald Bay. The first shot is looking south. You can see the open areas near Camp Richardson in the background.
The Forest Service crews were out in strength dropping trees at the edge of the highway, putting down ground cloth and booms to prevent the coming storms from washing off the topsoil and then spraying with that green compound that promotes new growth.
At the staging area, Mike, Jacob and I discussed the sign, the surface of the parking area, signs, overflow parking, etc.
Then Mike said he wanted to see Miller Lake and the turn to the Richardson Trail. Now you must take in to account what I’m driving. It’s my daily driver, a 2012 Chevy Colorado. Now it has the Z-71 package and a 2.5″ lift and 33″ tires. A vehicle quite capable of doing most of the trails in the area, but yesterday, it also had a small load of firewood in the bed and two kayaks strapped to the top.
Up the trail we went. Then Mike asked Jacob if he wanted drive the loop and go out Blackwood Canyon. The Forest Service was driving a stock Ford Ranger, no lift. There were a few puddles that had already lapped at the door of the Ranger. I couldn’t let them drive the loop alone, so with kayaks and firewood in tow, we headed to Barker Pass.
At least I had my winter stuff in the truck: shovel, come-along, tow straps, etc.
Mike was riding with me so I could bend his ear on anything that came to mind. He glanced over and asked if we had enough fuel to make it out. I explained that I normally top off my tank before venturing off-road but I didn’t have that expectation today. I said we’d be fine, but was a little worried when the ‘low fuel’ light came on.
That situation was a great opportunity to discuss the new “No Outlet Nov 6th – June 16th” sign to prevent people from getting stuck at a gate on their way out Blackwood Canyon and not being able to turn around and drive all the way back out to the Rubicon staging area be it fuel, vehicle damage, darkness, injury, etc.
We finished our day at the Middle Fork staging area discussing signage.
I ended up putting 17.4 gallons of fuel in my 19.5 gallon tank. We had plenty, but it was a long day as I didn’t get home until 5:20pm.
I checked out Barker Pass Road today. Since the road is scheduled to close (past the river) on November 1st, I was surprised to find the gate open. I started to the summit wondering how much snow there would be.
Half way up the mountain, I wondered if I’d make the summit. The ruts continued to grow until they were about 10″ deep.
It was like driving that ride at Disneyland with the curb in the middle. You were sort-of steering but it was not easy to drive off the road.
Well, I did make it to the summit and on the west side the snow had melted quite a bit. There were two other rigs up there. One couple skiing. I wish I had a second vehicle around and time to play. The side trails must have been really fun. Tie to get out the snowmobile!
The Middle Fork trail is open until the 15th. That would probably unpassable going up (too steep), and very tricky with the narrow trail and steep drop-offs, going down.
While out and about, I checked the Rubicon trailhead. Not much snow left but I’m sure as you gain altitude on the trail, the snow depth will grow as well.
Travel prepared. Figure everything will go wrong and pack to spend the night: food, shelter, warm clothes, water, space heater. sleeping bag, HAM RADIO, etc.