Rubicon Closed – “for safety” (BULLSHIT!)Posted: December 31, 2022 Filed under: Access | Tags: access, closure, snow, weather Leave a comment
“As of December 30, 2022, the Rubicon Trail is closed for public safety in accordance with county procedures and a determination was made with the Department of Transportation, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Parks Division.“
El Dorado County has closed the Rubicon Trail. For the record, that is only an El Dorado County closure. The Rubicon Trail is open within Placer County.
I assume that the closure is due to the storm systems currently hitting the Sierra Nevada. What I’m not sure of is why politicians, specifically in California, seem to think we need mothering. I’m calling the move “bullshit”!
California has a history of wanting to control everything in our lives. Below is just one story about CA wanting to control thermostats:
I get that the government is trying to protect us. So, let’s play that thought out. Let’s have the government protect us from other dangerous sports and activities.
Probably the big one, skiing. Why does the government allow us to ski? 39 deaths per year:
Why does the government allow us to recreate on Lake Tahoe? Six deaths on Lake Tahoe summer 2022:
Why does the government allow us to go to the Grand Canyon? Multiple deaths at the Grand Canyon:
Why does the government allow us to drive through Death Valley? Six deaths in Death Valley:
And for god’s sake, why do we still have hiking trails in this country? 120-150 hiker deaths every year:
Government control (read as closures) is continuing to creep into our lives. We need to tell the government to back off.
Government agencies are increasingly closing our Rubicon Trail and we need to push back. Safety is the new closure reason. They say they know better than we do. The current El Dorado for weather safety. Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has twice closed the trail for fire safety, with the fires 12+ miles away, while the Tahoe National Forest had not even closed the Rubicon Trail.
Our OHV advocacy groups need to push back. They need to push back now. And they need to push back HARD. If we don’t fight to keep our trails open, they will be closed, for one lame reason or another.
I’m calling on RTF to step up and work to their mission statement: “To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon trail, while ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access.”
I’m calling on Cal4 to fight for our trails. CORVA, Blue Ribbon, AMA, ETC. Anyone and everyone that uses an OHV trail should be fighting this, and every, Rubicon Trail closure. The Rubicon Trail is open year-round. Although I’m not sure I believe that anymore.
How long are these organization willing to wait before they fight? Are you happy with your donations that have gone to these organizations, while you watch them sit on their hands while the trail is closed? Contact your favorite OHV advocacy group and let them know this closure is unacceptable. Let them know it’s time to fight.
It has been brought to my attention that CORVA did indeed challenge the FS fire closures of the Rubicon Trail. Thank you, Amy Granat! I was wrong and stand corrected.
If anyone EVER has corrections to my rantings, please get in touch and I’ll post them up.
NEVER GO OUT ON THE RUBICON ALONE!Posted: December 26, 2022 Filed under: Access, Travel | Tags: snow, stuck, winter Leave a comment
How many times do we need to say it?
I needed to get out of town and so I took a drive up to the lake. Of course, I swung by the Rubicon trailhead.
Please note: I did not go out on the trail alone.
The trailhead was clear with no berm or evidence that the locals had tried to block wheeled access.
The work we all did has allowed a good deal of people to access the trail. Awesome!
There was that one guy. The guy who went alone. The guy who got stuck.
If you know the Tahoe side, he didn’t get far. And it looks like many people went around him.
He did try all the old tricks: dig out the tires, wood under the tires, floor mats under the tires, etc.
Maybe we need more aggressive signage to prevent people from being stupid.
There’s a wet storm coming soon. Maybe the snow will firm up after the storm, after it all freezes again. There is a slight off camber pitch to the trial at the trailhead. Although the trail is flat, the way the rotary plow threw the snow, the left side is higher than the right side on your way in. No idea how far people have gone in. I wasn’t going to walk it.
If you go out to play, be prepared to spend the night. Bring everything: a second vehicle, friends, winch, shovel, tow straps, recovery gear, food, shelter, clothing, water, sleeping bags, tent, ETC! You cannot be OVER prepared for winter on the Rubicon.
“Berm-away” Version 2.0Posted: December 17, 2022 Filed under: Access, Maintenance, Travel | Tags: locals, Placer, plowing, snow Leave a comment
We came, we saw, we took it down.
I’d like to start by thanking those who showed up to help. It was a short notice event and we had people from all over. Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s, Fresno Jeep Club (not sure if they drove up today), Tahoe Donner 4-Wheelers, Facebook even brought out a few people. Thank you, Shannon for getting the word out through FOTR and Tim for posting on his Facebook page. If you haven’t visited Tim’s “Rubicon Gazette” page, go check it out.
So, this is what we saw when we showed up. Not everyone (meaning me) showed up on time due to ski traffic around the basin.
The group was already at work when I arrived. With seven rigs and nine people, it went really fast. Most of the snow was normal and undisturbed, the lower layers were a little icy but because we had been here before, the ice chipped out quickly. I think actual work time for the group was an hour and a quarter. But that’s about eight man-hours.
The goal was to dig down far enough to prevent the need for the traditional ramp. We got down to within six inches of the asphalt.
Once done, a few of the guys decided to test the trail. It was very soft snow, almost corn snow. It didn’t compact very well and the guys were literally down to their axles. Straps were deployed but I didn’t get any incriminating photos.
Even with lockers and 40″ tires, there was not much success. After a few tries going back and forth, two Jeeps finally made it in about 150 yards. You can barely see him, about to going around the corner.
There will need to be many freeze/thaw cycles before any true distance will be made up the trail. But our efforts today, and in the future, will keep the opening clear of Placer County plowed snow.
For the record, the locals did let us know that they were not in favor of our efforts. But it’s a county road, not a neighborhood winter play area.
The sheriff never showed up. I’m not sure if the locals called them or not. The close neighbor did come out late in the effort and took a bunch of photos.
A guy in a Subaru did show up and as he was about to drive up the trail, asked “how far is the parking lot?”. He and his buddies were going to snowshoe to the Ludlow Hut along the Sourdough Hill Trail. But his friend showed up and had local parking at one of the cabins.
Moving forward, this issue needs to be solved: better Placer plowing and understanding of the locals. It will take getting everyone in the same room for hours to discuss all of the issues: Placer County, Forest Service, CA State Parks, user groups (RTF, FOTR, CORVA, etc.), local clubs (Hi-Lo’s, TD 4-Wheelers, etc.) and especially the neighborhood locals. We can all sit down and be civil and find a solution. We need someone to lead that effort.
Stay tuned, we’ll be out again.
Snow Wall Removal – 12/17/22Posted: December 15, 2022 Filed under: Access, Maintenance, Travel | Tags: Placer, snow, snowwall Leave a comment
Flash Run to remove the snow wall left by Placer County after the latest storm.
Saturday, December 17th, 10am. Bring a shovel and a pick-axe!
The wall isn’t that bad. Only four feet tall and two feet deep. The plan is to remove the wall but not create a ramp into the street.
I figure it will take about an hour and a half, then you can all go play. I’ll be in my truck.
“Berm-Away”, a new Rubicon Trailhead servicePosted: December 6, 2022 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Placer, plowing, snowwall Leave a comment
The Lake Tahoe area got a dumping of snow over the last few days. After a short day of skiing Alpine Meadows, I drove to the Rubicon Trailhead. The ever-present snow wall was actually being built. More later. Note photo below compared to the third photo below.
There was a route through the wall from those that had snowshoed or cross county skied up the trail. I wanted to open the entrance a little bit more for wheeled vehicles.
Before I had the chance to unload my blower, the plow guy came by to add to my workload. Fortunately, I was right at my rig and I was able to move it without interfering with the plow operator. He did come by a few more times on the other side of the street and just shook his head. My camera operator was hiking up the trail when they heard it come by.
So, after repositioning my truck, my unnamed accomplice and I pulled out my snowblower and we went to work. It was a chunky ice nightmare. We used the shovel to break down the wall and then the blower to throw it to the side. Please note that all snow moved from the roadway was thrown to an area known to also be over asphalt.
It took about 45-minutes and it was time to leave. The neighbor across the street had already come out of her house to take pictures from her driveway. I figured the sheriff was on the way. We left it a little narrow, but everyone will get the point that this is the entrance to the Rubicon Trail.
On the drive back home, shortly north of the turn off 89, a sheriff’s rig was headed south bound!
The Rubicon Trail is open year-round! The trailhead is now open to anyone and everyone that would like to enjoy it.
So, checked a few days later and not much new but decided to clean it up a bit
Didn’t take any time at all.
It’s a good eight feet wide through the berm. I drove my truck in about ten feet. I was alone and didn’t want to get stuck twenty feet from the road.
Big storm coming this weekend. Be prepared if you go out!