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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
For those of you who also own a 2wd vehicle along with you 4wd rig, or for those looking to play in the snow with your trail rig, have I got a deal for you.
I just picked up a pair of tire chains for my daily driver, yes, it’s 4wd, but just in case. The beauty of this pair of chains is that they will also fit the tires on the project Jeep, which oddly enough is 2wd right now. A story for another time. The truck has 265/75R18 and the project jeep is 33×10.5R15. One set fits both sizes.
The guys name is Dave and lives near the south east corner of McCarran in Reno. He owns a Jeep (stock) but he’s in to old Harleys. Retired big rig driver who drove Donner Pass most of his career. Cool dude. He has an ad on Craigslist:
He finds big rig chains on the highway (free material) and resizes them to what you need. Since he doesn’t really have material costs, he only charges for his time. He claims it doesn’t take any more time to build chains for a set of 35″ tires than it does for 31″ tires, so the cost is the same. About $60.
He leaves the cam tighteners in place and for me included a homemade tool to work them. You can see from the pictures the cross links are not worn but there is surface rust. I guess if you wanted to you could clean them up and paint them.
I bet if you wanted a custom set with double the number of cross links and wider to drape down the sidewalls, he could build them.
Anyway, I just thought someone out there might need a deal on chains. I think CA law states you need to carry chains during conditions that might require chains. It doesn’t say they have to fit. But why not be prepared with a set that will fit your oversized tires?
Be safe and don’t be ‘that’ guy.
This is a photo looking northwest from Meeks Bay. The Smoke is coming from the west end of Sugar Pine State Park. I didn’t stop to take the more dramatic picture as I was travelling south on 89.
Here is the email I received because I subscribe to the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s prescribed burn email notifications…
Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team
October 17, 2018 For Immediate Release
Prescribed fire operations today on Tahoe’s West and South Shores
Contact: U.S. Forest Service, Lisa Herron (530) 543-2815
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Weather and conditions permitting, California State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service may conduct prescribed fire operations in Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore and near Twin Peaks on the South Shore beginning today, October 17, 2018. Smoke will likely be present. A map with project locations and details is available for viewing at http://www.tahoefft.org. To receive prescribed fire notifications, send an email to email@example.com.
Prescribed fire operations are conducted whenever conditions allow to reduce excess vegetation that can feed unwanted wildfires. Planned fires now reduce the threat of unplanned fires later, which helps provide increased community protection. Fire is a natural process in the Sierra Nevada and helps keep our forests healthy by minimizing the spread of insects and disease, recycling nutrients back into the soil and promoting improved habitat for diverse vegetation and wildlife.
Fall and winter bring cooler temperatures and precipitation, which are ideal for conducting prescribed fire operations. Each operation follows a specialized burn plan, which considers temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke. This information is used to decide when and where to burn.
Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size and environmental conditions. Prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and of much shorter duration than smoke produced by unwanted wildland fires.
Agencies coordinate closely with local county and state air pollution control districts and monitor weather conditions carefully prior to prescribed fire ignitions. They wait for favorable conditions that will carry smoke up and disperse it away from smoke sensitive areas. Crews also conduct test burns before igniting a larger area, to verify how effectively materials are consumed and how smoke will travel.
Before prescribed fire operations are conducted, agencies post road signs around areas affected by prescribed fire, send email notifications and update the local fire information line maintained by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit at 530-543-2816. The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team gives as much advance notice as possible before burning, but some operations may be conducted on short notice due to the small window of opportunity for conducting these operations