The Calm in the Middle of the StormPosted: January 14, 2023 Filed under: Access, Maintenance, Travel | Tags: management, snow, STORM, Tahoma Leave a comment
As I write this, the Seirra Mountains are getting hammered with snow. Up to four feet is expected at the Tahoma trailhead.
If you go out to play, be safe, be prepared, don’t go alone, don’t go as a single vehicle, tell someone where you’re going.
Here’s what the trailhead looked like before this current storm started. 1-13-23
I want to thank everyone that has helped out to knock down previous snow walls put up by Placer County. Although the snow is back, by previously maintaining an access point, subsequent plowing efforts do not completely block access. Everyone knows where the trail starts.
The only traffic on the trail has been on foot. It will be some time before wheeled vehicles will be back on the trail.
I do find it funny that the hikers can’t stay on the trail. The trail is clearly defined by the snow stakes, yet the hikers needed to go around the sign and off the trail.
Getting back to the big picture, it is clear that Placer County is still plowing a dip into the trailhead. Remember, the rotary will come by after the photo below was taken and create an even deeper dip. The dip piles more snow than would normally be piled by plowing.
My simple solution is to have Placer drive a slight convex route with the blade, be it a plow or grader, and then have the rotary come through and drive a slightly concave route. This would leave only natural snowfall at the actual trailhead.
I realize there are many issues facing the Rubicon Trail right now. I do not agree with many of the decisions made. Although we, as users, need to prioritize and fight as needed, we cannot let other issues fall between the cracks.
Unfortunately, there is no one place to stay up to date on the issues or status of the Rubicon Trail. There is not one governing agency. There are many OHV advocacy groups, but they don’t always communicate well with each other.
Management of the Rubicon Trail is a mess. The MOU signed by a half dozen agencies seems to be ignored as the LTBMU and the TNF do work on the trail without consulting others. Placer isn’t working with anyone. El Dorado Parks just got trumped by their own DOT. The users and volunteers are left in the dark. It’s chaos.
The Rubicon Trail needs its own website, with a ‘nothing but Rubicon’ forum. Any and all work to be performed needs to be posted. All legal documents (closures) need to be posted with a detailed explanation of why. All discussions need to be open for all to see. Maybe some forums where just the agencies can comment, but all can view, and others where users can comment and post questions. Public discussions before closures are made. Maintenance plans reviewed before work is started.
The website should be run by independent website builders, not a government agency, not an OHV advocacy group. A true neutral party. But I’m dreaming. I’m going to wake up and go shovel snow at my cabin.
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.
ENF Closes Trails EarlyPosted: December 2, 2022 Filed under: Access, Travel | Tags: closure, rain, winter Leave a comment
U.S. Forest Service Eldorado National Forest 100 Forni Road Placerville, CA 95667 530-622-5061
News Release For Immediate Release December 2, 2022
Media Contact: Jennifer Chapman, email@example.com www.facebook.com/EldoradoNF Twitter:@EldoradoNF
Seasonal dirt road and trail closure begins December 1 on the Eldorado National Forest
PLACERVILLE, Calif. – Due to the amount of rain and snow received, the annual seasonal dirt road and trail closure for motorized vehicles went into effect December 1, 2022 on the Eldorado National Forest. The seasonal closure is designed to protect roadbeds and watersheds from damage and to protect water quality.
A minimum three month closure period from January 1 through March 31 was designated in the Eldorado National Forest Travel Management Plan for the core part of the winter. To maintain flexibility, the timing of the seasonal closure is determined based on current conditions each year which may cause the closure to go into effect early or be extended. This year, storms saturated the soils in November with rain and melting snow making dirt roads and trails susceptible to rutting and erosion. Regardless of when the closure is in effect, visitors should always use good judgement about whether motor vehicle use will cause resource damage.
The roads and trails subject to the seasonal closure are identified on the forest’s Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) which are available free of charge and can also be found on the forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/eldorado/maps-pubs .
The seasonal closure does not affect routes in the Rock Creek Area of the Eldorado National Forest near Georgetown, which has its own route closure process.
For more information on recreation opportunities and current conditions in the Eldorado National Forest, visit the forest website or contact a Visitor Information Specialist Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at: ·
Forest Supervisor’s Office: 530-303-2412 · Amador Ranger District: 209-259-3774 · Placerville and Pacific Ranger Districts: 530-644-2324 · Georgetown Ranger District: 530-333-4312 ### The U.S.D.A Forest Service is an equal opportunity employer. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
This early closure would only include the Sourdough Hill Trail on the Tahoe side and all other trails in the ENF.
For the record, the LTBMU closes their trails Nov 15th.