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.
Rubicon Trail closed within El Dorado County until the end of FebPosted: January 11, 2023 Filed under: Access Leave a comment
(After a few comments about the number of days in Feb, I reworded the title.)
UPDATE: I have heard, but not confirmed, that the Loon Lake entrance is still and has always been open. The OHV trail from Loon Lake is actually the Ellis Creek Intertie, and not part of the Rubicon Trail. Thus, not closed by a Rubicon Trail closure. I’ve also heard Ice House Road and Wentworth Springs Road are both closed. Unfortunately, El Dorado County and other Rubicon advocacy groups are not good at getting solid, proven, accurate information out to the public.
El Dorado County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution on January 10th, that closes the Rubicon Trail for 60 days, starting Dec 30th.
The Placer County side is still open, for now.
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.