Not surprisingly, the Forest Service went too far. I fully understand the hardening of the trail. Erosion could cause the loss of the trail. Sedimentation running off in to the water ways will get our trails closed. But there is no reason to pave the trail.
Last week, the Tahoe National Forest, under the direction of Joe Chavez, paved sections of the Rubicon Trail, specifically along Cadillac Hill.
This project was sold to the Rubicon Partners and users as a hardening project. They were to harden the bypass (that I don’t personally agree with), they were going to harden and stabilize parts of Cadillac Hill that were slowly eroding away and they were going to move and place select boulders from out of the area to spots along Cadillac to act as key anchors for drainages and hardening efforts.
My thanks to Scot of the Hi-Lo’s for providing the pictures!
Hardening the bypass around the fixable Mud Hole
Hardening below the Notch
Hardening below V-rock
Hardening below the Driveway (but it will get kicked out)
I get hardening. It needs to happen. It needs to happen more. What I don’t get is clearing the trail of boulders. If I wanted that, I’d take Highway 50.
I don’t know if those key boulders were brought in from above Cadillac to to be key anchors but large boulders were removed from the Rubicon Trail.
Below Morris, also some hardening took place
Further below Morris
Bottom of Cadillac
There’s not much that can be done right now. Winter will change the trail. Joe can always hire the Spider Excavator to go back out and replace the boulders on to the trail, but he won’t.
Moving forward, I think the users should attach a watch dog to the side of Joe Chavez. Someone should go everywhere Joe goes to make sure he doesn’t do something like this again.
If you remember, Joe’s first day on the trail he wanted to close the bypasses going up Cadillac. He only wanted a single trail all the way up. If I wasn’t there to talk him out of it we would have lost trail.
We didn’t lose trail this time, it was just paved, but who knows what he’ll want to do next time.
Above is a link to the El Dorado County Rubicon Trail page announcing the temporary trail closure.
UPDATE: At this time, El Dorado County can only close the portion of the trail within El Dorado County. There has been no word if the Tahoe National Forest will close any portion of the trail within Placer County. The closure is for safety while using a helicopter to transport material to Cadillac Hill.
Maintenance will be taking place on Cadillac Hill, the rolling dips between Observation and the top of Cadillac Hill and the Tahoe side Mud Hole and the Forest Service Bypass around the Mud Hole.
Trees have already been dropped to further block the original trail at the Mud Hole.
You should be able to access side trail such as the Richardson Lake Trail to Sourdough Hill and the Buck Lake Trail to Ellis Peak and Ellis Lake. The loop from Blackwood Canyon (Barker Pass) down to the intersection of the Rubicon (Forest Road 03-04) will probably be open.
Please don’t drive further west than the intersection of the Rubicon and Forest Road 03-04 unless you are an active volunteer.
So, I’m not seeing where I posted about the large mud hole on the Tahoe Side of the Rubicon, but there was one. It was so bad, 4 of the 5 in our group the day we encountered it got stuck. We were all in well built rigs on 35’s or more.
The users created an illegal bypass but it was blocked off by ‘those in charge’. Unfortunately, ‘those in charge’ did nothing to FIX the mud hole.
Guess what? ‘Those in charge’ just created a “temporary bypass” around the mud hole until it can be properly repaired.
There has been no word on when repairs to the mud hole might take place.