Morris Rock (The Steps)

For those of you that haven’t seen them, a few new boulders appeared on Cadillac Hill after this past epic winter, just below Morris Rock.

Here’s a photo looking down Morris Rock. The three large boulders on the right are new.


It looks like someone has started to split the new boulders. Look at the three drill marks on the face of the rock with a horizontal face.


The new boulders make the approach a little narrow but I watched a JK with a trailer make it without issues last week.


Rubicon Ronin

V-Rock now U-Rock

So, I made it down Cadillac Hill this past weekend and noticed that quite a bit of work has been done. Cadillac Hill was easier than I can ever remember.

As you all know, there are several ‘famous’ obstacles along the climb up Cadillac Hill. One of those is V-Rock. V-Rock is (was) a granite slope from above the trail down to the edge of the trail with a large boulder outcropping at the edge. The angle between the granite slope and edge of the boulder created a “V” that users needed to navigate.

So here are two before any work was done. Unfortunately, not all from the same angle. The granite slope on the right slopes up more than the photo implies.


Special nod to Randy for posting a picture of his rig the last time it was running. Note the deep “V” at his front right tire.


Some work was done over the last few years to get the condition below. The “V” still has loose rock so the depth can vary. Drive it as is if so equipped; fill in a bunch of rock if you’re lower or limping out broken.

29 V-rock

But now, after a whole bunch of concrete and rock were placed in the “V”, the “V” is now a “U”. And it’s concrete so no chance for a difficult line.


I asked before on a public forum “Who Decides?” That thread was started about a rock on Cadillac that was drilled and split, without any formal permission. The answer was if it’s a safety issue, take care of it.

What would happen if an individual made the Soup Bowl ‘safe’?

Now there are rumors that even more rocks will be split, removed, dealt with, etc. on Cadillac Hill; during the dark of night with no formal permission or discussion. Does Placer know? FOTR? RTF? TNF?

There is a new bypass on Cadillac Hill in the ‘trees’ section. I can only assume the tight turn was too much for some drivers or some rigs so they went straight through the trees. This is an illegal users created bypass and will be blocked.

In both photos below, you can see a former bypass that was blocked on the right. In the first photo right through my rear view mirror. In the second photo far right and half way up.

Bypass straight ahead, original trail to the right:


Bypass left of the tree, original trail around to the right:


I thought people drove the Rubicon Trail for a challenge?










A day on the trail…

June 16, I was lucky enough to have time to spend a day on the Rubicon Trail.

For me, a day on the trail includes trail maintenance. This day was no different. I was out to enhance what I had started 6/4-5. On that day I moved a few trailer loads of rock on Cadillac Hill. So, I moved a few more loads to the same area of the Upper Hairpin and to a spot just a little up the trail. The upper hairpin turn is behind me in the photo below.


I also worked the puddle above the upper creek crossing. It didn’t take much, but it had a huge impact.


This small amount of rock solved two issues. The first was erosion. As rig drove through this ‘puddle’ before, small amounts of dirt were removed and the ‘puddle’ was growing deeper. Erosion is bad everywhere but when it happens at a creek, that sediment gets flushed down stream and the anti-OHV crowd gets bent out of shape. That will no longer happen here.


The second issue solved is that of users driving off trail. Although not a challenge to most, a few side-by-sides had gone to the effort to drive off trail and go around the very large tree on the right side of the photos because they would bottom out due to their wheelbase and low clearance. That bypass was blocked last year and since has been respected by the users. Now, due to the filling of the hole on the uphill side of the step, there is no reason for users to drive off trail.

The other area addressed that day was a root section well west of Observation point. It is a root section that had been eroding over the years creating a very off-camber trail. This spot also lead to users driving off trail to avoid the off-camber section.DSCN2487

Although I didn’t have time to move much rock, it is a start. After taking the picture below, I drove through the obstacle and still found it to be well off-camber. So, I spent another 15 minutes moving more rock in to the low spot on the trail.


This area will need more rock. I look forward to finding more time to spend on the trail, doing trail maintenance.

For those who think this is paving the trail and that we should just let it go, I obviously have a different view. The anti-OHV crowd has used ever eroding trails against us and will again in the future. Not only has the Rubicon been used, twice, first within the Lake Tahoe Basin and second in the Eldorado but we had 42 trails closed (most wrongfully) due to lack of maintenance in areas near meadows.

I prefer that we get out in front of the anti-OHV crowd and perform some preventative maintenance. A little bit goes a long way.

Cadillac Hill maintenance

So, last week (June 4/5), I finally got out on the trail with the ability to focus on trail maintenance. Unfortunately, it didn’t go quite as planned.

The plan was to wheel in to the upper hairpin on Cadillac Hill, set-up camp, moving a bunch of rock to stop erosion, re-trench the upper creek crossing and evaluate what the lower hairpin needs.

The drive in was fine. I got a little hail at Observation. Light sprinkles from there down to the upper hairpin on Cadillac Hill. It stopped just as I started setting up camp. I wanted to make sure I had a dry camp before the predicted thunderstorm rolled in.

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The first task was to harden the actual upper hairpin turn. As you can see, over the decades, there has been a little erosion taking place here. There are now a few differential busters that have ‘grown’ up out of the ground.

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I took my ‘trusted’ trailer up the trail and collected rocks from off the trail. (No reason to weaken one section of the trail in order to harden another area.) On my third trip with the trailer loaded with rock, I noticed a bad noise. I stopped and checked the trailer connection.

For those of you not familiar with the “Lock-n-Roll” hitch, it provides full articulation in ALL directions. But after a few jack-knifes (on previous trips) and once running the hitch upside down, the hitch has seen a lot of abuse. This time, I took it a little too far.

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I spent over an hour trying to re-bend the middle piece back in to position to give me full articulation. I had the trailer tongue strapped to a tree and my winch pulling on the hitch trying to straighten it out. Not too successful.

Update note: I called Great Basin Forge and explained my issue. Even though they don’t list parts for sale, they sold me only what I needed and got it shipped out the same day! Thanks guys.


So, I called it a day on hauling rock with only three loads delivered. As you can see, I did get a little done. At least the diff busters are minimalized.

2015_June 030

I hiked up to the upper creek crossing and trenched the crossing a little deeper and further away from the log ‘water bar’. This almost immediately stopped any flow of water down the trail.

The growing puddle/hole above the step just above the creek crossing was also addressed but not completely. I hauled quite a few half full five gallon buckets of rock and dumped them in the hole. It will need more but I was running out of fuel for the day.

The next morning, before heading out, I walked down to THE hairpin turn and worked there for about an hour. Again, the flowing water was trenched away from the route that would let it flow further down the trail. This area will also need some follow up.

Once I get the trailer rebuilt, I’ll head back out and continue the projects.