Yesterday, I received an email from a forest service employee boasting some great trail work on the Richardson Lake Trail up to Sourdough Hill. The only pictures he included were those of trails demolished and covered in trees and brush. I was horrified!
The series of pictures looked like this…
The next morning, I was up at 5:15am and out by 6:15am to get to the trail to see what the Forest Service had done to one of my trails.
Although the Forest Service had blocked off the last climb to the summit of Sourdough Hill, they had put in a switch back and more than a quarter mile of new trail.
For those of you who’ve never been there, here is a photo of the old route. This does not give you the idea of how steep this trail was originally. The ruts show previous wheel spinning and rain runoff causing erosion.
The old trail can be seen on the right side of the next picture, the new route goes from left to right in front of my Jeep. This reroute was warranted as the old route was a steep, loose, rocky, rutted trail that was causing erosion and was not safe as shown in the previous picture.
A better look up the trail after the switchback…
Here is another look up the blocked off ‘hill climb’…
Up from the switchback…
Back in to the trees. Note the trees cut down in order to create this new trail.
Nearing the summit. Those familiar with the trail should know the radio hut is to your left in this picture. You used to come up to the summit with the hut on your right.
The parking area is the same as before you just approach it from the bottom not the top.
Here is a shot of where the trail used to come up. (The radio hut to my left.)
Poser shot at the summit! A selfie if you count the shadow.
Views on the way down.
Hats off to the Forest Service for the reroute but I need to talk to my contact about communicating the entire story with more pictures.
August 3rd, the Deer valley Trail officially opened for the 2017 season. The Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s jumped at the opportunity to do some trail maintenance and open the trail.
The South County Trail Riders have adopted this trail but they were extremely busy getting the Cal4 Sierra Trek set up and running smooth. My thanks to them for that because Sierra Trek went very smooth. The Motherload Rock Crawlers were also out on the trail working with the Forest Service making final plans for the maintenance scheduled for the last three weekends in Sept.
So the Hi-Lo’s went to work. This was typical of what we found, trees either on the ground or ready to fall.
We pulled out our saws and started cutting.
Once we got a system going, it went great. One team took off down the trail to deal with “THE” tree. More later. The second team would cut downed or hanging trees in to manageable lengths and would move on. The third team would clear the trail of the chopped up trees. We removed about 24 trees from the trail.
When I refer to a tree across the trail as “THE” tree, it means it was a really big tree. This tree had been driven around by those breaking the law. We try and educate to fellow users to stay on the trail but there are those who don’t care.
Our crew used the bed of a truck to safely attack the tree.
With a lot of hard work, the first section of the tree was removed.
Some of the guys wanted souvenirs. See the photo of the month.
The last section was removed and the original route was reopened.
The Hi-Lo’s returned to the trail on the 12th and removed even more trees in preparation of our Gambler’s Poker Run on the 19th of August.
The mention of future maintenance refers to three weekends in Sept: 9/10, 16/17, 23/24. The plan is to move several hundred tons of rock to prevent erosion at the two creek crossings.
Please contact the Motherload Rock Crawlers if you plan on attending. Trailers are needed but not required.
Basically, winter seems to be hanging around.
There is still a ton of water on and around the trails. Snow drifts will be found in the shade. Mud in other places. Please Tread Lightly!
Here is the pond at the Ellis Peak Trail intersection. This was taken on June 19th, so most of this is probably gone, but it’s a heck of a lot of snow for June!
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has a list of closed trails on their website. Those trails include, but are not limited to Noonchester, Buck Lake, Middle Fork, Forest Road 03, Twin Peaks, 16E16, etc. It is the users responsibility to know what trails are open or closed regardless of trail and gate conditions.
Although the Tahoe National Forest has not published a list of closed roads, be aware that most of the TNF trails in the Rubicon area will have deep snow drifts for some time.
There are a lot of snags in the forest right now. John Briggs and I spent five hours on June 19th cutting back downed trees along the Rubicon. And that was only between the staging area and the turn for the Ellis Peak Trail at the pond. Be prepared to remove trees from the trail both on the way in and on the way out. Trees could fall after you’ve past and you’ll need a way to get out.
We were able to pull down this snag by hand and cut it up and throw it off the trail. There is plenty of firewood to be had. Go to the Tahoe National Forest office in Truckee for the permit.
Do not drive around downed trees. The motto of this website is: “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”. That means don’t drive off trail to get around an obstacle be it snow, a tree or just a tough section of trail. The anti-OHV people will use such incidents against us to get our trails closed.
There is a report of a HUGE boulder on the trail below Morris Rock. It would be great to split it up and harden the trail with a few smaller obstacles. Until that boulder is moved or reduced in size, Cadillac Hill will be very tough to get up.
Another report had Miller Creek flowing at 48″ deep. I find this hard to believe but if it’s anywhere near true, it will be tough to cross. The section west of there will be VERY wet and very deep in places. Check the depth before you charge in to any water holes.
There was a report of four rigs stuck on the trail, two with blown motors. One of those was in that wet section described above. I’m hoping work has been done to start the removal of those rigs. The two snow bound rigs were removed earlier and both driven out under their own power.
I believe that this one had a blown motor. If you look closely, the trail is up on the snow bank. But the snow bank is a little off camber and thus the heightened pucker factor. The rig it technically off trail. Remember, “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”.
Years ago, I think it was for a very early “Cantina for the ‘Con”, Matt & Shannon made an epic entrance with the ice cream truck music blaring and the truck (and ice cream) to back it up. Since then they have made many fundraisers for the Rubicon and other OHV causes.
Work has begun on the “Ice Cream Truck 2.0”. Although the previous truck was 4wd, it wasn’t really trail worthy. Truck 2.0 will be fully capable of traversing the Rubicon.
Matt & Shannon have always been there for our trails. Matt has sat on the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) Board of Directors. Shannon is the current Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) Trail Boss. Both have been volunteering for a long time.
Shannon & Matt in the back of the original Ice Cream Truck:
They are building this new truck on their own with help from friends and family. The proceeds from the sale of the ice cream goes to our trail, troops (Wheeling for the Wounded) or wherever they decide to donate. They do not keep the profits.
If you think you can help them out, they have created a “Go Fund Me” account, the link is below:
It’s efforts like this that keep our trails open and make the maintenance events a fun experience.
Thank you Matt & Shannon!
Just received from Vickie Sander of El Dorado County:
Sun, May 21 2017 2:35 PM
Condition exist on the Rubicon Trail that warrant closure. The monitoring protocols have been met. I am sending this to the ROC email list to get the information out as soon as possible and will post to the County website tomorrow. Loon Lake to the Intertie is not effected by this closure. With the upcoming holiday it is important that we get this information out.
My understanding is that this is a water running on the trail issue. With the warm temperatures, the excessive snow melt over runs the rolling dips and water bars. There are certain spots that get measured on a regular basis during the melt and it the water is deeper than allowed, motor vehicle traffic is temporarily suspended.
Hopefully these ‘trouble’ spots are documented and better features are placed on the trail to prevent future closures.
This only effects the Wentworth Springs section of the trail. I assume Airport Flat to the Ellis Creek (Loon Lake) intertie.
Vickie will email users when the conditions change and the trail is reopened.