Rubicon conditions

Rubicon

I’m continuing to follow the saga of the stuck rigs on the Rubicon. An effort was made this past weekend to reach them but it fell short due to mechanical failures. But they got to in quite a ways considering conditions.

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Yes, that is the staging area and the two twelve foot tall pit toilets!

I’m assuming the photo below is the creek at water bar number eight, the first Arizona crossing on the trail.

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That would be a cold, deep crossing on a Quad!

Please remember that this will be a very late OHV season. All trails will be very wet and probably not open on time. One can be cited for damaging the forest even while on an OHV trail. Always Tread Lightly!

Be patient, summer will get here.

 

Rubicon Ronin

FYI – Lake Tahoe has already risen three feet this year! And Spring isn’t here yet!

 


Wet conditions. Tread Lightly!

On my way to the annual Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s Christmas Party, I drove by the Rubicon trailhead. It was a little sloppy at the staging area with more than eight inches of slop.

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Rain is expected over the next few days, so it’s going to get worse. Imagine this mess freezing up. The temperatures will drop below freezing over night this week but they warm up to the 40’s during the day.

Next weekend the temperatures drop dramatically. We’re talking single digits. Go prepared. And don’t go alone.

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The deepest spot was over the bridge, maybe ten inches. With no ground warming, it just doesn’t melt. Be careful crossing the bridge as the ‘sides’ are only eight inches tall. If there is a crown to the snow, you may slide off the side. If you’re concerned about sliding sideways, dig two grooves/ruts to prevent sliding.

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If you’re feeling like it’s too sloppy, you’re being a whimp. Theses two vehicle were parked along the trail and should have no problem getting out.

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Weather conditions can change quickly. Always be prepared to spend the night in case of a breakdown. Tent, sleeping bags, winter clothing, water, food, change of clothes, warm snow boots, etc. Prepare for the worst case. You don’t want to be that guy.

The ham repeater system is in place year round. (Thank you RTF and Dennis Mayer!) Carry a radio in case of trouble as cell phones do not work out there. Tell several people where you are going and when you will return.

The side trails in the Eldorado and the Basin are closed. The Tahoe side trails close January 1st. I would suggest staying on the Rubicon at this time of year. That is because the side trails are narrow and off-camber and you could windup in the trees in the blink of an eye. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of fun on the main trail.

Please stay on the trail. Over the snow travel is not permitted for wheeled vehicles. Snowmobiles can go over the snow but don’t follow their tracks in your 4×4.

Get out there and do some snow wheeling but Tread Lightly! and be safe.

 

Rubicon Ronin

 

 

 


Snow on the ‘Con

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, I mean Hi-Lo’s meeting…

I took a short trip up to the Rubicon staging area just to see what was up. I got there and there wasn’t as much snow as I thought there would be. So I headed up the trail.

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It was a beautiful drive. Still a little bumpy at lower elevations but it smoothed out as the snow got deeper.

Miller Meadow was partially frozen over.

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Miller Lake hadn’t started to freeze yet.

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I turned around at the wide intersection of Ellis Peak and the Rubicon. There were tracks further up the trail but I had a meeting to go to. On the trip out, I could see that my diff was dragging on the snow. I am running 33″ tires on the Colorado.

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As always with winter travel, be prepared for anything. Here is one example. Not only is there a snag over the tail that will come in to play with more snow, but there is a tree down on the edge of the trail that will soon be covered with snow. If someone were to drive over it, they would puncture their tire.

My advice, stay in the middle of the trail.

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This snag will surely fall over the winter. Always carry a saw in case it falls after you’ve passed and need to remove it to get out.

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Remember the side trails within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit are already closed. That means the Buck Lake Trail, Middle Fork Trail and the Noonchecter Mine Trail. Not all have gates, and not all gates are closed, even if they should be. It is the users responsibility to know where they are and if the trails are open.

The Richardson Lake Trail is open until January 1st, as is Ellis Peak Trail and other in the Tahoe National Forest.

Always be prepared to spend the night: heat source, shelter, sleeping bag, food, water, etc.

 

Rubicon Ronin

 

 


Tahoe side points of interest

Both Placer County and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) are looking for a list of Tahoe side points of interest along the east half of the trail within Placer County.

The LTBMU is putting together a new map for the staging area and would like to add these points. I think Placer wants them for a map for their website.

Here is what I have so far, please let me know what I’ve missed or if you call any of these by a different name:

Highway 89

Entrance @ Residential

Quad Rental Parking

FS 14N34: Noonchester Mine Road

Overflow/size Parking

Bridge (Car Wash)

Staging Area

Gatekeeper (sort-of)

FS 14N40: Buck Lake Trail

TNF/LTBMU boundary

FS 3102-26 (turnout)

Adopt-A-Campsite: Elevated

Adopt-A-Campsite: Snag

FS 3102-24 (Campsites across from Miller Lake)

Boat Ramp

FS 3102-22 (Campsite on west end of Miller)

14N39: Richardson Lake Trail

The Pond

FS 03-04-12-05: Ellis Peak Trail

FS 03-04: road to Barker Pass

Pacific Crest Trail

Bottom Dollar Hole

Potato Patch

Old Water Hole (filled)

FS 16E76: Barker Meadow OHV Trail (lower)

Hummer Bend

Helicopter Flat / Birthday Cake (the mountain in the distance)

FS 16E77: Bear Camp

FS 16E78: Observation Point

Trees Section

Creek Crossing (with log water bar)

Upper Hairpin

Morris Rock (The Steps)

The Notch (Squeeze Rock)

U-Rock (Formally V-Rock)

The Cadillac (over the side of the trail)

S-Turn

Lower Hairpin

Roots & Rocks Section

Granite Outcropping – alternate route

The Driveway

The Graves

FS 16E12: Long Lake Trail

Miller Creek

County Line

 


RTF finally puts out a newsletter

For literally three years, I been asking for some kind of documentation of what RTF does: agendas for their meetings, minutes from their meetings, an outline of what was discussed or even a quarterly statement of what they’ve done, what they’re working on and what their next project will be.

Three different directors had promised to make this happen over the years but nothing ever came of it. Well, here it is…


What’s New on the Trail?

We at RTF have been threatening to put out a newsletter on a quarterly basis for a while, and this is our first edition.  We hope it reminds you how much we all love the Trail, informs you about things that are going on out there, and lets you know what RTF is doing.   Here we go…

 Merlin Scott and John Pardi Announce Retirement

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 merlin_scott

After many years serving the Foundation and the public on the trail doing educational work, Merlin and John have announced that they will both retire after this season.  Merlin wants to spend more time at home and has a bucket list of travels he wants to take.  John has said he wants to pay more attention to projects at home and his Land Cruiser parts business.  Both have told us that they have great memories of their years of work on the trail, and that moving on was a difficult decision to make.

We will miss them both, and have a difficult time filling their shoes.

Trail Projects

Each update we will update status on projects recently completed and those upcoming.  This has been a whirlwind year.  Shannon Chard, in her first year as Trail Boss, has really set a pace.

Helicopter Project

Using grant funds from the California Office of Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR), El Dorado County contracted with Siller Brothers to provide 25 hours of flight time doing work such as moving rock, hauling material in for the Rubicon Green Bridge rebuild project, and placing a bathroom at Buck Island.  This all took place in May, when the weather wasn’t so great…the project was visited by rain, snow, lightning, and even a little bit of sunshine.

Winter Camp

As many are aware, the trail at Winter Camp has been a problem for Winter Closures for several years.  The rock work done by DOT in 2010 had been swallowed up by the sandy roadbed, leaving a hole that consistently has deeper water that has triggered a closure.  In a carefully coordinated effort, FOTR volunteers placed chain link on the sand to form a grid that should keep the rock from sinking again.  As soon as the grid was placed, approximately 60 yards of rock was put on top of it.  Within a few days, Forest Hill Fourwheelers came through and spread the rock to completely cover the grid.  This effort will harden the trail surface and prevent winter closures from this spot for years to come.

Soup Bowl

This project will be undertaken on October 15th.  That’s late in the season, but it’s been a busy year!  In the last several years, El Dorado County has embraced a philosophy of “keeping the hard line hard (and hardened) and keeping the easy line easy”.  At this point, Rubicon is by no means the most difficult trail around, but it is still enjoyed for its challenges. That means we want to keep the difficult lines so that those who want to, have that challenge.  At the same time, not everyone wants that much challenge, or is up to it.  That’s why keeping the “easy line easy” is important; to keep folks with smaller rigs or less experience from digging holes, driving off trail, or widening the trail in order to get past hard spots.  Soup is a perfect example of this philosophy.  The hard line on the left is all hardened (nothing but granite) so that it doesn’t cause silt to enter the drainages, and the easy line on the right needs to be kept easy and erosion free.

That’s what this project is about.  Each year the sandy area at the bottom of the easy line fills with soil, and each year it gets dug out by wheelspin by the end of the season.  That soil drains toward Winter Camp and eventually into streams, rivers, and lakes.  When the Water Board Cleanup and Abatement Order was rescinded, El Dorado County made a commitment to continue to recognize and mitigate problems like this, and RTF supports that effort while keeping the trail open and challenging.  This project will add a concrete footing to the easy line to prevent wheelspin and erosion.

Rubicon Bridge

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The bridge at Rubicon Springs has existed in many forms over the years.  Up until 1937 it was a user constructed log bridge that washed out and had to be rebuilt often.  In 1937, the County erected a proper wood bridge that washed out sometime in the mid-forties.  Then in 1947, the County raised the abutments and placed the existing green steel bridge structure with a wood deck.  It has been rebuilt several times, mostly by volunteers; in 1962, in 1978, in 1991 and in 1996-1997.  Of late it hasn’t looked so great…the approaches were too small for modern rigs and were eroding, the stringers that hold the deck up were rotting on the ends, and the runners were all but gone.

In a cooperative effort between El Dorado County, FOTR, Jeepers Jamboree, and RTF, the bridge was stripped to the metal frame and all the wood was replaced by larger pressure treated timbers and extended wing walls were poured to improve safety on the bridge approaches and prevent further damage.  This was an amazing volunteer effort that spanned months in planning and totaled up hundreds of hours of work in just a few days to get it done.  Special thanks to the Hi-Landers club, and especially to Bill Eister, the wood crew leader, and Wayne Lippert, the concrete crew leader.  Without their expertise and hard work, it would not have happened.

Black Tie and Boots

Save the date for Black Tie and Boots, it’s Saturday, March 11th, 2017.  We hope to see you all there!  If you would like to be sent an invitation or would like more information please contact us at chris.cowan@rubicontrailfoundation.org.

Cantina

RTF’s 12th Annual Cantina for the ‘Con, held at the Loon Lake Spillway over Labor Day weekend was a huge success.  A giant raffle, fantastic prizes, great tacos, and good times…what’s not to like!  Over $40,000 was raised to support efforts on the Rubicon Trail.  Thanks to all our supporters, vendors and attendees, who donated, bought tickets, and enjoyed tacos.

Elections

At our December 14th, 2016 meeting, the Rubicon Trail Foundation will hold regular elections. There will be a total of six seats available, five of which are held by sitting directors that are re-running for their seat.  The remaining seat was held by an individual that has decided not to run again.  Anyone who is interested in serving on the board should contact the president, Sean Russell at 530-417-0031 or sean.russell@RubiconTrailFoundation.org.

 Rubicon Trail Foundation

 PO Box 2188

 Placerville, CA  95667

 www.rubicontrailfoundation.org


 

 

So some interesting things to note:

  • None of the trail projects noted are on the Tahoe side.
  • There is no mention of RTF accomplishments
  • There is no mention of current RTF projects
  • There is no mention of what RTF plans to take on moving forward

Not the newsletter I was hoping for, maybe they will read this and put out a better newsletter next time.

 

Rubicon Ronin