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.
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.
Miller Lake hadn’t started to freeze yet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Entrance @ Residential
Quad Rental Parking
FS 14N34: Noonchester Mine Road
Bridge (Car Wash)
FS 14N40: Buck Lake Trail
FS 3102-26 (turnout)
FS 3102-24 (Campsites across from Miller Lake)
FS 3102-22 (Campsite on west end of Miller)
14N39: Richardson Lake Trail
FS 03-04-12-05: Ellis Peak Trail
FS 03-04: road to Barker Pass
Pacific Crest Trail
Bottom Dollar Hole
Old Water Hole (filled)
FS 16E76: Barker Meadow OHV Trail (lower)
Helicopter Flat / Birthday Cake (the mountain in the distance)
FS 16E77: Bear Camp
FS 16E78: Observation Point
Creek Crossing (with log water bar)
Morris Rock (The Steps)
The Notch (Squeeze Rock)
U-Rock (Formally V-Rock)
The Cadillac (over the side of the trail)
Roots & Rocks Section
Granite Outcropping – alternate route
FS 16E12: Long Lake Trail
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
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.
I just sent a letter to the president and vice president of the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) asking that they keep the users informed of any maintenance efforts by either county PRIOR to any decision being made so the users can comment on these efforts.
Some maintenance efforts are being done that have nothing to do with safety or water quality. It’s all about making the trail easier in certain places so some people don’t put a scrape on their rig.
Rubicon Trail Foundation
September 27, 2016
Sean & John,
I am writing to ask that RTF keep the users of the Rubicon Trail informed of any maintenance efforts prior to the work being approved in order for the users to be able to comment on these efforts.
There are past examples of work done that was neither a safety issue nor a water quality issue. There is one effort planned, but not yet performed, that does not fall within either of those categories.
By creating a new page on your website of proposed, current and completed Rubicon Trail maintenance and which agency is leading it and how the public can comment on those issues, the users would be informed and would have the ability to comment on how our trail is managed.
Rogue maintenance is also an issue. RTF should develop professional relations with all organizations that may have or might perform such maintenance without agency approval and discourage such actions.
Too many decisions are being made behind closed doors or without users’ approval or input. Some of this is on us for not attending meetings but most users work M-F and can’t attend these meetings. So, again I am asking that RTF attend those meeting on our behalf and to keep us informed.
I will be starting a thread on www.Pirate4x4.com to allow Rubicon Trail users comment on this idea. I ask that you join in on the conversation.
I’ve also started a thread on Pirate4x4 to allow the public to weigh in with their thoughts. Please feel free to follow and/or comment on the issue.
Author’s note: I was going to hold off on this just to space out my posts but a conversation online just now made me decide to post it. For the record, I don’t alter the trail. I repair the trail. My work is pre-approved by the Tahoe National Forest or involves getting water off or across the trail in order to minimize erosion. (Also pre-approved; generally not specifically.)
Unfortunately, there are those out there that alter the trail for their own personal gain, either making the trail easier or making the trail harder. Some are trying to do good work but skip too many steps and the work doesn’t last and sometimes hurts.
In order for keep our trails open, safe and maintained properly, we must all speak up when our opinions are being asked. We should volunteer when we can. Comment on grants, attend your local FS meetings, join organizations that fight for your ‘pursuit of happiness’! Rant Off.
A new illegal bypass has appeared on Cadillac Hill this summer. I don’t know when it appeared or who started it but it’s not the first of it’s kind. Not twenty yards from this one was a previous attempt to bypass the trail around a difficult section.
You can see the ‘new’ bypass looking straight in to the photo. The top of the old bypass is in front of the bumper of the Jeep on the right side of the photo.
I get that people are tired and sometimes broken when they are driving out, but that doesn’t mean you are allowed to make an easier route. Please stay on the trail.
The bypass was blocked by moving a rather large log to block the route.
Both ends of the log were drilled and rebar was placed to prevent the removal of the log. I know this will not prevent those who really want to remove it from removing it but they will have to work at it and they will know they are doing something wrong.
Signs were placed on both sides of the log to let people know that this is the will of the forest service, not an individual.
Not wanting to hide from the work I perform under the guidance of the forest service, I put the logo of this website on the sign along with the USFS logo and the CA State Parks logo because they mange and fund respectively a large portion of the maintenance of our OHV trails.
We are our own worst enemy sometimes. Driving off trail and creating new route just gives the anti-OHV people more ammunition to use against us and to close our trails.
We need to work together. There are those who illegally modify the trail to make it harder and there are those who illegally drive off trail to find an easier route. We need to find a middle ground.
If you would like to discuss this issue further, please email me TheOtherRubicon@Charter.net.