Although winter does not officially start until December 21st, snow has fallen on the west shore and put a white blanket on the trail.
The report I got was a fine sugary type of snow. The group made it to the turn for the Buck Lake Trail. That first climb out of the staging area can be a tough one.
Placer County has agreed to NOT pile snow at the entrance to the trail. If you see snow piled there, not just pushed to the side of the road like the rest of the residential area, please send me a picture and the date you found it.
As always, if you go, please be safe. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Never go alone. Bring proper supplies to spend the night, just in case.
The last few years have seen rigs abandoned on the trail in the middle of winter. One guy was prepared but had a string of bad luck. The other rig should never have been on the trail. Don’t be that guy this winter.
Below is an email I received regarding the latest efforts by Anti-OHV activists to close our public lands to OHV use. It’s from the local Tahoe snowmobile group. They recently held a meeting in SLT but more importantly, they need public comments.
Please take the time to write the Forest Service and let them know you are against closing 73% of the current snowmobile riding areas!
The scarier line in this email and FS proposal is the 1000′ corridor of non-motorized use along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The Tahoe National Forest first put this ‘idea’ on a map several years ago. If they get their foot in the door with over the snow use, the next step is every other OHV use and all year long.
The Rubicon an many, many other trails cross the Pacific Crest Trail.
After the get their corridor along the PCT, thy will want it along every other trail in the country. Let’s stop this now.
Here is an easy way to send in your comments:
WE ARE AT RISK TO LOSE MORE OF OUR RIDING AREAS IN TAHOE/HOPE VALLEY/BLUE LAKES!!!
Enough is enough!
The Winter Wildlands have proposed closures of 73% of our existing riding areas in the ElDorado National Forest. And the Forest Service really, REALLY need to hear from all us so that the Winter Wildlands aren’t the only ones being heard.
And… as if that’s not bad enough — the Forest Service is pushing their “preferred alternative” which also closes and limits our riding areas as it imposes a 1000 feet “corridor” around the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Yes, the PCT goes through the Blue Lakes’ area and we would lose some of our most fun areas if the Forest Service got their way!!!
WE NEED TO PUSH BACK!!! WE’RE DONE LOSING RIDING AREAS!
Please go to our website for more info. And please SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS — deadline is August 6! Be respectful, be personal and be passionate in a constructive way!
PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW ADDRESS AND PHONE ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job,
wait until you hire an amateur.” — Red Adair (1915-2004)
1221 Sleighbell Lane
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Cell (530) 318-3936
So it’s been a mild winter. No where near what we all experienced last winter.
Yesterday, I ventured out to the staging area. The residential area has yet to have enough snow to bring any plowing issues but I’m keeping an eye on it.
The road in is both icy and down to the pavement depending on tree cover. Here is a shot of the bridge over McKinney Creek just before the staging area. Not enough snow so that you’d slip off the bridge.
Here is the view from the bottom of the first climb just past the staging area. It looks innocent enough. Hard packed snow with no signs of ice.
But just up around the corner, there is ice under the thin layer of snow. I was in my pick-up, alone, without a winch, sliding all over the place. So, I very carefully backed down the hill. With better tires and friends to encourage me I think I could have made it.
Last week, John Briggs and Dean Anderson (both of the Tahoe Donner 4wd Club) made it out to Observation. Here is a shot of Miller Lake.
Here is a shot of one of the last climbs before getting to Observation. It’s got a good west facing slope so the snow wasn’t too bad.
The unusual poser shot at Observation (looking the wrong way).
And the traditional poser shot at Observation, with the sun behind them washing out the shot.
Snow is forecast for Sunday and Monday (18th and 19t). Only five inches or so but should be enough to eliminate the ice issue and make for a nice day of wheeling on Tuesday. More snow next Friday so the weekends might not be the best time to go play.
Remember to go prepared. Bring enough gear to spend the night if something goes wrong: think food, water, shelter, heat, communications, etc, Always carry some kind of saw. Even if you wheel out without issue, you might encounter a tree across the trail on your way back. That’s where my “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around” catch phrase doesn’t really work. You’ll need to get home. A hand saw and a winch can move big trees, especially on the snow.
Please remember that at this time, all side trails off the Rubicon are seasonally closed. Just because there is not a gate does not mean the trail is open.
The first side trail to open is the Richardson Lake Trail on April 1st.
No pictures but I just got word about the Tahoe end of the trail. That word is ICE.
The paved road to the staging area is not too steep but in the few places where it has slope, it’s icy. If you make it to the staging area, considerate it an accomplishment.
Just past the staging area is the first good slope of the trail. The report is it’s all ice. You might start the climb but before you reach the top, you will lose traction and then experience an “Oh Shit” moment as you slide backwards, out of control.
John Briggs of FOTR was there the other day and witnessed a few people try and fail on the climb. Luckily, the sliding rigs came to a safe stop without injury or damage.
Those dedicated to getting up it will surely make it, with a few winch evolutions.
Weather is predicted for the coming weekend. It might add the snow needed for traction or it might just hide the ice underneath. Be cautious.
It has been a slow start to our winter. Only 30% so far. This might make the Rubicon accessible to more people, except for the ice. But please remember the side roads are now all closed for the season. The ENF was last with a Jan 1st closure date.
Please go prepared, with others, a ham radio and drive safe. Let someone know where you are gong and when you plan on returning.
It’s been a long winter. We all want to get out on our trails. Feel free to do so but travel with caution. Although the trail below looks inviting, look closer at the tree across the trail 100 yards out.
The picture below is why I really stopped here. This is the Middle Fork Trail up Blackwood Canyon. It parallels the paved Forest road 03 to Barker Pass. I’ve actually asked the FS to close the trail until repairs can be done.
My fear is someone not paying attention, more likely at night, might drive off the road,
Back to the pictured tree across the trail. There is evidence that people are going off trail to get around the tree. My motto: “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”. If you come across such an obstacle, use your winch or a strap to clear the problem. If you can’t stay on the trail and clear the obstacle, turn around.
On upper Barker Pass Road, there is still a little snow wheeling to be done.
I didn’t take picture of all the downed trees I came across. Most were smaller or not blocking the entire trail. On a motorcycle, it’s much easier to get around a tree in the trail without doing resource damage.
There are plans in the works to get out to all the side trails off the Rubicon to clear the obstacles. We’ll leave the snow for you though.