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Latest Report

Barrett Lake
Sept 11-15

Trip Report: Rubicon Trail

June 18-22, 2019
Trip report by Doug Rothstein

Members attending: Jason & Almita Schaefer, Mick & Lori, and Doug

Tues-Thurs, June 18-20th

Jason and Almita arrived at the Airport flats campground on Tuesday. They had the place to them selves. They were able to secure a great spot. They set up there camp and stayed there Tuesday night. I talked with Jason prior to the trip about going in alone. He does have probably one of the best equipped rigs in the club, but anything can happen to any rig at any time. They were equipped with all their camping gear, food, and were prepared for any weather conditions. Knowing Mick and I would be going in to meet them they headed in Wednesday morning through Wentworth which was pretty wet lots of standing and running water. They went all the way to Rubicon springs for the night and had the place to them selves. They camped right next to the lagoon. Jason did not go across and hit the rope swing, but his crazy ass did get in the water, briefly! Thursday they headed up Cadillac which still had lots of snow they made it up quite aways, Almita has a nice video of them wincing and sliding back and forth in the snowy conditions. It was around that time where they wisely decided being alone, risk was not worth the reward. They then headed back to Buck Island lake, where again had the entire trail themselves. They camped right on the water, again with no one in sight.
On that same day. Thursday Mick and myself met any at the Flag City truck stop on I5 just outside of Stockton. Instead of jumping back on I5, I then followed Mick across the valley towards hwy49 and we came out in Placervile then hit hwy50 to Icehouse road. Mick wanted to try this route, it was supposed to be shorter according to map quest, was a better view than I5. We arived at Airport flat around 2. We found Jason's camper and trailer and set up. Then we took a little stroll down towards Wentworth and Stopped at Gurlie Lake for a few. Mick and I had planned I would cook Thursday night and he would cook Friday night. This is where I found out Mick is a picky eater. Apparently Lori would have loved the bacon wrapped asparagus and cheese and artichoke stuffed portabella, Mick did eat the pork chop and the bacon. We then had some drinks around the fire and went to bed.

Friday, June 21st

Friday Mick and I were up early, Mick wanted to go through the Loon lake side the first day so we were off. We aired down around 7:30 and headed in through the gate keeper. There was a JK airing down when we left they had caught up with us and followed for a while after a bit we stopped and talked with them and they were on there way in with some axle shafts for a broken rig they had left near the springs so we let them on by. Other than that we saw to groups camping on the trail and only one Toyota heading the entire way to Buck Island, it was awsome. There was lots of standing and running water pretty much the whole trail that made some spots more challenging, but no dust. We made it to Buck Island around 11:30 were we found the spill way overflowing. So there was a pretty good flow of water to be crossed. There were a few rigs parked waiting to watch people cross. At that time we saw Jason and Almita across on the other side hanging out and relaxing. Being afraid of water I told Mick if you go first I will follow. It wasn't to bad, mufflers were definitely submerged probably about the depth of my 35 in the deepest spot. We then hung out had some lunch checked out the Lake fo a hour or so. Instead of heading in farther we crossed the water and headed back towards camp.

Leaving Buck we decided to go up the Sluice box, I have been down it never up. I lead us up but only made it to where you have to make the sharp turn around the huge bolder took quite a few stabs and tried all the lines, winching and body damage could have made it possible but opted out. With a little stacking and some great spotting by Jason and Mick I was able to pull off a 180 turn and we head out and went around. As we continued on we started to hit traffic - 2 rigs here, 4 rigs there, when we approached to go down little sluice there were rigs coming up so as we turned to go around a group of 5 or 6 side by side come up on us so we let them pass and the last one breaks a front axle. Mick was ahead of us a bit so we radioed him to let the group know while Jason and I winched the side by side up to a flat spot. So we are now moving again up the slabs now instead of 2 rigs here 4 rigs there it was 10 rigs here 15 rigs there, traffic was really pick up Friday afternoon. By the time we reached the soup bowl where of course the shit show was in full swing the trail was packed and of course we were going against the grain. By the time we got past the soup bowl heading down Walker hill in not the greatest spot to pass a group of 30 heading up so we waited and waited till finally next opening were moving. So we pass a few more waited on a few more till we approached the Loon Lake Wentworth intersection there was a group of 16 rigs from Napa in need of Dana 44 front bearings. They asked if we would drive two them to get cell service. So enter Mick meet Joe and Doug meet Dave. Jason and Almita were thinking the same thing I was, you have 15 other rigs here and no one in your group could do this. But we are going that way anyway. So we're off and moving again as we head for the granite bowl we pick up a Toyota on the way out with us Mick and "Joe" in front followed by myself and "Dave", Jason and Almita and the Toyota.

Mick and I are started down the slabs when over the radio Almita informs us coming down off a rock they break off a rear brake caliper. Breaks of the rear caliper mount and caliper snaps a big chunk of the rear disk. Mick and I stop Dave jumps in with Mick and Joe and heads on out, I go back up to assist Jason. Jason pretty much had everyhing he need, he was able to smash and file on a rock the fitting to close the hole so fluid wouldn't leak out. Did not have to bleed the system his pedal felt good. His rig has two systems one for the front and one for the rear. I also should add Jadon had absorbent to clean up the (small spill) to leave no trace.

Back on the trail again down the slabs up the other side of the bowl. Traffic on the gate keeper its Mr. Sherriff in his bad ass built 4 door jk pulling a trailer followed by a few other rigs kind of like a police escort. So we make it out I head back towards camp Jason and Almita stay for a few and chat with the people in the Toyota. There was not a parking spot in site trucks and trailers lined up and down the road for quite aways. So I am heading past loon lake campground a mile or so and who is walking down the road toward the trail it none other than "Dave and Joe". So I pull over where's Mick? They inform me Mick's track bar mount broke off of the frame and was barely hanging on and he was slowly heading for camp. They had reached there friend who had the parts and was on his way and they were walking back to there rig. At this point I couldn't just leave them so Dave gets in the front seat Joe piles in the cargo rack and I drive them to the trail head. I give them the last two waters I had in my ice chest. They were very grateful and were trying to give me money for gas and our time, which I refused and told them to do it for someone else some day. Heading to camp rigs were just piling in towards the trail one after the other.

Being that Both Loon lake campground were not open yet when I arived at airport flats there was not spot to be had. Never seen it like this up and down the road in camp trucks, trailers, and rigs everywhere. Two trailers squeezed in right next to Jason's Camper literally within a few feet. So we make do and after a long day eat dinner, not being a picky eater ate everything Mick prepared. Sit around the fire a bit have a few drinks and were out fairly early being Mick and Jason's rigs were injured we were going to head out tommorow morning.

Saturday, June 22nd

Saturday morning woke up packed up and headed out. Even if Mick and Jason's rigs weren't injured I would not have wanted to go back on the trail with that much traffic. It is great our sport is growing but I would suggest in the future Running the Rubicon during the week.

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