Trip Report: Niagra Rim Trail
Jeff, Camille, Alex and Brandon, Ron and Sandy, Bob and Judi and I all met at the Scotts Valley Safeway parking lot at 10:00 am. Jeff and Camille were in their camper and the rest of us in our wheelers, all packed up and ready to go. We pulled out of the parking lot at 10:10 am and hit the highway. We traveled with no issues making good time all the way to Oakdale around 12:10, where we found ourselves in a traffic parking lot. After about a half hour and only moving a few cars spots up (due to people turning around), Jeff was able to talk with a local that was turning around in front of him and find out the train had hit a car and had been there for a while already. We decided at that time to be adventurous and look for a way around but driving in on the side streets. Jeff led the way and the next thing you knew we were on the other side of the tracks by 12:50 or so. We arrived in Sonora and stopped for gas and food at 1:50. After everyone was filled up (rigs included) we hit the road again at 2:35. Our next stop was at 3:45 at the Niagara Rim campground. We all picked out some camp spots and started to set up camp. At about 4:40 everyone was done and it was decided that we should hit the trail in search for some firewood. Alex and Bob decided to stay back at camp and the rest of us started to pull out of camp when Steve and Joyce arrived. We explained we were headed out to gather firewood and would be back shortly. I lead everyone to the view spot up the road a couple of miles where we all got out and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. After soaking up the view we headed back to camp the way we came gather firewood we spotted on the way in. With everyone loaded up with firewood we arrived back at camp around 5:45. We off loaded the firewood and Ron built us a nice fire. We all made dinner, ate and then sat around the camp fire talking. Everyone was pretty tired as we were all in bed between 8:30 and 9:30. However I don't think anyone slept very solid the whole night as sometime after midnight the wind really started to blow making loud howling sounds and it started to rain as well. I think it rained off and on for a couple of hours and everyone knows how tents magnify the sound. However it was just enough to get rid of the dust and not enough to make it muddy.
Everyone got up at their leisure and started to make breakfast. Ken and Quintin (guests and friends of James A) arrived into camp, which was very nice to see as I thought they were not going to make it due to they had planned on being at the campground on Friday before our arrival. Ken explained that the Jeeps fuel pump had died around Twain Harte and he was forced to turn around and head back to Sonora to get the needed parts and install them. With everyone all packed up and ready to go, we started lining up at the end of the camp ground around 9:50 and hit the road towards the trail head at 10:00. All together we had 7 rigs, (Jeff, Alex, Bob, Ron, Ken, Steve and me) We headed in the trail head and the first quarter mile of the trail is rocky and narrow. It took some time to get Alex's full size Chevy through but Alex was patient and followed the directions given very well and made it though with very minimal body damage. We traveled along the trail enjoying the great views and nice weather (it was still a little chilly in the shade due to the breeze). Bob did pop a bead on one of the lava shelf's as we made our war towards Lions butt. Luckily we did not even have to take the tire off, we just jacked up the rig and were able to use a portable air pump to reset the bead and were back on the trail in only a few minutes. We arrived at Lions Butt at 1:30 and stopped for lunch. After everyone was done eating I was the first to go up Lions Butt showing the others who had never been there the way to go. Ron and Jeff followed with no problems at all. Jeff put on a little show for us as he rode a wheelie up the last section of the climb. Once we were done, we decided to move on towards the rock pile at 2:20. The rock pile is right around the corner and we were there in 10 minutes. Man that obstacle was torn up. Right where the trail crosses itself to make the figure 8 there was a good 5 foot shelf. Steve was the bravest of the bunch and gave it a shot. Even with his 37's it took several attempts and some rock stacking to get him through that tough section. After watching Steve work his way threw we all decided to pass. I know, we are all a bunch of wimps who dread body damage and breakage. So, we hot the trail again at 3:15. We traveled back towards camp to where the trail split. At this point Jeff and Camille and Alex and Brandon headed back to camp; Ken and Quintin headed back towards Sonora; and Ron and Sandy, Steve and Joyce, Bob and Judi and I headed back towards the lookout arriving there at 3:45. We enjoyed the view (for the most part as some one took a crap right where we park sometime since we were there the evening before.) and then headed down the hill which makes a large circle back to camp, returning back to camp around 4:40. Much to my surprise I was advised that Steve and Joyce and Ron and Sandy would be heading out that evening, but not for a couple of hours. Ron built us another fire and Jeff and I went and gathered more firewood. We all sat around the camp fire and talked while Steve and Joyce and Ron and Sandy packed up to head out. They left around 7:00 and the rest of us started cooking dinner. After dinner all of us that were still there sat around the camp fire and talked about the finer points of life. Around 9:00 or so Jeff and Camille headed back to their motor home to get some sleep. Bob, Judi and I sat around the campfire for another hour or so and then hit the sack ourselves.
I got up around 7:30 and started a fire right away, as the night before had been a cold one. Everyone started to get up and we all talked about how cold it had been over the night. Jeff came by and said it had been 20 degrees according to his thermometer. Everyone had a bit to eat and started packing up for the trip home. With everyone packed up and ready to go we hit the road at 10:30. We traveled all the way to Manteca where we stopped for gas at 12:45. Jeff advised me that he and his clan were going to stop of in Tracy to take a look at a trailer. So we left the gas station all filled up at 1:10 and headed towards home. Jeff and crew exited at central Tracy at 1:30 and Bob, Judi and I continued on. At 2:30 Bob and Judi and I separated paths at 85 / 280 junction as Bob headed towards Campbell and Judi and I towards Boulder Creek. Judi and I arrived home safe and sound at 3:15.
I would like to thank everyone who was able to make this trip such a great one. The wheeling was good, the weather was doable and the company was great, now on to the next adventure J
©2003-2020 Santa Cruz 4 Wheel Drive Club.