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Barrett Lake
Sept 11-15

Trip Report: Rubicon Trail #2 - 2005

Sept 2-5, 2005
Trip report by Robin Down

See Robin's Pictures
See Steve's pictures

Notes From Eli:

Johnny and Willie, James, Ryan and Cheri, and Judi and I all met at Molly’s cafe in Scott's Valley at 6:00 am Friday morning. We all ate a wonderful breakfast and then hit the road at 6:45 or so. We traveled to Pollock Pines, gassed up the rigs and had a couple of tacos at Toxic Hell (Taco Bell) and then hit the road again about 11:30 or so. We got to Loon, bought some raffle tickets, aired down and was going through gate-keeper around 1:00 – 1:15 pm or so. We had no issue's and caught up to the rest of the group in 15 minutes or so.

Notes From Steve:

Who: Terry and Amy; Dan, Barbara and Jackson; Tony; Red (Eric?); Rick and BaLou; Brian and Dean; Steve, Joyce and Shana ---- I think that was all.

We were to meet at, and leave from Loon lake at 9:00am. I was 30 minutes late. The gang already had started the trail. I caught up with them at Gatekeeper. Prior to getting to gatekeeper, Dean called on the CB. Dean wanted us to know that Rick had broken an axle on Hwy 50. When Rick got closer, we discussed whether or not he should attempt the trail in 3 wheel drive. He would give it a try. He ended up parking his rig on Dan’s trailer. One of his front hubs wasn’t working. Red’s coil spring suspension suffered damage going through gatekeeper. We battery welded it. Got part way up the slabs – Red’s suspension was bending. The Noon group caught up with us at this point (James, Cheri, Ryan and puppy; Eli and Judi; Johnny and Dad). It was decided that Tony and Red would return to Loon with the ailing Zuk. Tony and Red would run the trail in Tony’s Zuk. Rick walked the trail. No problems until after little Sluice. Dan lost front wheel drive. Our two groups became separated after little sluice. Some went over the slabs to Buck, others went via old sluice. Some camped at Buck others pushed on to the springs. Brian broke a u-joint somewhere between Buck and the springs.

Got on the trail. Destination the springs. Dan’s jeep suffered a serious problem just below big sluice. His rear yoke pulled away from the pinion. Tony went to the springs for a replacement pinion nut. Prior to Tony’s return a friendly ‘wheeler gave Dan his spare pinion nut. The repair was completed and we made it to the springs.

Some of us departed for Tahoe Dan attempted Cadillac with rear wheel drive only. Dan used his winch once. Then it refused to work any more. Steve tugged him through a few spots. Dan’s pinion yoke u-bolts failed twice. After the second failure, James welded the u-bolts to the yoke and u-joint bearing caps. A ‘wheeler in an EB in front of us ran out of gas. Gave him about 2.5 gallons. That’s about it.

BTW -- I think Tony and Red had a great time flying low over the Rubicon. Anytime something was needed, Tony and Red hopped in the Zuk to get it. I must say they were might quick about it.



Robin’s Notes:

Here’s my 2 bits: My friend Jill and I started at the San Jose airport around 4pm Friday. We drove up 80 to truckee and then turned down hwy 89 to the upper trailhead of Rubicon. Leaving the towrig and trailer there, we started to head in around 11pm.

I guess I passed the left turn for the trail and kept going until I reached another left, which turned out to be a series of wood cutting trails. Backtracking our way brought us up to Bakers Pass Summit – which I knew was not the right direction. So we headed back down and toward our starting point when we saw a campsite near Miller lake with someone up. He told us to take the Baker Bypass route which led to the actual rubicon springs trail, This bypass was an adventure all by itself with tight turns, rocks and fallen trees to climb over and around. We made it to the ‘real’ trail and continued on until we reached Lookout point where we camped overnight. It was 2:30 am…

Starting at 8:30 we headed down Cadillac hill with no problems. Got into the springs about 10am just as everyone else was making breakfast. After setting up camp and chatting with everyone we decided to take a run down to “Hell Hole” which ended up being anything but… It was a beautiful afternoon spent on the sandy beach next to the river at a deep swimming hole. It was here that Mike (Chris’s brother) determined his front ARB was not working due to a stuck valve. He managed to fix it and it gave no problems afterward. After having a nice swim and watching Millie devour a couple of helpless crawdads we headed back to camp, picking up firewood along the way.

By the time we had returned the rest of the group had joined us at the springs and were licking their respective wounds. That night after dinner there was a big bonfire for everyone to enjoy and we did. We were joined late in the evening by 2 of Mike’s friends, Bill and Dingo who provided additional entertainment by attempting to climb the rock pile next to our tents - while we were in them!! They stopped their attempts when it was brought to their attention that some were actually trying to sleep…

This morning saw our numbers decrease greatly as several folks headed out and up Cadillac. Over the radio we heard that both Brian and Dan suffered some additional breakage, but the rest of the group helped them out.

Terry, Amy, Jill and I headed up to Buck Island for the afternoon. Chris and Mike stayed at camp to relax. Making our way up Big sluice was only difficult due to the number of rigs broken down ahead of us which were making their way down. We waited patiently, then got our turn and made it up the hill with no problems. Nice job Amy!! We stopped at the top of buck Island and hiked over to the waterfalls to enjoy the view. Not much in the way of waterfalls to look at, but the view was beautiful just the same. Heading back down to the springs at about 4pm we encountered no problems and had fun playing on all the various obstacles along the way.

Soon after we got back to camp – Chris and Mike attempted to climb the big rock shelf next to the riverside campsites. Mike succeeded, Chris did not due to his spare tire dragging behind him. While attempting to back up to pull Chris out Mike broke his front left birfield joint. This proved to be a simple but lengthy repair which we performed back at camp. That evening Chris and Mike prepared terriaki-crawdads that they had caught in the river next to camp. Small but mighty tasty those little guys were! That night we amused ourselves telling stupid jokes around the campfire until everyone went to bed. Then our camp neighbors decided it was their turn to be loud and noisy until well after midnight.

The next morning everyone got up early and packed up quickly as we all wanted to hit the trail asap. We made it up Cadillac with no issues other than stopping for a couple rigs who had somehow gotten in front of us. After taking a picture at the top of lookout hill, we headed out and ended up at the staging area where we each said our goodbyes and headed home in separate groups. Except for the crush of traffic on Hwy 80 due to the exodus of Burning man attendees and a wrecked trailer, there was no other major traffic or issues and we made it to the airport and our homes safely.


Thanks for wheeling with your seatbelts on!! ;-)

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