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Latest Report

Barrett Lake
Sept 11-15

Trip Report: Rubicon Trail

Sept 2-5, 2010
Trip report by Brian Potter

Members attending: Brian & Lael Potter, Dean Potter, Rick, Carolyn and Netti Frier, James Anthony, Jeff Ellis, Mike and Jennifer Parks, Beau & Family, Gary & Son, Mick Sweeney, Doug Doer.

Guests: Jeff & James Nichols

Everyone going in from the Cadillac Hill side departed the Santa Cruz area on Thursday evening at different times and made their way up to Jeff's rented cabin – (Thank you Jeff), which is just outside of Rubicon Springs on the way, via Hwy 89, to Tahoe North Shore. Mick and Doug decided to come in from the Loon Lake side and I believe went up Friday morning. Mick and Doug headed in from Loon Lake and made it into the Granite Bowl where Mick broke his rear ring gear and housing and had to be towed out by Doug – The End :-(

The Cadillac Team got up Friday morning, had breakfast and got ready to go – a few minor delays by, no other than, the TrailMaster himself – I found out that filling up with gas when coming through town and prior to heading to the trail is highly encouraged, as I was reminded by all the other folks that were waiting for me – sorry folks. We all got up at the Tahoe side staging area at approx 9:30 and headed out to the springs to setup a base camp. We found lots of water on the road up to the trail head and some snow at the very top of trail. Mosquitoes where out in force, but it was a beautiful day and we made it to the springs by Noon without incident. When we arrived, all our favorite spots in the trees were taken already, so we setup camp on the slabs between the river and the tree on top of the hill and had lunch.

1st excursion - After everyone had a bit to eat we decided to take a run down to the swimming hole. Everyone got there without incident and we all enjoyed a cool refreshing dip in the river and dried off in the warm sun out on the rocks. On the way back, Mike ended up high-centered on a huge rock going down the tough spot on the trail. We secured his rig from the back by hooking a couple winch lines and then lifted his jeep up with hi-lifts on both sides of the vehicle and pulled the rock out. Mike damaged his sway bar control arm. Dean was playing around on a rock pile and rolled his buggy on its side, but quickly flipped it back over and was off again without any damage, just some smoke from the oil burning off the top end. Everyone made it back to camp and we all had some chow. Some folks went out on a firewood run and were back with enough wood to fuel the fire for the weekend. The TrailMaster didn’t go for fear of another Bear attack – Ha!

2nd excursion – We all got up Saturday morning after enjoying a nice camp fire the night before. We headed out to conquer Big Sluice. After finding our way there, after a couple of detours (Rookie TrailMaster!:-)) we made it to the first rocky spot as you head up the hill, only to find 3 jeeps having problems. After talking with them, it was discovered that only one of the jeeps had lockers and the other two were up front and rear.  The equiped jeep had to turn around and pull the other two through each of the tough spots – and this is where the “Fun” began. Doing the “Concerned Citizen” thing, we repeatedly informed them that they should not be attempting this part of the trail with their vehicles, but they continued to dismiss our warnings and pushed ahead slowly. As one can imagine, things got very interesting as the multitude of Pirates and Rock Zombies started to traverse Big Sluice and found the three ill-equipped jeeps stuck and plugging up the trail at the mid-section obstacle. Quickly we had 20 vehicles behind us trying to get up and 20 trying to come down with everyone getting extremely irritated and impatient at the folks in the middle. One of the jeepers that was stuck was asked, by a Pirate, if they had lockers and if they were on. The individual replied that they were always on as they were his ABS system. Quickly, Dean was able to get around them and get turned around and pulled the jeeps through the obstacle and off to the side, before anyone got hurt.

At this point everyone started to make a dash to get through the unplugged hole and things got completely grid-locked. We were able to negotiate our way through by leap frogging up through the masses in groups of three. One individual got very rude and obnoxious with Rick and his Nephews, which ends up in a real case of Karma, but this is another story in and of itself – more on this later…. We all made it up to the top of Big Sluice and pulled off by the big tree and had lunch and looked down at Rock Bound Lake. We were calling out, on ch15, to Mick and Doug as we were suppose to meet them at Buck Island. After no response, Dean and Beau took off to go look for them and the rest of us headed back down Big Sluice. We made it to the first corner and stopped as the trail was still all jammed up. Jeff and I made our way down to see what was happening only to find that the grid-lock and attitudes were still going strong. Jeff and I applied our management and people skills and were able to get folks calmed down and the grid-lock unlocked - it only cost me my spare Coors Light. We were at this point able to drive straight through to the bottom of Big Sluice, where Mike’s front upper control arm sheared a bolt. Rick fortunately had one of these special bolts and was able to quicklyfix the problem and get Mike up and running again. We all made it back to camp just in time for dinner – approx 5pm or so. This was a FUN run.

Karma Story – After getting back to camp, with everyone starting to relax and breaking out some chow, there comes a jeep driving down the rocks towards the river next to our camp. The jeep drops off one of the the ledges and rolls his jeep right in front of our camp. Everyone runs to help – Dean immediately pulls the little 4 yr old girls from the jeep and makes sure she is ok. We help get the wife and other woman out – no one was hurt. The Driver – as Rick quickly discovered, was the guy that was the one hassling Rick and his Nephews back on Big Sluice – The guy later appollogized to some of the other club members for what he had done/said to Rick out on the trail.

3rd Excursion – Dean needed to go out Saturday night in order to be back to work on Sunday morning. Rick, Dean and I all had dinner after getting back from the Big Sluice adventure and the roll-over event and Dean got packed up. We left camp at approx 8:00 pm. With Rick in the lead, Dean right on his rear and me trailing Dean, we set out on what was the most exhilarating run any of us had ever been on. We flew up Cadillac in 2nd and 3rd gear and we were grabbing 4th many of times. We all got air borne many of times and especially over the snow pack at the end. We made it to the trial head/service road to the staging area at 8:45 pm. Yes – that’s 45min from the springs, to get up Cadillac and all the way out. WOW-That was extreme!!! Rick and I said our goodbye’s to Dean and headed back to camp but at a slower pace, arriving at 10:15pm.

Sunday the 4th everyone headed out. We broke up into two groups and crawled out to the staging area. Everyone headed back to the cabin to load up and head out. Some folks stayed and watched the Lake Tahoe firework show – A must see for everyone.

This was another great trip for the Santa Cruz 4 Wheel Drive Club with lots of fun.

Brian Potter, Trailmaster

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