Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Great Rubicon Trail Adventure 2.

Note: this post is the second of two. See the previous post for the beginning of the story.

On the Trail Day Two.

A nice easy start.

The camp started to stir a little after sun rise on the second day.
After a light breakfast we struck the tents, packed up the jeeps and were on the trail around 8:30.

Not to far up the trail we met these guys.


After watching them tear things up a while we continued our slow pace over the rocky trail.


The Big Sluice.


The Big Sluice is a steep down grade with lots of rocks,


tight squeezes


and plenty of boulders to navigate.


We forged ahead.


Tara walked a good part of the Big Sluice to allow the kids a chance to get outside. It was not as if we were cruising along at high speed. She had no trouble keeping up.


As we were waiting for the jeeps in front of us to clear an obstacle I noticed an old stump that had been gnawed on by a beaver in the past. That’s a good sign.


Crossing the Rubicon.

This makes the second time I have crossed the Rubicon in my life. The first time was about fifty years ago on a back packing trip through the Desolation Valley. I had to wade across the river that time.

Eventually we got to the bottom of the sluice and crossed the Rubicon River on a not too old bridge. At some time in the not so distant past travelers on the trail would have had to ford the river here.


Here is a look at the river as we cross over.
It looks a little deep for fording. But never under estimate a determined jeep driver and his trusty jeep.


After crossing the river the trail seemed to ease up a bit.



Lunch Time.

We came to a beautiful spot along a side shoot off the river. There was shade and plenty of flat space to park and spread out.


We sat around in the shade, had a leisurely lunch and visited.


Here’s Sebastian enjoying a piece of bread.


Josephine was excited to see a water snake in the river.


There were some people across the river that were having a good time playing on a rope swing.


Cadillac Hill.

Eventually we left our beautiful lunch spot and began the last of the hard obstacles, Cadillac Hill. So named for some idiots who tried to drive down the hill in a Cadillac LaSalle. They died in the attempt. 

At this spot JJ got through ok but dug a hole on the left side.


Then Lynn came along, got crossed up and dug the hole a lot deeper.


Eventually Lynn has to have a tow strap assist but gets through the spot.


Dennis and I threw a bunch of big rocks in the hole and I got through okay.

Observation Point.

It went along like that for a while; some easy stuff , a little hard spot occasionally.


Eventually we got to Observation Point. This marks the end of the hard stuff.


and so did our humans.

We left Observation Point and continued along the trail. We still hit some obstacles but nothing we hadn’t seen and conquered before.


The trail got smoother and smoother.
As we went along we passed several larger ponds with lots of Lily Pads.


Some of the lily’s were beginning to bloom.


Before long we were on the pavement and driving along side Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe heading for Truckee on I-80.


Okay, that was the world famous Rubicon Trail. It was bloody awesome.
There were several places on the trail that I didn’t think were possible to travers but with Dennis’s expert guidance we all made it through with minimal damage to any of the vehicles.

Dennis said that he has done the Rubicon four times. The last time was 12 years ago. He said that these were the worst conditions that he has ever seen on the trail.

Patti didn’t take any pictures of Snoopy doing his thing. Fortunately Cheryl sent me a couple. I don’t know where they were taken so I’ll just put them here.




A good nights sleep

The original plan was to camp out another night and drive the trail to Signal Peak tomorrow morning.
After last nights cold camp and the trail today we all decided that a nice hot shower and a real bed for the night was the ticket.
JJ and family headed for a friends Time Share to spend a couple days so we said our good bye's and best wishes and they headed out.

As we drove toward Truckee, Cheryl got on the phone and found us some rooms at The Inn at Truckee.

We got our rooms all settled and went to an Italian place for supper; it was ok.

Signal Peak.

A Little History.

In the 1800’s there was a watch station on Signal Peak where two men would spend the winter keeping a eye on the railroad tracks that cross the mountains here.
Their job was to watch for avalanches and rock slides that would occasionally cover the tracks. When the men spotted a problem on the tracks they would put a red lantern in the window.
The train engineers could see the lanterns from 20 miles and would know if the tracks were clear or not by the color of the lantern. Red for danger and green for safe.

Signal Peak Trail. 

We left the motel a little after 8:00 and got on I-80 heading west. We turned off at the Cisco Grove exit and followed Rattlesnake Road toward Fordice Lake.

The road wasn’t to rough but very dusty as it goes through some dense forest..


Eventually the trail gets up on the ridge and we start seeing wild flowers.


As we climb the ridge we can see these modern radio towers that have taken the place of the men and lanterns.


Eventually we get to the old stone building where the watchers lived and kept their lonely vigil.


On the south side of the building is a bay window where the watchers viewed the canyon and the train tracks.


Here is some of what they could see.



The lake in the distance is Lake Spalding. I-80 disappears in the distance.



Here you can see I-80 and the railroad tracks above it.




After wandering around the shack for a while we eventually continued along the trail down the other side of the mountain.
We passed more wildflowers.



The trail dropped down the mountain fairly steeply but in a short time we were at the trail head.


We aired up the tires and said our good bye’s to our fellow travelers with promises to meet again in Quartzsite in the fall for more Jeeping fun.

We got on I-80 and drove to Auburn where Patti and I decided to take Highway 20 home. It is a much more relaxing drive than I-80.

We got back to Santa Rosa around 5:00 in the evening.

Wow! what an adventure!!

I hope you enjoyed reading about it

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