RUBICON TRAIL 2014
Thursday: Throughout the evening the majority of folks arrived to spend the night at the Loon Lake Chalet that the Madhatters reserved. It was a relaxing start to a fun filled weekend on the ‘CON.
Friday: By morning we had 10 rigs ready to hit the trail. As planned, all rigs were aired down and ready to go at 7am. After a quick driver meeting, we departed the Chalet at 7:20 and went straight to the trail. We kept up a good pace to Ellis Creek where we took a break, inspected the newly constructed bridge and made a pit stop. The good pace continued to Buck Island Lake where we stopped at 1pm for lunch. Surprisingly, we had the lake to ourselves. Back on the trail, the pace continued to Big Sluice. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, somewhere along the way a Bronco got high centered by a boulder that rolled onto the trail out of nowhere. After the use of a wheel sling and highlift jack, the Bronc was back on four hooves galloping down the trail. Big Sluice was a little slow going with a couple rigs getting high centered on diffs and such. As time went on we could see thunderstorm development overhead and by the time we were at the lower end of the Sluice it let loose with rain and hail. Tarps came out to cover gear and on we went down the trail. John’s rig experienced the only breakage of the day when his jeep slid off a wet-slickened rock and broke a shock mount off the axle housing. We made it to Rubicon Springs at 4:30 and by then the thunderstorms had moved on. 4 rigs set up camp at the slabs near the pools and 6 rigs camped at Dirty Dozen camp area.
Saturday: Jenni’s family and Matt left in the morning to exit the trail via Cadillac Hill. At camp, we kept in contact with them via HAM radio until they were safely past observation point. In Madhatter form, they helped a Toyota without lockers through Cadillac–good job guys!! The rest of the day we all did as we pleased–relaxing, GEO Caching, hiking and taking a dunk in the river. Saturday evening, friends of John & Rene limped into their camp with a rig that had a broken steering box mount. “SPARKY” sparked up his onboard welder and in true Madhatter form set off to spend much of the night making weld repairs to the rig. Icing on the cake was when shutting down his onboard welder resulted in the jeep’s alternator being fried and rendering the charging system inoperative. (I’ll let John & Rene go into details at the next meeting).
Sunday: Due to John’s jeep having to run on only battery power, 3 rigs departed camp early to be sure to not hit traffic going up the trail. They reported via radio that they had made it, uneventfully. The rest of us (5 rigs) departed camp about 9:30. There was another group of about 15 rigs ahead of us on Cadillac Hill. Surprisingly, we progressed consistently through Cadillac Hill, Squeeze Rock, Stairstep and up to Observation Point with only a few short stops. We made Observation Point at 11:15 and at 1:30 we exited the trail. At the staging area we aired up, said our good byes and headed home.
Other than a few bumps and bruises, we all made it through the ‘CON safe and sound. Thank you Craig for assuming the Trail Boss post! Your extensive Rubicon Trail experience and skillfull spotting is apppreciated. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.