|Mogs on the Rubicon Part 1 July 2002
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Pictures and text Copyright 2002 Bill Caid.
The Rubicon Trail is one of the most famous 4x4 trails in North America. Volumes have been written about this trail. The Rubicon trail traditionally starts at Georgetown. However, the early portion of the trail is "just a dirt road" and offers no significant off road challenges. So, in the interest of both time and patience, we elected to start the trail at Loon Lake and get right down to it. To get to the trail head, you head east from Sacramento on Hwy 50 toward South Lake Tahoe and turn north on Ice House Road. Follow Ice House to the Loon Lake turnoff and then to Loon Lake. The south fork of the trail starts below the dam at Loon Lake. The group from San Diego required a 2 day drive to get to the trail head, in the process traversing most of the length of the state of California and half the width of the Sierra Nevada range.
Trail Team and Equipment
The trail team was:
Given the mystique that accompanies the Rubicon trail and the fact that I high centered and damaged my 1300L on the Devil's Post pile obstacle just out of Wentworth Springs, it was with no small amount of anxiety that I prepared for this trip. Having been on the trail before, we were psychologically prepared for the trials ahead. With that in mind, we did substantial pre-planning. The group planned a whole week on the trail. Since we were to be camping out of my small model 411 Unimog, substantial thought was required to prune the equipment to fit the available space. Even then, not all equipment fit and we had to rely on the kindness of others to carry the overflow load. Kai had sufficient room in his 404 to accommodate my needs.
The initial plan was to head from Fresno to Spider Lake. We planned to stay at Spider for several days, then move camp to Rubicon Springs. From the Springs, we would exit through Lake Tahoe, then get the tow vehicles and back to San Diego.
The first day on the trail was a forced march. We left the Bennett's house in Fresno at 0530 and then drove to the trail head at Loon Lake, arriving at about 2pm. The trip to our camping spot at Spider Lake took until 830pm that night. That is a 14 hour day if you are poor at math. Needless to say, given the difficulty of the trail and the long hours, we were wasted by the time that camp was set up and tempers were a little short. In fact, we skipped dinner and had liquor instead. The combination of the heat and the altitude resulted in mild dehydration of a number of the group members, probably contributing to the general attitude problems.
After several days at Spider, the thought of striking camp only to reassemble it later in the day seemed like a lot of work. We voted to stay at the Lake for the duration, and return through Wentworth Springs closer to the tow vehicles (saving 4-6 hours total).
This trip report is in two parts, mostly due to my digital camera being reset during service, thereby giving photos redundant names. There are 8 pages of "indices" that provide quick access to the individual photos. Click on any photo to get a full size view.
The executive summary of the trip is all gas mogs got towed by the diesels. Every vehicle suffered body damage in varying degrees. There was one roll (partial) and 2 near rolls. Greg's truck stopped running during the exit from Wentworth Springs back to the Ice House store, requiring a tow. Neither the minimog nor Kai's 416 suffered mechanical issues. But, nobody got hurt and none of the damage was "fatal". Therefore, in my book, the trip was a success.
Enjoy. Send comments, queries and sympathies to bcaid "at" san "dot" rr "dot" com
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