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Rubicon (8/01)

Well, Amy and I finally did the Rubicon! This was an officially sanctioned NAXJA event led in tandem by Richard "Goatman" Gauthier from Bakersfield and Grant from Colorado, and included a great collection of built XJ's (mild to pretty wild!) and one heavily modified MJ. Great bunch of folks, amazing trail, fine weather--what more could you ask for?

About half of the group who did the 'Con also ran Barrett Lake earlier in the week, so I knew many of the folks who showed up at the Loon Lake group campground on Tuesday afternoon. Others rolled in on Wed. and at least one Thurs. when we headed out for Spider lake. The Loon Lake CG was great, and the water warmer than I expected. Amy and I spent Wednesday hiking around the lake and swimming, taking it easy before what we figured would be a long day of driving. The parking lot was a never-ending scene of wrenching. If you weren't busy working on your own Jeep, you could always pull up a chair and a cold beer and watch somebody else get all greasy working on their Jeep. Repairs included a last minute water pump replacement for Loop (procured in Pollock Pines), some custom tie-rod bending for Keven, and a few other operations that I missed or only caught the tail end of. There were plenty of interesting mod's to check out.

Parking lot scene

Parking lot scene

Loop replaces water pump

Loop replaces his water pump

Amy swimming at Loon

Amy swimming at Loon

Naked on a rock

Me, naked on a rock

Sunset at Loon Lake

Sunset at Loon Lake

Amy and I elected to join the early (7:00 a.m.) group led by Richard for the first leg of the trail from Loon Lake to Spider lake where we planned to camp Thursday night. As we prepared to hit the trail the campground host told us there was a fire over near the granite bowl and to stay off the trail, but we plowed on around the lake and headed down the slabs into the trees anyway. It was a pretty small fire and a chopper was already dumping water on it by the time we got into the trees. We made pretty good time and hit the top of the bowl about 9:00, just as Grant's late group was starting out.

Fire on the mountain

Just past the spillway with fire in the background

Front air

Getting a little air in front

Coming up the bowl

Starting up the granite bowl

Top of granite bowl

Near the top of the bowl

Climbing a ledge

Climbing a ledge

Playing on the granite

Playing around

Time out

Looking cool by the Jeep

The Little Sluice bypass

Bypass around Little Sluice

Keven tries to get out of LS

Keven tries to climb out of the Little Sluice

Paul starts up the Sluice

Paul starts up Little Sluice as Richard spots

I don't really remember coming up Walker Hill, but we finally made it to the bottom of Little Sluice about 12:30. I got out an took a look at the steep, dusty off-camber line out of the sluice and decided I was going to find an alternate way in to Spider Lake. Amy and I took the bypass solo, and it really wasn't any easier than the way everyone else went--took usabout an hour with Amy out spotting the tough spots and trying to figure out which way the trail went. The east side of the hill near the LS is littered with trails that criss-cross, so routefinding is difficult. We made it to Spider, parked the Jeep, and hiked back up and over to the Little Sluice just in time to see Paul heading up the nasty section. Richard had already gone up.

Up on the sidehill

Up on the sidehill

Getting tippy!

Paul defies gravity!

Going down

"Going down", as Paul likes to say


Climbing a bick rock

Tight squeeze

Between a rock and, that's right, another rock!

Squeaking around the rock

Pivoting around and coming down

Making it look easy

Paul making it look waaaay too easy

Watching paul navigate the 4-5 foot rocks littering the bottom of the Little Sluice made me sick! He's an amazing driver, and a with Richard spotting, made it look way too easy. He and Goatman were the only two of both our groups to make it through, and about the time Paul got up the second group with Mil and Grant had arrived. After a little delay due to a couple of ill-prepared Wranglers with only one locker between them, we made our way back to camp and set up our tent on a nice flat rock right on the edge of the lake. This spot was one of the nicest places I've ever camped, especially since you could dive right off the ledge into the water. Everyone did a lot of swimming the rest of the day. Wish we could have stayed two nights. That evening we had a huge potluck dinner--salad, chicken, carne asada, lots of great snacks, way too much food but really good. No campfires were allowed so we all sat in a semicircle around the buffet line! The only downside was all the toilet paper and feces around every rock and bush--people need to learn to bury their waste and burn their toilet paper, or pack it out!!!

View of camp

A view of camp from across Spider lake

Another view of Spider

Another view of Spider

There's a rat on the roof!

"Rat is my co-pilot"

Grant's Jeep

Grant gets some reading done on top of his XJ

Pot luck Thursday

Thursday's potluck party

Rubicon 2001: Day 2

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