Trail Report: Rubicon Trail [California] Day 2

Buck Island Lake to the End

September 1, 2013

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So last night was just about a disaster.

There was a lot of partying in them thar hills – and shouting, and driving around, and being all rednecky.  So I woke up pretty grumpy.

Luckily, I was up before anyone else in the group.  So, I wandered down to the lake and decided to get my morning started with a swim.  I jumped into the lake with biodegradable soap and wash some of the trail off me.  It was VERY chilly (probably about 8,000 feet) but worth it.

I wandered back to camp and started to prepare our breakfast at about 7:30.

My coffee routine has changed over the years.  I used to lug a huge silver coffee pot when backcountry camping (which was stupid).  Then, I moved to French Press on Jeep trips.  But even that is a huge pain in the butt.  You have a lot of grounds to deal with (both fresh and wet) as well as washing out the press and all that stuff.

So my new formula is Stumptown’s Cold Brew coffee (small glass bottles).  I heat up some water, and add about half a bottle of coffee to half a cup of water.  Stir in some soy creamer, and voila!  Trail coffee that is easy and grounds free.

Back to the trail.

We broke camp and headed out around 10:00AM.

The first set of ledges right outside of camp proved to be an abrupt and startling challenge.  Chad would use his winch again on these, as the placement of the ledges were right in the wrong spot.  Running an open diff was much harder in spots like these.

We made our way slowly toward Big Sluice.

Chad coming over the large rocks on Big Sluice.
Shauna navigating the rock field around Big Sluice.

We arrived at a great spot for lunch, just past Rubicon Springs.  This was a large granite area that butted up against a cliff, with large boulders piled up at the base.  A the Rubicon River meandered  through the site, and filled a good sized pond, complete with a rope swing.  This would be an amazing spot to camp next year.

Our lunch spot along the creek.

We sat here for a couple of hours, enjoying the water and some good lunch.

After departing Rubicon Springs, we now had to face the final obstacle – Cadillac Hill.

Helpful signs in the small “town” of Rubicon Springs.

This is the end of the Rubicon, and you could say they saved the best for last.  This is a very steep climb with harrowing drops on the right side.  Four or five obstacles (mostly ridges) dotted the length of Cadillac.

Chad kicking up some dust on Cadillac Hill.

This was the only spot where I sustained any damage.  On one of the steep ridge climbs, a rock struck my brand new Bilstein steering stabilizer and I had to work to remove it.

Me working to remove the busted stabilizer.

On our way up Cadillac Hill, we had a visitor.  A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.

Please go on with your business. Thanks.

The rest of the trail ended pretty uneventfully.  We aired back up around 5:30PM and left for town shortly thereafter.

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