Participates: Approximately 20 rigs in three groups.Group #1 participates in order of trail position (I hope I get everyone & rigs correct. Sorry if I donGÇÖt) Mike & Navi, Black TJ Sport Ray & Cathy, Red YJ Tom, Gray CJ-7 Ron, Red Toyota Phil & Robin, Red Rubicon Ed & family, Brown and White K5 Blazer Chuck, Linda, & Emily, Green Grand Cherokee
The trip started when I left the Bay Area around 10:30 am on Friday, Oct. 21st. The drive going up was uneventful with two stops, one for lunch in Angels Camp and the other for gas at the Shell gas station in Arnold. I arrived at the Tamarack Lodge around 2:30 pm, with only one vehicle in the parking lot and no one around. This vehicle turned out to be Jim OGÇÖLearyGÇÖs camper and trailer. Jim had been on a bike ride and his friend Ron had taken JimGÇÖs CJ-7 and dog (jenny) for a ride down to Spicer Reservoir. Since I thought I had a little time before everyone would arrive, I decided to take a quick trip up to Lake Alpine (I spend a lot of time camping and fishing at this lake). The lake level was very low and there were a handful of people fishing.
When I got back to the lodge, Jim was relaxing after his bike ride. We introduced ourselves and got acquainted. About 30 minutes later, Mike and Navi arrived. It wasnGÇÖt much longer when Ron came back with JimGÇÖs CJ-7 and Jenny. After some time of getting to know each other, Jim suggested we take a quick run up to Corral Hollow trail. Jim & Ron in JimGÇÖs CJ-7, Mike in his TJ, and me in my CJ-7, took off for the trail. After a mile or two on the trail we decided it was time to head back to the lodge.
Friday evening rigs were coming in and folks were catching up on lifeGÇÖs events. Most enjoyed a dinner of some sort (many used the grill provided by the lodge for their meal). A lot of socializing and having fun took place. Rigs were coming in up until I went to bed and even later IGÇÖm sure.
Saturday morning, the lodge had a nice continental breakfast set up for us. More catching up and introductions took place with those that arrived very late. Mike had a quick run meeting and we filled out the necessary paper work. It was decided with this many rigs, we would split up into three groups. Mike Phorn lead group #1, Ellen Layendecker lead group #2, and I think Eric Nelson lead group #3.
Those that were ready to go were assigned to group #1. See above for who was in group #1. With all the rigs for group #1 lined up in the parking lot, the vehicle safety inspections took place. The caravan left the lodgeGÇÖs parking lot with Darrell & Kathy leading us to the trailhead. It took about 15 to 20 minutes heading east on Hwy 4 to get to the trailhead.
The weather was perfect, cool in the morning, clear, and very sunny. After airing down and disconnecting, group #1 was ready to go. Darrell was spotting the first difficult section, which is only 30 yards into the trail. At this obstacle you can go to the left and do more off-camber stuff or go to the right and do more rock crawling. Mike and Ray decided to go left and take the off-camber way. I took to the right and did more of the rock crawl section. All three of us made it through with no difficulty. Ron in his stock Toyota was next to go through and took to the right. He needed some rock rolling from the spotters to get through. I believe the rest of the group took to the right. Eventually all 7 rigs in group #1 were through and proceeding.
We continued up the trail with very little difficulty. Ron had a few areas where he needed some rock rolling help. He did very well for having a stock rig and had a positive attitude.
In our group we had one vehicle issue. That was when Ed got a flat tire. WeGÇÖre not quite sure whether he popped a bead or had a valve stem problem. But, in no time the tire was changed and we were on our way. The funny thing about it, 5 minutes before the flat, Ed and I were talking about his tires. He was thinking about getting 35GÇ¥ tires for the Blazer, but was going to wait because the 33GÇÖs still had a lot of life left on them. When I walked back to his rig the first thing we said to each other was how we were just talking about new tires and now he might need them. Turned out the tire was still good. During lunch Ed aired it up and remounted it.
We continued up the trail. This trail is fun because it has tight turns, rock gardens, off-camber, water crossings, and stair steps. Once we passed the second water crossing, we stopped to have lunch. The other two groups eventually reach this point and joined us for the balance of our lunchtime.
After lunch, group #1 headed back out the same way we came in. Coming out was a lot like coming in with a few areas where rock rolling and spotting was necessary for some. The first 2/3 on the way out was uneventful. It got interesting when word came over the CB that Carlos (in group #2) broke a brake line on his Grand Cherokee. We all stopped (on the trail) to assess how to proceed in getting Carlos back on the trail. Ray and Ed decided to hike back up the trail to see what they could do to help. Well, this took sometime for them to get to CarlosGÇÖ rig and do any repairs. Soon word came over the CB that we were holding up others that were not in our group on the trail. With Ray and Ed trying to help, that left RayGÇÖs jeep without a driver (so we thought!) and blocking the trail. With it getting late and us holding up others, RayGÇÖs wife, Cathy took over as the driver of their Jeep. This would be CathyGÇÖs first time driving their Jeep on a trail. It was decided that Mike would lead her in his Jeep. One other guy (Sorry, I didnGÇÖt get his name) would ride shotgun with Cathy, and I would follow to get her and the rig down and off the trail. Well, it turned out that Cathy is a natural at this sport of ours. She followed MikeGÇÖs line very well and took her time and even got through the last obstacle with no trouble. This was a GÇ£KodakGÇ¥ moment that was caught by Mike. CanGÇÖt wait to see it!
Mean while, Ray, Ed and others, did what they could do to get Carlos going. Soon he was moving. Ray hitched a ride with someone for the balance of the trail. It wasnGÇÖt long until Ray, Cathy, and Jeep were back together as one! (happy ending).
After airing up, Ray & Cathy, and I headed back to the lodge. We arrived around 7:00 pm just in time for dinner. That evening we had a lot of fun talking about the day, playing liars dice, craps, and watching the World Series.
On Sunday morning we had breakfast provided by the lodge. Some of the group was going to run Slick Rock. I decided to pass. I loaded up my Jeep and said my good-byes. I started back for home around 9:00 am. In Angels Camp I came upon Bill Farley (Toyota) and one other gentleman who was trailering his CJ-5 from our group. I donGÇÖt think they recognized who I was. I ended up following them the rest of the way home until we split up in the Bay Area. I got home around 1:00 pm. I had a great time and met a lot more of the club members and their families. Another A+ trip.