Now, on to the actual trip report. For this trip, I actually had a co-pilot. My good friend Ted was able to join me and had a fantastic time. He has some four wheeling experience but as soon as he saw Dennis in the first obstacle he realized it was nothing like this. We arrived in Arnold on Friday evening and after a quick dinner and the Mets/Cards game at the Snowshoe, headed to my cabin in Blue Lake Springs @ 1 mile east of Arnold. After some sports center we headed to bed to get some sleep before the big trip.
Saturday morning we left Blue Lake Springs @ 7:20 and headed up to meet the club at Tamarack Lodge. We arrived at Tamarack @ 7:57, pulled in behind Darell and before we knew it, we were on our way! We followed Darell over to the trail head in Hermit Valley and pulled in to air down and get ready. I really need to get a set of deflators because after airing down one tire at a time I was the last one to line up. Luckily, Kelly was right in front of me and took over the GÇ£tail-gunnerGÇ¥ position. So after watching Dennis and Rich go through the first obstacle, we mounted up and took our turn through with DarellGÇÖs able assistance and away we went. In attendance (all that I can remember anyway, sorry I am terrible with names) were, Darell and Kathy, myself and Ted, Mike, Ira and Laurie, Ed and Lonnie, Stephen and family, Ellen, Kelly and family, Richard and Carol, Dennis and Ava and Tom w/??.
The trial seemed a little easier to me this year. I donGÇÖt know if it actually was or if this year I wasnGÇÖt quite as worried as last year, which was my first trip in the new jeep. As was the case last year there was a stock vehicle, which slowed things up a little bit but with the trail crewGÇÖs assistance was able to make through the whole trail (with very little damage from what I have heard). While I thought the trail was easier this year it was still challenging and offered plenty of technical fun for my co-pilot and I. I think my favorite part of the trip out Stephen P.GÇÖs c.b. spotting for Richard. I think as long as Ted and I four wheel together we will remember the infamous line GÇ£EXTERRA, GO LEFT!!!!GÇ¥ or GÇ£EXTERRA, STOP!!!GÇ¥ Anyway, great fun and Richard did a great job, (with a little assistance of course). After successfully navigating the trail and the second river crossing, we took a break for lunch at around 1:00 p.m. After taking votes, trying to decide how long each route would take, if we could all go to Blue Lakes and then decide, etc., we decided to split into two groups of five and split at the second river crossing. Going out to Blue Lakes and back on the road were Kelly, Tom, Stephen, Richard and Dennis. Going back on the trail was Ed, Mike, Ira, Ellen and myself. For me this was a great run back. With all of the rigs well set up we were able to really run quickly. I think the fact that we were running quickly made the trail seem different as there wasnGÇÖt a whole lot of time to look at the trail. While I hadnGÇÖt bumped and crunched much on the way in, I definitely made some trial noise on the way out.
I was even told I (if a member) could have qualified for the cowbell. After backing off the trail for a quick break with the group, I got out of my jeep without leaving it in gear or with the parking brake on. This was brought to my attention when someone said GÇ£Hey, that jeep is movingGÇ¥ OOPS! At the end of the trail and back at the first obstacle, while everyone else took the low (harder) line, I decided to take the high (easier) line to finish the day.
Shortly after finishing the trail, we met up with the rest of the group, which had come back on the road. It was about 3:15 or so and the end of a good run. After airing up, we headed back to the lodge. After having a beer or two with the club and trying to solicit takers for Slick Rock on Sunday, Ted and I headed back down the hill to Arnold so we could enjoy a few alcoholic beverages without the drive.
Sunday GÇô Slick Rock Moving a little slower than Saturday morning, we arrived at the lodge a few minutes past 9:00 a.m. Ed had confirmed that he would do Slick Rock the day before as had Richard who Ted and I saw at the Snowshoe Saturday night. Unfortunately, everyone else had to get down the road, so it was just the three vehicles( Ed & LonnieGÇô Toyota Pick-up, Richard & Carol GÇô Xterra and Ted and I in my Jeep Rubicon). Within minutes of our arrival we headed up to Bear Valley to gas up and air down. Ready to hit the trail, we hit the gate @ 9:30 a.m.. We cruised through to the first obstacle, the notch with no problems, which was the theme of the morning. Ed and I both straddled the notch while Richard took the high right line.
And then it was off to the next major obstacle, the trails name sake, Slick Rock. We all made it down and Ted was able to watch Richard slide down that last few feet to see why it is called Slick Rock.
I think overall the trail was much narrower than last year and while not difficult, you definitely had to pay attention because some large boulders seemed to pop up right under your vehicle!
Then it was on to the last obstacle, the stair step. Last year, due to the way we parked at the bottom, I ended up doing this obstacle first and was very intimidated. But, you watch and learn. After seeing Ellen and Eric take a high right line last year, I decide that was the way I would go this year. I did stall at the top, but after engaging the front locker pulled over the top with no problems.
Next was Richard. I wonder if he knows I have done very little spotting? Anyway, He is a stud with the Xterra! (EXTERRA, GO LEFT!!!!!) He jumped right in and walked right up the obstacle with no problems.
Then came Ed (actually Lonnie) and with EdGÇÖs well set-up vehicle was able to climb with no problem.
Once we had all conquered the stair step, we turned around and went back up the trail rather than take the windy road back up from Spicer Reservoir.
After we passed back through the notch, Richard and Carol split off for some outdoors enjoyment (I still have your FRS radio by the way) and Ed and I headed out. I aired up at the trail head gate and then headed back down the hill a few minutes after 12:00 p.m.
Again, thanks to all for your hospitality. I had a great weekend.