To All, Despite some threatening weather and a small turn-out, the trip turned out to be a good one!
Ron Frey and I headed up Thursday night and hit very little traffic. We made it to Arnold in @ 3hrs and arrived by 9:40 pm.
Friday morning we hit town for some breakfast and some forest service maps to plan alternate routes should the weather keep us from making the Deer Valley Trail.
Then it was off to check out the trail. We hit the Union Reservoir trail head for Slick Rock @ 11:00 am. The trail was in great shape and due to recent weather, No Dust! We then headed up to Hermit Valley and the Deer Valley trail head. There was no snow on the ground and again the trail was in great shape. It was @ 1:00 by then and I had promised an update to Mike Phorn and Jim O’Leary @ 4:00 so we decided to do an hour in then come back out. We made it to the 1st river crossing in an hour and then back to the trail head by 3:00. As we were driving back to Arnold the weather report was for a short bout of rain Friday night with snow levels above 8000 feet and clearing early Saturday morning. Back in Arnold, I called Jim and Mike and let them know we had at least an 85% chance of getting to the trail head in the morning. Because they were coming up late, we moved our Camp Connell meet time from 8:00 am to 9:00 am.
David Grubman made it up to Arnold @ 6:30 Friday night and after dinner at the Snowshoe, covering David’s jeep and some visiting, we hit the sack.
Saturday morning Ron, David and I and my friend Ted met up with Jim and Mike at Camp Connell. David was still towing his jeep so everyone headed up the trail and I waited for my cabin neighbors who wanted to give the trail a try in their early 80’s toyota pick-ups. They arrived a few minutes later and we headed up the hill. We caught up with the group just past Lake Alpine where David had had enough of the narrow road and was unloading the Jeep. Then it was off to the trail head and starting the trail @ 10:00 am.
Ron (Rubicon Unlimited) took the lead, Jim and Mike (CJ7)followed, then one of my neighbors Jeff(Toyota), Dave (CJ8), my other neighbor Tim (Toyota) and I brought up the rear (Rubicon). We had a little trouble getting the fairly stock Toyotas through the first obstacle and after they made the first turn, decided this was not the run for them. I got a little taste of how hard Mike has worked the last few years getting everyone through the trail. Thanks for helping get those guys at least onto the trail! After I had escorted them back out and catching up with the group we headed out, it was now @ 11:00 am. With all of the rigs pretty well set-up (I was now the “little guy”), we cruised through with no problems. For the first time, Mike and I were able to see Blue Lakes, we had never gone further than the second river crossing previously. After lunch we started the trip back @2:00 pm. I was the only one to get stuck on the way back by high centering about 400 yards or so from the trail head. A couple of quick tugs from Ron and a new line, we finished up the run by 4:00 pm.
We hit the Lube Room in Dorrington for a quick after-run beer and then agreed to meet at the Snowshoe for dinner. Again a first for Mike. We said our good byes, Ron, David, Ted and I were staying at my place, Jim, Mike and friend Rich at Rich’s place in Dorrington.
Sunday, Dave pulled out just after 7:00am and Ron replaced a bolt in his track arm bracket. Ron and Ted and I decided to do one more quick run on the Pine Needle Flat trail. I let my friend Ted drive, it was a good trail to break in on.
Shortly after getting back to the cabin and cleaning up, we hit the road for San Jose, making it back by @3:30.
Thanks to all who came up! And I have some great ideas for next year…….