It’s important to note that this was my first trip with the club and although I’ve had my Jeep for about a year and have complete about 5 or 6 runs this weekend was the most thrilling. The trail challenges and weather combined with the team comradely made for a great outing.Those who left the Santa Clara Valley early Friday morning to meet up with the pre-run trip for Deer Valley were greeted with grid lock on just about every major freeway. I left around 6:30 AM and as I listened to traffic report regarding collisions on Highways 101, 80, and 17 was thankful that 680 was in good shape. However I didn’t hear the news about an accident on 580 which blocked 3 lanes until I was in the thick of it. Luckily I made it to the Snowshoe Brewery in plenty of time to meet up with Brian, his dad Alan, Magnus and his friend Fred. We all had low cal burgers and fries topped off with a brew. Our host Brian really knows how to get everyone off to a great start, not to mention he also treated to the lunch! We then made a drive by stop at the Tamarack Lodge to meet up with CJ and then Rick at the trail head for the start of the Deer Valley Trail. Brian led the way followed by Magnus, Dick, CJ and Rick. I have to admit that since getting my Jeep about a year ago I’ve only completed about 6 trips none of which had the level of difficulty as this trail. Most trails give you a bit of easy to moderate to start before it jumps into Difficult. We aired down and went about 50 feet before we were full into what I believe is called climbing the Rock Garden. These are boulders not just huge rocks combined with tight turns and trees but also with tippy angles (at least for the novice like me). We proceeded for what seemed like at least a mile of boulders before we were faced with some regular trail combined with some tree sentinels that were looking to take off a mirror or two for the attention deficit disorder (ADD) or the too wide vehicle. We made one short stop to tighten a power steering hose and thankfully CJ was packing power steering fluid!
It started to get a little gloomy and then came a sprinkle and then a light rain which wasn’t bad on the way up but added challenge for the trip back down the trail. CJ had some additional fun and entertained us by taking a couple of more aggressive side trips up some steep sections with big boulders that added a couple more degrees of challenge to the trail. On the way back it was definitely slick from the rain and I for one ended up a couple of times on boulders in a tight turn headed down on a steep slope with no room to maneuver.
At the end of the day we all added a few more scrapes to the rims but it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. Many thanks to Brian for leading the trip and to the rest of the guys for a great meet. Dick