Attendees (apologies if I miss anyone or have forgotten names): Brian Geranen, Magnus, Dick, CJ w/Dad on Friday and friend on Sat, Rick, Big Mike, Mike Sickels, Howard and Sue, Gary and significant other, Clayton and Artem, Detlef and Ursula, Swanson Family, Joe Kennedy and Greg Youree. In total, there were 14 rigs on the trail Saturday, 12 jeep, an FJ Cruiser and the MOG. Friday: Left San Jose at around 7:00 am and made it to Arnold around 10:00, gassed up, met my dad who was my copilot for the weekend, got a little work done at our cabin and headed for the Snowshoe to meet up with anyone wanting to do the Deer Valley pre-run. I had not really heard from anyone so I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from CJ who would meet us at Camp Connell, Rick who would meet us at the trailhead and Magnus and Dick who were at the Snowshoe. After a quick lunch, we headed up the hill, met up with CJ and then on to the trailhead to meet with Rick. We were able to get on the trail @ 2:00 pm. There was a sign posted for the partial closure and the open portion being to 2.1 miles north of Hermit Valley. I did not think the trail was in too bad of shape, but did not seem as well defined as the last time I ran it. Definitely more exposed tree roots than I remembered. The first mile is a lot of rock crawling, tire placement and some tight turns. We had one quick stop to fix a leaky power steering line on Magnus' rig. We found a good turn around spot at the 1 mile mark and decided we would split into two groups for Saturday afternoon with a faster group going first and a slower group going second with the thought that we would all meet up somewhere around the mile mark with the first group heading back from the end and then head back. We did get a couple of really good dumpings from the thunder showers including hail at one point. I was hoping that would be enough to get the storm to pop over to the eastern side of the Sierras and clear our Saturday up. We made it back off the trail around 4:30. We aired up and headed back. We were going to top off fuel at Bear Valley but it was already closed when we got there about 5:15, so it was just back to the Tamarack (CJ to Dorrington). It was nice to see everyone getting in and look at the line of jeeps for Saturday!
Saturday: The storm did not pop over to the Eastern side! We woke up to some dumping rain. But at that point we were undeterred, everyone was awesome about being lined up and ready to go nice and early and I think it was around 7:35 - 7:40 when we pulled out of the Tamarack and headed for the Lake Alpine trailhead of the Slickrock trail. We aired down at the trailhead and headed out. For me, the most agonizing part of the trail was watching the rain. It was a tug of war in my head, the rain would dump and I would say "no way we are doing Deer Valley in this" and then it would lighten up or stop and I would be saying "well, if it stays like this, we will be ok" and back and forth it went for the whole trail. It was really dumping when we hit the stair steps and then the thunder seemed to say don't press your luck! Thank you to Kelly for being the main spotter at the top of the stair step. The last part of the trail getting to the Union/Utica trailhead was pretty cool as it seemed like you were running in a creek bed. Once we were off the Slickrock trail, it was decided to not do the Deer Valley trail. I did not want to risk body damage, trail repairs or even having to have someone out spotting in the downpour. I hope everyone was ok with that decision. Timing wise, everything went well, we would have had no problems with our timing of the 2 trails if the weather had been more cooperative. So, we were back at the Tamarack by noon, had lunch and everyone kind of did there own thing. There was a game being played in the dining area, college football on the TV, napping, cigar smoking, a few people headed down the hill to Arnold. And the thunder showers kept coming until @ 5:00pm (I was still doing the tug of war in my head about whether we should have tried Deer Valley)
The potluck was wonderful, we had Linguine and Clams, Meatballs and Kraut, Chili, Pork Loin and Kraut, Brats, Badassery Wings, Deviled Eggs, Potato Salads, Key Lime Pie, Baked Smores and cookies and more cookies. There was plenty of beer and wine and some JD and coke. I hope everyone had enough to eat, because I know I did (had to try everything)! The winner of the night for me was Clayton's linguine and clams, they were great. After dinner, Magnus had a couple of rounds of trivia which was fun and then we had a variety of music, with some good Oktoberfest stuff mixed in.
Sunday: I woke up to clouds but no rain. Unfortunately, I had already committed to being back in San Jose early, so I packed up and headed out. I hope that anyone wanting to get in more trail time was able to get out. I do not know if the rain stayed away all day or not. Made it back to San Jose by noon, and then got everything laid out in the driveway to dry and shopvac'ed the water out of the jeep. Wrapped it all up by 3:00, in time to watch the last of the niner game.
Thanks to everyone for coming! Brian