Huntington Lake

Summer Campout 2016

Story:I sailed up to Huntington Lake, Rancheria campground some time Friday afternoon to meet up with those Esprit De Fours folk who were still around the campground or pulling in for the three day weekend, like I was. Tent assembled I went around to see who was in, but found only John Ruiz and his family - others had been out on an overnight trek.

Another glorious weekend of camping, wheeling, exploring in God's country - that is, the country we haven't flattened for a freeway or turned into exclusive housing for the few. I never sleep this good at home. Must be all that good mountain air.

Saturday morning I got a quick breakfast out of the way and it was time to saddle up and run down to China Peak for some group photos and to get everyone together. Big Mike had plotted out the days course and he did a great job. We then headed on to Tamarack Sno Park for that last rest stop and to air down. I ran 18 lbs, as I usually do. It's good having the compressor on the rig, but I still need to get it mounted. Trail order was established and then we were off down Rock Creek Road. Shane Ruiz rode shotgun with me.

A few fits and starts before we were all on the way, but away we were. Early trail was mostly pave with a few potholes and plenty of dust. The word came over the radio the Jeep in front of me had some clunking going on up front and we paused while some loose hardware was replaced. It's a pretty good idea to carry not only tools, but an assortment of nuts and bolts for the trail - I'll need to stock up on some and add them to my trail kit.

The ride up to Bald Mountain was fairly easy and the weather could not have been better - clear views everywhere. I scrambled off to find a Geocache and then took several panoramic shots of the rigs as well as most of the party in the rebuilt lookout tower.

After the lookout we headed off to find a good spot for lunch with some shade. Another minor mechanical was taken care of on John's JKU when some plastic doo-dad on the transfer case shifter. Someone's ready supply of zip-ties got us going again. Shane gave up shotgun and camera duties with me to ride with someone else the rest of the way. The only real test of the day for me was near the end as we crawled down a steep and bumpy descent - a camera on the front would not go amiss there. I kept it in lowest gear and crawled down slowly with only a couple scuffs and one bump.

After the fun descent it was off to Dinkey Creek Road where a few would continue on to some further trail riding while others, myself among them, would take Dinkey Creek Road back to Shaver Lake, airing up and then rolling back to Rancheria.

After returning to camp and checking everything was still good under the Jeep I headed up to Kaiser Pass for a look see. Very nice up there and I'd head further east, out to Florence Lake on the single lane road on Sunday before heading home. Great trip and great people to hang out with for a weekend. Thanks again to Big Mike!

Original Post:

Summer Campout 2016

I couldn’t have wished for a better campout. The Rancheria Campground has been remodeled a few years ago into a gem. The spaces are very large and spread out more than I’ve ever experienced. Unlike a lot of camp grounds, it was amazingly quiet. Ahhhhh. The weather was perfect; warm but not too hot. Connie and I hung out on Friday, watching the helicopters bucket water out of Huntington Lake for the fire on Auberry Road, not that far from the campground.I did not go on the Swamp Lake or Coyote Lake runs, but I did do the Bald Mountain run on Saturday. As a newbie, parts were harder than I have done in the past, but I had an absolute blast. Connie was by passenger and a real pro. She helped me so much and I thank her and all the members on the run. We had a nice lunch along the trail after summiting. Amazing views of Shaver Lake and the surrounding area. Some of the group continued on, but we went back to camp and rested up for a delicious pot luck (thanks to everyone for the contributions).

I am so glad I went and can’t wait for the next outing. Hope to see you all at Oktoberfest.

Huntington Lake

Huntington Lake Summer campout trip report – July 16>19 2009 –Gary Shelgren

A great weekend started with arriving at the campground late Thursday afternoon, setting up and visiting with members already there. The Dusy group was back in camp so heard tales of the fun and mishaps. The weather was perfect and a nice change from the furnace in the Valley.

The Friday afternoon run was to Brewer Lake. Darell led, Ed in sweep position, with Coby, and myself in between. This was a moderate trail for the others but, a great learning experience for me. There were a few easy dirt (DUSTY) sections interspersed between the rock gardens. With spotting help from Ed, and much to my own surprise, I was able to navigate through most of the rocks without serious damage to the TJ. However, as we got closer to the lake the rocks grew taller and closer together until I finally threw in the towel. The last 100’ to the lake wasn’t possible for my setup without the aid of a helicopter. We were looking down on the lake at that point. After letting a couple of other jeep groups pass we about faced and returned to the campground. -- Attendees: Darell & Kathy & Friend, Coby & Alicia, Myself & Marlene, Ed & Son

A Campfire was held at Darell’s campsite and run plans for Saturday were discussed.

The Saturday Run was to Red Lake, I think. There were so many lakes in the area I lost track. This trail made the previous day run look like pavement. Mostly rock gardens, with many more adult boulders and very few smooth sections. A “more challenging, more fun…6-flags” style run. I was able, with some spotting help, to navigate the rocks, bounce, lurch and smoke the clutch along to what would become the turn around and lunch spot. Again, the last couple hundred yards to the lake was the toughest part of the run and I would not have made it up the hill. The rest of the group did get “in line” to give it a try. There was a dozen or more 4-wheelers of all kinds lined up for the last hill and more arriving all the time. It was like a pre-game parking lot party with people scattered up the hill watching vehicles thrashing their way to the top. The sounds of hooting people, crunching body metal and running gear carnage would have gladdened the hearts of parts and repair shop owners everywhere….not to mention beer distributors. Our group turned around at that point. The return trip, over the same route, was like an all new trail and tougher it seemed. At one especially nasty rock drop off, I was proud of the good job of navigating I had just pulled off, thinking I had it made through. I then realized I wasn’t able to move forward or backward. I had quite skillfully lowered the jeep down onto a large boulder and was completely high centered. With a tow backward from Jim R, some rock backfilling and finger pointing from Ed, I was on my way. With a couple of exceptions, the rest of the trip went well. I did readjust (break) a running board mount and beat the crap out of the trailer hitch but, all the stuff is on the removal list anyway. On the plus side I didn’t leave a trail of oil or gas on the road so the differentials and gas tank are still intact. Great run!

- - Attendees: Darell, Jim H., Coby & Alicia, Dennis & Ava, John R., Myself & Marlene, Ed & Son

That evening (Saturday) a pot luck and campfire was held at Jason’s camp site. Great food, stories, and friends all around. The impromptu “So You Think You Can Dance” show bit was worth the price of admission. We need to keep that on the playbill. Now that it’s known what sort of stimulant encourages the dancing duo to ascend the car trailer stage, that shouldn’t be too hard to do.

Looking forward to more good times,