The snow was coming down hard and it wasn't so cool anymore. The weather report Thursday had said clear and 90¡ in Sacramento all weekend...it should pass. The valve stem Toy guys left for the forest just as we were going to offer them our extra tent. They wanted tree cover for their ground sleeping.
The cool yellow Toy, Chevy, and the Willys, all left for Loon Lake. I Showed my two Rubi virgin friends the plaque on the wall at Spider Lake, the usual Spider camps, the shortcut from camps to the main trail, and back around the main trail to the box. Then we headed back to the Sluice. The broken tie rod Toy tarped it up in the box and was needing a tie rod end evidently. We couldn't help him, unfortunately. He sounded pretty stoned under his tarp when we asked! His girl and him started singing a Police song in the middle of his answer to us. Huh?
Back to camp. BIG snowflakes. We cooked dinner and Shane about cut his finger off on the chili can. We started a fire, which worked for a bit, but our legs and shoes were wet. Even my waterproof boots let some in somewhere and my toes were freezing. We shed the wet clothes and all climbed into bags at 8pm, for lack of other ways to get warm.
Shane's tent collapsed from snow right before bed and we all looked at each other wondering if we should have left when it started snowing. We all slept in my 4-man for more body heat and were woken up about 5 times in the night to bang on the tent sides to get the snow to slide off so the tent would stand back up. Condensation on the inside was pretty wet, also. The rain fly blew off at one point and I got up to put it back on. That sucked...long johns, wet shoes, sweatshirt and beanie at 3am in heavy snow.
8am. Up and out. Good news, the snow had not stuck to the rocks, only other snow! About 4-6 inches, thankfully not more. I'm not sure how thick the rest of the trail had been covered. We packed up quickly, while planning for a long trip out, and hoping for a short one!
Tie Rod Toy was still asleep in the box. We took the bypass and drove back out without any problems except a couple of strappings and me losing a bead. I Yorked it right back on there. It was very rainy and we were OK, but just a bit tired and wet and wishing weathermen were accurate. We finally aired up at Loon Campground about noon and the only other problem was a terrible wobble for me on the drive down. I had forgotten that when i lost the bead, I was in the middle of a small stream. Funny how two gallons of water will throw off tire balance. We switched it out for the spare.
There was pouring rain all the way back to Marin. At least we had soft doors, as Shane's Sammy had none. When we stopped at Mountain Mike's at Apple Hill for pizza his left leg was drenched and floorboard had 2" of rainwater in it.
It will be a memorable trip. Lots of fun. Could have been ugly if it had snowed harder, or if it was sticking more! We saw about 10 vehicles going up Icehouse Rd. as we came out. Hope one of them had a Toyota tie rod end.
©1997-2010 ROCKCRAWLER 4x4 and Off-Road Magazine. All Rights Reserved.