We're up to the 7th annual trip! I'm impressed every year with how good a group of guys and gals show up and make this a great weekend every time. (even after towing someone 10 miles). It's my pleasure to host/lead this trip every year.
Last year's thread
Optional Friday run and camping again this year! Unlike last year's record-breaking snow fall and fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants schedule, we might actually be able to run this one as expected this year. As we learned last year, it's all in the hands of the weather gods. This year I hope to actually get to camp at Calaveras Dome on Friday night. The gods have conspired against me/us the last two years.
We're going to limit the trip to the first 15 rigs, so get your reservation in soon.
MEETING PLACE IS DIFFERENT THAN LAST YEAR. PLEASE READ ON.
FRIDAY - Optional
Meeting Place - Liberty Vista Point pull out on Hwy 4, on the right, 18.1 miles past the Kwik Serv gas station in Arnold (where you will fill up gas). There is a blue warning sign on the highway for the vista point. If you pass the turn off to 7N09 or the Cabbage Patch Highway Maintenance Station, you've gone about a quarter mile too far.
Meeting Time - 9:30am sharp
Plan - We'll start by running the Mt. Reba trail up by Bear Valley. The short and moderately difficult trail leads to a peak with spectacular views. In the afternoon we will run a few trails off of forest road 7N09. We'll head over to Long Gulch bypass trail and see if anyone wants to try it. This is a trail the the Esprit de Four club maintains and claims requires a highly modified rig. Alternatively, we might run the Sourgrass Road out of Sourgrass picnic area on the N. Fork of the Stanislaus River. This is a gnarly road that a few of us ran last year. Only a couple miles long, but requires spotting and advanced driving skills.
Camp - At 12.5 miles in on 7N09 and another 4 miles in on 7N19 and 7N76Y, we will camp in a nice spot "on top of" Calaveras Dome. With a nice short walk with your camp chair, beverage of choice, and appetizers and finger foods to share, we'll gawk at the amazing view before us while sitting on a huge dome of granite. We'll be sitting 1800 feet above the North Fork of the Mokelumne River and Salt Springs Reservoir. This is a remote camp site with no facilities (as are all the others) or water, so bring everything with you (and plan to take it all out). We'll cross Moore Creek twice on the way to camp, so if it's hot and the group is so inclined, we can stop and take a dip and clean up.
Meeting Place - Liberty Vista Point pull out on Hwy 4, on the right, 18.1 miles past the Kwik Serv gas station in Arnold (where you will fill up gas). There is a blue warning sign on the highway for the vista point. If you pass the turn off to 7N09 or the Cabbage Patch Highway Maintenance Station, you've gone about a quarter mile too far. Space is limited, so park close to one another. We'll either air down here or a half mile in on 7N09.
Meeting Time - 9:30am sharp
Plan - We'll start by running the Mattley Ridge and Meadow trails. The short and moderately difficult trail leads through beautiful flower filled meadows. Unlike in past trips, after we come out on the "main" road (7N16) after Mattley Meadow, and after our group picture overlooking Mokelumne Peak, we're going to hang a left and travel some other back roads up on Mattley Ridge that will avoid the long dusty stretch of 7N09. In the afternoon we will head up the Corral Hollow Rd (7N11) making the usual side trips to Flagpole Point (nice view) and Jelmini Basin and cabin (for another group pic). Lastly we'll head for camp in Bear Trap Basin.
Camp - Once again we'll camp in the spot we've used the last couple years that's a couple hundred yards up the road from the Bear Trap Basin cabin. Plenty of room for everyone, including tent campers (and Jon's hammock). We should make it into camp by 3 or 4, so plenty of time for lounging and exploring the cabin, meadows, and creek. Should be plenty of wood for a fire. There's a mix of shade and sun in this camp.
Plan - We'll continue up the Corral Hollow trail. This is the shortest road of the trip, but the scenery is wonderful and the road is more challenging than the others. It will take us until noon or 1 to get out to Hwy 4. We'll air up, and then head down the highway to Snowshoe Brewing Co. in Arnold for lunch and brews and camaraderie (and a last group shot).
First and foremost, fill your gas tank in Arnold BEFORE you head up to the meeting place. There are 3 gas stations in town: a Chevron and KwikServ about the same ok price, and another independent station with higher prices (go figure). The Chevron is on the left and kind of tight to get into. The KwikServ is on the right and has more room, and does take credit cards. With a full tank of gas in Arnold, we'll have more than enough to get around.
Second, please make every attempt to be on time. Don't make all the others wait for you because you had to stop for that 3rd mocha.
Communications...What can I say that hasn't been said already. Communications are important with a group like this. Thanks to Chris, Bob, and others for pushing the ham thing. However, if you don't get around to getting your license before the trip begins, please let me know. At the very least, you should have either a CB or FRS/GMRS radio. I can bring an extra if need be. But, first and foremost, make sure you test your radio before the trip. Finding out you don't have the right connector or 12V adaptor in Arnold doesn't help. The goal is for everyone to have their ham license for this trip. It really does make a difference. I'll print a call sign cheat sheet to share for the trip. No comms = no go on the trip.
Don't forget all your gear and supplies. Bring all your water. Make sure your X is in good working order. Bring recovery gear if you own it.
Booze: Last year worked pretty well: please bring your favorite growler of beer (or a couple 22oz or several 12oz bottles/cans) to share. Sure, feel free to bring whatever scotch/whiskey/bourbon you desire, but there will be a table for beer tasting. Bring a cup to share. Doesn't have to be green.
Be prepared for any weather. Afternoon thunderstorms can pop up at anytime in the Sierra. Temps in the high 60's and low 70's at this point, with overnight lows in the 40's. Camp elevation on Friday is 5700'. Saturday camp is at 7200'.
Although the cabin near the proposed camp site on Saturday has an outhouse, be prepared for remote camping without one just in case it's full of bees again, full, or you don't want to make the 300yard walk. I'll be bringing my WAG toilet. Bring your own TP.
Firearms: There is a decent place for a range at Saturday's camp (guys have shot there before). However, my strict rule is that the range is only open before happy hour gets started. Simple. If you can't follow this rule, I don't want you on the trip.
This trip can also be done as a day trip either Saturday or Sunday if you can't make both days. You have to find your way in or out (pretty easy) on your own though. And, don't be late if you come in on Sunday. We won't wait for you. There is lodging at Bear Valley and Arnold for those that want to join but can't or won't sleep out under the stars. Let me know if you plan on heading out for commercial lodging before the trip. Note, however, that I will give priority to participants that go both days so if the trip is full of weekenders, day trippers will have to wait until next year. Sorry. the 15 rig limit is already pushing it.
Looking forward to good times and good people again this year!
PS Sorry, haven't figured out the photo thing yet (after my Photobucket account died). I'm sorry that all the old links to maps and photos don't work. I'll try to figure it out and update this post later. If folks want to post pictures from years past, please feel free!