I had the opportunity to meet up with a group of great folks for a weekend trail run at Fordyce Trail. The trail is located in the Tahoe National Forest about 170 miles northeast of San Francisco. The trail is among the most difficult in California as I would soon learn. This was my first time on the trail.
Our group consisted of six rigs. Two YJs, one CJ7, one Yota, all highly modified. There was one CJ5 slightly modified and my JK Unlimited with just enough mods. Only the CJ5 and myself drove our rigs to the trail. Everyone else towed their rigs.
We started out at Cisco Grove Campground, where the tow rigs and trailers parked. By the time everyone aired down it was dark. The group began our fourteen mile trail ride down to the river where we would set up camp . The trail started out as a dirt road and progressively got to the point of crawling over boulders as we made our way down into the valley. Wheelin at night is surreal and set the tone for an amazing offroad experience.
We made it to the river and our campsite at 11pm. After setting up camp, I sat down and had a couple beers by the fire before lights out. The next morning we broke camp as we were going to camp at Meadow Lake after a day on the trail. We started out with a river crossing and climbed the river bank where I max flexed my rig just climbing the bank. The guys helped me through obstacles I didn’t think I was capable of and would cheer when I made it through. Over the coarse of the weekend they were impressed with the JK and so was I.
After a while we came to winch hill three where the carnage began. Winch hill three is a narrow crevice of granite and body damage is highly likely. One of the YJ’s went through and ended up getting winched out on it’s side. The CJ7 started through and broke something on the front axle when it got the wheels stuck between the boulders. I ended up winching him backwards to get him out. Now he only had rear drive. I took the bypass which was a challenge in itself. We stayed awhile to watch other rigs attempt to make it through. Some made through with no problem at all and others were not so lucky.
Later we continued up the trail but after awhile the CJ7 was having a hard time getting through and one of the YJ’s broke two wheel studs. So a decision was made to turn around and go back to our original camp.
While going up the trail, I had a number of near misses. Going down the trail was a different story as I was at the mercy of gravity. It’s kind of funny, every time I did some damage I would minimize the situation by saying “ That’s ok, I want to change those fenders anyway” or “ That’s ok, I’ll just rattle can that. You’ll never see it.”
We made it back to the river and set up camp once again. A few beers and tequila settled our nerves. Later we went back out to take on the rocks around the river. This is where the other YJ tried to reshape the mountain and broke a ujoint on his rear drive shaft leaving him with front wheel drive only.
The next morning we broke camp again. A few guys discharged their fire arms into the mountain. This capped of my eight year old son’s experience as he pulled the trigger on a 9mm and a 45cal. Now he asks me everyday when he’ll be old enough for a real gun.
My JK and the Yota served as tow rigs for the crippled YJ and CJ7 on our way out. We stopped at a lake for lunch and shot at floating pine cones with a pellet rifle. The kid wants one of those too. Oh, and a quad.
Everyone made it back to Cisco Grove where we said our goodbyes and headed home. For me, this weekend is what my JK purchase is all about. I had the time of my life and my son was pretty stoked as well. Oh, and “ Son, what do you say when Mom asks what you did this weekend? “ “ Nothin Mom, just threw rocks in the river.”
I must have taken 300 pictures, most of them from my drivers perspective as I did not retain a film crew. Here are some of them.