Slick Rock/Deer Valley 2018

Part of our group met at Snowshoe Brewing Company in Arnold (don’t order the Asian Salad, everything else was great) for lunch at 12:30 Friday afternoon. We left for Hermit Valley Campground at around 2:00 after everyone fueled and filled their ice chests. Just before Lake Alpine the road (Hwy 4) becomes just wide enough for two vehicles to pass, past lake Alpine the road gets steep (both up and down) with quite a few switchbacks. One of our members was towing his Toyota, but, it was so excited to get wheeling that it tried to pass him on one of those sharp downhill turns. After his truck and Toyota came to a screeching halt, we inspected the damage. The right corner of the bed and the taillight were damaged. When we arrived at Hermit Valley Campground, there was no one there, we had our choice of spots. We staked out half an acre under the trees for our group and set up camp.

The remainder of our group came rolling it later that evening. We fired up the propane fire pit and we all sat around it preparing for the following day.

As we passed Slick Rock trailhead on the way to camp someone mentioned they saw a sign that Slick Rock Trail was closed and because the trail heads directly into the evacuation zone for the Donnell Fire, we opted to do Deer Valley trail to the river crossing and return instead. The trailhead is right at Hermit Valley Campground. We aired down at camp, ate a light breakfast and departed at 10:00 am. About an hour and a half of moderately difficult trail we met up with a group of UTVs who told us there was a group of 75 4WD vehicles in groups of ten coming the opposite direction. We decided we would return to camp, have lunch and check out Slick Rock. On the way back to camp we met some other people who said Slick Rock trail was closed. When we got back to camp we had lunch and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Saturday’s pot luck was amazing as usual, lots of food contributed by everyone. Some of us walked over to the trailhead and waited for the big group to exit the gatekeeper, there we talked with someone we saw earlier who said they were going to Slick Rock. They said they did the trail and it was not closed and that he Forrest service reroute was great. We went back to camp and discussed picking up camp the following morning, running Slick Rock after breakfast and head home. Five of us committed to it. The rest opted to go straight home.

Sunday morning everyone packed up camp and we had our usual Goat’s breakfast. We said our goodbyes to the group of four heading straight home and headed down HWY 4.
We Pulled off the highway at Lake Alpine and headed for the trailhead to air down. Afterwards we drove down a dusty trail that had just been cut out of the forest until we came to a sign that said rock-pile straight or bypass right, we opted for rock-pile. I drove up a granite face and reached the top with no view of the trail, at this point I needed a spotter. My spotter saw tire marks and guided me to the right, she did not know the blue dots on the granite (to the left) was the actual trail, but since it is a rock-pile, the blue dots are merely a suggested route. I made it down, but it was precarious. Everyone else followed the blue dots and even that was not easy. In about a quarter of a mile we came to the second obstacle, a granite slab with an off camber exit. The third obstacle is a long downhill with nothing but loose dirt and boulders, all in the wrong places. As we continued down the trail we came to the crossing where the old entrance to the trail was, these three obstacles were part of the forest service’s reroute away from the private property the old route went through. My hat’s off to the forest service for making the reroute something that will challenge anyone attempting to use the trail. At this point it was getting close to noon and we were ready to turn around and head home, but we decide to head up the trail just a little more only to find the river crossing through a bunch of granite slabs. What a great place to take a break before returning through the same obstacles we encountered on the way in. As we were exiting, I wedged Cookie Monster between two rocks, this offered Mike a chance to use brand his new winch. This time it actually worked. Although these were both fairly short trails, they were extremely challenging. When we arrived back at Lake Alpine we aired up, said our goodbyes and headed home.


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