Taken from the July 2008 Newsletter

Photos from Foresthill Outing: by Chas Moser

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Report from Foresthill Outing: by Chas Moser

We camped at ‘Sheep Ranch’ just below and one mile south of the China Wall staging area. By Friday afternoon we ended up with five rigs: John Cox, Dan Kelly, Kathy & Dan Lodermeier, Chas, and Bob & Bert Smith. Day riders included Bill Heinemann & friend Terry Ash, Larry Mason, and Tad & Paricia Cornwell. Visitors included Keith & Vicki.

On Wednesday, Larry and Chas took an enjoyable 40-mile ride which included much of the very technical Trail 6 and the 'Last Chance Trail' to Michigan Bluff. Starting issues with Larry's bike negated further trail riding, therefore roads were taken back to camp.

Thursday, since nobody else was present in the AM, Chas decided to explore the 'Western States Trail' (WST) out of Robinson Flat campground. He proceeded east out of Robinson Flat for about 15 miles. WOW. What an eye opener! A beautiful, well maintained single-track trail eventually going all the way to Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe!! Words cannot describe this trail. It was simply wonderful ... semi technical in spots but not too bad (nothing like Loop 6). Chas had lunch on a high ridge overlooking French Meadows Reservoir. The wild flowers were in full bloom. A cool, smoke-free breeze was flowing. Large black & white honey bees and hummingbirds abounded. In reflecting, Chas thought, 'Is there anything better than this?'. It’s too bad that he forgot his camera! Chas wisely turned around shortly after the lunch stop since he was by himself, and was miles from civilization. He ended up putting on 81 miles this day, much of it on dirt roads. Fortuitously, John Cox had a small digital camera which he loaned to Chas for the remaining rides. Enjoy the photos.

Friday included another long 81-mile ride with Dan Kelly, Chas and Bob Smith. Our goal was to complete as much of WST east of Robinson Flat as possible. Bob, suffering from an abscessed tooth and carpal tunnel in both wrists, decided to call it a day while he was still ahead of the game and turned around at French Meadows Reservoir after 'tasting' the WST, and took the roads back to camp. At French Meadows Reservoir, Dan and Chas diverted from the WST and took the somewhat more challenging Tevis Cup Trail which eventually borders the upper edge of the Granite Chief Wilderness and goes all the way to Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe, crossing the Pacific Crest Trail in the process. The WST proper actually runs along French Meadows Reservoir and goes through the wilderness area which, of course, is closed to trailbikes. After many miles, we accidently got off the Tevis Cup Trail when we came to Sunflower Road and turned right in an easterly direction, still following yellow ribbons. As the road started turning towards the south, we realized that we were heading back towards French Meadows Reservoir. This point was confirmed by a passerby. So we turned around to attempt to locate the northeasterly continuation of the Tevis cup trail. We finally found the continuation of the correct trail but, because of the time factor, decided to save it for another day. It turns out that the yellow ribbons we were following lead back to the WST proper. We took Sunflower and Soda Springs Roads back to Robinson Flat where we hit the Foresthill Divide Road. The only pavement all day was this 15-mile stretch. The only 'fly in the ointment' was a roadblock set up midday at China Wall due to the now raging Westville fire. We unceremoniously got pulled over by a sheriff on canine patrol perhaps eight miles from camp, who insisted that we MUST turn around and take a detour back through Robinson Flat to Foresthill to reach camp!! When we politely pointed out that the detour would add 50+ miles to our trip and that we would likely run out of fuel, the sheriff eventually relented and called for a standby sheriff to escort us through the blockade. Whew!!

Saturday turned into a nightmare for Chas, starting out with a camelback that leaked two+ quarts of water on his trailer bed. Dan and Chas started out with the plan to ride Trail 6 clockwise then take the WST (Last Chance Trail) to Michigan Bluff and take it from there. Well, to make a long story shorter, Chas thought that he had taken the WST at the first (of two) crossings off of Trail 6. He hadn't, and therefore continued on the trail to a bridge, still unknowingly thinking that he was on the WST. After about 20 minutes, when Dan didn't show up, Chas turned around to ride back to look for Dan. Well, his bike got tangled up in some cable on the steep climb up from the bridge. Rather than try to 'fight the bike', Chas decided to walk back on foot to look for Dan. After several miles of uphill hiking, a now exhausted Chas found the second lower WST crossing, and only then finally realized that he was on the wrong trail. Dan had left an arrow indicating that he had taken the correct WST to Michigan Bluff. Well, by the time that Chas got back to his bike, Dan was there waiting and had already managed to turn Chas' bike around to complete Trail 6. Dan had waited about an hour for Chas when they got separated, then made it up the WST to Michigan Bluff and back to camp and then down Trail 6 counterclockwise to the lower bridge where Chas' bike awaited. Chas was so tired that he could scarcely stay on the bike, even with Dan's aid. Fortunately we made it back to camp just in time for the potluck!! THANK YOU, Dan.

And thanks to everyone for putting on a superb potluck. There were several requests for the ladies to publish their recipes. Special thanks to Bert and Bob Smith for supplying copious quantities of a variety of ‘liquid refreshments’ and some tasty cream cheese and salmon hors d’oeuvres prior to the potluck. The Outing Chairman owes the Smiths a debt of gratitude. We all enjoyed the company of Keith and Vicki Hepler who drove up for the day on Saturday and the evening potluck. Vicki also took some of the campsite photos, John Cox was kind enough to ride with the Lodermeiers since they were limited to the close-by trails and dirt roads, being on non- street legal two-strokes with limited mileage range. Bill Heinemann and friend rode Trail 6, etc. on Friday.

On Sunday, Chas put on another 43 miles driving the roads to Michigan Bluff to check out a direct connection noted on a map from Michigan Bluff to Mosquito Ridge Road which connects Foresthill to French Meadows Reservoir. The road is open and is a twisty, winding seven-mile dirt road called Gorman Ranch Road. This provides a shortcut to camp from French Meadows other than going through Robinson Flat.

In five days of riding, Chas put on 270 miles, most of which was on single-track and dirt roads and a little pavement. Other than the ride on Saturday, life is sweet! John and Chas stayed over to Monday, and unfortunately the prevailing winds changed direction and blew the smoke from the raging fires directly into our campsite, so we headed home. Prior to Sunday, the area had been almost smoke-free.

Photos from Foresthill Outing: by Vicki Hepler

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