PACKER LAKE OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
Another super outing. The weather was great and excellent trail riding opportunities were abundant. In fact, Chas put on 252 miles over 4 days of riding. It is surprising that more TBSA members didn't show up, especially since Packer Lake is so close to Sacramento, i.e. 100 miles and 2-1/2 hours from Loomis. The timing for the outing was almost perfect with all the major trails cleared and open. The only fly in the ointment was that there was still too much snow left up at the higher elevations to allow completion of long loop rides. The campsite at 6,400 feet elevation is located above Packer Lake near Packer Saddle Summit and is ideal for camping, with lots of trees and plenty of flat places for parking rigs. The TBSA contingent included Ron & Rose, Dan Kelly, Larry, and Chas. Guests included Nick and Terry Collin (former TBSA member) and two guests from ThumperTalk, i.e. Scott Schleicher (aka Superslyko) and his son Steven.
Chas took a 105-mile fun exploratory ride on Thursday on two-track, four-wheel drive, and pavement. including riding to the Sierra Buttes and the Saddleback two-track to the Chimney Rock trailhead and Poker Flat.
Ron, Dan, Larry and Chas took a great, for the most part, 58-mile ride on Friday, which included the Butcher Ranch Trail, Third Divide, Lavezzola Trail, and First Divide into Downieville. We were happy to find the Lavezzola Trail open up to the 'A' Tree; however, there was still too much snow to complete any loop rides. The other more immediate problem was fording Lavezzola Creek, which was 2-1/2 feet deep or more in spots, and we had to cross the creek twice on the way up and twice again on the way back. Well, suffice to say, Dan drowned his bike twice and Chas drowned out once. We're talking total submersion here. which means wringing out the air filter, pulling the spark plug, turning the bike upside down, and pumping the water out of the combustion chamber. Fortunately no noticeable water made it into the crankcase.
Nick Collin joined Dan, Larry and Chas for a super 55-mile ride on Saturday. Scott and Steve did not arrive in time to take part in the main ride so they took off on their own. The main ride included the Butcher Ranch Trail, Third Divide, and Empire Creek Trail, and part of Chimney Rock Trail. We started our lunch break when we reached the Chimney Rock Trail. Larry arrived about 20 minutes later and was somewhat upset, as he had gone off the trail and could have used help in extricating his bike. My apologies to Larry for not going back to help him get his bike back on the trail. In my defense, we did wait at all the intersections, and my normal routine is to wait 20 minutes after the last rider arrives before looking for 'lost' riders. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to TBSA, Scott and Steve rode the Butcher Ranch Trail and then took the Big Boulder Trail. About two miles up the trail, Steve apparently hit a rock which knocked the bike off the trail and ended up about 30 feet downhill. The two tried in vain to get the bike back up to the trail but were unsuccessful. Steve hiked the rest of the trail on foot and Scott rode out. They then rode double on jeep roads arriving back at camp at around 8 pm. Even though they missed a super potluck, there were plenty of TBSA leftovers for them. Dan even slipped his last remaining tamale into Chas' left over chicken dish which was only discovered later. Thanks, Dan.
Sunday's main quest was to help in the retrieval of the missing bike. The plan was for TBSA to ride to the Big Boulder trail from the top end, i.e. Packer Saddle Pass, and two track to the upper end of Boulder Creek Trail, while Scott and Steve would pack up their tent and gear in their pickup, drive to Downieville then to the beginning of the Third Divide, and then ride Scott's bike double to the lower end of Big Boulder Trail. The TBSA rescue crew included Nick, Ron, Dan, Larry and Chas. TBSA arrived at the stranded bike first and, in fact, had it roped out long before the arrival of Scott and Steve. Mission accomplished. Nick, Ron and Dan rode more or less directly back to camp while Larry and Chas rode Pauley Creek Trail first, then back to camp.