Rubicon Trip, July 2003
1. A limit that when passed or exceeded permits of no
return and typically results in irrevocable commitment.
2. A small river which separated Italy from Cisalpine
the province allotted to Julius Caesar. By leading an army across this
contrary to the prohibition of the civil government at Rome, Caesar
the civil war which resulted in the death of Pompey and the overthrow
senate; hence, the phrase to pass or cross the Rubicon signifies to
decisive step by which one is committed to a hazardous enterprise from
there is no retreat.
These are some photos from a trip to the Rubicon. We were on the
13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. Our group had 4 Jeeps:
Williams - 1951 Flatfender
Williams & Jim's niece Hanna - 1980
Mosby & Mary Jo Mosby - 1993
Brooks - 1999 TJ
We camped the 12th a bit past Ice House before the start of the
arrived at Spider Lake the 13th and spent two nights there. We arrived
Island Lake the 15th and spent two nights there We arrived at Rubicon
around noon on the 17th and visited with the caretaker there for a bit.
rolled into the Tahoe rim area late afternoon on the 17th. I strongly
driving the trail with a couple days in one spot as we did the trip.
are quite scenic with some nice falls at Buck Island. That is an easy
well worth seeing.
Lockers seem like a necessity. With lots of rock stacking and/or
you might drive the trail without lockers but that would be lots of
stopped for some spotting (thanks Jim & Todd) in a few places, but
most part you just have to drive the trail and only stop to spot at the
difficult obstacles. We didn't do any strapping or winching other that
where we pulled Dan back to level ground for an easier engine start
reduce the excitement of a nose down decent). I don't think driving
ever faster than walking pace until you approach Rubicon Springs. The
tough, no doubt about that. Unlike Moab, where your tires stick to the
well you can darn near drive straight up the side of a vertical face,
Rubicon rock is pretty smooth and has a nice coating of dirt to further
traction. It is often hard to keep tires where you would like them.
Protect your food from bears. We didn't think about that and lost a
marshmallows, box of graham crackers, and back of chocolate chip
cookies to a
bear at Spider Lake. Todd woke up and scared him off before we lost
(Had Todd not survived that encounter I would be praising him even more
deed.) Bring mosquito repellent for this trip. There was an hour or so
where they appeared at Spider Lake and two or three hours at Buck
day where they were really thick. Photos on this page
thanks to Mary
||Jim carefully centers a
tire as he works his way up "Gatekeeper" entering the trail while Jim's
niece, Hannah, checks tire position on the right.
|Dan gets a back tire
in the air.
||"Rock? Was there a rock
in front of me?"
Todd reconsiders a second run at this with the tires on the
|Jim crawls over a
rock pile on the way to Spider Lake.
||Todd easily navigates a rock on the trail.
||Jim ascends a
rock-strewn road on the way to Spider Lake.
|Dale descends the
trail into Spider Lake. Jim has his thumb out looking for a ride. Or
was that a suggestion on turning the tires?
||Dale on the drive into
|Todd enjoys a warm
afternoon in the cool water at Spider Lake.
||A Spider Lake resident
comes to see if Mary Jo is willing to part with some food (yes).
|Dale on the trail out
of Spider Lake.
||Dan on the route to
Buck Island Lake.
||Buck Island Lake.
|Some of the many cascading falls on the
stream feeding Buck Island Lake. The easy hike up this stream is
rewarding with beautiful views and cool water.
||One of the many deep
clear pools above Buck Island Lake.
|Jim and Dale try and
keep Dan's rig on the ground while Todd repositions his rig for another
pull with the winch. That first line down the hill was getting a bit
Dan and and Jim had many discussions about the best method of
converting this rig to fuel injection. The float wasn't too happy about
going nose down.
||Dale on the trail out
of Buck Island Lake.
Bridge. Good thing there wasn't a three Jeep weight limit.
||Observation Point. Left
to Right: Jim, Hannah, Dan, Todd, Mary Jo, Dale.
This was a pretty easy-going group. Todd demonstrated just how
is when he rolled out his sleeping bag at a rest area on the drive down
found out (at 2 AM) that the place had automatic sprinklers. No
new air mattress sprang a leak on the second night out. Still no
had a fairly uneventful trip. No rig damage though we came prepared
with lots of
spare parts and tools. Jim did a bit of welding on a Cherokee we met at
Island Lake. Jim shared his on-board shower at Spider Lake and that was
As our group was made up of amateur radio operators (Jim - W2JEP,
KD7LTV, Todd - KD7OSZ, Mary Jo - KB7NJE, Dale - K7FW). We used the
calling frequency of 146.52 for our communications. At a couple points
trail when we were high I heard some other activity but for the most
part it was
quiet. Repeaters can be difficult to hit. I used 147.15 (tone of 123.0)
Buck Island Lake. That is located on Tahoe at Incline Village and
another repeater from information I was given. A friend near Carson
Nevada and I were able to communicate using that repeater. I could not
from Rubicon Springs but was able to hit 147.195 (tone 123.0) at
The round trip drive for this adventure was 1453 miles. That is a
lot in a
Jeep built for the trail, and it was quite hot both down and back. Todd
drove our Jeeps, Jim and Dan hauled their Jeeps by trailer. Mary Jo and
a couple days in Nevada with a friend after the trip and then took a
route home than the I-5 route we drove down.
This was a great group for such an outing. A big thanks to all for