We met in Downieville, as usual. Jim joined us, a welcome surprise, making us a group of eight Jeeps. It was nice to have that many on a run again, especially because we had announced the trip without as much notice as usual. As soon as everyone was there, we heeded up I-70 to Georgetown.
Jim had given us a heads up that there was construction on Guenella Pass and that the turn out for the trailhead was likely occupied by construction equipment. We decided to air down and disconnect at the Georgetown Visitor Center so that there would be room for all of us. This turned out to be a good idea as Jim was right -- there was no room at the trailhead. On the way to the trailhead we had to wait at the construction zone because the road was narrowed to one-way traffic. As it turned out, we would wait longer on the way back down because the light wasn't long enough to let the whole line of our Jeeps through in one group. The light is on a 10-minute cycle but it sure feels longer when you're the first in line at the light.
Once on the trail things went quickly, with only two false turns up dead ends before we found the correct turn off for the trail up the creek. We passed many occupied campsites and the smell of wood smoke and bacon filled the air. We crossed the creek a couple of times and continued up the trail. We all made it up the "rock river" to the crossing without problems and we were soon at the intersection with the Argentine Pass trail. We crossed this and continued up through the trees toward McClellan Mountain. Again, no one had any trouble but Julie did remark that maybe she should have disconnected her sway bar. Someone else commented on the new pin striping they were getting as this part of the trail was quite narrow.
We were soon at the tree line and onto the shelf roads. We met no other traffic on the way up and we were soon at the end of the trail at the saddle on McClellan Mountain. We spent a little time there sight seeing. We spotted an ATV that looked like it was having a lot of trouble. It was off of the trail on a steep slope below the switchbacks, and the rider appeared to be off the machine and trying to ease it down the hill while standing beside it. Later, we heard from another ATV rider that the driver had veered to miss an animal that ran across the trail in front of him. The machine went down the slope but the driver managed to leap clear. Reports were that he had a broken leg and had called for emergency services on his cell phone.
We headed down the spur overlooking I-70 but were soon turned around because of a large snow field still across the trail. After that, we went to the Santiago Mine for our lunch. The weather was great, warm with only a little wind, so we enjoyed our time there. After lunch, we headed over to Argentine Pass to complete our day.
Reports from Other Days: 4
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for McClellan Mountain. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.