We hadn't been on Red Elephant Hill in ages, so we were really looking forward to checking it out. The All-4-Fun event was scheduled to start the very next day in the same area, but they weren't wheeling on Saturday. We met in Downieville with a lot of other groups and loads of Jeep Cherokees from COJeeps so it was a party from the start. We were all ready at the same time so we decided to hang out and chat in the parking lot for a little while longer to let them get farther ahead of us. It worked out perfectly.
We headed up the trail and it was fun almost from the start. There were some rocky sections that put a smile on everyone's faces. We pulled over in a pull out to stretch our legs and take pictures, and Jeffrey got under his Jeep. His gas line was coming loose but he caught it before anything spilled other than fumes.
After that, we just kept climbing. The trail is definitely steep and rocky in places, and it seems to never level out for the first half. We all had a great time on the rocky sections.
We came around a corner and saw the last of the Jeep Cherokees in the Big Rocks. We stopped and walked up, and the obstacle was a slick mess of fun. It wasn't exactly muddy, but the dirt was damp so it made everything slick. They said they had to winch everyone, so we were expecting some fun. We definitely found it.
It was fun to watch the Cherokees get through the obstacle and then it was our turn. Monica felt sure she could drive through it, but it was really slick. She slipped off the rocks at every attempt. After a few different ideas were tried she decided it was time for the winch. Her winchline broke the last time she went wheeling, and she just put on a new winchline the night before. That was a good call! With a tug from the winch she slid her way through the rocks.
Matt was next, and he had high hopes to get through it under his own power. But he had the same slippery issues. He winched himself through it by dragging his differentials across rocks and leaving his tires all hanging in the air. That was festive!
It looked like Jeffrey was going to drive through it. His line looked great, but it was just too slick. Still, winching is fun too and he enjoyed himself.
The Cherokee drivers told us that one of their drivers had taken the bypass around the big rocks, but it was so loose and slick that the Cherokee had a scare about going over the side. Julie thought it looked fine, though, and she went around the rocks. She didn't have any issues at all. Perfect! Ben followed her around the rocks without any problems, too, so they didn't need to winch.
Bob was up next and he got in the rocks. His line was perfect even though it was really tippy. He pivoted around the big rock because everything was so slick, and he seemed to be where everyone else was stuck before. But he gave it some gas and managed to power through it. Nice job! He would be the only one to get through the rocks without needing to winch through them.
Ladd and Roger had wandered off in an attempt to find another trail spur that would lead them around the obstacle, but they had no luck. They caught up to us soon after Bob's show and they both took the bypass without any problems at all.
Monica took three pictures of Bob at the obstacle, and they were like magic. She took a real one first, with Bob standing straight up. Then she tilted the camera to get one of the trees vertical in the frame, and then another tilt to get one of the trail horizontal in the frame. The trail is so steep that Bob looks like he's standing at an extreme slant. It's a good indicator of what you're dealing with at the obstacle in addition to slippery rocks.
After the Big Rocks we made the rocky last turn and the trail changed. It was much less steep, flat in many spots, and mellow for the rest of the way. We stopped for a nice lunch at a wide spot, but we didn't stay long.
We found the poser rocks and had fun getting some flexy shots. You would think we'd be bored with these things by now but we must admit that we still enjoy them. It's a great place to see how your suspension twists around.
When we got near the end we headed for Mill Creek. We really need to do Red Elephant Hill more often, though maybe we'll wait for dryer weather next time. It's a blast!
Reports from Other Days: 7
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