There were only two of us on the trails, so we made really good time. The weather was perfect, and we met a lot of people in Downieville who were also going wheeling. Some were off to Spring Creek, too, and we never caught up to the big group in front of us. We saw another group come up as we were finishing the first obstacle, but we never saw them again. We aired down at the Starbucks and drove over to start the trail.
The first surprise for us was how much the trail had changed since we saw it last in 2012. The rocks were bigger and looser, making it a fun trail right from the start. We drove past the bypass and kept going, only to find a new obstacle on the first hill. It was a section where the trail had worn away on the edge of the shelf while the rocks at the inside stayed put. You had to put your tires on both dirt and rock, leaning you way out to the outside. An ATV could stay on the rock, most likely, to stay level. But anyone else would be tippy.
We expected to find the big group in front of us at The Wall, but we got there and it was empty. We walked it a bit, and found it also much bigger than it was. There was even a bypass around the rocks at the top. The bottom was very dug up, making the climb at the left and middle even steeper and longer. We decided to do the right side, even though that's the place that has given our group the most body damage.
In fact, Monica has seen more body damage on The Wall than any of the other 500+ trails she's done over the last 15 years. But she still did the right side, slide into the rock, and was stuck on it. She heard her fender flares and rocker guard scraping on it, but she was sliding into it and couldn't get away. That meant winching, as usual, which was a drag. She managed to scrape the paint off her her door hinges and get a tiny scrape on her passenger door, but otherwise escaped without too much damage.
Matt came next and figured he'd made it through the same line by going higher, but in the end he also slid down into the rock. He had to winch, too, and while he was dragging it over to the tree another group came up behind him. He winched away from the rock and got a few scrapes for his troubles. We left the next group and continued up the trail.
There were new challenges where easy trail sections used to exist, so we were surprised to find the second obstacle completely gone. There were a few loose rocks that could easily be avoided, but that was it.
We cruised up the switchbacks and found more than the usual amount of fun at the Hard Left. The rocks were even bigger, but the line through it was pretty easy to find so no one had any issues. The rocks after the main obstacle that used to be little were now larger and loose, making the obstacle continue all the way up the hill.
It wasn't long before we got to the Rock Garden, and we saw a Jeep leaving it at the very top right when we got there. That meant we had it to ourselves. Monica drove through, and then Matt drove through. The Rock Garden used to be the biggest challenge but we didn't have too many troubles with it other than sliding around a bit here and there. We parked at a wide spot at the top of the main obstacle and broke out our lunches, hoping to see the next group come through it. We waited for a long time, but the next group never showed up. A couple Forest Service guys came down on ATVs, but that was it. We finally just kept going.
We found the other Jeep at the meadow at the top, said hi, and then kept at it to the end. When we got to South Spring Gulch we turned right to go check out the changes on Saxon Mountain. Spring Creek was crazy fun, as always.
Reports from Other Days: 13
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