We had hoped to do Spring Creek earlier in the year but the snow stayed on the trail for a long time. We rescheduled the trip and ended up running it as the finale of our long weekend celebrating the 4th of July. As usual, the trail claimed its carnage.
We met at the Starbucks in Downieville and someone told us there was a group of 26 vehicles meeting there and heading for Spring Creek, too. We never saw them, though, so it was just a rumor. Still, there was a traffic jam as soon as we got to the first obstacle.
There were about eight vehicles in front of us and we watched them go up the obstacle. It was more dug out at the bottom than it had ever been, but the rocks were still all in the same places. Everyone in front of us was taking completely different lines, and it was hard to say which was best.
Monica got on it first and tried a couple lines on the far right side. The big rock seemed even bigger with so much of the dirt dug out in front of it. She decided to just winch up it, and she'd be the only one to use her winch on this obstacle.
Mike went next, running up the far right side. It was steep and extremely tippy once he got to the top, but it worked out very well. It looked like he really found the good line up that obstacle, now.
Walt followed Mike up, taking the same line and making it look really easy. Even with his hard top, the tippy section didn't flop him over.
Jordan had a bad time on this obstacle two years ago, breaking badly but managing to only come close to rolling end over end down the obstacle. This year was not going to be a repeat performance for him. He tried the line on the right but it wasn't going to work out, so he tried the line on the left next. That worked out well, and he walked right up it with a big grin on his face.
Ed was determined to get his CJ through the line on the right. He used the big rock to prevent a roll over as he attacked it. He managed to bounce his way past it, and then showed off some great wheel stands as he got turned around and up the hill.
Robert took Ed's line with his YJ and made it look really easy. He took it fast and bouncy and got a few wheels in the air here and there, but he made it through just fine.
Ladd took the line on the left that the other TJs had taken, making it look very easy. He got through the hard part only to get high centered on a rock at the top of the obstacle.
Gary took his CJ through the line on the right, getting really tippy as he did it. Still, he didn't roll and he came right through. He got to the top to find Ladd still working on the top of the obstacle. They had to do some negotiating, and then Gary was past him.
Austin was next, and though he looked like he might be able to crawl over the big rock on the right it wasn't meant to be. He ended up taking the line on the right and making it through without a hitch.
Jon used to have an XJ but it got stolen. He has had his TJ Sport for two weeks and this was his inaugural run. He was planning on going around this first obstacle, but at the last minute he changed his mind and he was in it. He took the line on the left and made it with some work. He has small tires and no lockers, but he proved that a stock TJ (non-Rubicon) can make it through the first obstacle. Nice job!
We worked our way up the trail until we got to the campsites, and then we stopped for lunch. We had a great time eating in the sunshine.
We started up just as two SUVs rushed to get in front of us. It was slow going following them to the second obstacle. When they got there, though, they got through it just fine. Still, they asked us to pass them there, and so we did.
We got to the third obstacle pretty quickly, and we found it to be drastically different than it was the year before (and in 2006 it was different than it was before that year, too). The trees were gone from the edge of the obstacle and people had widened it considerably. It now had an easier line through it. We were sad to see the damage, though.
Monica tried the usual difficult line through it, getting passenger tires up on the bigger rocks. It was definitely more difficult than it was the year before, with the dirt below the rocks dug out quite a bit. When she got to the top, her tire ripped the hard line for her left, front brake. She drove through it, but we had to spend some time pinching off the brake line and cleaning up.
Mike tried the same line, but he just didn't have enough clearance under his bumper. His tires were just a little bit too small for that line. He took the line on the left, driving right up it.
Walt took the line on the left next, and he drove through it without any issues. Patrick did the same thing and also didn't have a single problem. Jordan followed them both and made it look just as easy.
Robert had been planning his route through the obstacle, and finally it was his turn. He took the line Monica did, but with a lot more speed. He popped right through it without too many tries.
Pat was next, and he tried the line on the left. He got some great wheel stands and then he was through it. Ed did the same exact thing, spinning up loose dirt.
Jon did the same line on the left, and he really made it look easy. On his way to the obstacle, though, he drove into a rock and messed up his fender flare. Unfortunately, he didn't have rocker guards yet and he dented in his tub just below his passenger door as he went through the obstacle.
Ladd was next on the obstacle, and he took the line on the left. He made it look easiest of all, just driving right through it.
Gary made easy work of the line through the middle, popping up and over the big rocks like they weren't even there.
Austin tried the same line and everything was going well. He looked like he was just going to walk right over it, but his rear tire slipped off and suddenly he found himself high-centered with his rear tires hanging in the air. With some negotiation he worked his way off of it and up through the difficult line.
The others had just caught up to us so we hurried to the Rock Garden. There was no one there when we got there. That was a nice change!
Monica took the usual difficult line through it -- over the "Twin Rocks" and then up and over the bigger rocks to the left side of the trail. She had to work on the Twin Rocks a bit, but with some spotting the bigger rocks ended up not being an issue. She was happy to have finally done that obstacle!
Mike was next, following Monica's line. He was working on the big rocks when we all heard the rush of air come out of his rear tire as the valve stem came off. He broke out his winch and winched himself the rest of the way to the top of the big rocks where it was flat, where he changed his tire.
Walt came next, and he took the line all the way to the right. He really didn't have any issues. Patrick did the same, and he made it look easy. Jordan twisted and flexed his way through the same line, also not having a single problem.
Pat and Jon worked on the Rock Garden bypass. It is more dug out than it has been in past years, and it was difficult for them. Jon hit his rocker guard again in the same place, putting a big scrape over the dent he got earlier.
Robert pulled up to the bottom of the big rocks as Mike was leaving the top. He got up to it and powered over it, actually driving a bit up the tree before falling down to the trail. That tree is difficult to avoid.
Ed was working his way through the right side of the obstacle, getting tippy as he did. Suddenly, he gently laid his Jeep almost completely on its side. He was fine, and everyone ran up to gently put him back on his tires. He got a little scrape on his paint for it, and at some point he bent his tie rod.
Ladd took a crazy line far to the right side. He even fell off of a rock, but it all worked out. He had his share of getting high-centered, but he managed to get through everything.
Gary was next, opting to take the line on the right through the Rock Garden this time. He had done the line on the left before.
Austin was last through the obstacle, weaving his way easily through the rocks. When he got to the big rocks, he barely paused as he drove up and over them. He made it all look very easy.
No one really had any additional issues on the way out. We all enjoyed the few remaining rocks, and then we stopped to chat and stretch our legs in the meadow at the top. We all headed down Trail Creek Road and into Idaho Springs, where most of us had a great dinner at Beau Jo's. This was one of the best times we've had on Spring Creek, with very little trash on the trail and no drunk people. It was a great time!
Reports from Other Days: 13
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