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We finally made it across the Granite Bowl....and we even did it without taking any wrong turns or dropping off any of the ledges onto our heads! We found the Ellis Creek crossing and stopped there for lunch. Robert found a rock to sit on and had his toes soaking in the cool water in a few minutes. I still question whether Robert should have filed some kind of EPA paperwork or not. [insert big grin here]
We got back on the trail and pushed on towards Buck Island Lake, where we hoped to make evening camp. Lady came across this pair of rocks (the trail was still pretty much like a forest service trail at this point....not really too rough) that made for a prefect suspension flex shot. Both stuffed tires are on the bump stops and the passenger front is actually an inch or so off the ground.
If you look at the above photo, you can see the very find powdery dirt (note the tire tracks in it) that makes up the Rubicon Trail. The dirt is actually more like flour than it is dirt.....and you can not move without causing it to make a cloud around you. Even an idling engine kicks up the dust enough so that it blows into the Jeep. At one point, we discussed putting the little white disposable dust masks on our list for the next trip. The stuff is nasty to say the least.
As we worked our way eastward on the trail (note that the term "worked" is sometimes measured in a 10 yard distance), we got to Walker Rock, another series of obstacles on the trail. On this part of the trail, I was leading, so I got the duty (pleasure?) of picking a line over each new section we came to.
It was after passing Walker's Rock that I got my one and only "Rubicon Kiss" of the trip. You can see the flare got a few scratches on it. I didn't feel too bad since Michael tagged his in the exact same spot. Did I mention that the powdery dirt on top of the rocks makes for a somewhat slippery situation when you get off camber a bit?
We continued to work towards the next obstacle as the afternoon passed. The Little Sluice Box was next on the list of things to see (or drive through?).
The pic above was taken about 50 yards back from the entrance of the Little Sluice Box. Those rocks in the middle of the photo are in the neighborhood of 3`~4' tall, some bigger, some smaller. They were blown off the face of the rock formation up and to the left of the trail by someone a year or two ago, supposedly to make this obstacle more challenging for the folks with 38"+ tires. Needless to say, we did not run it. We did walk a little ways down the trail and found a probable line up and onto the granite slab that marks the right hand boundary of the trail.
After sizing up the Little Sluice Box, we opted to take the recognized bypass that takes you across a large section of granite slab to the NE of the obstacle. We found that even the bypass had a few surprises waiting for us.
You start the bypass by climbing up the granite slab, working your Jeep between two closely spaced trees. Once through them, it is a hard left turn and onto a very steep rock face that drops you back to ground zero very quickly. Your right side tires track a line that can put you over onto your side if your spotter (or the driver) gets sloppy. Here is Bruce and his CJ-7 getting ready to drop down the rock face. Michael is spotting for him on this obstacle.
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