We continued to work our way over the trail.....or was that the trail continued to work us over? Sometimes I was not quite sure. Here is Robert (left) and Michael (right) on the bypass for Old Sluice Box. We completely missed the entrance to Old Sluice Box, which was probably OK. Once into the bypass route, I was able to tell, via my GPS track, that we were skirting the Old Sluice Box obstacle that lie to the west of us. Once at the end of Old Sluice Box, I walked up the box a short distance and then yelled for the other guys to come on over. I yielded to the trail (my knee was not going to take this mountain goat treatment) while the other guys hiked up into the obstacle. Robert reported it was indeed filled with a bunch of very big rocks.
We pressed on and hand lunch about 20 yards from the shore of Buck Island Lake. The trail gets pretty tough again once you cross over the Buck Island Lake Dam (as if it hadn't been tough all morning long). There are some pretty good ledges and rock faces to climb on this section of the trail. The Rubicon is not going to let you forget where you are and what you are doing there!
We finished lunch and pushed on towards Big Sluice Box. We wanted to make camp by 5:00 PM or so and Rubicon Springs would be our destination unless something bad happened. Speaking of bad happenings....Robert noticed that his drag link was starting to feel the punishment of trail. Because his passenger side front tire could not climb over a rock (it had to be pushed), the force required to make this happen was starting to bend his drag link right below the adjuster by the pitman arm.
We made it to Big Sluice Box around 2:00 PM or so. I made it through the first 30 yards and found a place to park so I could go back and take some pics while the other guys came through. Here is Michael winding his way through the start of the downhill left turn switchback which marks the beginning of the Big Sluice Box section of the trail.
Lady negotiates the last part of the switch back turn at the beginning of Big Sluice Box. The next quarter mile (or slightly more) would prove to be some very fun wheelin'.
Robert is getting some excellent droop on his right front. This shot was taken a bit further into Big Sluice. By this time, we were starting to notice that his drag link was taking on a bit more of a bend (more about this later).
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