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G & D's Sierra Trek Experience

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Looks like a great trip. Nice job with the pics, thanks for sharing!

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Awesome trip report! Looks like every make and model of vehicle was represented.

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I did the same trip last year with "Jimmy" and had a great time. So much so that I did my own trip this year while going to the Rubicon that I scheduled 3 extra days and gambled that the Fordyce Creek would be low enough to cross. The whole week before it was flowing WAY beyond what is safe to cross. The day we left Phoenix they lowered the flow to a safe level and kept it their long enough for us to cross. (The Jeep god's were with us)


Here are some pics from this year


#1 is us crossing the "Train Tracks" when water was flowing in that creek.


#2 is when we topped out at Fordyce (I thnk they call it Summit City) in JUNE and were met with 2' of snow.


Great Trip



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Fordyce Creek Trail background info:


Definitely the most difficult trail G & I have ever done, the Fordyce has 5 main obstacles called 'Winch Hill #1' through 'Winch Hill #5'.

    Spotters on Winch Hills:
    One of the advantages of doing the Fordyce Trail during Sierra Trek is that a different local 4x4 club is set up at every Winch Hill to spot the participants as they come through. The same 4x4 club gets the same winch hill year after year, and they make a big event of it, often camping there night before and all set up and ready for participants when they get there.

  • Every man for himself:
    At the driver's meeting, we were told to
    Keep it Moving!
    If we or our trail companions broke, we were to get off the trail completely to help them or just keep going if we couldn't help. A drag crew would sweep the trail at the end to get everyone to camp (sometimes late into the night), but that we were, above all else, to keep the caravan moving.

  • The Fordyce Creek Trail ends
    just after Winch Hill #5, very close to Meadow Lake Base Camp.


Our anticipation and excitement was at an all time high when both of us woke up earlier than the 3:00 AM alarm on the morning of our Fordyce Trail run. In a highly efficient and orderly manner, George and I got up, got dressed and broke camp at Donner Lake Memorial State park before hitting the interstate going west over Donner Pass. Since the ECCM (extra cooling capacity modification) was still in place, we didn't have heat inside the cab, and our kneecaps were pretty cold.


But, following our written instructions and Sierra Trek signs, we found our way in the dark to the staging area. We were the 4th vehicle in line. There was a technical inspection, some of which we were prepared for, and some we were not. There were general things like tire size of 35" or more: check, at least one locking differential: check, a spare tire: check, the battery is strapped down: check. We weren't prepared for two of the tech inspection points though! We'd had a miscommunication about who packed the first aid kit (neither had), and we do not carry a high-lift jack. We explained that have a factory bottle jack, the inspector asked if it could lift the Jeep and we said yes, so they let us go. After coming this far we both let out a verbal 'Whew'!


Staging at 0:00 Dark Hundred




Clifford was one of the smaller rigs in the group. There were about half Jeeps and half Toyotas with some odd ball rigs thrown in here and there. Our anticipation grew as we realized the average tire size seemed to be at least 37" and above.










The Toyota truck in the front in this picture is Mitchell, the guy behind us, and we pretty much wheeled the Fordyce with him and ended up getting to be friends. He works at Marlin Crawler, and that Toyota is a crazy go anywhere rig!




Driver's meeting for the mostly newbies. Asked to raise our hands if it was our first time, most of us did!




Starts out easy:









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Thanks for sharing. This looks amazing!

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A funny thing happened on the way to Meadow Lake


We were in the first group to leave the staging area. Every group had a trail leader, who was dubbed 'Trail 1', 'Trail 2', etc. on the CB. The leaders would radio in their location along the trail, such as 'Trail 1 mile marker 1', and so on. After only a couple miles at a left-hand turn, the yellow Jeep in front of us stopped and the passenger waved us on. So we passed them and kept going. We didn't see the other few rigs that were ahead of us but we could hear the leader over the radio.




Then we came to this sign where our leader had said to go left, but that just didn't seem right because it said Meadow Lake 10 miles to the right. So we called out on the CB asking which way to go, and got different answers from the group, so I said into the mic: "I am going to read this sign out loud so you'll know exactly where I am. It says: Fordyce Jeep Trail. Left Arrow Eagle Lakes 1, Grouse Ridge Trail, Meadow Lake 10 right arrow". The main trail leader who had delivered the driver's meeting came over the radio: "Well we're going to Meadow Lake, so go right", and I said "Yeah, that's what I was thinking too, that's why I wanted to clarify". And then our group leader Trail 1 came over the radio "Whoops, I went the wrong way! We're turning around now". That put Clifford at the head of the pack, so technically, we led the Fordyce! :cool:














That's a marmot sitting on that rock; the only one we saw.








So right here we said over the radio: "Trail 1 first creek crossing" :D




It was deeper than it looked! Came up to the rock rails, you could hear the exhaust under water.




These people we just hanging out on the other side of the creek and G overheard somebody say 'Nice Cherokee' when we went past. :cool:




We kept going past the most amazing camp sites!




And obstacle after obstacle!








It's funny, the video shows that I was in over my head as far as spotting G on this trail. There were times I literally didn't know what to tell him. One of those times this shirtless man walked up from behind and spotted for me. :rolleyes:






Winch Hill #1 The most difficult of all the winch hills, but there is a go around. George opted to do the winch hill challenge because, "We're here".






















"Trail 1 second creek crossing"







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It was a looooooong way to Winch Hill #2, and in a lot of places we were saying "Doesn't this seem like it should be a winch hill also?".






Mitchell practically got turtled on this rock but he managed to drive off without assistance.




Winch Hill #2










On down the trail








We came to a place where there were a bunch of locals out playing on the rocks, and one guy with them told everybody to get out of the way for the Sierra Trek people, and even guided us through the play area.














Winch Hill #3








We took the easier line to the left, and Mitchell took the more difficult line on the right. George and I stayed to watch him try to make it up, but we finally said we gotta go and left him there. When we saw him at Base Camp he said he was in that notch for about an hour!








A couple of Jeeps passed us while we were waiting for Mitchell so we were no longer in the lead.












Winch Hill #4 with Dixon 4x4 was my favorite because they had old fashioned long underwear hanging like laundry across it, some of them were wearing old fashioned long underwear, and they had 3 beanbag toss games set up you had to try to hit from your Jeep. If you got the beanbag through the hole in any of the 3 chances you got a beer. We missed all three but we were laughing all the while. We realized later we would have had to stand there to drink the beer because no way could you drink from a glass on this trail!




A giant tank thing along the way




The bottom part of Winch Hill #5






From Meadow Lake Base Camp, a lot of people go down to Winch Hill #5 to hang out and watch Sierra Trek participants as they come through. So there were people all over the place, and it makes you feel really victorious because YOU'VE JUST FINISHED RUNNING THE FORDYCE!!!














The few Jeeps that passed us at Winch Hill #3 stayed at Winch Hill #5, so we were the first Jeep to Meadow Lake that had run the trail.


Pity the fool who veers off into this hole on the way to camp! :eek:




Up next pictures from Meadow Lake!

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Great job !! That has to become an ORP trip !! :D

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Beautiful scenery, but what a gnarly looking road. If you work for Marlin Crawler, you'd better have a go-anywhere Toyota. Any videos from the GoPro?

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Beautiful scenery, but what a gnarly looking road. If you work for Marlin Crawler, you'd better have a go-anywhere Toyota. Any videos from the GoPro?


We have videos, just need to post then.



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