The 1999 Spider Lake Cleanup was going to be the biggest one yet. With the popularity of our website growing, we knew that there would be a lot of volunteers for this event. That turned out to be a great thing, since the trail suffered a lot of abuse this year. With the popularity of four wheeling, many people have flocked to the Rubicon to test out their "4x4's" Unfortunately, these newbies are either unaware of Treading Lightly, or they simply don't care.
Bypasses were carved all along the trail this year, allowing almost
any vehicle to make it to Buck Island. The U.S. Forest Service
was in need of some serious action, and that's where the Pirates
of the Rubicon and friends came in. We arranged with the Forest
Service to block off all undesignated bypasses along the trail
at our next cleanup. The following stories are about this cleanup,
and it's success.
This year we split into three large groups since we had so many people helping out with the clean up. The first group was the Spider Lake crew, the second was the Loon to Elis creek Bypass repair crew, and the third was the Walker Hill Bypass repair crew. I was in the Walker Hill crew. I, and a few others left last from Loon since I had to wait for everyone to arrive at the sign up area. When everyone was signed up, we headed for Walker Hill. Along the way we passed the other groups as they were blocking off bypasses and out along the trail picking up trash. It was a great site to see as so many people were all working together to help clean and repair the trail!
When I arrived at Walker Hill I was amazed to see Bob, Troy, Tom, Lane, Bob Sr., Hollis, Brian, and many more people already completing one of the four bypass block offs! They were winching Fallen trees and boulders in place to block off the bypass at the lower end of Walker Hill. They were doing a kick ass job! We then moved up to the top of walker hill to start on that area. We first winched a huge fallen tree with the help of Troy and Lanes winches to block off one of the upper bypasses that was created just this last summer. This log was giant! We tried to make the repairs look as natural as possible, and had a Forest service ranger on hand to help guide us along.We then had two more areas to repair, and that's when Bob's Warn 8274 winch came into play! We moved a boulder the size of a little Honda Civic, and squeezed it right into a perfect place to keep people from using this bypass trail. It took about fifteen guys using pry bars and muscle and the winch of course to move it. And it took about an hour or so to move it only about 20 feet. Everyone worked their butts off, but it was a good feeling afterwards! After that, we blocked off the last remaining bypass with some logs and boulders. We were able to do all this work in about four hours due to all the helping hands. I would guess that there were about 40 rigs and 80 or so people on the bypass crews alone!We then packed up and headed to Spider Lake.
At Spider Lake, we had some fun wheeling in the Sluice box for a few hours, then had the raffle. The raffle was great! We handed out about 50+ prizes to 38 winners! It was great! I would like to thank each and everyone who came out to help with our 3rd annual clean up! It really does make a difference! See you all next year!
- Jeff Fretwell, Club President
I had been looking forward to the 1999 Spider Lake Cleanup. It's one of my favorite trips of the year. You get satisfaction from giving back to the environment that has given you so much enjoyment over the years. Even though it involves some of the most disgusting duties, I do it with a smile. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Due to financial circumstances beyond my control, the Land Cruiser wouldn't be ready for this event. While bummed the trusty Land Cruiser would not be making an appearance, I knew I had to make it one way or another (or my wife and daughter would shoot me!) so my daily driver '86 4Runner was enlisted as weekend trail mobile. Being an IFS (Incrediby Flexy Suspension, right? ;) with no lockers and only 5.29's, I knew it would be an interesting ride.
So Friday night we headed up to Loon Lake to meet up with the rest of the boys that would be heading into Spider Lake that night. We all hung out at Loon Lake and waited for everyone to arrive. In a group of locked up, boggered rock wheelers, I was most definitely the underdog. Once everyone arrived, we headed out for Spider Lake.
Down the slabs we went, and into the trees. The first obstacle is "The Gate Key" (I have been wheelin this trail for 10 years, and I just heard that name this weekend! hahahaha) Of course there was a damn FREEWAY going around the "Gate Key", but that is one of the bypasses that was slated to be blocked the next day at the cleanup. Ain't no way this Cat was gonna use it! I'm here to wheel! I promptly got my 4Runner stuck on the 'V Rock' and required the use of Timbo's winch. Timbo turned around and attempted to winch me out. Of course when I get stuck, I like to get myself reallllly stuck! All I did was drag that little flatfender toward me. So then we decided to have Timbo give me a yank with the tow strap. A quick yank, and off we went. No problemo. Through the trees we went, past the "Alligator Pit," another spot slated to be blocked off the next day.
To me, this weekend was a sort of test. You see, if I could take my IFS 4Runner, with absolutely no wheel travel, open front and rear, and minimal gears, without taking ANY bypasses (except I planned on going up Toyota Rock, since I know my 'Runner doesn't have a chance in hell in making it though the Sluice.... But that's besides the point, because the bypasses around Little Sluice are legitimate/legal bypasses) then almost ANYONE should be able to make it through the trail without having to destroy the land by creating bypasses.
We made it through the trail with relative ease, and reached Spider Lake fairly quick. I elected to enter the 'Box, but exit stage right at Toyota Rock. Of course my damn truck couldn't make it up by itself, so I got tugged up it. The Toyota (with 300,000+ miles on the original engine, I might add) made it alive, with no problems. Some nightime Little Sluice action ensued throughout the night, and we partied waaay too long... I think I remember seeing the sun start to come up as I went to bed.
What seemed like 5 minutes later, it was time to get up, and prepare for a day of picking up other people's trash, and "other things." We all hung out for a while, and Ron set up the sign-in area on the back of his Jeep. Here he had the Spider Lake sign in sheet, standard garbage gloves, heavy duty garbage sacks, and the "other gloves." The "other gloves" are for "special" duty.... That's right, they are heavy duty extra thick gloves that people were issued, who signed up for TURD PATROL! Of course I am gluttin for punishment, and I voluteer for Turd Patrol every year. There are a few Turd Patrol Vetrans in the club... Myself, Timbo, and Gary are seasoned, hardened vetrans of this dastardly duty. We were confident in our ability to handle anything this year without a hitch. Some of you who may have read last year's report may recall that I puked while on Turd Patrol. I vowed that this year would be different.
Once 10:00 am rolled around, it was time for everyone to hit their designated areas, and get to cleaning. Gary and Tim (from the California Creepers) hit the West Side Turd Patrol. Gary, taking a rookie Turd Patroller under his wing, was a bit skeptical. I expected to hear tales of pukidge when returning later. Timbo and I hopped in the Jeep to drive around to the East side of the lake, for East Side Turd Patrol. We were ready for the assult.
Armed with a shovel, gloves, and sacks, Timbo and I made our assult on the first "Turd Alley". Promptly, I discoved a "Motherload" of yep, you guess it, turds. I called Timbo over for backup, and we both promply began to gag in unison. While gagging in unison, we couldn't help but laugh. Our laughing turned to hysterics, and then it was all over. After that first gag-a-thon, we were able to pretty much handle everything. We had won this year! Sooo close to throwing up, BUT, we prevailed in the end!
After spending quite some time cleaing up trash, I noticed that there was less trash and poop than last year. That was pretty encouraging. One thing that really amazed me though, was the fact that there were Turds 20 feet from a perfectly fine outhouse! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!?!?!?
Another thing that was really gross, was the number of TAMPONS we came across! YUCK! Ladies, clean up after yourself, for God's sake!
After getting the East Side of the lake spic 'n span, with the help of some of the SRC
boys, Kelly and Tawni, we headed back to camp, each with our full 40 gallon garbage bags. About this time everyone else was done with their section of the trail. Because we had such an excellent showing, we were able to clean the whole area up in a reasonable amount of time.
By this time, people from the By Pass Patrol units began to filter in. I was amazed at how many rigs were rolling into camp. Clearly more than we have ever had before! Quite an impressive showing. And the rigs continued to roll in. By late afternoon, there were so many rigs, I could have sworn it was 4th of July weekend! Simply incredible! At about dusk, it was time for the raffle. Everyone that participated in the cleanup was given a raffle ticket. The Pirates of the Rubicon were able to gather quite the impressive list of goodies to hand out.
Everyone had a great time at the raffle, it seemed there was something for almost everyone. The grand prize, a set of RCI seats with cushy seat covers, was won by your's truly... Something I needed oh-so badly! Come awn!
After the raffle, everyone put their party hats on. The music was rockin, and the action was everywhere. There was a great party going on at "Pirate Camp" and there was an awesome party going on at the 'Box, complete with a full-blown Disco Ball! Yep, that's right, Tim from the Cal Creepers, had a boom on the back of his Toyota, with a rotating disco ball spinning over the box.... With the disco music rockin, the blender on the front bumper churning, a great night was had by all.
The next day, it was time to head home. Some people headed out early, but I elected to wait a while, and take my time. It turns out everyone that was broke, decided to head out together.
I forgot to mention that Scott Muchow had rolled his Land Cruiser 1 1/2 times on the Slabs at Little Sluice the day before. He gashed his arm open good, and required stiches to stop the bleeding. So he was driven out by a friend, and his Land Cruiser was left at Spider, to be driven out by my wife Kelly.
About noon, we all proceeded to head out en-route to Loon Lake. About 200 yards past Little Sluice, the front end quit turning on Scott's Land Cruiser (that Kelly was driving.) I climbed underneath to see if there was something wrong with the linkage. All appeared to be fine, so I told her to try it again. As soon as she let out the clutch, gear oil began to drip. Oh oh! I looked under the rig, and to my dismay, the transfer case was split in two! This is going to be a really looooong day, I thought to myself! The way the case was split, it was still allowing the rear wheels to drive, so we decided to drive the thing anyhow. I mean, what could it hurt!?!!
Amazingly, the group of injured rigs limped back to Loon without much trouble. I sliced a sidewall in my brand new BFG Mudders that I had just gotten, but I guess that's the name of the game, right? Grrrrrrrrr....
Once we arrived at Loon, we all aired up our tires, and headed home. It was an awesome weekend, and an awesome effort put out by all. Everyone busted their butts at this project. Moving VW sized boulders, dragging fallen trees, cleaning up trash, etc. The Forest Ranger was blown away by the capabilities of our work crews. They were overjoyed with what we had accomplished.
Upon returning home, I received a phone call from Troy. He told me about some Yahoos that had the nerve to tear apart some of the road blocks we had created. He told me that some of his friends witnessed some guys pulling trees, etc. out of one of the road blocks our crews had worked so hard to erect. They then proceeded to drive over the "No Motor Vehicles" signs that were posted, and blaze on out. They claimed that they came in that way, and they were gonna go out that way. Of course when I spread the news about this, shit hit the fan. The guys who did this, were already on our shit-list for doing some other things, like burning Magnesium, and driving over a tree. We had their license plate number already, and had planned on reporting them the the USFS. But this took the cake. They had gone too far by doing this. A simple posting of the info about this guy and what he did on our webpage, and the next thing you know, people are calling him, and telling him how they feel!
Apparently the pressure got to Mr. Fear Nada (the nickname we made for him due to the decal on his windsheild.) He called Vince and Jeff, and begged for forgiveness. He said he would do anything to make good on what he did. He was told to show up Saturday morning and help us repair what he had messed up. He agreed to help. When Saturday rolled around, Mr. Fear Nada was not to be found. Of course we proceeded to repair his destruction anyhow.
I also want to apologize for the lack of actual CLEANUP pictures. I lost a roll of film that contained all of my cleanup photos, and Sam from the Sierra Rock Cralwers also had one of his floppy disks that contained cleanup photos die.
- Lance Clifford, Club Webmaster and Vice President.
Last year was my first clean up and I was amazed at the amount
of trash that was picked up and the way that people pulled together
to get it done! Last year the area around Spider Lake was cleaned
extremely well and the dumpsters at the begenning of the trail
were simply overfilling with trash bags from the clean up. I could
tell by the feedback on the web site that this year was going
to make last year child's play and it did! I prepared for the
clean up by visiting many of the local area shops to drop off
a hefty stack of flyers. When the day came I met up with Joe M.
and Brian G. at Joe's shop in Rancho Cordova after work to hit
the road and head up to the Rubicon friday night. I was glad to
meet Spyder and his wife in their extremely clean Jeep at Joe's
shop as well. If it were not for the BB on this site Spyder among
many others would not have know about this years clean up effort.
Thanks to Spyder loaning out a couple handheld cb's the trip
to the trail went very fast and we were all excited about the
trip. This time I drove solo and carried what did not fit in my
tool box on my passenger seat to make room for the "Chrome
Throne" that I was asked to deliver to the area around Spider
Lake. We ran into Jeff F. and Justin R. who drove all the way
from Oregon to help out just after hitting the Ice House turn
off and drove up together. I could allready tell there were gonna
be a lot of people from the number of rigs we saw on the road.
When we arrived at the spillway we relaxed and greeted people
as they arrived late into the night. There was some night action
as a group of people headed on to the trail to be at the lake
to hit the cleaning early in the morning. The next morning we
handed out bags and people signed up for various jobs on the trail.
Along the way many people stopped off for their sections of clean
up. I repositioned the chrome throne so the trees would not damage
it as I started out through the Gate Key. There is just something
about wheeling with an outhouse on your rig! I cruised on to the
the sluice box, of course taking the "Chrome Throne"
over the Soup Bowl on the way. I was happy to walk over the Soup
Bowl and then walk on through the Sluice hearing comments like
"what a shitter!"
I then proceeded to find a hole for the outhouse and after digging
many shallow holes with the help of many others I finally set
the outhouse in its resting spot. The raffle came up very fast
and many prizes were given out. The night was rockin and the sluice
was hoppin disco style.
The next morning we decided to head on a bit further down the
trail toward Buck Island where we ran into Vince and took a nice
break before heading out. On the way out we stopped to pick up
any trash we could see along the way. Most of the bypasses looked
great but I was appalled to see that the Alligator Pit was completely
cleared and there were tracks all through it! As we were just
about out of the trail on the flat slabs I noticed Joe's tie rod
hit the ground in front of me. Not sure what happened but it just
gave and Jeff broke out the welder to patch him up.
It was great to see so many people out at the clean up and I
hope atleast this many people come next year!
- Brandon Miller, Club Member and POR Web Crew Member.