On the 3rd of July we headed over Monitor Pass from Tahoe to Highway 395 south towards Mammoth Mountain. After record breaking snowfall this past ski season Mammoth is still open and operating daily. With a chance to cross skiing on the 4th of July off our bucket list, we were extremely excited for the upcoming shred session.
We pulled up to one of our favorite campsites at crab cooker hot spring off of benton crossing road that night around 11:00PM. Its a free campsite on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and we have camped there multiple times before, the first time being on our first road trip across the country 2 years ago. We decided that night to get to sleep so we could get on the mountain early the next day. We got up the next morning made bacon, eggs, and coffee then donned our America flag bathing suits we’d be skiing in that day, then headed towards the mountain.
Heading to Mammoth in The Van
By the time we got to the mountain we realized that we were not the only folks that were crossing skiing on the 4th of July off of their to-do list, and we were in for a party of a day. The parking lots were full and the ticket line at Stump Alley was off the charts long. We ended up pulling the van into Lot C and threw our boots on, smeared sunscreen on our bare spots hurriedly and caught the next bus to the main lodge.
On June 30th, after a night out at the bar with my Mom, we set out on our grand adventure, first stop The Rubicon trail outside of Placerville to visit our friends property at Wentworth Springs for some good old fashion Independence day celebrating. The thing about the property is it is about three or four miles in on the one of the gnarliest trails I’ve been on in any vehicle, let alone our 1985 van. Being the go-getters that we are we thought we would get the tough stuff out of the way before setting out on a 3,000 mile trip. We met my Dad and Uncle Mike at Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and went to meet up with the rest of the crew at another property called Camp Ten up the road. They were towing in an excavator to do some work on the property and had to pick it up over there.
After we met up with the owners of the property who are good friends of our family, we all made our way to the Rubicon via Wentworth Springs road.
The Van at the entrance to the Rubicon Trail.
The trail start with about 100 yards of water crossing; luckily the van is pretty tall and the water was not that deep.
My Uncle Mike’s Jeep mid water crossing.
When we first got to the trail we attempted to get the van in 4 wheel drive but could not successfully get the hubs to lock. We decided to push on in 2 wheel and see what would happen quoting our favorite saying “we’ll figure it out.” This usually goes one of two ways, works out or it doesn’t. Fortunately, we made it 90% of the way in with no trouble. Unfortunately, The last 10% of the trail into Wentworth is the hardest part; you end up running into a hill the were the road is mainly made up of river rock and large boulders. Furthermore after a large winter and plenty of water run off this part of the trail had been made even worse this season.