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Big Bear 4x4 - Going Silver

Posted in Features on August 1, 2003
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This year marked the 25th annual staging of one of the longest-running events in four-wheeling: Run-A-Muck! Many people consider this event to be devoted to hard-core rockcrawling, with rigs that are capable of extreme angles on the hardest trails showing up on a regular basis. Consequently, most people don't know that this is actually a great event for families looking for first trail experience.

Most (but not all) of the trails have bypass routes just in case you or your rig are not prepared for the hardest lines, which makes this a great next step in learning what your rig is capable of and what you can do with it. There are also guides on several of the hardest parts of the trail to make it easier for you and the family to enjoy yourselves.

Run-A-Muck is held on the Bear Valley Loop OHV Trail in the Tahoe National Forest. In order for this event to occur, the Diablo 4 Wheelers work continuously with the U.S. Forest Service, spending hours on trail maintenance and erosion control.

The Bear Valley Trail loops around the Bear Valley campground area and takes about six hours of 'wheeling to traverse, more if you take the hardest lines! Lying some 17 miles north of Truckee, California, you can expect great 'wheeling throughout the year, along with copious amounts of trail dust and dirt.

In years past, Run-A-Muck has had an average attendance between 150 and 200 rigs and upward of 800 people. The Diablo 4 Wheelers are happy with these numbers because, as it says, it is more enjoyable for the whole family when there are fewer vehicles and more trail time. We certainly found this to be true. About an hour into the trail, we were beginning to think this trail was too easy. However, we quickly found out we were wrong just a little further down the trail when we came to the famous Ball-Peen Hill challenge.

Ball-Peen Hill is an optional trail. Low gears, locking differentials, and excellent driver skill are required for this rock garden. To enter the challenge, you just sign up at the bottom of the rocks. The rules for the competition are simple: You must maintain forward movement at all times; once you've left the starting line, you cannot restart your rig; and you must stay within the lines marking the course. As far as vehicle size is concerned, we've seen everything from Samurais to fullsize Suburbans make it to the top!

The younger kids had a grand time playing the trail games the Diablo 4 Wheelers had prepared. One of the favorites was a game of hide-and-seek posters. The kids had to find posters hidden on the trail and write down what they were. Upon returning to camp, the kids turned in their score cards and picked out their prizes. Amazingly, more than $800 in toys were given away at this event, and all the kids went home with big smiles.

Of course, they weren't the only ones to go home with a few extras. After a huge dinner on Saturday night, there was also a raffle. This was the highlight of the evening's activities, with more than 100 prizes raffled off. People won everything, from a set of tires from 4 Wheel Parts and a winch from Warn, to gift certificates from J&W Jeep in Antelope, California. After the raffle, the music, dancing, and storytelling began.

On Sunday morning, it was time to pack up and head on home. On the way out, some people chose to take a detour through the historic town of Truckee, while others chose to do a bit of fishing on Stampede Reservoir, Boca Reservoir, or the upper Truckee River. Without a doubt, it is the Diablo 4 Wheelers and the Mendocino 4x4 clubs that have made Run-A-Muck the success it has been for a quarter of a century.

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