Ultimate Adventure 2016 - Day 5 Recap #UA2016Posted in Ultimate Adventure: 2016 on June 27, 2016
After an amazing first day on the famous Rubicon Trail and a restful night’s sleep at Buck Island (or maybe a not-so-restful night for those that stayed up around the campfire too late), it was back to the “grind” in order to get the group through the second half of the Rubicon. With a relatively early start time in order to stay ahead of another big group scheduled to be on the ‘Con, the group made the climb out of Buck Island to the top of the Big Sluice, one of the longest and most difficult descents to be tackled along the Rubicon’s 22-mile length. Our fearless leader Christian Hazel got mired up early in the Super Dirty and needed a quick tug on an unnamed obstacle just above the dam on Buck Island, then needed one again part of the way down the Sluice in the nastiest part of a tight squeeze. He wasn’t the only one, as several others in the group called out for a spot and sometimes a tug every once in awhile. But the coolest part about Ultimate Adventure is that by mid-week everybody gets it and is working as a team. The lines blur and disappear amongst sponsors, readers, cronies, and staffers; everyone just helps one another and keeps moving forward. In many ways mid-week is the sweet-spot for the UA because there’s enough time to figure out what needs to happen and how, but sleep deprivation hasn’t fully kicked in yet to bring out short tempers and attitudes.
After an idyllic morning and some amazing four-wheeling down Big Sluice, the group stopped for awhile and checked out Rubicon Springs, which quite possibly offers the best camping of anywhere on any trail. Running water, gentle waterfalls, relatively level giant granite slabs, and ample shade make for picture-perfect camping and relaxation. Most of the group went swimming and everyone got the chance to take a break before tackling Cadillac Hill. Despite a couple of squeeze points on the hill and a tight V-rock, everyone did really well making the climb out of the Rubicon and over the long, dusty, bumpy trail back to the highway. Several people had some pucker factor going on fuel and ended up dumping the gallon or two extra that they had in storage cans into the tank, and a couple rigs still ran out even after breaking into reserves. But everyone managed to get to the nearest gas stop 10 miles down the highway from the exit road, many of whom were running on fumes. With gas no longer an immediate concern, it was a quick 30-minute drive to Truckee and a hotel for the evening, which was welcome after the dusty exit of the Rubicon. Reaching destinations before dark was a pleasant new trend for this year’s UA, but most of the group was still up well after dark making parking lot repairs, chasing parts, and re-packing for the next destination. Where? Find out tomorrow as we recap Day 6 of Ultimate Adventure 2016.