Dusy-Ershim Trail

By Jeep Experts

It was first slated to occur throughout late summer time of 2004, however Robert switched jobs earlier within the 12 months and trip was non-existent.  Not an issue, we might reschedule for the next summer time.  Four of us had ran the Rubicon a number of years in the past and we have been going to run the Dusy-Ershim collectively.  Bruce, Michael, Robert, and myself made it 18 miles via the Rubicon and we knew we might do 33 miles over the Dusy.  It was only a matter of getting everybody collectively throughout the identical week to make it occur.

By the time spring 2005 rolled round, we had began an e-mail thread between the 4 of us to make plans and talk about gear, automobile wants, and so on.  It wasn’t too lengthy earlier than the primary dangerous information got here from Bruce.  The firm he works for threw a monkey wrench within the gears and there was no means Bruce might make the journey.  It wasn’t too quickly after that earlier than Michael knowledgeable the group that he could or could not be capable of make the journey.  Some points at work got here up and whereas he believed it could not intervene with the journey, he was not sure.  As it turned out, about 4 weeks earlier than the journey was to occur, Michael knowledgeable us that he wouldn’t be capable of take part.

Another snag got here alongside which caught all of us abruptly, particularly “Mother Nature” and her plethora of snow from the earlier winter.  Robert acquired a few pics through e-mail, across the 4th of July, that confirmed about 6 toes of snow on the path.  A contact on the forest service said that there was a 25% probability of the path NOT opening for the 2005 wheelin’ season.  Prior to the path being “formally opened” for the season, the path needs to be cleared of the winter deadfalls.  It is my understanding that a number of the native Fresno, CA 4×4 golf equipment work with the forestry people to make this occur.  As it was, on or about August 1st, the announcement was made that the path was open.  Robert and I agreed to run the path and who ever else might make it could achieve this.

Near the top of August, once we new for sure that there was simply the 2 of us making the run, Robert contacted one other Jeeper in California that had run the path earlier than and requested if he would have an interest.  Lee agreed to affix us and in order that formally made three autos within the run.  As it turned out, Lee’s father, Ed, joined him on the run so there was 4 of us hitting the path collectively.

Our run date was late in season, not less than so far as journeys into the Sierra-Nevada mountains go.  The path head begins at an elevation of about 8100 toes and climbs to over 10,100 toes earlier than the path ends.  While it could be shirt sleeve climate in Phoenix or southern California, it could be a lot cooler at that altitude on the path.  I packed quite a lot of garments, not understanding simply what to anticipate however needing to be prepared for absolutely anything we’d encounter.

September twenty third discovered me packed up and able to head for California.  I had loads of meals and tenting gear loaded into the TJ.  As I used to be sorting via the images I had taken through the journey, I needed to chuckle a bit once I observed the label on the pillow within the above image…..it says “Oversized and Overfilled”.  That just about summed it up as to the situation of the TJ and the upcoming journey.

I spent a part of Friday driving to California after which attached with Robert.  I stayed the evening at his home and we headed out to Fresno the subsequent morning.  He had booked a room at a motel in Fresno and after leaving his tow rig and trailer at Lee’s in-laws place in Kingsburg, we pulled into Fresno to spend the evening.

While ready for a Lee’s telephone name on Sunday AM, Robert and I made final minute changes to our rigs (hey, we would have liked one thing to do!).  A number of further ratchet straps have been pressed into service, one other bag of ice to go together with the dry ice we had picked up the day past, and so on.  About mid morning, we heard from Lee.  Arrangements have been made to satisfy him and Ed about 3/4 of the best way up the mountain the place Lee would then park his tow rig and trailer.  Robert and I hopped into our Jeeps and headed for Shaver Lake, the final place we might prime off our fuel tanks earlier than hooking up with Lee and attending to the path head.

About 10 minutes out of Shaver Lake, Lee parked his tow rig and trailer and acquired the TJ onto the bottom.  Everyone had finished there upkeep BEFORE the journey began and so the one issues we have been anticipating have been driveline or suspension associated.   Robert and I had mentioned spare components through the earlier months and had the essential gadgets coated.  The indisputable fact that we have been working equally geared up rigs made it a lot simpler to ration precious TJ house for spare components.  We each have an entire Warn hub conversion (together with chromoly inners) up entrance and Alloy USA D44 rear shafts.  We each run the Toys by Troy Alumi-flex suspension and steering so gadgets like spare rod ends and cartridge joints may very well be shared between autos, if wanted.  Lee was sporting D60 RockCrusher full width axles on his TJ.  We all have been working t-cases within the 4:1 vary, both Tera or Atlas II, and ARB air lockers solved the traction challenge for all of the autos.  Robert and I have been on 35″ MT/Rs and Lee was pushing 36″ Iroks on his TJ.  We weren’t going to be any extra prepared than we have been.  Robert had his Ready Welder II alongside, simply in case some path welding was required.  Simply put, we have been about as prepared as anybody may very well be.  It was time to hit the path!

See also  Dusy-Ershim Trail

The first cease after turning off the twisty-turn street up the mountain was Courtright Reservoir.  To get to the path head, you drive throughout the highest of the dam.  Being from Arizona, I used to be fully taken again by the brilliant blue water.  The lakes in Arizona (all 5 or 6 of them), are fairly muddy, so seeing this water was fairly a deal with.  I might have sat on the dam wall and watched the world go by for fairly some time….it was simply plain lovely.

The dam is 295 toes tall and over 800 toes lengthy.  If you do an about face from trying that the signal (within the earlier image), you possibly can take about 4 large steps and step off into the canyon that has only a trickle of water nonetheless in it.  You have fairly a powerful view from atop the dam.

Dusy-Ershim Trail

OK….I can’t assist myself….right here is one other image of the Courtright Reservoir.  You can see the excessive water mark on the rock in the midst of the photograph.  The water stage was down some.  No doubt the winter run off fills it up early within the 12 months.

Once throughout the dam, it’s a very quick distance to the path head.  The Dusy-Ershim path is definitely two trails that be part of at Black Peak.  When working it North to South, you begin on the Dusy and finish on the Ershim, popping out close to Kaiser Pass.  The path is quite distinctive in that it winds its means between two wilderness areas, these being the Dinky Creek and John Muir wilderness areas.  The path exists inside a 600 foot vast hall the place automobile journey is permitted.

Just a couple of minutes from beginning the path, all of us aired our tires down for max traction and a softer journey.  As I write this, I’ve to chuckle a bit….Lee had loaned his deflators to somebody earlier within the season and didn’t understand that they have been now set the next strain.  This resulted in his tires solely happening to about 11 PSI quite than the 8 PSI that he usually runs on the path.  I didn’t know this and through the 1st day, it didn’t make sense why Lee was struggling to recover from a number of the obstacles that Robert and I (with smaller tires) managed with none challenge.  Later on, Lee realized what had occurred and the issue was shortly rectified.  I can inform you that these Iroks at 11 PSI don’t hook up on rocks value something.

You are usually not on the path for very lengthy earlier than you begin seeing a number of the magnificent granite domes that populate the path.  I’ve not been to Yosemite however Robert knowledgeable me that if I favored the views right here, I might actually admire what Yosemite needed to supply.

This is one in all a number of massive granite slab that the path traverses.  Unlike Moab, you received’t see tire tracks going throughout the naked rock.  One of the Fresno 4×4 golf equipment has helped align the rocks to sort of information you alongside the trail, so to talk, in order that you find yourself popping out on the proper spot and may proceed the path because it enters the treeline.

Dusy-Ershim Trail

If reminiscence serves me accurately, that is the underside of one other enormous granite slab referred to as Chicken Rock.  Lee works his means round a few massive rocks simply earlier than he will get onto the slap and begins a quite steep ascent.  The traction is nothing in need of superior so to not fear….you’ll make it to the highest.

The view out of the motive force’s aspect window as you climb the granite slab.  It is definitely only a bit steeper than this.  As you possibly can see, I had the digicam tilted a bit and it took at little bit away from what was truly there.

At the highest of Chicken Rock, you possibly can see the Courtright Reservoir.  This is, in my view, a type of million greenback views that merely don’t give up.  Can you think about having a view ;ole this off of the entrance deck of your own home?

This is an element means up Thompson Hill, the final part of path we did earlier than calling it quits for day #1.  Thompson Hill is barely .2 miles lengthy however you’ll achieve some 600 toes in elevation when you get to the highest.  It was not overly troublesome, however you needed to keep centered, selecting your strains rigorously.  Getting your self sideways on components of this part would shortly put you over onto your aspect.

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Robert caught me working my means via extra of the rocks that made up most of Thompson Hill.  If I needed to examine it to a different part of path that we had ran, it was in all probability alongside the identical strains as Cadillac Hill on the Rubicon Trail.  We all managed to get hung up on one ledge however a few rocks solved the issue.  For probably the most half, leaving the rear ARB engaged and the entrance ARB open offered dependable traction whereas permitting the required steering for good tire placement on the rocks.  We topped Thompson Hill shortly earlier than sundown.

Shortly after ending Thompson Hill, we discovered a flip off from the path that had a fireplace ring needing only a little bit of restore and loads of room to arrange a few tents.  This could be dwelling for the primary evening.  We shortly broke out our tenting gear, erected tents, unfolded the chairs, and acquired a pleasant heat hearth going.  The hearth was not fairly as massive because it seems within the above pic…..I used to be capturing a time elapsed image when it was taken so the flames appeared higher than they really have been.

Robert broke out a bit fuel grill he had introduced alongside and shortly had his Tri-Tip scorching.  Donna had packed various dinners for me that have been frozen earlier than going into the cooler.  With the dry-ice I had put in on Friday night, all the pieces was nonetheless fairly frozen.  I fired up my single burner butane backpacking range and had my dinner warmed up in about 5 minutes.  We had skipped lunch (hey, that’s the reason you stash jerky within the heart console) so everybody was fairly hungry and dinner tasted nice.  The sundown precipitated a most fantastic illumination of the close by granite rocks, turning it an excellent purple/yellow.  Unfortunately, catching that with a digicam and no tripod turned out to be a really blurry image.  You’ll need to belief me that it was a website to behold.

We spent a few hours speaking across the campfire, speaking in regards to the normal issues….different Jeep journeys, suspension techniques, and so on.  Somewhere round 9:30, we known as it a day and turned in for the evening.  Several hours after that, the primary little bit of rain began.

Dusy-Ershim Trail

Somewhere in the midst of the evening, a storm entrance moved in.  We awoke to a light-weight rain which was shortly adopted by hail, sleet, and snow at varied occasions.  We have been fortunate in that it was not coming down onerous…..we have been unfortunate in that we have been at 9600+ toes and nonetheless needed to climb to greater than 10,100 toes by the top of the path.  The image above was taken about half-hour after we broke camp and hit the path.  Ground temperature had not but hit freezing though in comparison with the day past’s climate, it was working fairly onerous on getting there.  It wasn’t lengthy earlier than the temps have been within the 40 diploma vary.

The precipitation, in what ever type it occurred to be arriving in, was on once more, off once more, a lot of the morning.  We have been about 22 miles from the top of the path once we began day #2.  A fast dialogue on the radio was had and it was determined to push via to path’s finish, hopefully making it out by dusk.  Luckily, the path by no means actually was a mud pit…..and that we have been grateful for.  Both Robert and I have been fairly happy with the efficiency of our MT/Rs.  While it was nothing like crawling on dry rocks, they did a lot better within the moist local weather than I used to be anticipating.

Just as we have been nearing Ershim lake, about 3:00 within the afternoon, the climate let up for a few minutes and we hopped out to stretch our lakes a take a few pics.  The image above is the Ershim Lake tenting space and had been the spot the place we have been to spend our 2nd evening on the path.  Robert and Lee had each introduced their fishing gear in hopes of discovering just a few trout.  Needless to say, it was by no means unpacked.

Robert took this image via the windshield.  Lee is simply getting into the off-camber a part of an impediment referred to as Divorce Rock.  It is a big slab of granite that you simply sort of straddle and on the final second, make a tough proper flip into the off-camber down hill aspect for the exit.  I think about that one’s partner, driving within the passenger seat, would get fairly freaked out whereas ready for the roll over to occur.  No one rolled however with the rock moist and dust on the tires, the pucker issue was actually a notch or two increased than regular, particularly with nobody recognizing.

Up up to now, we had been averaging a bit over 2 MPH on the path, which is quicker than what we had initially deliberate on.  Plenty of rocks and oh so many tight squeezes between the bushes made for nearly no out of auto sight seeing as we have been making an attempt to energy drive the final 11 miles earlier than the darkish settled in at 7:00 PM.

We acquired another break within the climate, sufficient to snap one other image of Robert arising behind me on this little sandy stretch of path that minimize via a excessive meadow at practically 10,000 toes.  Given the climate and our progress, we might have used much more of this and lots much less of the twisty-turny path we have been seeing.

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As the solar was setting, we hit the final part of path that was assured to be probably the most troublesome of the journey.  And positive sufficient, it was.  I can finest describe it as a space that appeared to have been cratered by mortar rounds or perhaps massive land mines.  It would have been a problem within the daylight however selecting one’s means via it at nighttime with moist in all places made it twice as dangerous.  Lee did an excellent job of main us via this part of the path….it was something however marked, with tire tracks going a large number of instructions to recover from the rocks and ledges.  Fortunately, it was on a down hill grade which put gravity on our aspect.

We hit asphalt about 7:30ish within the night on day #2.  What we had deliberate on being a 3 or 4 day journey was compressed into one regular day and a hellish day of energy driving to complete forward of the climate…..and end simply forward of the climate is what we did.  With rain coming down lots heavier than desired, we aired up our tires and headed down the mountain.  We weren’t 5 minutes down the street when the clouds tore open and dumped a wall of rain so thick that I fully misplaced website of Robert’s tail gentle’s that have been not more than 30 yards in entrance of me.  We dodged the bullet on that one massive time!

The plan was to carry up in a cabin, close to Shaver Lake, that Ed had entry to.  Once there, we discovered that another people have been utilizing it for the week and so our plans modified once more.  Robert and I opted to drive the hour down the mountain and seize a motel room in Fresno.  Lee and Ed determined to go again dwelling however that modified as soon as they acquired to the tow rig and trailer.  They spent a moist and chilly evening there after which headed again as much as Courtright Reservoir the subsequent morning to run one other path.  I suppose they weren’t very shocked once they discovered 8″ of contemporary snow on the dam…..the identical spot that simply 48 hours earlier had us all in shirt sleeves whereas airing down our rigs.

To say that the Sierra-Nevada Mountains can change your plans in a coronary heart beat may very well be placing it mildly….and if you happen to plan on making the journey, it is advisable be ready for such a factor.  The climate forecast, which we had checked the morning of day #1, whereas nonetheless in Fresno, had no point out of the pending climate entrance.  And even when it did, I doubt we might have modified our plans.  I had sufficient meals for every week, with out rationing, and enough ingesting water for greater than that.  We had a complete of 15 gallons of additional gasoline that we by no means used through the journey.  In truth, I simply touched the 1/4 mark on the fuel gauge in regards to the time we acquired again to Fresno, late on day #2.  Robert’s computerized used a bit greater than my guide tranny however solely by a few gallons.  We might have gassed up at Shaver Lake had we would have liked to take action after exiting the path.  We all had rain gear, heat garments, heavy responsibility sleeping luggage, and so on.  I do know there was sufficient Coleman gas and propane to warmth/cook dinner every week’s value of meals.

Several pals requested if I used to be upset with the outcomes of the journey.  Absolutely NOT!  Spending time with Robert, no matter circumstances, is one thing I sit up for each time we get an opportunity to wheel collectively.  I do remorse solely having one night across the camp hearth with Lee and Ed.  I sit up for getting one other probability to share a path with them.  Who is aware of, perhaps it is going to be the Dusy-Ershim once more…..or one other simply as enjoyable.

If you get an opportunity to sort out the Dusy-Ershim, do it!  The surroundings is gorgeous and the path is nice.  Many because of the Fresno 4×4 people who assist preserve the path.  You’ve finished an excellent job and your efforts didn’t go unnoticed.  An enormous because of Lee and Ed for main the path and serving to with all these pre-trip particulars.  And final however certainly not least, an enormous because of Robert for placing up with me for the week.  It means lots to me to have a spot to hold your hat if you are away from dwelling.

Good trails and keep in mind to TREADLightly! 

Update:  I rounded up the gasoline receipts.  All in all, not too dangerous.  I drove about 1580 miles and used about 107 gallons of fuel…..that gave me about 14.7 MPG.  Not dangerous when you think about that features freeway, metropolis, and path mileage….and the Jeep was closely loaded throughout 90% of these miles.  The altitude ranged from under sea stage (close to Palm Springs, CA) to simply in need of 10,200 toes within the Sierra-Nevada Mountains.  For a TJ on 35″ tires and eight″ of raise, I can stay with these numbers.

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