Over a year ago, I purchased a spotter’s line for occasions such as this one. I threw it off the cliff where I perched and barked out aerial instructions. Jon made it through Little Sluice (give that man a decal!).
The rest of the first day crawled by with the Rubis walking over a thousand stray boulders. Too tired to even look at Old Sluice, we bypassed it, rolled over a thousand more boulders, and then drove over a dam (yes, a dam!). If our trip had a soundtrack, this would have been the part where the symphony crescendoed full and fast as we descended onto Buck Island Lake.
Off-highway vehicles were strewn everywhere. Because of the new ruling for vehicles to remain near the trail, we searched for camping spots nearby. Here we stumbled upon other guys from the forum, including Jim who branded his Rubicon by replacing his hood sticker with “Fordyce.”
Camping at Buck Island Lake was golden. Pristine clear, cold waters back-dropped by rock outcroppings, islands, and tree lined shores. Camp fires were not permitted but we gathered around the cook stove and lanterns to enjoy stories from the day. Steve flew in from Vancouver, BC, to run the trail with his friend Thor from SoCal, and he told tales from the great white north.
The next morning I insisted on rising with the sun. Tiptoeing down to the lake, I waded to an exposed slab offshore and threw some flies at the fish. Sadly, nothing came of it but the gaping silence and mystery of the lake.
By mid-morning, we caravanned to our one major obstacle for the day: Big Sluice.
Big Sluice isn’t as bad as the name sounds, though the gully crisscrossed around boulders and trees. The challenge of the day was actually the parking. Halfway down, we encountered Disabled Sports USA enjoying a trip in the opposite direction. Roughly 30 Jeeps, buggies, and trucks carried grinning and shouting folks of all ages. They, like us, were having the time of their lives! Shifting to the side of the trail, we waited and waved and cheered them on.