Since I shouldn't be backpacking heavy loads of meat this fall on account of my leg, I had to pass on hunting. But, I did decide to backpack up to base camp to meet my buds. Dan had spent the previous day getting a nice bull back to camp. We were seeing elk and multiple large bulls every morning and evening, I was with Gary when he shot a very nice 5x5. I let them make the extra meat trip down to the truck, while I rested my beat-up leg\ankle.
After we all packed down and out. We loaded into the 4Runner, hit the Hot Springs and set out to camp at Deadman's Creek. The guys really wanted to see Hubbard Caves. I called the wife and boss and got another day off. elt the good times roll.
As most of you know, this is our old Adapt-A-Trail and was successfully transferred to the High Country 4Wheelers, since it was so far away and we wanted to adopt trails closer in. I think they did a nice job modifying the heavy plate sign that the older members of Rising Sun had erected. I was wondering how they would handle that.
The road is referred to in books as "Impassable" when wet. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/r...bbard_cave.pdf
That mud does get nasty. I was very skitish\cautous without other rigs and knowing there was some steep descents to the creek. I tried to turn around at one point before a decent but couldn't get out of the ruts. It was silly slick. I went further down and met a very muddy hunting camp with several stock trucks, all chained up on all 4. After much deliberation and pestering from my friends, I finally decided to chain up the rears in the mud (not fun), and go for it. This is where Uncle Ben tells me "chains are for snow", but it sure helped in the rear. The hunters had gone down the to creek once to recover an elk but thought I was foolish to go down there for the fun of it. None of them had heard of the caves. It was ATV'Ville, and they seemed to struggle. I tip-toed down with the crawler through some very sketchy spots. But, basically the ruts kept me on the trail when I needed it. So as long as I maintained control on the descents I was fine. When we came back up the next morning it was partially frozen and easy with a little throttle with chains on the rear.
They have completely re-worked the cave trailhead. The normal trailhead is closed off and now is across the creek and up the road. No good camping off the vehicle at the trailhead anymore. There are tons of accessible roads up past the large meadow several miles further up. We camped up there at a nice spot where hunters had vacated. I picked up all their trash.
The caves were sweet, especially at sunset, off the side of the canyon. No one had been there in a while based on the snow tracks. Very spooky.
We explored all the tunnels and the various entrances, but I don't believe we found the Grape room. All the caverns would lead us back to places we had been. Good times.