After a long day on Saturday running some new & stock vehicles through Slickrock, Ira decided we would open the Corral Hollow trail on Sunday.

I’d left the choice up to the girls – run another trail or spend the day at Lake Alpine swimming and goofing off. To my surprise, they opted for the trail! I think I have some converts.

The first I heard of it was on waking. Glenn told me they wanted to go and Ira said we were leaving at 9am. I said “Fine, what time is it?” and he said “8:30″. Oops. After I finished screaming we broke camp faster than I’ve ever done it. Glenn took the tent and I took the kitchen (made lunch, shuffled coolers etc) and we literally shoved everything into the Expedition. Thank heavens for that thing. We were on the trail at 9:15, and we were not the last ones.

I’ve never been on the trail before, so I drove right past it. Luckily my navigator Katie saw everyone waving at me, and I got turned around. We left the Ex on the side of the road, and Glenn took the wheel.

I think we went about 100 yards, and we stopped to move a tree. That became the theme of the day – go for awhile and then stop & move a tree and close off the bypass someone had made. I think we cleared 5 of them with one very small chainsaw. I never did get the girls interested in helping with the trail clearing.

The trail was mostly roadlike until we got to the cabin. We stopped and took a group photo – what a neat little place. Glenn pointed out that the Ex could easily have made it this far, and I said that he should keep it in mind for camping.

There was a fork there, and we headed on to the harder, left hand fork, which leads around a long loop. No one seemed to have any real problems.

Eventually, we came to a very large tree down at an angle. This was pretty green, had huge roots, and the top end was snagged. The decision to cut the middle part out was fine, except the saw was having a very hard time. Just as we were inventing impossible solutions with chains, winches, snatchblocks and tow straps, the Spanglers arrived from the opposite direction, with a winch! Just what we needed. With Dave Schmitt winching one end downhill, and the Dave Spangler winching the other end uphill, the middle section broke out and the pieces were rolled aside. It wasn’t really that easy – it took almost 2 hours. Incidents included the chainsaw running out of gas, Ira climbing a tree with Doug holding his feet in place and Lizzy (Randy’s dog) biting Jason while he was cutting with the saw. Glenn really got into this part of it, but the girls went off to play with Dave & Desiree’s dog.

Tree cleared, we ran up possibly the hardest part of the trail – loose dirt with loose rocks. Had to turn the lockers on and coach Glenn on throttle control (lower gear, go slower. If the tires spin, you go nowhere.) The lockers made an amazing difference and we hit the top of the hill. A few more ups and downs, and a stop to change Dave’s flat tire (another cut sidewall) and we were back at the eastern trailhead and pavement.

Most of the group headed back down to camp, but I was regretting the stupid decision not to stop for gas in Arnold. The gas needle had been below the red line for a couple of hours… Bear Valley was less than half a mile east, and we went to fill up the Jeep and head up to Lake Alpine. The Mulligans were there airing up – also on their way to get wet & cool off. I herded the girls into the restroom – nice HOT water and soap – before they hit the lake. The lady in the gas station asked where we had been & I told her. She said “Hiking?” and I said “Jeeping”. She said “What about the trees that were down?” & I said “They are gone now. All the bypasses are closed and the trail is opened!” and mentioned that the Granite Bandits had officially opened the trail. She was thrilled! The locals had been despairing about the tree that gave us so much trouble and asked how we had moved it. Two Jeeps with winches and a chainsaw…

Also met at the store: a lovely Yellow Land Cruiser from Oregon, just off the Deer Valley trail. Joe Farley and crew, just off the same trail, testing out a bunch of built Toyota trailer queens.

So, up to Lake Alpine. There is a nice little beach area where you can park in the shade and go swimming. The water was cold, but you got used to it. The Mulligans scored a campsite for the night, and we drove home. We waved at the group dining in Arnold as we drove by.

Glenn, Katie & Brooke thank everyone for a wonderful weekend! Thanks, Ellen


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