RoughWheelers Vacation run 1995

Ershim/Coyote Lake Trip &emdash;

Well, I Guess There Are Some Fish In That Lake

The trip to Ershim and Coyote Lakes was one of the most pleasurable runs that I have ever attended. The pace allowed all to thoroughly enjoy the scenery and challenging Jeep trails. Although a high Sierra trip planned at this time of year can be quite cold, the lack of hungry mosquitoes and meat bees made the cold seem like a minor problem.

Tuesday - 9/26/95

The first leg of the trip started at Winchells with Sundance, Rooster, and Rooster’s friend Al. Later in the trip Al proved to be a major contributor to Rooster harassment and was readily accepted by the rest of the group. We left Winchells about 6:15 AM and headed up the 405 and 5 where we met up with the Deerslayer in Canyon Country. Arriving in Gorman (what a funny name) we were greeted by Footloose and stopped for breakfast. After a meal that couldn’t be beat we headed up through Fresno, stopping in Prather where a friend of Footloose’s allowed Footloose and Deerslayer to store their trucks and trailers. With Jeeps (and Landcruiser) unloaded we headed up to Huntington Lake to top off our tanks. On the dirt road leading to the Ershim trail, Deerslayer’s vehicle stopped running. The fusible link was found to be the culprit and was repaired while the rest of the group aired down. After we passed the 10,300 foot summit, there was only about an hour of daylight remaining and we decided to make camp. Setting up tents and gathering firewood at this altitude rapidly winded this group of lowlanders. Rooster’s face turned red and his tailfeathers drooped. One and a half lung Sundance had to rest after pounding each tent stake. Our campfire that night helped ward off the cold 30 air.

Wednesday - 9/27/95

We reluctantly rolled out of our warm sleeping bags into the cold morning air about 7:00 AM. After a quick breakfast we broke camp and left by 9:00 AM. The trail heading south was fun but seemed to be less challenging than on previous northbound trips. Approaching Ershim Lake, we met a few members from TLC Central. After setting up camp, Deerslayer and Rooster tried their luck at the elusive fish. Rooster lost his lure on the first cast. We later theorized that some extremely intelligent fish had mastered techniques of untying fishermans knots. Deerslayer walked to the other side of the lake and caught 3 fish. Since they were under 10 inches, he threw them back. Sundance explained that his frying pan would have held those fish and if they fit in the pan then they must be legal. For dinner, Rooster and Al prepared bratworst and sauerkraut while Sundance made quesadillas. Footloose tried the quesadillas and said ìNot bad for a gringo’.

Thursday - 9/28/95

Thursday morning was so cold that we immediately started a fire and kept it fueled for the rest of the day and night. Sundance offered to make cornbread pancakes for Rooster and Al. Looking in the food box Sundance realized there was only a small amount of syrup. Knowing Rooster’s tendency for syrup consumption, Sundance exclaimed ‘Easy on the Syrup, @#$&%*!’. After breakfast, while Deerslayer and Footloose continued pursuit of the fish, Al and Sundance challenged Rooster to a game of horseshoes. As much as I hate to admit it, that cocky old bird kicked our butts 21 to 4. Later that day, Deerslayer returned to camp with 12" and 14" trout. He and Footloose had a nice dinner that night. Rooster and Sundance cooked dinner over the campfire. It seemed that the binding effect of the cheese in last night’s quesadillas had struck Sundance with a painful case of irregularity. As you might expect the Roughwheelers with their normal amount of compassion and sympathy roared with laughter around the campfire. Footloose drank his beer, Rooster enjoyed his last Bartels & James, while Sundance and Al did Metamucil shooters.

Friday - 9/29/95

Friday was probably the coldest morning on this trip. The temperature in my tent that morning was 31º F! We packed up camp and left by 9:45 AM. We stopped for lunch at Lakecamp Lake and observed either snow or ice from last year in the shadows on the edge of the lake. Continuing northward, we found the trail to be every bit as difficult as it had been in previous years. On a rockpile just before Divorce Course, Rooster got high centered and had to be strapped. With another half inch of ground clearance, he would have made it. At Divorce Course, Footloose took the low road. After maneuvering back and forth to clear his front pumpkin, his rear end started sliding off of a rock into a precarious sidehill position. Once I told him that his pumpkin was clear, he blasted ahead to safety. Deerslayer and Sundance followed the path taken by Footloose. Rooster decided to take the high route. Dropping off a ledge, an attack rock jumped out and reduced Rooster’s gas tank capacity by a half gallon. We finished the trail without any body damage. Continuing South, we stopped at the Tamarack Lodge and got two rooms. Rooster and Al took one, and Footloose, Deerslayer, and Sundance shared the other. Footloose treated the group to an excellent dinner at the Sierra House in Shaver Lake. Our campfire that night was located in the fireplace in Rooster and Al’s room. Roughing it!

Saturday - 9/30/95

It sure was easier getting out of bed into a warm room instead of a frosty tent. Al went for an early morning walk hoping to catch a glimpse of the wildlife. Rooster and Al prepared a delicious breakfast of huevos rancheros while Footloose, Deerslayer, and Sundance worked on some hash brown TATERS. Only 8 minutes after finishing breakfast, Rooster’s huevos rancheros proved to be more effective than Metamucil. Sundance disappeared for a half hour only to return with the hair on top of his head sucked down through his scalp from the vacuum created. We left Tamarack Lodge and headed toward the Red Mountain trailhead. Rooster let Al drive his Jeep on the trails to Red and Coyote Lakes. Al did an excellent job considering he had not driven a jeep since World War II. Although Rooster probably won’t admit it, Al drove better than Rooster. The trail to Coyote Lake was as challenging as ever. Deerslayer and Footloose tried their luck at the fishing again with no cooperation from the fish. At the campfire that night, Rooster barbecued 4-legged chicken while Sundance roasted some polish sausage.

Sunday - 10/1/95

We broke camp early and left by 8:15 AM in anticipation of our long journey home. We arrived at the blacktop in about 2 hours. After airing up and waiting for Sundance to wash his windows, the group headed toward Prather. At Footloose’s friend’s place, Footloose and Deerslayer loaded their vehicles while the rest had lunch. After gassing up in Fresno, we headed for the Southland.

The good times that we experienced on this trip can be largely attributed to the leadership and consideration for all members on the part of our wagonmaster, Footloose. The good mix of people laughing and joking together was the icing on the cake. - Thanks to all.

Sundance