New Lockwood Trail

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The new Lockwood trail now takes you out of the old 3 mile creek run and starts you up the mountain across the creek.  Same staging area.  Again the environmentalists have been at work closing trails.  We had a chance to run the new trail soon after in was cut into the mountains.  It was truly different from the years of traveling up and down the creek.  We've seen many changes from the mid '80's on.  Below is one such story:  But before you read on see Rachel's first run in her new Rubicon.  Here is a small 5 meg clip of Kabob, Miller clog, first rough spot and the rocky switchback.

Well we heard some disturbing news about the switchbacks being impassable by members of our club.  They took a tour of Lockwood the last weekend of July 2004 and discovered that the last switchback was eroded, had a two foot step and that wrenching was necessary to move forward.  So we decided to investigate and rode off the morning of August 8th, the following weekend.  The very first part of the trail is really bad.  Rocky and off camper.  We continue our journey and start the switchbacks, up the hill just passed the Yellow Jacket turn off.  We know exactly where the bad section is so we are mindful to stop and investigate the anomaly.  Yes it's pretty bad folks, however, it hadn't changed much from the trip my daughter and I took a few weeks earlier.  We drove right up and over the 'step' and continued on through Kabob and over to the Miller staging area.  Here we encountered several Discovery's and a D-90 coming down Millers.  They told us that the day before they too were coming up from the Lockwood side and found themselves blocked by some vehicles stuck and broken at the very section we spoke about.  They asked if the trail was still blocked?  Nothing there now we replied.  So we chatted for a while and then up Millers we went through the two roughest sections without any problems.  We began our trip at 9:15 AM and was at the top at 1:00 PM.  I believe that to be a record for us.  Here is a video clip of Gary driving through the sections we spoke about.  Enjoy.

Listening to the morning news on my way to Gorman.  Weather reportedly to deliver clear skies and temperatures reaching the high 60's.  Arriving at Gorman before 8:00 am, I decide to give the Bronco a 'once over' and then rushed into Brian's Cafe to brush off the morning chill.  Soon afterwards Randy Slocum arrives with that enthusiastic glow and excitement about today's event.  Shortly after, and a little unexpected, Ken Compton and his two fine children show up.  We relocate to a larger table and just as we get settled in along comes Greg Cunningham.  We chitchat about the morning run and with the formal introductions out of the way we decided to depart.  Getting ready to load up and 'Hello', Ron Bulthuis and the Miss's are here to greet us.  Off we go to the Off-road staging area. 

We arrive a little ahead of schedule, air down, discus some dos and don'ts, as well as some picture taking.  Soon Dana Adam arrives and he too starts deflating the tires.  Waiting the arrival of one other, and quickly approaching 10:00 am, I ask Dana if he could reach out and touch someone on his CB.  "David, David do you copy" and yep, right back we hear a response.  "Just passed up 8N12 and are doubling back."

Soon afterwards we see David Vowell winding his way towards us.  We complete are staging efforts and off we go.  So now our caravan consists of a Full Size Bronco, a Bronco II, Jeep Cherokee, Ford Ranger Pickup, Grand Cherokee and a Jeep TJ. 

Knowing we need to complete our task in a relatively short time we decide to keep moving onto 'Kabob Hill'.  Everyone makes the first hill climb out of the creek successfully.  We stop momentarily at 'Yellow Jacket' awaiting an FJ40 descending the switchbacks.  Our FJ expert (Dana) and the FJ driver exchange Toyota history lessons about the renown FJ series, then we are off up the mountain. 

We all negotiate the up-hill climb, around the switchbacks and over to Kabob Hill.  Here we take turns and with a little guidance we get everyone over the nasty stuff.  On the trail again we come to Mile Marker 8 and begin our descent down another set of switchbacks, loose rock and then... the boulder crossing.  Here we slowly inch our way up against the mountain and around a large rock broken away from the previous storm of 1998.  Too large to climb onto and if careless may decide to claim another trophy to it's multicolored, oil drenched appearance.  With a sigh of relief we all manage this section without incident only to experience a steep 300 pitch as the vehicle exits the crossing.  Now it's down the mountain, crossing Lockwood Creek a couple times, through the campground, through Piru Creek and to our first destination, another campground we commonly use for extended stays.  Here we break for lunch under some scrub oak and large pines, in the shadow of Alamo Mountain.  Written by Mark Larson

Click here to begin the Miller Jeep Trail experience next.

Memorial Weekend 2005  Day 2:  Short restful sleep overnight.  Apparently we had a visitor (large cat) roaming around the campsite as we slept.  Paw prints everywhere.  We get up and decide to try and contact our remaining party due to arrive in Lebec around 9:00 am.  We air down to 20 psi and decide to navigate Lockwood from east to west to find some high ground.  First we exit the campground into a short narrow section crossing Piru Creek into the residing campground.  Lot's of water.  We continue west crossing the Lockwood Creek three more times before starting up the switchbacks.  The trail is loose, rocky with large obstacles to maneuver around.  We manage the lower section and begin our climb upward.  The rains of winter has given the trail a few more  surprises.  Another rock slide at the same location recorded earlier.  Rick tries to get my Full Size truck into position but the front end drives for the edge of the cliff.  Yeeiiks.  We try it again and the truck leaps for the edge again.  At this time I'm searching for a change of underwear.  Not feeling to comfortable about my line I tell Rick let's try something different.  I'll go high against the hillside and try to straddle the pile of rocks at an angle.  Just like we had rehearsed the big truck walked effortlessly over the obstacle and around the next switchback we went.  We drive over to Elk Ridge expecting the trail to be cut back and worked on by the Pt. Mugu 4WDC.  Nothing has been touched so far.  It's now nearing 9:00 AM.  We get out and walk up to the highest peak nearby.  Rick doesn't get any responses from his handheld shortwave so he checks his cell service.  Wow getting almost a full signal he dials Mike.  "Oh hello, Mike replies, we overslept and having left yet".  Rick and I look at each other puzzled and decide that we will continue through the Lockwood trail and meet them at the Flying 'J'.  The trail has not been worked on by anyone that we can tell.  It's a little rougher in some areas, however, nothing to get worked up about.  The stair step still exists, but seemed a little less ominous than before.  The F-250 did very well as usual, except the power steering pump began to over heat spraying the engine compartment.  This exacerbated my turning radius acting as if I had none.  The granny low just wasn't turning the pulley fast enough.  So at time I'd redline granny just to operate the power steering more efficiently.  We descend the last section just squeezing passed the large rock.  We cross the creek and head for the Flying 'J'.  Hunger is also on our minds as 11:00 AM approaches and we haven't had breakfast.  We arrive at our destination and settle in for some breakfast.  Rick tries the cell and discovers that Mike and the group are nearing Quail Lake just minutes away from us.  They arrive in short order and we all group together for a morning feast.

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