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Introduction:
For some time now I’ve wanted to do a midnight trail run so this morning, I just did it!

As I knew I would be doing some exploring in the Angeles National Forest in the wee hours, alone, and unfamiliar with the trails, I took several precautions before leaving. I made sure I told my wife the general area I was going to be at, had adequate recovery gear, food, water, extra fuel, GPS, dash mounted PC, map software, physical maps, and enough communications gear to get a hold of someone if needed.

My official reason for doing these runs is to test the modifications, mainly electronic, and also to strengthen the rig in areas that might be inadequate. Such as I found out this morning,, lighting needs serious attention. I will need to add/redo lights all around the rig now including front, top, sides, rear, and undercarriage. I’ll save my ideas for another post.

Distantce: 5.5 miles
Start Time: 1:30 AM
Duration: 2 hrs.


The Trail:
[1] Lynx Gulch Road is off of Upper Big Tujunga Road about 5.6 miles North of Highway 2 in the La Canada Flintridge side of Angeles National Forest. This road has several areas of concern and should not be travelled by a 2WD unless an additional 4WD recovery vehicle is present. There are several water crossings, hill climbs, descents, tight turns, deep ruts and off camber areas that could get you in trouble if not handled properly. The road is mostly dirt with areas of soft sand, loose gravel, and sporadic rocks that range from the size of a baseball to a watermelon. There were no Rock Gardens on this road. This road has few straight runs and is constantly turning and switching back as it traverses the different hills and mountains along its path.

[2] At about 4.8 miles into this road, there is an intersection which you can take 4N18 to the right or 3N234 to the left. I started along the 4N18 road for about 50 ft. but backed out for concern of losing the containers on the roof due to low hanging tree branches. I continued on to 3N234 as this was obviously the road more travelled on. After another 1.4 miles on this road, it dumped me into the [3] Monte Cristo campground of which I was invited to “hang out and party” with a group of campers but it was 3:30 AM and had to start heading back home.

After returning home, I researched the roads I took and found out that there are a few gold mines along that road and a couple Geocaching spots. DOAH! Next time I will research before I go! ………. Or not………

Mods Tested:
Dash mounted tablet PC – The mount performed well both locked in the flat position as well as the swung out position for driver access. There was no noticeable issues with vibration, fasteners or the ability to stay in the swung out position while negotiating obstacles.

Scepter Water and Fuel Containers – Strapped with ratcheted tie-downs to the top of the OEM roof rack, this solution worked on the city roads but failed once on the trail. I had to get out in the dark with all the scary darkness and bears and mountain lions and other eat you up monsters to re-strap the containers. This will need to be remedied before the next trip. I think it’s time for a removable aluminum cross member and mesh floor add-on that can better support these containers and other expedition gear as needed.

Icom IC-706 MKIIG – HAM Radio. Programmed several 2 meter repeaters into the radio and tested communications along the trail. This worked well as was expected. I forgot to test the HF frequencies and digital forms of communications as this radio is also interfaced with the dash mount Tablet PC. I will test these items on the next run.

Communication Antennas - the ball and spring mount HF and CB antennas continue to hold up great and the VHF/UHF antenna which is roof mounted through the body with an NMO connector also held up well this time. I do get sick of hearing the HF whip banging all the tree branches and will be looking for a method to tie it down to the roof or front of the vehicle like “Speed Buggy”
 

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Re: FJ-Piper's Midnight Runs: 5/14/2008 ANF Lynx Gulch Road

Hell of a write up. Props.YO! And now more on that party?!? ;D
 

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Re: FJ-Piper's Midnight Runs: 5/14/2008 ANF Lynx Gulch Road

let me know if you do anything in santiago area (indian TT, holy him, etc).. i'll gladly come along.
 

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Re: FJ-Piper's Midnight Runs: 5/14/2008 ANF Lynx Gulch Road

Great report. Especially the fuel cans. Looks like I may need to re think mine as well.
 

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Re: FJ-Piper's Midnight Runs: 5/14/2008 ANF Lynx Gulch Road

Nicely done Steven. I guess asking for pictures in darkness is a little much. :D What was the reasoning that made you pick this trail?
 

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Re: FJ-Piper's Midnight Runs: 5/14/2008 ANF Lynx Gulch Road

Fjamming said:
Nicely done Steven. I guess asking for pictures in darkness is a little much. :D What was the reasoning that made you pick this trail?
Thanks Tony, I figure for future runs I will have a template paper to log certain data such as time, duration, terrain, vegetation, etc... I definitely want to get video and pictures next one but that is part of my wanting to re-do the lighting on the rig. I will be a rolling film studio. lol As a big fan of low current lighting, I am looking into LED lighting to see what's available. (future post)

As far as that trail, it was absolute spontaneity! I was actually cruising over to Mount Pacifico CG which happens to be officially opening today or tomorrow. On my way, I noticed this brown OHV marker and, like drug addiction, I was forced to turn the vehicle and see where it went. After a few hundred yards, I got a good feeling about it and knew it was going to be a fun little run. That's when I double checked fuel, maps, etc to make sure I could make it out and not have to circle back. When checking the map point program and saw it dumped out and Angeles Forest hwy, it was a no brainer, I had to do it.
 

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Re: FJ-Piper's Midnight Runs: 5/14/2008 ANF Lynx Gulch Road

I love night runs! That's awesome but the FJ guided you with confidence. Great trail report.
 

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Re: FJ-Piper's Midnight Runs: 5/14/2008 ANF Lynx Gulch Road

Hey Steven,

Great meeting you today and had a blast on cleghorn. The angeles crest area is my back yard! I've run lynx gulch before, and it was fun. Gotta be careful, that you don't use your brakes too much on the down hill and then enter the water crossings, as I did.. .and warped my rotors. Solo Midnight runs in the ANF ? You are a brave man. haha.

-Kevin
 
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