By Chris Cowan

Who is your Mid-Trail Staff that you may see on Rubicon Trial?

Meet your Mid-Trail Staff that you will see on the Rubicon Trail.  They are a great resource.  Stop and say HI to or get information on trail conditions, things to know, or ask questions .  They both look forward to seeing you on the trail.


This is Mike Hafelfinger’s third season working as Mid Trail Staff, working with both Shannon Chard and Merlin Scott in the past. He works the trail every week Monday through Thursday, spending most of his time between the Loon Kiosk and Little Sluice.

Mike ran the trail for the first time in 2011, in his Toyota pickup on 33’s.  He began wheeling as a means to get to high lakes to go fishing, ended up meeting Sean Russell, a past president of RTF, and ran the trail for the first time with him.  On his second trip he ran Soup Bowl, which he says, “really charged him up”, and he was hooked.  Since then, he figured out that the pickup wasn’t big enough for a family of three (Mike, his wife Gail, and his dog, Shadow), so he sold the truck and bought a Landcruiser, which is what he wheels today.

He retired from being a butcher, but has worked as a ski instructor near Sand Point, ID (where he met his wife Gail), a diving instructor taking dive trips to Florida, and a certified ship’s Captain on the west coast.  He also has his own 39 foot boat and has extensive blue water experience, having sailed the west coast from Canada to Mexico and to Australia and back.

He enjoys talking to trail users and finding out their stories, and likes to help folks from out of town and have an enjoyable experience on the Rubicon.


Glenn White is our newest Mid Trail Staff, filling the position vacated my Merlin Scott after his many years in the Rubicon.  He’s been doing the job for three weeks and feels like he is “settling in”.  He works the trail every week Thursday through Monday, spending most of his time between Little Sluice and Buck Island Lake.

Glenn ran the trail for the first time in 1982, in the Toyota Land Cruiser he still runs on the trail today.  Prior to his commitment to Mid Trail Staff he typically made six or seven trips a year to the Rubicon, usually for five days at a time.  His son Clint has been his “Life Long Wheeling Buddy”, in the passenger seat as a kid, and driving his own Jeep for many years.

Glenn is known to many on the trail, mostly for stopping to help folks out with mechanical problems or breakage.  He says Rubicon is his, “favorite place in the world”, and considers it a privilege to be able to work there and considers Mid Trail Staff a way to give back.

He especially enjoys sharing the trail with “one timers”, those who are on the trail for their first, and perhaps only time.


By Chris Cowan

Happy 4th of July!

The Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!

Please be safe and remember to buckle up on the trail.  With the nice weather finally upon us there will be many people and rigs on the trail.

Trail Etiquette-

  1. Know before you go- Do you need any permits?
  2. Tread Lightly
  3. Leave No Trace
  4. Be Prepared for all weather and conditions
  5. Let yourself be known- communicate with others on the trail how many rigs are in your party.
  6. Leave plenty of space between you and others
  7. Don’t Drink and Drive
  8. Stop to help others
  9. Leave no man behind
  10. Make sure all campfires are safely put out

ALL fireworks are illegal in El Dorado County.

By Chris Cowan

Attention Everyone- Rattlesnakes Are Out

Please be aware of Rattlesnakes!

  • Watch where you step, look down!
  • Listen to yor surroundings.  The rattle is a warning.
  • Snake heads can bite up to an hour after they are dead.
  • Watch your pets, they will find the snakes for you.

How to Treat Rattlesnake bites:

The first and most important thing to do is get away from the snake, as they can strike again if they feel threatened. Don’t waste time trying to catch the snake, but try to remember its size and color. This may help your medical team identify which species it was that bit you and locate the correct antivenin.

Seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Call for an ambulance if you’re able to.  You should reach medical help within 30 minutes of being bitten. If the bite is left untreated, your bodily functions will break down over a period of two or three days and the bite may result in severe organ damage or death.

There are some common misconceptions about the treatment of rattlesnake bites. While waiting for the ambulance, here’s how to minimize your risk:

  • Don’t raise the area above the level of the heart. If you do this, your blood containing rattlesnake venom will reach your heart more quickly.
  • Stay as still as possible, as movement will increase your blood flow and the venom will circulate faster.
  • Remove any tight clothing or jewelry before you start to swell.
  • Let the wound bleed, as this may allow some of the venom to be released.
  • Don’t wash the wound, as your medical team may be able to use some of the venom from your skin to more quickly identify the correct antivenin.
  • Place a clean bandage on the wound.
  • Try to remain calm, as anxiety and panic can increase your heart rate, which will cause the venom to spread.
  • If you begin to experience signs of shock, try to lie down on your back, raise your feet slightly, and keep warm.
  • Don’t cut the wound, as this doesn’t help and you could cause an infection.
  • Don’t try to suck the venom from the wound, as you then introduce the venom to your mouth as well as introduce the bacteria from your mouth to the wound.
  • Don’t use a tourniquet or apply ice or water.

It’s imperative that you get to the hospital as soon as possible. Don’t waste time on procedures that have been shown to be ineffective.

Here are a few links of useful information-

By Chris Cowan

It’s Summer – Be Aware

Today is the first official day of summer!  We have had some different weather this year and have finally started to get some warm and often HOT weather.  While it may be tempting to cool off in our local rivers and streams, The Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to remind everyone that water levels are high and often deceiving.  The water is cold and swift.

Be SAFE near water.

Spot- Spot the dangers- consider what is hidden under the water, check tides and currents, be careful around banks.

Advice- Always read the signs and wear life jackets.  Do not depend on floaties

Friends – Never swim alone

Emergency- Learn what to do in an emergency

Be prepared for changing water levels when camping and in the water.

Protect Yourself in the Sun:

  • Cover Up- wear tight woven clothing that blocks out light.
  • Use Sunscreen
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear UV protective sunglasses
  • Limit Exposure – Reminder UV rays are the most intense between 10am-4pm
By Chris Cowan

Snow Wheeling

This is the first in the series of educational pieces.

The snow is still up in the mountains, although it is melting fast.  These are just a few tips to keep in mind if heading up to the Rubicon or to play in the remaining snow this weekend.

If you have any questions or are curious about trail conditions do not hestitate to call us.

By Chris Cowan

Introducing Rubicon U- Unlimited Outdoor Learning

We would like to introduce you to a new education piece that you will see us blogging about and providing information on via Social Media, in the Restrooms along the Rubicon Trail, at Events and during Camp Rubicon.

Education is a huge piece of what we do serving on the Rubicon Trail Foundation Board. Education helps us in our Mission and Vision of keeping the Rubicon Trail preserved, protected and available for future generations.

Our mission: To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon Trail, while ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access.

Our vision: To be the trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail, ensuring sustainability for the experience of the users.

If you have a topic that you would like to see more information on please let us know.

By Ken Hower

Considering Medical Flight Membership?

RTF Members, and those considering their “Helo-Insurance”  membership.

As a preface, I just want to say anytime I mention “Helo-Insurance” it is in reference to AirMedCare Network which was formally Reach, which was formally Calstar….I’m sure you will understand…

When I initially purchased my Helo-Insurance it was under the idea that I am often in far out, hard to reach areas, where my only method of communications is either Ham Radio or a Messenger that may take hours to deliver a message via cell phone. It was pretty obvious that if I were to become injured in one of these remote places, whether it was my fault or not I would need to make sure that once physically recovered I wouldn’t be financially injured in the process. Mentally I sold myself with the secondary fact that my 14-year-old son was racing motorcycle enduro/Hare Scrambles often in remote locations and since I was buying coverage for my entire family and my son was a bit high risk as well it really was making sense…After making the purchase I proudly explained to my wife how proud of me she should be for being a “Responsible Husband & Father” and how she was now covered if she was in a car accident or if our daughter fell off of her horse and broke her leg. Little do we know the hand that fate deals us…..

Wednesday, Jan 23 2019 at close to 3pm I initially received the call from my wife that there had been an accident at the equestrian center my daughter was at in Loomis. Our daughter’s trainer had eyes away dealing with another horse for a minute and heard a ruckus behind her. When she turned around she found the cause of ruckus, my daughter was on the ground after receiving a kick from a horse…My wife relayed as much information as she could at the time and told me she was being transported to Sutter Roseville via Ambulance…My wife was not on scene, only relaying secondary information that when our daughter was found, she was unconscious but waking to consciousness, with fluid coming from her ears, it was talked about but not confirmed at this time whether it was spinal or brain fluid, but either way that was the longest most questionable drive to Roseville I have ever had…Upon arriving at SRMC minutes after my daughter arrived, my wife was not admitted in as my daughter was immediately sent for CT Scans…once the CT scans were done we were allowed in and updated. Our Daughter had extreme head trauma, including an obvious concussion. She had Basial Skull fractures from ear to ear. There was obvious internal brain hemorrhaging on one side as seen so far. For those as far into head trauma as me, there was no visible Vertical or Horizontal shift. There was expected swelling and hemorrhaging to come from the opposite side soon. The recommendation was that we were lucky to have a ct scan this early in the game, but the doctor could not predict if the hemorrhaging would get better or worse at this time, nor how the swelling would affect it. His recommendation was to get my daughter to UC Davis as soon as possible as they were better equipped to handle this type of trauma if it were to start to swell or hemorrhage further. He was instructing his team to prep to drill an ICP (Intracranial Pressure monitor) if needed as they waited and planned to continue CT scanning as needed in 15 minute intervals to monitor swelling until we had a transport plan……He mentioned that the Ambulance service was reporting an expected 45 minute drive into UCDavis even going code 3 at this time of the day, and he was going to explore what other options were available including a Helicopter if needed, and that was my in…..I said…I’m a “Calstar” member…errr a ..”Reach” member…he still gave me a weird eye, I told him….just call the Helo in Auburn I have the extra insurance for it…..he smiled, shook his head and said “Got it” then left the room..2 minutes later he came back in the room, smiling and said, yep helicopter is available, they will be here in less then 3 minutes, we are prepping for transport now, flight time is now 7 minutes in total to UCDavis.

I would like to stop and reiterate that at this time with everything that is happening, brain swelling is being monitored in 15-minute intervals in these first hours by CT Scans. And instead of skipping 3 maybe 4 scans during these critical hours for ambulance transport, having the additional “Helo-insurance” enabled the medical professionals to do exactly what they do best, and because of that my daughter was transported timely in between scans from one great hospital to another. To end the story quickly, After spending a week in ICU at UC Davis because of this injury…My Daughter has made a full recovery and in less then 100 days after the accident entered her next barrel race.  03/29/19 was her first time back on a horse in the arena…

If I could highlight anything about this story, it would be that I purchased this insurance for the “unexpected” and I run a very “expected” life (most of the time), Additionally, I carry good medical insurance. I know for a fact, initial transport to the hospital would be covered if needed by Helicopter to the hospital at like 90% from my existing medical insurance…It was very “unexpected” to have to transport my daughter of all people from one great hospital to another hospital I never thought about interhospital transport when I bought this insurance….nor how telling a trauma doctor “I have the extra insurance call the Helo from Auburn” would help.

RTF Code Member/AirmedCare Member For Life

-The Joiner Family.

To become a member, enroll at

Use the RTF code: 11113-CA-BUS

The annual cost for your entire household is: $65

By Ken Hower

New Website!

The Rubicon Trail Foundation is proud to announce our brand new website. The past website was completed in 2010 and much different web technology. The time had come. Thanks to Chad and Kirsten at Naturally Wired Web Design, we’ve updated the website with a fresh new look that is able to handle browser, phone or tablet access.  This makes it much easier for you to get information on the Rubicon Trail, no matter the access device.

In addition, after years of talk and requests….drumroll…. We have a store! Yes…We have a Rubicon store for you to get Rubicon related gear and buy directly from the site. We’ve been trying for years with the old site, but that was like trying to put a Hemi engine into a flat fender. In the end it was easier and cheaper just to build a completely new experience with the latest in web technology.

We hope you enjoy exploring and finding all the little bugs we missed!

By Kirsten

31 Days in the Darien by Kevin Arnold available now

Kevin Arnold has had a lifelong passion for jeeping and off-road adventuring thanks to his parents Mike and Sheri. With that love passed down to him he recently delved deeper into one of his father’s major accomplishments and has documented it with the brand-new book “31 Days in the Darien.”

The book features journals written by Mike Arnold during his five-month journey known as The Expedicion de las Americas, which began in November of 1978 and showcased a group from the famous Jeepers Jamboree. The Expedicion was led by off-road icon Mark Smith and featured five jeeps, 14 people and took them from the southernmost tip of South America to the northern tip of North America. All in all, it covered an amazing 20,000 miles of beautiful, yet grueling terrain.

“This was really an incredible and historic journey that my father went on and I’m happy to help tell the tale of how their lives were on a daily basis during it,” said author Kevin Arnold, who is on the board of directors with the Jeepers Jamboree. “I knew about this trip my whole life but reading deeper into his journals certainly opened my eyes even more. I’m still blown away by what they were able to accomplish in such a short time.”

Among the impressive feats during The Expedicion de las Americas was the conquering of the Darien Gap, a 200-mile section of jungle, swamp and danger separating Columbia, South America and Panama, Central America. The gap was previously completed in 99 days by a British Group with 85-100 people, while Mike Arnold’s group crossed the gap in 31 days, hence the title of the book “31 Days in the Darien.”

Kevin Arnold continued, “It was such a grueling trip for their whole team to maintain the schedule that they set forth. Completing the Darien Gap in 31 days was an amazing thing to hold their hats on. Keep in mind that the trip was done with stock Jeeps, with no axle upgrades or lift kits that you’ll see today. I hope that everyone who reads the book will enjoy it as much as I did putting it together. It’s truly a first-hand look from what was an incredible, once in a lifetime trip for my dad.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the historic trip. In normal day life the Arnold family owns Arnold’s for Awards, a successful trophy shop located inShingle Springs, California that is still going strong to this day.


Purchase on