The Top of the Mountain
On this adventure Open Road 4Two mapped out a trip on Gaia GPS to explore the Thomas Mountain Truck Trail for the first time. We started the trail at the Hop Patch Spring Road entrance. The trail was relatively easy with nothing more challenging than some small rocks and some small to moderate ruts along the way. The area had received rain and snow earlier in the week, so you must be prepared for mud, snow, and ice when traveling on this trail in the winter. On this particular trip we had no need for 4wd. The trail is rather narrow in some parts and we did encounter some moderate traffic along the way. We saw numerous Jeeps, a Ford Raptor, a pack of fellow Tacos, and there was even a Honda CRV on the trail. The trail is also frequented by mountain bikers.
As we made our way up the trail we passed the Tool Box Springs Campground and a few of the first Yellow Post (YP) camping spots we had marked to check out as possible spots for us. Since they were all occupied we continued up the mountain. As we continued up the trail we found an amazing spot to call home for the night, YP No. 8. Along for the bumpy ride was our dachshund Mocha. This would be her first cold weather camping experience. We traveled a total of 5.93 miles in just over an hour.
After setting up camp and collecting firewood for the night, we decided to make the most of the remaining daylight we had by exploring the surrounding area. Walking just a few yards away from camp we were treated to a lovely snow patch for Mocha to enjoy.
Once back at camp, we decided it was time to get the campfire going and make some dinner. The menu included quinoa with lentils and Tandori bites. There is nothing like a warm meal with a cold beverage at camp to make you just say AHHHHH! Once the sun went down, there was definitely a chill in the air so we changed into our cold weather pajamas and bundled up our sweet Mocha like a burrito. The night was filled with the sound of the crackling campfire, the wind rushing through the pine trees mimicking the sound of the ocean, and heartfelt conversation of how lucky we were to be enjoying this moment together.
Overall, Mocha did very well for her first winter camping trip. She enjoyed playing in the snow and investigating all the smells of the forest. In the tent she happily crawled into my sleeping bag in the middle of the night for some extra warmth. To help her with the cold elements we packed her fleece coat, as well as her winter jacket for the brisk mountain mornings. It is safe to say that Mocha prefers the warmer temperatures.
After packing up camp, we made our way back down the mountain and traveled a total of 7.9 miles in just under an hour. We exited the trail off of the Pines to Palms Highway.
The YP 8 campsite provided us with some amazing views including a gorgeous sunset glow and breathtaking sunrise. If you have never tried YP Camping you should definitely give it a try, it is like an adventure scavenger hunt. These sites are first-come-first-serve so no reservations allowed. When you do find a spot, you will need to decide to claim it or take a chance on finding a better spot along the trail. Happy Hunting!
Our full Top of the Mountain Adventure can be seen below:
Who we are:
We are OpenRoad4Two, a husband-and-wife adventure team, dedicated to hitting the OPN RD. and exploring this beautiful land we live in. We encourage you to follow along with us on our journeys, YouTube, and Instagram. We are dedicated to supporting and assisting our fellow adventurers along the way. We love hearing from you, so please connect with us! Send us a question, a suggestion, a tip, or just a simple hello! Until then, we’ll see you on the OPEN ROAD!!