When the sun emerges from winter's cloak of overcast skies and begins to warm the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it motivates us to wrap up winter projects on our rigs and head for the high country. And while many of us have reveled in fair-weather wheeling on the Rubicon, setting the first tracks of the year in the company of no one is a whole new experience. Add a little snow to the equation and you've got a Rubicon run to write home about. We hooked up with the Twisted Toys 4WD Club for a First Tracks wheelin' run over hill, dale, and granite slab to the Rubicon's Little Sluice. One thing we liked about the Twisted Toys boys (and ladies), though they're a neophyte club in the realm of wheeling, is that most of the rigs were bought in pristine and unscathed condition. Some of these guys even picked up their rigs from the dealer with zero miles on the odometer. That said, most mods (and dents) were at the hands of the willing and able. From Rockwells and Dana 60s to coilover four-linked suspensions, with nary a hesitation, these guys took it upon themselves to whip out the Sawzall, welders, and tube benders and transform them into exoskeletal wild things. Is this getting your blood pumpin' yet? Check out the next few pages for killer first tracks on one of four-wheeling's classic trails. Mike Forster rolled off the lot with his zero-mile Tacoma in 1995. We thought it was cool when we watched Mike yanking perfectly clean sheetmetal off and replacing it with a flatbed and worthy bumpers (he lives down the road). As for the drivetrain, he slipped in a few other goodies like a front Dana 44, Detroit Lockers, Chevy rear leaves, and 35-inch Boggers.Mike Forster rolled off the lot with his zero-mile Tacoma in 1995. We thought it was cool Flotation and traction are key when running in soft snow, and 5 to 6 pounds air pressure will turn your tires into inverted mushrooms. That's good, until you blow a bead. Bead locks are like an insurance policy; get 'em and you'll save yourself some grief.Flotation and traction are key when running in soft snow, and 5 to 6 pounds air pressure w Old Man Winter has a way of moving things around when we're not watching. The 35-inch MT/Rs on Steve Medley's '05 Rubicon weren't tall enough to keep the bellypan off the rocks.Old Man Winter has a way of moving things around when we're not watching. The 35-inch MT/R Only after a day on the trail with George and Kelli Zanter did we believe their '83 Toy was a bone-stock grocery getter when they bought it. The venerable 22R four-banger turns a dual Marlin Crawler transfer case and spooled rear axle, and the exocage protects soft body parts from inverted environs.Only after a day on the trail with George and Kelli Zanter did we believe their '83 Toy wa Tom Graves and Jesse Duarte couldn't pass up a chance to take on the Soup Can covered with snow. Duarte's red truck was treated to a total makeover. A spooled high-pinion Dana 60 out back and a front electric-locked Toyota/Dana 44 Hybrid ride on a four-link setup and 14-inch Bilstein coilovers. As you can see, just about everything about this rig has been cut, welded, or removed. The only bummer...it's not exactly street-legal.Tom Graves and Jesse Duarte couldn't pass up a chance to take on the Soup Can covered with Need we say more? Yes, we do! The reason we can't camp at Spider Lake anymore is because morons (you know who you/they are) can't seem to keep their crap together. And we mean that in the literal sense. One of our favorite places, closed. Why? Toilet paper and human waist, trash, trees cut down for firewood, and a horrid disregard for other campers. If you don't get it together, the same closure is coming to a trail near you.Need we say more? Yes, we do! The reason we can't camp at Spider Lake anymore is because m The Little Sluice has become an overcrowded dog-and-pony show during the height of summer. But if you have the huevos to show up in winter, you'll probably have the place all to yourself. We aired down the tires with Twisted Toys 4WD Club for a day of snowplay on America's most famous trail. Tom Graves figured the snowpacked Little Sluice wasn't going to hurt his Rockwell axled '82 Toy, and there wasn't enough sheetmetal to worry about. This toy was bone-stock on receipt and Graves exoed, stretched, narrowed, linked, and locked his little son-of-a-Land Cruiser into a serious trail rig.The Little Sluice has become an overcrowded dog-and-pony show during the height of summer. In the days before trains, planes, and 4x4s, the Rubicon trail was no more than a Maidu Indian footpath between Lake Tahoe and California's San Joaquin Valley. Around 1867, pioneers John and George Hunsucker built the first cabin at Rubicon Springs. With the invention of the horseless carriage, it didn't take auto adventurers much time to shoehorn the first car to the springs in 1908 (using ropes and planks to cross difficult sections). In the early '50s, military surplus jeeps found their way to Rubicon Springs under the denim pockets of a group of returning veterans. And the rest is history.In the days before trains, planes, and 4x4s, the Rubicon trail was no more than a Maidu In By Chris Collard Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!