Monday, August 15, 2016

Peru Creek/Chihuahua Gulch - 8/6/2016

Bill, Cheryl, Catherine and Daryl (and his family) met at the Montezuma Lot at Keystone on Saturday, August 6th. We aired down and headed for Chihuahua Gulch. Chihuahua Gulch is a spur located about 4 miles up Peru Creek. Peru Creek is basically a dirt road with a lot of tourist traffic. Thankfully Daryl reset the odometer at the start of Peru Creek, because the sign for Chihuahua Gulch has been knocked down. The trail head is immediate and starts to incline quickly. The trail is really fantastic and provides a nice variety of scenery, including some water, rocks and mud.

It's not too difficult, but Daryl did manage to paint a black stripe on a rock with his fuel tank skid (actually one of those rocks in the picture above). Apparently looking in the rear view mirror instead of at the rocks in front of him caused him to decide to straddle a nice sized rock. Bill provided some excellent advice, "Yeah, you shouldn't do that." :-)

Bill couldn't resist the opportunity to pose on this rock (below).

The trail is an "out and back," and after returning to Peru Creek, Bill found a great place for some lunch.

After lunch, we decided to drive the rest of Peru Creek up to the mine at the end. Peru Creek is really scenic, and we enjoyed looking at a few mines along the way.

Then, we drove back to the Peru Creek trailhead parking area, aired up and headed out. It was a great day that turned out better than all of us thought it would. We all thought it would rain on us the whole trip, but besides a small amount of drizzle, it was fantastic.

Montezuma Area Trail Opening - June 2016

In Late June Members from patrol 14 participated n the Montezuma Mass Trail Opening Effort.  This was an effort organized by MHJC Club Member Ryan Boudreau.

The intention of this effort was to open as many trails in one weekend as possible (in the Dillion Ranger District) that were still blocked by snow with the hope of curtailing people’s desire to go off trail to avoid being stuck in a Snow Drift.  In years past club member had observed numerous folks going off trail possibly damaging Tundra which can leads to trail closures in the Future.

This was a huge effort, well attended by MHJC members and others from the off road community.  Some of the trails that were opened are Trails that are part of Patrol 14’s Adopt-A-Road Agreement with the Forest Service.  The trails included Red Cone, West side Webster Pass, Deer Creek, St Johns, Middle Fork Swan.

Some of the workers came up Red Cone from 285 while others came from the Montezuma Side and met at the Webster and Red Cone Saddle.  There were numerous signs that needed to be erected at that location.

Since digging hole in the Rocks above tree line can be tiring almost everyone had a chance to be on the end of a shovel at some point.  Members from Patrol 14 who participated were, Bill & Cheryl, Thom, Sam & Elaine, Daryl, Gary & Trudy. 

This kind of effort is becoming more necessary each year, but it also gives everyone a chance to get out earlier than most and help give back.  Good fun, Good wheeling and lots of friendships. A day on the trail with Friends is always a good day.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Red Elephant Hill - 7/2/2016

A group of us headed up Red Elephant Hill on Saturday, July 2nd. We started by meeting in Downieville at the Starbucks to fuel up with caffeine. Then, we headed to the trailhead to air down.

While airing down two groups passed us on their way up. One group was a fellow MHJC patrol, and another was a full size Jeep J20 pickup, Bronco and a Ford Explorer (I think). The trail started fairly mild, but it quickly became fairly steep.  As we headed up, the "J20" group was coming down from a spur, and we decided to let them go on ahead.  However, we quickly discovered they were not really setup for the trail. They were running "open," and had several difficulties getting over some rock obstacles. For the rest of us, we locked in and made good progress.  Unfortunately, at one of the rock obstacles, Gary's Jeep bounced up and landed with one wheel off the trail. In order to ensure the Jeep stayed up on the trail, we quickly connected the other 3 Jeeps to his.  Daryl's Jeep connected via a tow strap, Bill turned his around and connected his winch cable to the front, and Tom connected his winch to the back.

After this bit of excitement (Trudy loved it), we continued up the trail only to stop a short way up due to Bill catching his diff on a rock.  Gary filled in the ruts, and Bill was able to continue up. Unfortunately, it started to rain and caused a steep trail to get slick. The overall difficulty of the trail increased and pushed our Jeeps and nerves to the edge, at least a few times.

We quickly caught up with the "J20" group that were having all kinds of trouble getting up the trail, including an engine smoking, popping a beed and bouncing off a few trees along the way.  Bill helped them get a tire back on, and we finally made it to the top area of the trail.  This was fairly mild with just some tight spots to contend with, between trees. The final major obstacle we faced was a nice rocky area with a great opportunity to flex the suspension.

Coming over this rock, the rock sliders did their job, as Daryl came down hard on the drivers side. No damage to the Jeep!

At the top, we enjoyed a nice 4th of July cookout hosted by Gary. We had some good food and great stories to tell from our trip up.

We drove down the trail that goes up to Bill Moore Lake, and wrapped up the day by airing up and heading out. Overall, it turned out to be a really fun least for me. :-)