Trip Reports

Lavender Canyon  submitted by Ruth Sendecki

 

Lavender Canyon, named for rancher-turned-author David Lavender, is mostly outside Canyonlands National Park.  However, the most interesting part, in our opinion, is inside the Park and requires a Park Permit with lock combination for entrance.  Our group obtained our permits Wed afternoon and were able to spend all day Thursday, May 4th, exploring.  We were able to locate all three ruins beyond the gate (and one just before the entrance) and identify about 9 of the 16 arches located in Lavender Canyon.

 

Our other canyon exploration involved Davis Canyon.  Initially Davis Canyon and Lavender Canyon trails run together for about 3 miles; then Lavender Canyon goes it own way and Davis Canyon road continues on to the National Park Boundary.  At this point, you must park your vehicle and continue any exploration on foot.  We were able to spot a couple of nice ruins and a small granary.  The granary was in excellent condition but the real objective was Five Faces Pictograph Panel.  We missed it on the hike out but some determination and careful observation with binoculars on the way back led to success in the end.  The panel is in a shaded alcove and is in amazing condition considering it was probably painted 700 to 1,000 years ago.  We were quite pleased to have found it.

 

The “overlooks” part of this trip was done from Needles Overlook, which can be reached by a paved road, and Anticline Overlook, reached by gravel road.  Okay, these drives, in and of themselves, were not at all exciting but the overlooks at the ends were spectacular.  Anticline Overlook, in particular, was worth the drive – it proved views of Hurrah Pass, Kane Creek, Chicken Corners and Jackson Hole trails.  The opportunity to look down on this trails was great. It was also fun to watch one novice driver tentatively negotiate Hurrah Pass Road.   Anticline Overlook Road also provides access to several other trails.  We only had time to explore Box Car Loop, a remote loop trail with a couple of steep, interesting climbs (negotiated with no problems by our group) as well as some flat terrain, and some time in canyons and washes.

 

All in all, another fun, interesting jeep adventure with good friends and good weather. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeeping  Moab     by Lester Sendecki

 

5 days; a total of 10 trails; 11 different jeeps; 3 guests and 16 club members; group sizes that ranged from 9 jeeps to just 2; and not one drop of rain!!!!!

 

Some of the trails were repeats to several in the group, such as Dome Plateau; Hurrah Pass and the combination of Bull Canyon, Gemini Bridges and Long Canyon, while others were new to everyone, including the leaders, such as Fallen Peace Officer, Taylor Canyon, Mineral Point Overlook and Jackson Hole.  There were several in the group who had never been jeeping in Moab before so all trails were rated as either easy or moderate.

 

With regard to the three new trails:

Fallen Peace Officer –  honors Utah State Parks Officer Brady Young (who survived multiple gunshots while conducting a traffic stop at a Moab trailhead) and all Utah fallen peace officers who died or where seriously injured in the line of duty.  It’s a little over 14 miles, rated moderate, takes 21/2 to 3 hours and has been rerouted from the basic directions so be sure to follow the signage on the trail.

 

Taylor Canyon – the trail up Taylor Canyon itself is only about 5 miles long and is very easy.  However, to get there you must drive the west end of the White Rim Trail and navigate your way down the Mineral Bottom switchbacks.  Taylor Canyon is classic western scenery with 2 large monoliths (Zeus and Moses) at the end.  This combination is very good for a nice easy day with very little traffic.  If you finish too early add Mineral Point Overlook, which starts less than a mile away.

 

Jackson Hole – we have gone past the turn for this trail but had always thought it went only to the Base Camp Lodge.  Wrong, there is a whole 12 mile trail out there!  Rated as moderate but is really pretty easy.  Nice views but not much view of the Colorado River, loop around Jackson Butte and Jackson Hole .  Can only be reached by going over Hurrah Pass.

 

Rather than attach too many pictures to this trip report, you should be able to click on the link below and see some of the pictures taken during this trip.  Click on the “Slidshow” button – above the pictures on the right.

 

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Prescott, AZ  Trip Report   submitted by Lester Sendecki

 

Following an extensive drivers meeting, the group of 7 vehicles from Western Slope 4-Wheelers started off down Senator Highway.  This is an easy dirt road that winds its way for 58 miles through the surrounding countryside and ends up at I-17.  It would make a fun drive in and of itself.  However, it also provides access to numerous other 4-wheel drive roads and one of those – Backway to Crown King – was our intended trail for Sat. March 11th.  But… it was not to be.  Less than 10 miles along Senator Highway, the road was blocked by considerable snow, with no end in sight.  Plan B had the group exploring our way to Dunkirk Mine and then on to Stanton Ghost Town.  Stanton could have been interesting but, because of serious gold prospectors, it was not a good idea to do much exploring.  We found our way back to pavement on Old Stagecoach Road, which did provide a nice uphill climb.

Our second day had us exploring Bloody Basin Road and the Agua Fria National Monument.  We did find and explore the unrestored Pueblo La Plata ruins in the national monument; there were supposed to be more ruins and petroglyphs at our lunch stop but we decided not to take the time to scramble down (and then back up) the cliff wall to try to find them.   Rather than return the way we came, we dropped south on Cave Creek road and made a loop out of the day – although it did turn out to be a long loop.  Still another good day out in our vehicles, exploring new areas.

Monday, the 13th was “4-wheel drive vehicles go to swim camp” day.  After climbing the southeast end of DeSoto Mine trail up to the mine, and returning, the group ventured on to Turkey Creek.  Some water crossings were anticipated as was a drive in the creek bed.  The area has had recent heavy rain and flooding, to the point where the creek was still running and had rearranged the trail in a few places.  We encountered water as deep as 2 feet in places during our 10 or 11 water crossings; although the trail bed was dry.  Only the first 2 or 3 crossings were scouted (thanks to Stan for his wading abilities); the group just followed their trusty leader on all the others.  This was a truly fun loop trail with water crossings, a tippy ledge with steps, great views, more wildflowers, perfect weather and a terrific group of wheelers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peach Valley end of Season     Submitted By Ruth Sendecki

Being unable to get into the San Juans due to snow is no excuse to end our jeeping season – there’s always Peach Valley.  On short notice, 5 club members met for a quick but complete Drivers Meeting at Downtown City Market and then proceeded on to the staging area in Peach Valley.  From there, the group first drove a 10 mile loop which included Bobcat, the connecting trail of Red Rock – Nighthorse Trail to Wave & Eagle, along the ridge line and down Eagle.  Some trash was picked up (thanks Chuck), a golden eagle was spotted (thanks Diane), and everyone made it up the climbs.  After returning to Peach Valley Road, we doubled back to Chuker Road, had lunch and snacks at the turn around and returned to Montrose on Elephant Skin Road.  It was an early afternoon (were back in town by 3pm) but the roads were dry, the sun was shining and we were out in our vehicles so all was right with the world.

 

 

 

 

Return to Hanksville Trip Report       Submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Our group all met in Hanksville on Sept 26th, ready for the adventures to begin.  The plan was to run part of Town Wash Trail and then circle back to Hanksville.  After airing down we proceeded to the Fremont River and the fun began.  The area around Hanksville and north had had a lot of rain the previous week.  While the river level was down, the mud remained and there was no getting across it.  After extracting ourselves from the mud, we continued with Plan B (always have a plan B), Burr Point, which is south of Hanksville and provides a wonderful view of the canyon carved by the Dirty Devil River.  Not a hard or even very interesting drive but the views of the canyon are wonderful.

Tuesday, after an intensive, extensive and comprehensive drivers’ meeting, the group proceeded south again to the turn for Bull Creek Scenic Backway.  70 1/2 miles later we returned to pavement.  Along the way, we cleared 2 or 3 passes, did some leaf peeking as the aspens were in full color, found several side roads which need further exploration, saw terrific views (looking down into valleys on both sides), had a couple of driver changes (so the ladies could drive a bit) and generally had a great day.  This route would be Liberty friendly as we never needed 4-wheel drive.

A crossing of Muddy Creek was anticipated as part of the route for Wednesday along Wild Horse Mesa.  However, in view of our earlier experience with mud, it was decided to run this day in reverse, which would put the creek crossing later in the day.  The group started with a leader change and off we went to Molly’s Castle (a interesting stand alone butte reached along a fun little 4-WD road toward Goblin Valley), followed by a hike of Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon.  The Slot Canyon was quite narrow in a couple of spots but was lots of fun.  3 jeeps continued on at this point to Muddy Creek, which was determined too muddy to even get near.  We returned to the parking lot for Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon, aired up and said our goodbyes.

The weather was perfect for jeeping and hiking; the group was great; views and scenery were certainly worth the return to Hanksville.

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Smith Mountain Jeep Road   Submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Fearless leader, Dick Frantz, and his willing Willys Jeep, lead 9 other vehicles out Peach Valley Road to the turn for Ute Trail, which connects to Smith Mountain Jeep Road.  From this turn to the end of the trail is approximately 9 miles long but what a fun 9 miles it is.  There are some up-hill climbs, an equal number of down-hills, a couple of little ledges, and terrific views on both sides (ask Eddie about the big rocks he found to climb over).  For the first few miles, the trail follows a ridge line so to one side are views down into parts of the Gunnison River gorge and to the other side down into the valley that Montrose, Olathe and Delta sit in.  Much more time could have been spent just going from overlook to overlook but Leader Dick knew of a spectacular overlook for a stop and pictures, then it was on to more views, some easier trail, a section of shelf road and trail’s end at the confluence of the Gunnison River and the North Fork of the Gunnison.  Lunch was at Cottonwood Campground on the banks of the Gunnison River and return by way of Peach Valley Road.  After airing up, most of the group decided root beer floats were in order to celebrate a terrific on the trail with good friends.  Perfect jeeping day!!!  Many thanks to Leader Dick.

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Rimrocker Opening Ceremony   Submitted by  Ruth Sendecki

 

9 members of the Western Slope 4-Wheelers met Lester and Ruth in downtown Montrose and caravaned over to Nucla on Aug. 20th for the “official” kick-off party to celebrate the opening of the Rimrocker Trail.  This is a project the club has been involved with for a couple of years (with some members being more involved than others – you know who you are!!!). The formation of the trail is a joint effort with the county and other organizations and it was wonderful to see such a great cooperation result in the 160 mile long trail stretching from Montrose to Moab.  Our group of 9 vehicles was joined by 2 more members who met us in Nucla.  The road was dry and easy, the food was really good, the weather was forgiving, the turn-out (by the club and others) was impressive.  Now that the club has run the section to Nucla, we should plan to do the section from Nucla to Moab!

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New Passes & Trails   submitted by Ruth Sendecki

 

The trails run on Aug 9 and 10 were true explorations as we had never even talked to anyone who had been on any of the roads we had planned.  We met John and Marilyn at the Dry Creek Picnic area along US 50 east and headed north to Rainbow Lake.  The first leg was very easy driving; the second leg got more interesting when, in true explorer fashion, we missed a turn, continued on and found our way blocked by a large downed tree.  Fortunately there was room to turn around and John and Marilyn led us back to the missed turn.  At this point, it was now all down hill and in a southerly direction back to US 50.  This road, which I don’t think has a name, would be a much more interesting drive heading north.  A second loop ending along Ohio Pass Road had been anticipated for later but thunder and rain were threatening so we called an end to the day.

We over-nighted in Gunnison and were met on the 10th by Chuck and Carol Hughes.  Today’s exploration began 24 miles south of Westcliff CO and was Medano Pass road, aka The Backway to Great Sand Dunes NP.  This trail is rated as moderate although we found it to be mostly easy; route finding was also easy with the turn from County Road 69 well marked.  After the pass (9,950ft) we descended through forest and a canyon before beginning numerous crossings of the Medano Creek, entering into the national park and finally reaching the dunes themselves.  The dunes are pretty spectacular where we came out; they decrease in height toward the Visitors Center.  It was nice to find that the park service does provide a free air compressor as it recommends anyone using the trail does air down.

After 2 overnights in Alamosa (a train ride occupied the group for Aug 11th) we returned back to Montrose with a side trip to Cochetopa Pass Road.  Need to return to this area to check out numerous side roads which appear to be open to full size vehicles.  Another fun trip out in the jeeps – good weather, good trails, good times!!!

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Poughkeepsi Trail Clean-Up  submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Our fearless leader Ken finally received notification that the snow was melted and Western Slope 4-Wheelers should open the gate for the season on Poughkeepsie Gulch trail.  Sat the 16th, he and his trusty sidekick Chuck led 13 or 14 other members out to the gate.  The rumor was true – the gate had already been opened by someone who decided they knew when the time was right and cut the chain.  After checking signs (and eating muffins) the group proceeded on.  At the split, several members decided to try The Wall and about half decided to check the work on the Bypass.  Happy to report both groups had success; everyone made it up The Wall successfully and the work on the Bypass held over the winter and still looks good.  The group joined together again at Lake Como and continued on.  However, the day was so perfect for jeep adventures that a few took the turn at Alaska Basin, a couple more went down Gladstone Road to Silverton and the rest continued over Corkscrew to Highway 550.  

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Clear Lake Trail  submitted by Ruth Sendecki

By the time most people get to the turn for Clear Lake trail off of US 550 they are focused on getting to Silverton and either miss or don’t bother with the turn.  That is a mistake.  Although the trail is easy, it is absolutely beautiful and has the added benefit of being only lightly used.

Our group of 10 jeeps took the fork to the right after airing down and climbed up the switchbacks through the trees.  The scenery was great going up but when we got out of the trees it was breath taking.   The switchbacks took us higher and higher up the side of the mountain. At one of the last switchbacks, there is parking room to view a huge waterfall as Clear Creek comes down from the lake. The hike is short, just to the top of the hill that holds the switchback. The next switchback features the Burbank Mine, though it is closed and not particularly interesting.  We did not stop here as there were a couple of other jeeps enjoying the views.  A couple of more switchbacks and then the trail leveled out around a smaller lake, over a rise and there is Clear Lake with plenty of parking.  The lake is indeed clear and one member of the group even caught a couple of small fish.

After a lunch stop by the lake and some wildflower identification, we headed back down and enjoyed the scenery the other way.  At the fork, 3 or 4 of the group took the left-hand fork to the Bandora Mine.

A fun day in the San Juans with great weather.

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Central Utah  submitted by Ruth Sendecki

May 6th saw several members of West Slope 4-Wheelers meet in tiny Hanksville UT for the beginning of this adventure.  Friday afternoon’s trail was easy, once a major dust storm was dealt with, and took us out to an overlook of the Dirty Devil River Canyon.  For such a little river, it sure has carved a large and impressive canyon.

Saturday morning saw a little larger group gather for a trip out Poison Springs Canyon to Sunset Pass and then a right hand turn for a trip to Hite – total of approximately 65 miles off pavement.  Adventures for the day included a crossing of the Dirty Devil River and a major washout of the road.  There was a fun by-pass which everyone had to take as the true route and first go-around were both unusable.  This was, in our opinion, the best day of the trip – a river crossing, a by-pass that got everyone’s attention and jaw dropping scenery.  Yes it was a long day but it was absolutely worth it.

Sunday, the 8th, we had hoped to be able to get over the Henry Mountains.  However, they were still buried in snow so leaders Lester and Ruth Sendecki found an alternative route around the southern end of the Henrys, which connected to the Notom Road.  From there it was up the Burr switchbacks to our lunch stop complete with terrific views and a picnic table.  The afternoon saw the group exploring Upper Muley Twist, found 2 double arches and 1 single arch and an overlook of the Strike Valley.  Down the switchbacks and on to Capitol Reef NP.

Monday the 9th and Tuesday the 10th were both spent exploring the roads of Capitol Reef NP.  There is a 10-mile paved scenic road with 2 side spurs, all of which we explored.  The scenic road connects to a dirt road, very little used but still in the national park.  This road connected to two other roads which took us back to pavement south of Torrey Utah.  A couple of vehicles had had enough for the day and headed to camp while a group of 5 went looking for more views on forest service roads.  It’s amazing what’s out there just waiting for us to come along and look!!!!  Monday was a little shorter day on the trail so folks had a chance to explore the Visitors Center and some of the other sights available in Capitol Reef.  Tuesday started with a crossing of the Fremont River, minor compared to the Dirty Devil and then we explored a 60 (more or less) mile loop, again in a very remote area of the park.  Stopped at all the overlooks and sites of historic interest.  Except for hiking, of which there is a lot, we pretty much covered Capitol Reef NP.

With one exception, none of our group had done any of these trails before and they were certainly worth the trip.  Although the weather was a little threatening at times, it did not interfere with our trail rides in any way.  There are several more trails in that area which have our interest so a late summer, early fall trip may be planned.

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MOAB with Weather! submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Tuesday, April 26th, saw steady rain in the morning as the group was gathering; however, we were headed south so decided to give it a try.  Leader Bill Dean headed us off in the right direction with history and stories along the way.  The history and stories continued as we navigated our way along Jax Trax and connected to the Cameo Cliffs trail, both in the Hook and Ladder area.  There were a few intermittent showers but nothing that slowed us down or caused any problems.  Bill and his wife, Christine, helped develop these two trails and have led them for Easter Jeep Safari several times so it was truly a treat for WS4Wers to have them as our trail leaders for this adventure.

Trail rides continue on Wednesday and the weather cooperated.  There were no major challenges or obstacles on today’s trails but several parts of it did get our attention.  The group started out on Potash Road with stops along the way at various scenic overlooks, next up was a side trip to Musselman Arch, which made a great lunch stop.  Then it was up the Shafer Switchbacks with thrilling views of the countryside we had just driven across.  The afternoon included a stop at Gemini Bridges and down Long’s Canyon back to Moab.  Quite a day and no rain.

The last day was Courthouse Rock, a trail which was new to all in the group.  Nice little trail which connected to Tusher Tunnel, which we all had fun exploring.  However, as we were finishing up we heard thunder and saw very threatening clouds headed our way so we scurried back to our jeeps and headed for Moab.  It does rain with thunder and lightening in Moab!!!  We were very happy to not be in Tusher Wash when this storm hit because it rained very heavily.  Late lunch in Moab; some started for home after and the rest came back Friday the 29th.

Good trails, good adventures, good friends and no problems;  even the weather didn’t cause any real problems.

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Sedona AZ Trip Report    submitted by Lester Sendecki

3 days, 5 or 6 vehicles (depending on the day), nice weather (a little windy & cloudy one day), and 6 trails.  4 of the trails were rated as difficult and the other 2 as moderate but none of them gave our group any trouble – didn’t break anything, didn’t need a winch or even a tow strap. Trails ranged from rocky Smiley Face (see photo) to scenic Red Rocks Powerline to hilly Greasy Spoon.  The group also enjoyed Oak Creek Homestead and the Outlaw Trail.  The trails had something for everyone – several different hill climbs that produced what one spouse termed “jeepers grin” to rock crawling (which would have been loved by some members who weren’t with us and shall remain nameless) to breath taking scenery to Native American ruins and rock art and even some easy sections.  There were a few wildflowers in bloom, the century plants had had a good spring but were mostly gone by (Stan’s sharp eyes did spot one in bloom up high on a cliff side).  The trails the group conquered are just a sample of what the Sedona Area has to offer.  The Club was there last year but, with one exception, did totally different trails this year.  This was a great get-away and gave us the opportunity to start the jeeping season early.

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Rabbit Valley  submitted by Barbara Limone

5 Vehicles met on Saturday morning in Delta and picked up one more in Fruita on our way out to Rabbit Valley for the day. After pulling onto our trail we had to wait for a LARGE group of 4-wheelers & side-by-sides before we could pull off and air down. Shortly after starting out & crossing border into Utah we met our first obstacle. The ravine was fairly dry and presented less of an obstacle than expected without the mud & water. All vehicles maneuvered without any problem.

After making it through the first ravine with no problem we, of course, didn’t expect any issues with the next couple little ravines. However, Chuck reported later that both he and Kevin & Holly had some issues with one of those, but we kept progressing on our way as there were no hollers for assistance and we all kept moving along. Until Alan & Stephanie had a bit of a clunker bunker! The nut fell off & the bolt came out of the track bar. We thought it a good idea to take a break and hunt down the bolt which was found about 50 yards back down the trail. It was decided the nut could have been missing for a while. After this little fix up, we continues on…
Eventually we met up with the wheeler group again and passed all 36 of them pulled off the side of the road having lunch. We were happy to see they weren’t in the lunch spot we were planning on!
Lunch included a great view & conversation. Carl found a couple tiny wildflowers. They weren’t easy to find on our trip today!
After lunch, we kept moving along! We made a loop out to an excellent viewpoint for a peak of the Colorado River in the distance and then came to our last obstacle for our little trip. There was a by-pass available, but where’s the fun in that? Unless you use it to go back & do the obstacle AGAIN!
And then, of course, we have those that seek out the most difficult way… (No names but… someone thought they just HAD to test out their new upgrades,)
We wrapped up the trail, aired up and then some of us met up at Munchies in Fruita for a quick but tasty dinner to finish out the day! We had great weather if a bit chilly & breezy early in the day.
By all accounts it was a fine day and a fun trip! …the trails are calling. We must GO!
Death Valley Days  submitted by Lester Sendecki
Let the record show that an extensive, intensive & comprehensive drivers meeting was held each & every morning.  The day’s adventure was discussed & the previous day’s behaviors were reviewed.  On the trails we yielded to hikers, bikers, motorcyclists, other 4×4 vehicles & a few drivers/vehicles who should not have been out there.  We also picked up trash & litter.
Death Valley is indeed a harsh environment.  One Jeep dropped out early after day 2.  Another dropped out after day 3 & another dropped out after day 4.  Day trips varied from 50 miles to 175 miles.
The difficult trails were Swansea-Cerro Gordo & Funeral Range.  The easy trails were 20 Mule Team Canyon and the 27 miles of washboard road to the Race Track.  4 Wheel drive was not required on either.  Chloride Cliffs, Chloride City, Titus Canyon, Mengel Pass, Goler Wash, Echo Canyon, Inyo Mine, all rate either a high Easy or low Moderate.
As reported, the wild flowers were in Super Bloom.  Wherever we stopped we found small, low tiny blooms & blossoms in addition to the tall showy flowers.

We saw miners shacks, burros, rocks that had moved, a volcano crater, millions of wildflowers, and lots of terrific scenery.  If you ever get the chance to go to Death Valley, we highly recommend it.  If you want more pictures, let me know.  I took way too many to select just a few to include with the trip report.

Click on the link (or Entering Death Valley) to see a few of mine and a couple by Helen Whitney.

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Exploring Old Railroad Passes  submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Oct. 10 saw a group of members leaving Montrose headed toward Sargents, with a stop in Gunnison to pick up 1 more vehicle.  The turn for Marshall Pass is well marked and is the old railroad grade;  so it is an easy 2wd road for about 10 miles to the pass.  Here you have a choice, continue on FS 200, the old railroad grade, or take FS 203, along Poncha Creek, which is considered a 4wd road.  Guess which our group took??  There was still some color left and Eddie and Linnea did a wonderful job of keeping us on the right track and telling tales of haunted ghost trains.  Arrived in Salida for the night with more adventures planned for Sunday.

After leaving Salida, the group (now with another additional vehicle) headed west toward Montrose but with some side trips along the way.  First side trip was about 13 miles from Salida when we turned north on County Road 224, Taylor Mt Road.  At first this trail seemed pretty tame as it climbed about 5 1/2 miles to an active quartz mine.  Low-range was needed but only to keep the vehicles from over heating.  However, at the mine, the trail turns west and south and offered great views along a narrow shelf road and down a series of switchbacks to another mine.  Then it was back to pavement for a few miles to the turn for Old Monarch Pass.  Old Monarch Pass leads into Tomichi Valley and provides access to Tomachi Pass Trail and Black Sage Pass Road, among others.  As we were headed home, we choose Black Sage Pass as it took us in the right direction, namely on to Waunita Pass Road and south to US 50.
The weather was perfect, there was still some color, none of the vehicles had any problems along the trail – all in all a great 2 days of four-wheeling.
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Ouray Fall 2015 Colors  submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Today was a beautiful day so Lester and I went for a ride; stayed on easy county roads in Ouray County.  However, that does not mean the scenery was lacking.  This is just a sample of what we saw – fall colors with mountains and snow.  Spectacular!!  The season isn’t over yet.  Both of the roads we were on would make good color runs for next fall; I pretty sure we can remember which ones they were.

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Blue Mesa Runs     submitted by Linnea Piatek

Run to Blue mesa on September 5th took the Cut off. Come a cross to Narrow Gap pass. To Indian Reservation . To Carr’s Home stead.We will hear more on the Carr’s later. The creek was just beautiful.To 149-to 27 Rd. Powerhorn post office is history site. Gaping Station, Cebolla creek date for site 1868. Off to eagle rock. To cannibal  trail. It named for a famous person. Came out at Slumgullion Pass. To Lake City for lunch. Very good lunch. Off to Alpine Plateau . At top of Alpine Plateau see where the Carr’s family saw mill was.The family had the Back Woods Inn . Then to hwy & home The peak at was ask is the Uncompahgre peak (14309) .The drive just a very nice day. There was a trail off 27 rd will come out 114 hwy .This look like a beautiful drive too. It will be a day trip.

 

 

Buena Vista Days 3 and 4       submitted by Ruth Sendecki

After Lost Canyon on Monday and Tincup Pass on Tuesday, it was time for more passes.  The decision was to do Mosquito Pass and Weston Pass on Wednesday.
Mosquito Pass was new to many in the group and has a lot of history associated with it as well as spectacular views:  at 13,186 ft. it is the highest pass road in America; first crossed by white men in 1839; used by an itinerant Methodist preacher in 1864 to carry the mail; wagon road over the pass was completed in 1879 but it was a very rough ride.  The views from the pass were truly spectacular and included South Park, Leadville, Turquoise Lake and the Sawatch Range.  Our group of 4 jeeps were joined at the top by 3 vehicles and drivers from Minnesota, so we did our best to welcome them to Colorado.  After lunch is Alma, we returned over Weston Pass, which at a mere 11,921 ft is not nearly as dramatic as Mosquito Pass but it helped complete the loop.   As we were still a little early in the afternoon, we decided to take a side trip to the ghost towns of Vicksburg and Winfield.
A couple of the group started for home Wednesday evening or early Thursday but the remaining 2 stayed with the plan and took Hancock Pass Trail, including the side trip to Hancock Lake.  This is a moderately difficult 4WD route and includes the Pass at 12,140 ft.  We had all taken the side trip out to the Alpine Tunnel previously so passed it on this trip.  We found our connection with Cumberland Pass Trail, turned south and headed for home.
4 days, 4 passes (Tincup, Mosquito, Weston and Hancock), 4 ghost towns (if you include Tincup), great views, good weather and some new trails.  All in all, an outstanding trip.  There is much more to explore in this area and a return trip might be needed.
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Ladies Fall Color Run Photos  submitted by Matt Goetsch

 

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Buena Vista – Days 1 and 2  submitted by Lester Sendecki

Our group of 3 jeeps met in Buena Vista the afternoon of September 7 for the first adventure.  After looking at an on-coming storm, it was decided to go north and do Lost Canyon to try to avoid weather.  The leaders (Lester and Ruth) had tried this road twice before and been turned back each time.  Third time is the charm as our group made it all the way to the end this time.  The trail does look down into Lost Canyon and offers views of Twin Lakes Reservoir, Mt Elbert and Clear Creek Reservoir from various viewpoints.  Our group was able to continue on past some cabins and were treated to a view of a rainbow in the valley below us.

Tuesday, the 8th, we were joined by Ken and Bonnie.  Our trip this day was a loop out of Buena Vista – over Cottonwood Pass to Taylor Reservoir then into Tincup.  Since it was after Labor Day, Frenchie’s and the Tincup Store were closed but we did take a sidetrip to the cemetery.  Then it was on to Mirror Lake for lunch.  (On the way to our lunch stop we had a moose sighting when a female crossed the road right in front of us.)  After lunch it was onward and upward to Tincup Pass on the continental divide, down the other side and into St Elmo, one of the most popular ghost towns in the state.  Most of the hummingbirds had already left but the chipmunks were still around.

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Escalante Canyon And Beyond  submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Aug 30th saw a total of 9 jeeps leave pavement at the turn for Escalante Canyon north of Delta.  The first part of the drive was fairly easy and uneventful as we made our way past the Walker cabin, Henry Smith’s homestead and the Potholes.  A few miles beyond the potholes, a right turn took the group up a climb and into scenery reminiscent of Moab.  Brushy Ridge Road is very scenic and lightly used but a fun drive, especially (only) when dry.  Brushy Ridge Road intersects Dominguez Ridge Loop Trail, which none in the group, including the leaders, had ever done before.  It was still early enough and the weather was not threatening, so the decision was to try it.  This is pretty remote territory but offered great views of the Grand Mesa and the Dominguez Ridge.  The direction our group took had us doing the more rutted and eroded section of the trail first and ending with the easier section.  The group returned to Divide Road on the Uncompahgre Plateau, turned south and headed for supper in Delta.   As we approached Delta, we could see they were having a pretty good shower but it was over by the time we got there.  It was a great day to be out with so many from the Club; glad everyone could make it.

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Lake City/South Fork submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Day 1, August 11, saw 4 jeeps leaving Silverton and headed up and over Cinnamon Pass and on to American Basin.  The wildflowers were terrific but several of us thought they had been better in Silver Basin (see previous trip report) this year.  After lunch and cupcakes it was on to Wagner Gulch and a stop at Carson Ghost Town.  The county was working on the road but the Ranger was kind enough to let us proceed on to Carson.  We take it as a good sign that the county is doing road maintenance.  Continuing on we went along the San Creistabol Lake before reaching Lake City.  One vehicle and driver returned to Montrose on pavement, while the rest of the group overnighted in Lake City.

Day 2, August 12, saw our 3 jeeps and passengers ready to go early, so off we went.  Today’s trail was Bristol Head Overlook, a trail none of our group had ever driven before.   This trail is not as well known and used as some of the more famous trails in the San Juan Mountains, but it certainly is worthy of a visit. The trail starts out as an easy, well-graded road off highway 149. There are several switchbacks as you gradually gain in elevation. This first part of the trail is suitable for any vehicle.  At about 8 miles from the trailhead the trail splits at an intersection. Forest service road 533.2A goes left to Crystal Lake. (We explored that route on the way back.)  The Bristol Head Overlook trail gets steeper and rockier from this point on.  At the top, you may park at either overlook and enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the entire region.  We all agreed it is one of the best views we have ever seen.  Definitely a WOW view!  After returning to pavement, one of the members suggested checking out North Clear Creek Falls, a 1/4 mile south of our turnout; this was certainly worth a visit while in the area.  This stop led our group to further exploring off-pavement which included navigating by just using a GPS unit.  All of our trails were on the GPS unit and there were no road closed signs so on we went.  It was long day when we got into South Fork but all agreed it was certainly fun.

Day 3, August 13, was time for more exploring; this time we were looking for Elwood Pass, one of the few passes on the Continental Divide that can still be reached by a jeep road.  Our inn keeper in South Fork overhead our conversation and suggested an alternate route to the top enabling us to drive a loop rather than an in-and-out route.  Terrific suggestion and with a little more navigating we found Elwood Pass and the route down with ease.  The only mishap was in missing the turn to the Black Diamond Mine (maybe next time??); lunch was at Silver Falls, then on to pavement where we all parted company and headed for home.
These new trails on Days 2 and 3 have convinced us we need to do more exploring of off-pavement roads in the Lake City, South Fork and Pagosa Springs area.
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Silver Basin Sign Party  submitted by Lester Sendecki

Most people who drive out Camp Bird Road are headed to Imogene Pass or the Yankee Boy Basin area.  However, many members of WS4Wers also know it provides access to Silver Basin – a short, easy drive with terrific scenery.  Thanks to the hard work of several club members, the club received permission to sign the route for the forest service.  This will keep drivers on the designated road and off of dead ends.  Sunday, Aug 9, Ken Emory lead 6 other members on a work day to drive the route and put up the appropriate signs at the turns.  It was a beautiful day with no rain in the forecast; the group brought out saws, hammers, trimmers, sledge hammers, wrenches and other tools and got the job done.  The reward was spectacular wildflowers, lots of water in the lake (many of seen it mostly dry) and a great day on the trail with friends.

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Trail Check Ride  submitted by Janet Dean

On Sunday, August 2,  Rob and Janet, Bill, Billy, Mike, and Chuck joined Ken, Bonnie, and Kimberly for a trip to Corkscrew, Hurricane Pass and the south end of Poughkeepsie.
The group replaced several signs that were missing or damaged. Poughkeepsie was in better condition than we thought it would be. Should be able to address those areas in the August 15 scheduled clean up.
Light rain at times but it was still beautiful!  We continued on to Silverton for some lunch and shopping.  Then it really rained on the way home which rinsed off most of the mud. Good times.
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Brushy Ridge Trip    submitted by Ruth Sendecki

The weather had been dry for several days so it was time to try Brushy Ridge again.  (Last time was a mud-fest!!)  It was short notice to the Club and we could not get anyone else to go with us.  We went anyway, having done the trail before and felt comfortable with it.   38 miles after leaving Highway 50, we arrived at Divide Road – in between, there is scenery that looks like Moab, a 2000 foot climb and a drive along a ridge between Brush and Snipe Mountains and a canyon.  We saw coyote,  lots of birds, views that go forever and more wildflowers than I can name.   This is a nice drive on a very remote and unused road on the Plateau.  If there is any interest (let us know if you’re interested), we would be willing to do it again toward the end of August (as long as it is dry!!!!)

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Mineral Creek Run  Submitted by Ruth Sendecki

On June 16th, several club members and guests joined Lester and Ruth and their guests for a trip up Mineral Creek.  After the climb up the scenic narrow canyon, the group turned out to Mineral Point, the mining camp founded in 1873.  The mine here was on the verge of being abandoned when one last short uncovered a body of ore that produced $85,000 the following month.  However, due to winters, lack of transportation and the silver crash of 1893, Mineral point became a ghost camp around the mind 1890s.  Our group enjoyed wandering around the old buildings, one of which has enjoyed a little restoration.  Then it was on to Animas Forks, which is also enjoying some restoration, and lunch stop.  From here, some members chose to return via California Pass and Corkscrew, while the rest went on to Silverton and played “tourist”.  There was only 1 rain shower, which did not amount to much, and 1 broken shock, which did not slow anyone down.  There was a little snow left, the wildflowers were in bloom and the Animas River was really ripping along.  All in all, a good day in the San Juans.  Many thanks to the members and other guests who helped us show our guests from Iowa what wheeling the San Juans is all about.

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Moab Take 2 – Part 2  Submitted by Ruth Sendecki

Our group of Moab adventurers gained another couple for the next part of the trip.  First up was Chicken Corners on Tuesday, June 16th.  This road begins right in downtown Moab by the McDonald’s and is very easy for about the first 14 miles, out to and over Hurrah Pass, which gives great views of the Colorado River.  The road only becomes a little rougher as it descends the other side and and proceeds west.  Despite the name, Chicken Corners is quite easy unless the passenger is afraid of heights.  There is only a little maneuvering between large boulders and the cliff edge to negotiate the Corners.  The trail continues about 2 miles further on, just about opposite Thelma and Louse Point on the other side of the Colorado River.  Return the same way; be sure to take time to explore the natural caves at Catacomb Rock, which is just a little south of the main trail.  Although our group had lunch at Chicken Corners, Catacomb Rock is also a great lunch stop.

The last day in Moab, June 17th, the group planned to do a trail and then head for home.  Today’s trail was Dome Plateau, which starts off of Highway 128, for some this was on the way back to Colorado.  This trail seems to have something for everyone; spectacular view of the Colorado River near the start; some ledges and climbs to negotiate along the way; La Boca Arch; natural caves at Caves Springs and an old mining camp.  None in our group had any problems with the ledges and climbs; although we did stop and inspect the various lines possible on a couple of descents.  Our lunch stop for the day was at the Arch – not the “Golden Arches” we all are familiar with but La Boca Arch, which is just a short side trip from the main trail.  There is also an easy 5 mile side trip which we decided to save until another day in the interest of time.  Aired up at the end of the trail / pavement and all headed in various directions.

All in all it was a great time in Moab for club members.
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Moab Take 2 – Part 1    Submitted by Ruth Sendecki

 

Sunday, June 14th, 2 participants from the Randy Skees Poker Run (see previous trip report) were joined by 2 other WS4Wers members in Naturita for the run over to Moab.  Original plan had been to go out to Buckeye Reservoir, then on to Moab by way of LaSal Pass or Geyser Pass in Utah.  However, these passes were still under snow.  After some discussion, it was decided to do the run to Buckeye Reservoir, then head north on dirt and connect to John Brown Road, drop into Castle Valley and then on into Moab.  The group agreed that this ended up being a perfect plan – the road to Buckeye was new to most, the connections to John Brown RD worked well and the drive down into Castle Valley was breath taking.
Trails and scenery in Moab are always fun and spectacular.  Monday our schedule was to do Fins-N-Things in the morning, have lunch and then do Hidden Canyon Overlook, if time allowed.  Fins-N-Things went without a hitch or problem of any kind and was everyone’s favorite trail of the trip.  The steep slickrock climbs and descents were unbelievably fun. Bigger, better tires and Anti-Rock Sway Bar made all the difference in the world for one of our group.  Hidden Canyon Overlook required a little bit of careful trail finding as it could be hard to see in a few places but the trail itself was relatively easy.  The view down into Hidden Canyon at the end was impressive.  We could have connected on to other trails but decided to call it a day.  Dinner and cold cold beverages were in order.

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Randy Skees Poker Run     Submitted by Ruth Sendecki

A very long name for a very fun event held annually on the second Saturday of June to raise money for the Nucla / Naturita Chamber of Commerce.  The event begins with registration at the Nucla Fire Hall at 8:30 and ends at the same location when the off-pavement tour of the West End is finished.  Dinner is served followed by a raffle (ask Kenny about his new hat) and the best poker hand is also announced.

June 13th saw 24 4X4 vehicles left the Fire Hall and headed west off Hwy 90; this year’s ultimate goal was Indian Henry’s cabin in Bull Canyon; each year the route is different so there is no worry about running the same route a second time.   An informative pamphlet on the Life and Death of Indian Henry and map of the route were provided. (Indian Henry was an Indian who was adopted by the Huff family when he was about 17; he spent the rest of his life in the West End prospecting, staking claims and holding them for sale.  He was murdered at the age of 55 during a game of Hearts at the boarding house in Bull Canyon.)  The drive included mud, rocks, sand, and a couple of good hill climbs.  Lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings was served along the way to the group.

The group of 24 vehicles included at least 4 support vehicles (trail leaders, tail gunner and extra helpers “just in case”), the rest of the group was a couple of 4X4 pickups, ATVS and 6 vehicles from Western Slope 4 Wheelers.  None of WS4Wers had any trouble with any of the obstacles along the way.  A couple of other vehicles were left at the beginning of a long rocky hill descent, rides were given to the occupants and the vehicles reclaimed later in the day.

For those of you not familiar with the West End of Montrose County, it has some spectacular, Moab like scenery; great off-pavement roads; interesting cowboy and mining history; and Naturita has a nice comfortable motel and good cafe.  It was great to see so many from our club supporting another organization in Montrose County, running some new (to us) roads and having such a great time.

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Rock Junction       Submitted by Ruth Sendecki

This is an annual event put on by the Grand Mesa Jeep Club in Grand Junction during the first part of June each year.  5 members from Western Slope 4 Wheelers participated this year and, as far as we can tell, a good time was had by all.  There were numerous trails to choose from so the 5 of us were never all on the same trail at the same time.  However, on Friday, the 5th, 4 of us were on Coal Canyon together, which made for a good time!  By the way, this particular trail offers an uphill climb which ends about 1.5 miles east of Mt Garfield and offers a spectacular view of the Palisade area and the possibility of spotting wild horses (which we did).   Other trails enjoyed by members of the group included Round Mountain, Gateway to Glade Park, 16 Road, Speers Access and Tabeguache (same name as our local trail but way different).  All total, there are probably 24 or 25 trails to choose from ranging from easy / moderate to true rock crawling trails.  After the trails, the club puts on a Bar-B-Q each evening for the guests and then has a vendor’s day / swap meet on Sat.  It was great to see so many of our club members enjoying this event, supporting another club, and running new trails.  Maybe we’ll see more of you next year.

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Naturita Trip – Memorial Day Weekend 2015  submitted by Chuck Hughes

 

Six brave souls headed to Naturita in spite of the wet weather forecast, Eddie & Linnea, Chuck & Carol and Mike & Peggy…what a great decision.

Saturday was supposed to be the soggiest so we went to the car museum in Gateway and enjoyed the classic cars and great lunch served at the restaurant.  We contacted the historical society in Naturita and the museum was open, so we were able to tour the wonderful collection of items and listen to the history that they have in connection with the Uravan Mine.

It continued to rain, but we had a great dinner of baked potatoes and chili back at the RV Park.

 

Sunday arrived and so did Stan & Marcie to join us on the trip down to Cashin Mine outside of Bedrock.  The weather was cooperating for a while then turned a little wet…but by the time we reached the highway for lunch at Bedrock it had subsided.  We then took Y11 Road, also known as the River Road and followed the hanging flume up the canyon.  The Rimrocker Historical Society has reconstructed a portion of flume and it is a great visual aid to what the flume originally looked like.  Arriving back in Uravan we took the EE22 Road so that we could see the site where they buried a lot of the old town site.  We then headed back to Naturita and had a great dinner at the Yellowrock Cafe, where someone got birthday candles on their banana cream pie, and some had coconut cream pie.

 

Monday was too wet to take the road to Buckeye Reservoir, so…we ate breakfast and packed up and headed back home.  Great Trip…Rain or Shine!

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Tabeguache Trail 2015  trail leader Todd Bacon, photos by Ruth Sendecki, Steve Reynolds & Debbie Bell

A bright and beautiful day welcomed 17 vehicles and their riders to a fun filled run over the Tabeguache Trail. This was a planned trail maintenance day and it also included a lot of fun and new experiences for several members. After the proverbial gas top-off at City Market the procession made their way out SApring Creek road and to the trail head off Rim Road. A pause there to air down and it was off and running. Making their way down the shelf road into the Dry Creek canyon, our first stop was at the creek crossing. There, one group proceeded across while the second remained to clean up the area. This included the removal of an illegal fire pit and general trash pick up. Moving along we found the trail to be in good condition and except for some minor trash, we moved along quite well. Further inot the trail, we found a few steep climbs which contained some loose rock and required spotting and some assistance to make it up to the top. Some minor step damage and some help with a tow strap, the whole group made it up. Near an old homestead site, we stopped for nice lunch rest before proceeding along the trail to it’s junction with Cushman Creek. Finally climbing up a steep grade with loose rock we stopped to air up before continuing out to Olathe. Along the way we spotted a recently burned trash pile. On closer examination, we found this pile to still be smoldering. After picking up all the trash, the area was raked clean, doused with water and declared dead. This was a potential hazard had it been left to smolder and possibly re-flash and then spread fire to the nearby trees. Job well done by all !! Two casulaties from the run, the Bell’s JK suffered another blow to the passenger side running board…now have rock rails on order and new member Oliver was found on the side of the road south of Olathe with a blown rear end and burned right rear axle. We got his rig down to the fruit stand off the highway while Eddie and Linea made a run home to Montrose and got their truck & trailer to retrieve Oliver’s Jeep and haul it down to Rockworx for Craig to work magic on. Great day for all. See you on the next trail!!

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Wave Eagle/Peach Valley 2015    submitted by Ken Emory, photos by Steve Reynolds

With over 38 people and 33 vehicles in attendance, the WS4W gang set out for the inaugural Spring Wave Eagle/Peach Valley run opening the off road season. Thanks to some early trail maintenance by Chuck Hughes and Ken Emory, the trail was open and ready for the club. Leaving the staging area the skies were showing a possible threat of a storm but by mid day, the sun was out and the BBQ was in full swing. After replacing a multiple number of signs and with the picking up of trash, the club enjoyed a fine meal of hot dogs, hamburgers and delicious side dishes. A few campside tales and it was time to hit the trail out. Everyone made the run out with nary a problem and the enjoyment of great views and a fun day. These photos are just a few of the days events…

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Thompson Springs – Hell’s Hole                 submitted by Carol Hughes

 

April 11, 2015

 

Started to group up at City Market in Delta at 8 A.M.:

Eddie & Linnea, Karl, Barb & Meghan, and Alan met up with Chuck and Carol and headed to Thompson Springs via Highway 6 & 50 and Interstate 70…Mike Click joined the group at the Fruita exit, and Rob & Jane joined us at Thompson Springs.

Located north of Thompson Springs, Utah is Sego Canyon, also known as Book Cliffs and Thompson Wash. This side trip off of I-70 west of the Utah/Colorado line provides not only a peek at prehistoric rock-art, but also the remains of the old coal town of Sego, a once thriving coal mining camp. About 3 ½ miles north of  Thompson Springs, on Sego Canyon Road, are the petroglyphs and pictographs left by several different cultures.

After viewing the historic rock art, we headed north on Sego Canyon Road. After about ½ mile, the road forks, with the left fork headed into Thompson Canyon, and the right fork heading into Sego Canyon. Take the right fork, which quickly leads to Sego’s old cemetery. The ghost town of Sego is about another mile or so on up the canyon. Today, the old site continues to display numerous signs of its prosperous past. The stone walls of the old American Fuel Company Store continue to stand, though its windows and roof are long gone. Nearby, are the walls of another stone building, as well as the two-story, crumbling wood “American” boarding house, throughout the canyon can be found numerous other crumbling structures, mine shafts, foundations, and the old railroad bridges that crossed the creek. The cemetery provides an overgrown look at the past in its few marked and unmarked headstones.

The main road that winds its way through the canyon ends at Hell’s Hole. There is a gate that marks the boundary of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, and a massive parking area located here for hunters during season. The trees and terrain are very different at the top of Sego Canyon as compared to what is initially encountered at the bottom.

We had lunch at the top the headed back down the canyon which connected to Thompson Canyon. We drove up the Canyon which ended at Crescent Junction; this canyon has varied geological aspect.

We arrived back at Thompson Springs, and Karl and Barb took us for us side trip up Yellow Cat Road to the site where the Utah Raptor was discovered, and where they discovered each other. Mike led off of Yellow Cat Road via another trail that let to the Cisco exit and back to the interstate, where we stopped in Fruita for delightful conversation over a meal at El Tapatio.

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Moab:After Jeep Safari         submitted by Ruth Sedecki
4 days (3 overnights), 9 trails, lots of laughs, 7 (or was it 8) arches, cold beer, 1 snake, a view of the Green (not Colorado) River and no tow straps or damage.  What else can we say……..
Actually we could say a lot because it was a lot of fun.  Drove over on Monday the 6th, had lunch in town and then drove Tower Arch trail, a 4-wheel drive road actually in Arches National Park, which takes you out to both Tower Arch and Eye of Whale Arch.  Two arches that are not seen by many folks at all.
Tuesday and Wednesday were both full days of trails.  Tuesday we did Bull Canyon, Surprise Overlook, Gemini Bridges, Day Canyon Overlook and Long’s Canyon.  Wednesday’s adventures includes Secret Spire, Spring Canyon Point and Rainbow Terrace.  Thursday morning we did Picture Frame Arch, had lunch in town again and then headed back to the Western Slope.
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Buckeye Reservoir Trail  submitted by Trail Committee

It was a totally new trail for members of the WS4W last Sunday as they made their way from the trail head at the bridge crossing of the Dolores River to Buckeye Reservoir.  The trail was a fun run of about 15 miles from the river to the lake. After crossing the river, the trail begins it’s run up a rather steep but short switchback gaining about 200 feet in elevation. The trail then winds along the mesa top as it heads in a westerly direction. There were a lot of varied trail surfaces encountered along the way. The trail is mostly dirt and gravel covering large portions of rock. In a few places there were some pockets of sand and numerous rock stairs to climb. The views are stupendous! You are treated to many breathtaking panoramas of the Dolores River canyon and further along, a wide vista overlooking the Paradox Valley. There are sections of shelf road to traverse getting a little narrow in a few spots. This trail has something for everyone except maybe the die hard rock crawler. After a few hours on the trail you begin a run through Ponderosa pines and finally emerge at a most beautiful site, the Buckeye Reservoir Campground and lake. This lake is located at almost 8000 foot elevation so the climate can be on the cool side. There are 31 established camp sites capable of handling large motorhomes. There are no hookups, so it’s a dry camp. Be sure to bring your own drinking water. There are picnic tables and very new restroom facilities. There is even a boat ramp for those wishing to do a bit of fishing. After a nice relaxing lunch, the crew hit the trail to return to the trail head. The Buckeye Trailhead is located approximately 18 miles from Naturita along highway 141. There is even a website for the Buckeye Reservoir Campgrounds.

 

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Easter Jeep Safari 2015  submitted by Lester Sendecki, photo’s by Ruth Sendecki

As we all know, the week of March 29th was Easter Jeep Safari Week in Moab.  Club President Ferris McCollum was tail gunner for trips on several days but had Tuesday and Wednesday off.  He agreed to lead Seven Mile Rim trail for the club on Wednesday, April 1st.This trail, north of Moab, had plenty for everyone – rocky ledges and ridges, soft sand, slickrock, and tippy places as well as great scenery and views.  There is a side trip to Uranium Arch, close up views of Monitor and Merrimac Buttes and Determination Towers and Wipe Out Hill, although none in our group of 5 jeeps tried this obstacle.The weather was windy so our views were a little obstructed but, in spite of that, everyone had a great time.  The only mishap was a flat tire, which was quickly replaced thanks to the “pit crew” (they would do NASCAR proud).A big thanks to Ferris for leading this trail.Easter Jeep 2015 04 Easter Jeep 2015 03 Easter Jeep 2015 02 Easter Jeep 2015 01
Sedona, AZ Early trail Run    submitted by Lester Sendecki
March 9, 10 and 11 seven members of WS4W descended on Cottonwood – Sedona AZ for some early season adventure.Day 1 we started with the climb up House Mountain.  About an hour and a half of moderate up hill road brought us almost to the top of this extinct volcano at 5200 feet.  A short walk lead to the peak & spectacular 360 degree views.  We picked up some litter and stopped for Lunch about 2/3 of the way back to pavement.  Afternoon trip was Schnebly Hill Road, close to Sedona.  This road is now badly eroded with large exposed rocks in what would be called the roadway.  We took about 3/4 of an hour to drive the 4 miles to the closed seasonal gate.  This part of the road still allowed the best views of the Red Rocks surrounding one side of the city.Day 2 trip started from Cottonwood.  Part of the planned road around Mingus Mountain was temporarily closed.  Using a MVUM and advice from the Ranger, we created a full morning tour of the roads up, down & around the area.  Only disappointment is that we need to go back & drive the road that appears to go to the top of the Mountain.  Afternoon trip was less successful.  Woodchute Road appears to have not been driven by a full size vehicle in many years.  At the 1.2 mile point we found both a great view of the Verde Valley and a good place to turn around.  Going back thru Jerome we were detoured around the business district due to a bus stuck on the road so we did not stop to see any of the town.
Cook Out Pot Luck Dinner at the camp ground that evening was outstanding – Many Thanks to Carol & Linnea.Day 3 started on Soldier Pass Road.  Drive this road early in the day as it is popular & gets crowded by mid morning.  Short moderate road near town with spurs to Seven Pools, a/k/a Seven Sacred Ponds and Devils Kitchen, a deep sink hole.  Time to drive the easy road to VanDerien Cabin before lunch.  Lunch was along the creek near the cabin.  Afternoon was time for the moderate road known as  Diamond Back Gulch or Greasy Spoon.  This road includes some rock steps, steep down hill & steep up hill sections that let us use all our low gears.  Plan to run it in the opposite direction next time.
Dinner & County Western show at Blazin’ M Ranch that night was better than expected; thanks to Carol for finding this and arranging for the group to all sit together.Three great days of wheeling with no breakage, damage or tow-straps needed.Click on this link for pictures.
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Owl Creek Pass – Final Fall Color Run October 11, 2014        submitted by Debbie Bell
  With just two Jeeps on the run, Jerry & Kathy in their Jeep along with Tommy & Sharyn Warmack and my husband Rick and I in our JK, we left Highway 50 at Cerro Summit, taking County Road P-77. Just off the summit we aired down due to quite a bit of mud on the road. Traveling south on the road we found a lot of beautiful color as most of the trees were in the middle of their change. The colors were bright everywhere! With the sun popping in and out with the passing clouds, we were treated to a variety of photo opportunities. As we pushed further along we saw quite a bit of wildlife. At one point we met up with a couple of our neighbors from back home, one out with their first Jeep. Of course we gave them a couple of Club flyers with the invite to join us at our next meeting. A bit later we were passed by a cowboy on his trusty ATV as he was herding a small group of cows to lower pastures. Lots of fun being surrounded by a bunch of cows of all sizes! Soon we were taking our lunch at Beaver Lake Campground. We did a bit of exploring then hit the road again. The climb up to Owl Creek Pass was slow as we couldn’t stop admiring all the different colors in every direction. There was a lot of activity on the road with hunters coming into the area setting up their camps in preparation for the start of hunting season that week-end. A little farther along we ran into a gaggle of Wild Turkeys and then, just across the creek we spotted a Moose! Everyone piled out and the cameras were clicking as we watched the Moose feeding along the opposite bank. Back into the Jeeps and on the road again. Just before making the Pass, we ran into some small crispy hail and rain. However, that was short lived and we were soon over the Pass and headed for Ridgway. We had made the run over the Pass about two weeks earlier, but this time the trees were in their splendor putting on one last big show before the snow that was to come just one day later. A fun time was had by all and now we put Owl Creek Pass to bed until Spring.
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Far Pond Trail – Oct. 12, 2014     submitted by Ruth Sendicki
Our group of 4 vehicles met in Delta and, in spite of clouds and some wind, decided the trip was still a go.   As it turned out, the heaviest wind and rain all day occurred along US50 as we were headed north.  The rest of the day alternated between bright sun, clouds, and occasional scattered snow/sleet showers; the showers were neither heavy enough or serious enough to interfere with driving the trail or taking pictures.  

Today’s trail began as a well-maintained road traveling along the Aspen, Ponderosa pine, and evergreen forest floor.  However, after leaving FR404, the road narrows and becomes more challenging due to embedded and loose rock as well as mud, which has been present both times we have driven this road.  There are a few short sections of slickrock and one short but interesting climb.  The road travels over solid rock, through both aspen and pine forest, and across grassy meadows.  There is something for everyone.  The last section of road takes you past a series of ponds – Big Pond; Rim Pond, Middle Pond and Far Pond.  Once you reach Far Pond, it’s 1/2 mile to the trail end at a spectacular overlook of Unaweep Canyon.There was still quite a bit of color on the trees but it would have been really outstanding a week or so ago.  Also we did have a little traffic on the trail that we had to negotiate with!

Far Pond Trail is toward the far north end of Divide Road; has been adopted by the Western Slope ATV Association and is maintained for all means of travel.  There are many other trails within the area, some of which are signed for full-sized vehicles and would be worth exploring on other trips to the area.  We also need to return to explore Dominguez ridge Road, which had been planned for the same day but was passed on in the interest of time.Far Pond006 Far Pond005 Far Pond004 Far Pond003 Far Pond002 Far Pond001

Calamity Camp Trip submitted by Carol Hughes

Chuck & Carol Hughes were met at the Delta City Market by Jim & Stella Knapp, Craig

Fleltham and Eddie & Linnea Piatek and started their trek to Escalante Canyon. It was a

clear and warm day to be out amongst the beautiful canyons and mountains. We stopped at

the Potholes and Walker and Captain Smith’s cabins before making our ascent to join

Divide Road on Love Mesa. We stopped for lunch in a wooded area before reaching Divide

Road and heading north to hook up with Uranium Road to our final destination the Calamity

Camp Mining Site. After taking the tour we made our way back via SOB hill just out of

Gateway. We headed back to Delta via Highway 141, stopped and had a great dinner at C&J

Café in Delta…another great day wheeling with friends.

Calamity Camp Mining Site

This remote, historic site contains one of the last standing vanadiun-radium-uranium

camps in Colorado. Calamity Camp is an example of the historic mining camps that were

active during the uranium booms.

Rumor has it that Calamity Mesa, about eight miles southeast of Gateway, got its name

when a prospector’s burro ate all his grub, leaving him without food for four days until

he could get back to town.

Before becoming Calamity Mesa, the area was the famous Club Ranch. Owners over the years

were R.W. Johnson of the Johnson & Johnson Co., Alex Calhoun, Bill Selby, Ed Lavender and

Jim Luster and his brother-in-law George Standifird.

Calamity Camp sprang up from 1915 to 1925 when carnotite was being mined for the radium

that was derived from the ore. The 1920 census for Gateway listed several men from Sweden

classified as miners and boarders. These men were employed at Calamity Camp and were

responsible for helping to build the rustic rock houses of indigenous material. The

Radium Co. of Colorado paid for building construction. There were five rock cabins, a

bunkhouse, and cellars for storage, corrals, and a rock and cedar post barn. Using the

mule trail built by a Mr. Pickett in the early 1900s, ore was packed by mule or horseback

to Whitewater, where it was shipped by rail to Denver or East Orange, N.J. In the late

1920s, a road was built up the Niche to the top of Tenderfoot Mesa and on to Calamity and

Outlaw Mesa.

Currently, the Grand Junction Department of Energy office has leased the 6.25-square-mile

area for uranium exploration except for the 37.89 acres in the area of the camp.

John Brown Canyon September 27, 2014 submitted by Carol Hughes

Chuck & Carol Hughes were met at Delta City Market by Eddie & Linnea Piatek and a

couple from Grand Junction, Mike and Peggy Murdie. We headed to Gateway via

Highway 141 and turned just past the Gateway Canyons Resort up John Brown Canyon

also known as the Castleton-Gateway Road. The colors were brown and gold, the

reds were almost nonexistent…but the gold’s were spectacular. The surface of this

canyon road is roughly graded packed dirt, with high rock content. It

switchbacks alongside the creek for the first few miles then levels out on top of

the mesa. Just before the Utah state line, a sign warns of dangers of abandoned

uranium mines. The state line is marked by an unofficial sign on a gatepost.

The JB Ranch stretches as private land along this track. Once in Utah, the track

quality drops as it meanders across open pasture into the La Sal Mountains. The

vegetation ranges from sagebrush, prickly pear, small oaks and pinion pines in

John Brown Canyon to stands of pine, rolling sagebrush and the occasional stand

of aspen on the plateau. We found a nice area in the Pines to relax have lunch

before ascending to the La Sal Loop Road with spectacular views of the valleys

below.

We took a side trip to view Lion’s back before refueling the Jeeps and ourselves.

We went to dinner at the Branding Iron in Moab before retreating to our separated

lodging accommodations. The Star Gazing was canceled due to lightning and rain,

as well as the trip to Sego Canyon on Sunday. It was a great trip and ended with

doughnuts on Sunday at Thompson Springs Campground.

John Brown Canyon

Gateway lies along a route used by the Ute to reach the Uncompahgre Plateau, set

on the Dolores River it is a natural amphitheater. Gateway is surrounded by

towering red sandstone buttes.

During the 1870s, gold was discovered in the beds of the Dolores and San Miguel

Rivers. The gold boom did not last long, and cattle ranching took over the

valley’s economy. The Washington Treaty signed in 1880 removed the Ute from the

region by the following year, which was then settled by pioneers eager to claim

their new ranches.

Sewemup Mesa to the south of John Brown Canyon is named after a band of rustlers

that would cut the brands off the hide of the stolen cattle, sew’em up again, and

re-brand them with it own brand.

Mining once again became the focus of the economy with uranium boom in the 1950s,

with Castleton becoming the supply town built in the early 1890s.

Fall Color Run   submitted by Ruth Sendicki
Although only one other jeep joined substitute leaders Lester and Ruth Sendecki, that did not affect the great trip up Soap Creek Road.  The road starts just off CO 92 on the north side of Blue Mesa Dam and is maintained dirt for the first 9 miles.  The last 10 or 11 miles is a fairly easy but sometimes bumpy 4-WD road.  This was a road neither of us had been on before so we weren’t sure what to expect.  However, it turned out to be very scenic, with some great color and some new views to enjoy.  There was a little traffic from hunters but we would expect it to be very quiet the rest of the time. 
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Arizona Trails  by Kaye Weaver
Bill and I left the mountains on the 12th of September.  We headed to Cottonwood, AZ for a couple of weeks hoping the weather will be a bit cooler in Palm Desert when we get there.  We really like this area .  Especially the red rocks of Sedona.  There is an AZ Off Road –  No Club Club that Bill found on the internet.  Whomever wants to lead a trail posts it online – the trail, the difficulty, the day/time, and the number of jeeps he will accept on the trail.  They also have a waiting list for each trail.  We introduced ourselves online and signed up for the trail on Saturday as it was in the Sedona area.  We had folks from all over – Phoenix, Prescott, Flagstaff and us from Cottonwood.There were nine jeeps and Mark, our great trail leader.  We headed off on the Outlaw trail.  It was the first of 2 trails that day.  Such beautiful scenery to behold for sure.  The red rocks around Sedona just take your breath away.AZ001AZ006Our first stop along the Outlaw trail was the Honanki Ruins.  These are wonderfully preserved ruins of the ancestors of the Hopi Indians.  It was a short hike to see these ruins.  Pretty cool – not the weather for sure.  HA!!!AZ002Here is another view.  There were 70 families living here at one time. There was a lot of Indian art scattered in and around the ruins.  Very interesting to see.AZ003 AZ004Then we finished the Outlaw Trail and we then picked up the Greasy Spoon Trail.  This is the steepest hill on that trail and a few of us went down and up and then down to complete the trail.  All of the trails around the Sedona area have such great views of the red rocks.AZ005 AZ006
Poughkeepsie Gulch Run – 8/25/2014  submitted by Kaye Weaver
A group of FMCA 4-Wheelers from our campground wanted to do Poughkeepsie Gulch.  So off we all (6) went.  The weather was sunny to begin with but of course we ran into some rain, sleet, hail, and even a little snow.  Welcome to the mountains of Colorado.  It was a great day to be out and about.  The trail to the wall of Poughkeepsie is one of my most favorite.  The beauty of all of the green and trees and rocks and mountains.  What more can I say.
Here is a look at the wall and the surrounding beautiful area.  You can see the Alaska Basin overlook.  That is the scheduled lunch stop.
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Here is one of our group making climbing the wall look easy.  Everyone was up and over almost before I could get my camera ready.  What fun!!!!
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Here we are heading into Alaska Basin.  As you can see the weather is changing.  I love Alaska Basin as it is beautiful and not too well traveled.  It also overlooks the Poughkeepsie wall.  While we were there it hailed, snowed and rained.  Ha!! So unfortunately we had a drive-in movie lunch in our jeeps.  As you can see there are some glacial lakes and there still is snow that has not melted.
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After leaving Alaska Basin we headed up to the Sunnyside Saddle and then onto Hurricane Peak.  At the saddle we looked down into Eureka Gulch which is out of Silverton.  It is amazing what you can see when you get high enough.  This is the view as we climb toward the peak.  You can see Hurricane Pass Trail and Corkscrew Gulch Trail and even the start of Grey Copper Gulch.  What a view!!  We are so blessed to be able to enjoy these wonderful sights.
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We made it up to Hurricane Peak – 13236ft – on top of the world almost.  We are looking down on California Pass.  Look at all of the other mountains that are around.  WOW!!  It was a great day.
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Black Bear Backwards – 8/24/2014   Photo’s by Corey Bloom
Just a quick photo montage from the recent Black Bear Backwards run by members of the WS4W on Sunday the 24th.
Waiting for full trip report to follow.
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Stoney Pass Trip –  August  9th  submitted by Sonja Miller
We had seven jeeps, two were visitors from out of town. Gary Heath and John Grundly. Chuck and Carol Hughes, Larry and Pat Walker, Carole and Gerry Witt, Ken and Bonnie Emory, Rich and Pat Smith and Land Wade and myself. We stopped at the gate to spirit gulch and repaired the board that needed nailed, then off to Silverton. We hooked up with the other jeeps and headed up Stony. The wind was blowing and it was 44 degrees at the top, but a pretty day. Then we drove down the other side for about 5 miles to find a place out of the wind to have lunch. We had a nice spot but were surronded by cows. Then some went on and some of us went back and took the road up to brown mine. The weather started to change with a threat of rain, so we head her home. Stopped at Sonic for dinner and said our goodbyes. It was a great day.
Sonja
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Black Bear Trip July 26th   submitted by Janet Dean
Here are our pics from Black Bear on July 26th.   There were a couple spots that were scary but Todd was so good to guide us down.
There were 4 of us that had never done Black Bear so Todd kept us behind him.  He was out of his Jeep guiding us at the first few turns
and then Mary Beth drove his Jeep so he could stand up and guide us down with the radio.  Todd and Mary Beth did a great job!
We survived!!!
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Roubideau Trail Clean-Up   submitted by Rick Bell
The weather was great if a bit warm on Saturday, July 19th as ten Jeeps and their occupants left downtown Montrose at 8 am for a long day of trail clean-up. After a road trip of about an hour and a half, the crew arrived at the Roubideau Trail head and prepared for the task of cleaning up the trail for the season.  Lead by Todd Bacon, we headed out along the trail which was in surprisingly good shape from last year. With the snow and rain of this last winter however, a lot of vegetation had grown up and threatened to narrow the trail in many areas. The day was spent making many stops to move, cut logs and clear the trail of encroaching bushes to re-establish the right of way. After a brief stop on the trail for lunch, the crew once again headed out to complete the trail. It was only a matter of minutes as Rick & Debbie Bell were crossing the creek that a hidden log jumped out and bit the right rear fender flare and the wheel tub right off their JK! Thanks to Ferris who was following, the parts were retrieved and the JK made ready to roll. Ferris did some spotting getting the Bell’s up the hill. With Todd supplying the chain saw, Rick made short  work of cutting the criminal log to pieces and making sure no one else was going to get bit. Most of the day was spent whacking brush and generally getting the trail passable and back up to full size status again. More work still needs to be done as there are many stretches of the trail that need to be widened back to full size. Ken said that we needed to get this work done this season or we could run the risk of losing the trail to ATV only status. The day ended with the crew splitting up back on Divide Road with some heading back to Montrose and the others heading on in to Delta. Most all of the trail signs were found to be in excellent condition with only two needing replacement. More maintenance trips will be planned for the near future. They will be announced at the next meetings of the club. A big thank you to all who helped on the run. It was a great turnout and we hope to see more such involvement in the future.
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Brooklyn Mine & Brown Mountain Run  submitted by Ruth Sendecki
July 13th was a perfect day weather wise – warm in the valleys, cool and sunny in the mountains and no afternoon showers.  Just right for a trip to Brooklyn Mine and on to Brown Mountain.  Brooklyn Mine is on the southern half of what is known locally as the red Mountain Mining Area.  Our group of 11 vehicles, led by Ken and Bonnie, ran the route south to north with stops along the way for pictures.  When this route was done, we proceeded north to the Ironton Park area for lunch and to regroup before headed up Brown Mountain.Brown Mountain was a major mining area.  Ken provided a book (Mines, Mountain Roads, and Rocks) which gave the group a good idea of what had been going on in this area.  The Lost Day mine, at the end of the tour, had on-going operations until the 1960’s.As a side note, while the snow has not all melted yet, it has provided abundant moisture and the wild flowers should be spectacular this season.BM002 BM004 BM005 BM006 ??????????????????????????????? BM008 BM011 ???????????????????????????????

 

 

Unaweep Overlook  7/12/2014

Divide Road is still an easy 2 wheel drive road with some dust & scenic overlooks.  We were using a recent Guide Book from Massey, Wilson & Titus.  About 3/4 of the way north we turned from Divide Road onto FR 404 for about 2 3/4 miles, then onto FR 416.  After about 6 1/2 miles we arrived at the dead end overlook above the Unaweep Canyon.  We used 4WD on most of FR 416.  If there has been any recent rain there will be mud.  The road is Liberty friendly.
We want to go again on a clear day as showers & haze reduced the view on Sat Afternoon 7-12-14; although the wildflowers were spectacular.  Let us know if you’re interested.
Lester M Sendecki
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Mogul Mine Exploration 6/29/2014    photo’s by Lance Wade & Rick Bell

After the Corkscrew Gulch run, five members of the club lead by Rick & Debbie Bell made an exploration run up to the Mogul Mine just below Hurricane Pass. Rick had a request from a friend on the East Coast for photo’s of the mine and any equipment which might be found. The group headed out and followed CR 53 until climbing to the mine site. Doug Clowers and his family  along with members Lance Wade, Steve Baker and Craig Fleetham explored the mine and some native residents while Rick took his needed photos. Several Marmonts observed the crazy humans as they poked around the area looking at the old mining machinery and looking through the tailings for rock samples and such. Although the mine entrance is open and the timbers were recently replaced, there was a lot of water flowing out of the mine and keeping with our safety rules, no one ventured into the mine. If any one visits any  mines like this, it’s best not to risk entering! The weather was perfect and made for a great day. The group decided to explore an alternate route down from the mine and we gingerly followed the road down the valley and along Cement Creek finally getting back to the Gladstone townsite. After helping a lost tourist get back to Silverton and onto the correct road, we finished out the day at the Conoco gas station, airing up and heading for home. My thanks to those who tagged along on our adventure. We thoroughly enjoyed your company!

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Corkscrew Gulch Run 6/29/2014 submitted by Ruth Sendecki      Additional photo’s by Robert Dean & Rick Bell

Sunday, June 29th, was a little hot in the Montrose area but 16 members from WS4W stayed nice and cool as Todd and Marybeth Bacon led them up Cockscrew Pass Road.  After airing down at Ironton Park (as a side note – Ironton was an important mining town in the 1890s with an electric plant, fire department and post office.  People actually still lived in Ironton until the 1960s.) and making the usual potty stop, the next stop was at the pass to enjoy the view and check on the Club signs as this is one of our adopted trails.  This was also a good place to wait for traffic to clear.  It was Sunday and the tourists are back, which is a good thing.We saw snow, we saw sunshine, we saw clear mountain lakes with mini glaciers.  After cresting Cockscrew Pass (12,257′) and descending the far side, the group turned south on Gladstone Road as the other high mountain passes of Hurricane Pass and California Gulch aren’t open yet.Most of the group had a picnic lunch in the Gladstone area while a few continued on to Silverton for lunch and to spend some $$$ in their economy.  The group ended up back together at the Conoco for gas and air before the drive home.
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Red Mountain District 6/22/2014

With Dave Pickard as our intrepid trail leader, a group of 12 WS4W club members hit the trail for Yankee Girl mine and beyond. Meeting early at the South City Market in Montrose, the group proceeded to Ouray for a last minute pit stop. After regrouping, we all headed out with Dave in the lead and Rick & Debbie Bell as Tailgunner. Turning off the highway at County Road 31, we stopped to air down in preparation for some reported mud on the trail. Heading out, Dave discovered he missed a turn and we wound up below Yankee Girl mine and on a dead-end closed road. A bit of re-routing and we were soon back on the trail passing the Gennesee Mine and several others. The day was weather perfect and more fun was in store for us all. No problems traversing the trail but once again, the wrong way gremlin struck and another  chance to practice our 3 point turn around skills was tested! Finally arriving at the National Bell Mine, we took a short break to explore the area and check out a couple of old safes we found laying in the grass. It looked as thought someone had blown the doors off the safe and made off with the loot! Well, it was fun to think it could have been bandits! Taking the short route around the National Bell, we soon arrived back at highway 550. Our plan was to head down to County Road 14 and continue our trek towards the Brooklyn Mine and the area around it but we learned the road was closed due to snow so we opted to visit again on another day.  Once again, we thanked Dave for a fun trip and another great day on the trail!

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Ophir Pass 6/22/2014

June 22nd began as a bright sunny day for 11 club vehicles and their drivers for a Spring trip over Ophir Pass. After a relaxing lunch at the trail head off of Highway 550, the group aired down and started the easy approach to the Pass. After a brief delay due to a dead battery on the Dean’s Jeep and a jump start, the run got underway. With an outside air temp of 72 degrees, it was a beautiful run up to the summit. Traffic was light with only a few downhill vehicles to give a pass to. On reaching the summit, the temp dropped several degrees getting down to a chilly 62 but the sun stayed out and with a bit of dust on the road we proceeded down to Ophir. On the way we picked up a couple of pick-up trucks which followed our tailgunner, Rick & Debbie Bell. Snow was found on the upper reaches of the trail with a narrow passing for about a hundred yards before beginning the shelf road and switchbacks to the lower valley. It was a beautiful day, the sun stayed out and the wild flowers were everywhere! The day ended with most airing up near Ames and some heading for Last Dollar Road. Thanks to Dave Pickard for a wonder day as our trail leader.

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Early Yankee Boy Trip

Sunday – June 8th.  10 Jeeps showed up for a trip to Yankee Boy.  We were not sure how far we could go but wanted to make a trip with Craig and Helen before they returned home

to the east coast.  We made it as far as the bathroom and had to turn around due to rain and then snow!  It was beautiful.  We returned to Ouray to eat lunch at the Coach Light.
Thanks.
Janet Dean
Mexican Hat & Cedar Mesaby Ruth Sendecki
Plan A had been for Craig and Helen Whitney to meet Lester and Ruth Sendecki for 3 or 4 days of jeep trails in the Sedona AZ area.  However, forest fires in Oak Creek Canyon forced us to go to Plan B, which started in Mexican Hat UT with a tour of Valley of the Gods.  The 17-mile dirt / gravel road runs a loop through scenery similar to Monument Valley but without the crowds.  There were isolated buttes and towering pinnacles with names such as Sitting Hen, Seven Sailors, and Dog and spaces that seemed to go on forever.The west end of the loop connects with UT261 just below what is known locally as Moki Dugway, a 3 mile section of very tight switchbacks that climbs 1200 feet to the top of Cedar Mesa. Just at the north end of this section, our group made an unmarked turn to the west to see if we could find Muley Point Overlook. Again this is just a gravel road (about 5 miles long) out to a fantastic overlook with sweeping views of the twisting canyons of the San Juan River.  Pictures do not do it justice.  From here we could also see the first part of the John’s Canyon Road below us, which we planned to run the next day.John’s Canyon is a tributary to the San Juan River downstream of Goosenecks State Park.  Access is along County Rd 244, a north turn off Utah Rt 316, the paved road that leads to the state park, which is worth a visit in and of itself.  John’s Canyon Rd passes beneath Muley Point and continues on up the actual canyon.  There are a couple of gates which can be passed through and some rock art to discover.  At a fork, we first went left but quickly found a major washout which was not negotiable when we were there.  Returned to the fork, turned right; stopped for lunch and soon thereafter were stopped by an unexpected WSA sign.
For the second two days our group drove up the Moki Dugway, across part of Cedar Mesa, turned into Natural Bridges National Monument and then turned again headed for Bears Ears.

We were headed toward Peavine Corridor and discovered there are two – east and west.  We drove most of west Peavine first across Dry Mesa, which is surrounded by the Dark Canyon Wilderness.  After lunch we headed for Peavine East, which was definitely more interesting. Peavine Corridor East is a legal 4WD vehicle corridor that actually goes into the Dark Canyon Wilderness.  The descent (and climb up and out) gets your attention but the drive on the Canyon floor is pretty easy.  Let us know if this sounds interesting as we want to go back; did not get to the end on this visit because of time limits.

The following day our group of four took a 2 mile round trip hike to find House of Fire Ruin and then it was off to Hotel Rock.  We were not sure of the route in from the south so we approached Hotel Rock from the north side, driving south and found it with no problem. Craig and Helen liked Hotel Rock better that House of Fire but agreed the short hike was a nice break from jeeping.  We all agreed that for Plan B this trip turned out very well – mostly new trails for all of us, a good little hike, couple of ruins, terrific scenery and out playing in our jeeps – who could ask for more??


Additional photos of both part 1 and 2 can be viewed at:
Mexican Hat And Blanding – June 2014 Photos by Cokitty on Photobucket
Picket Wire  Canyon Trip Reportby Ruth Sendecki
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May 17th and 18th were perfect days weather wise and a great time to be out riding in our vehicles.  The fun started bright and early on the 17th when 6 rigs from the WSW4ers met about 18 other 4-wheel drive vehicles for a tour of Picket Wire Canyon south of La Junta in south east Colorado. 

The highlight of the tour are dinosaur tracks which were first discovered in 1935.  Through research and careful excavation the Purgatoire River Valley  has been determined to be the largest concentration of tracks in North America, revealing over 1400 footprints in four different layers.  The site includes tracks of Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and Allosaurus. The sedimentary rock and fossil evidence shows that the animals were walking along the shore of a lake.  Parallel trackways indicate that several smaller brontosaurs were traveling as a group. 

However, the dinosaurs were not the only one to make their homes in the canyon.  The tour includes a stop to see one of the locations where rock art has been found .  Also, the 19th century saw Hispanic and European homesteaders in Picket Wire Canyonlands.  Their evidence includes an early Catholic Church and cemetery and the Rourke Ranch.

The tour is open to the public and I strongly recommend it.  Unless you want to hike, bike or horse ride into the area, the only way to see it is on the tour for which 4-wheel drive vehicle is required, although none of us needed it.

The 18th saw Eddie and Linnea and Steve and Janice go exploring on their own or head for home.  The rest of us drove up Phantom Canyon Road (near Cannon City) to Cripple Creek where we had lunch and spent a little time with a couple of slot machines.  We then drove south out of Cripple Creek on Shelf Road into Cannon City.  After a brief stop at The Abbey Winery the group split up and all headed for home.  Thanks for a fun time to everyone who joined us on this adventure.

Pictures can be viewed at  Picket Wire Canyon And Gold Belt Tour Photos by Cokitty on Photobucket.  (Click on View on s902.photobucket.com on the bottom left).
West End Poker Runby Ruth Sendecki

Lance and Peggy Wade and Lester and Ruth Sendecki from WS4W accepted the invitation for the West End 4X4 Poker Run on Sat June 14th. There were a total of 25 participants plus several leaders / mid and tail gunners.  It was a good thing there were leaders as once we left pavement and the main dirt road those of us who weren’t from the West End were LOST; much of the day the group was in the area known locally as Long Park.  There is a vast network of dirt roads between 90 and 141 that present some interesting challenges and some terrific views.  This is an annual event (the second Sat of each June); the event fee includes lunch, dinner and T-shirt for the driver; additional meal tickets and poker hands can be purchased.  Fun event and some new / different roads to drive.

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