On June 24th, the beautiful "Rocky Mountain" morning had Chris (Colonel) Potter with son Jason and his buddy, Paul (Wiseguy) Weisz and son Brett, Dave Parrett and Jennifer, and myself: Scott (Mad Max) Maxwell and dog Holly meeting at 1-70 & Morrison at 7:30 and heading off for a day of fun wheelin. We aired down in Empire at the local gas station. One of the locals informed us that the trail to Bill Moore Lake was open, so away we went.
|Peaceful Bill Moore Lake and the Continental Divide|
The trip up to Bill Moore was uneventful with Paul informing us that a lot of the rocks and obstacles on the way up had been graded since he was last there. We did navigate the rock chute after hanging a right at the last of the big mines in the canyon. Up on top we stopped for a photo op with fantastic views in all directions. The trip down to the lake was a blast and the mud bog proved a worthy and fun challenge. Paul was first to splash in with the 35's and 6" spring over making the steep bank on the way out look easy. Chris and Scott plunged in next proving that with 33's you had the opportunity to turn the front bumper into a mud plow. Nothing only $6 worth of quarters at the car wash couldn't handle.
|Hobo Paul chugs thru the mudhole with 35's...|
|The lunch spot at the lake, and the end of the trail...|
Bill Moore Lake was a great area and we took a little time to hike and enjoy the scenery while the kids played in the ice-cold water. Threatening clouds soon had us moving down toward the Empire Loop. After one slight sidetrack on the wrong trail we stopped for lunch.Dave was the envy of all with Cheese Wiz performing well at the high altitude. The Empire Loop was a great tree-lined trail. Again, Paul said some of the obstacles had been tamed by a recent blade (the creek crossing in particular).
|"Mad Mad" gets the first layer of mud off, $6 bucks later the rest comes off...|
|Paul's CJ seems to be attracted to big rocks like a magnet...|
After the creek we encountered the next big obstacle. Again, our high-flying leader Paul walked right up the big ledge. Chris was next and took it like a pro after a couple of bounces to get the back up and over. I myself had a little more difficulty with several attempts, but after a little excellent spotting that got him on a different line he was up and over as well. Dave opted for the bypass and away we went.
|"Mad Max" crawls up the ledge obstacle with ease, seems the bumper was used as a blade thru the mudhole...|
We passed several of the old mining cabins in the area paying special notice to the one that had harnessed the neat spring next to the cabin and had what appeared to be the first outdoor tub in the valley. All heartily agreed this was a great trail and lots of nice campsites were mentally staked out for potential future returns.
Here's some pics of the Bill Moore Rock Chute from the 1999 trip
Luckily we all made it out and down without any showers from the clouds that circled all day. Dave, Jennifer, Chris and kids headed back to town. Paul, Brett and Scott stopped at the A&W in Idaho Springs for the root beer float we'd been dreaming of since mentioning it in the morning. It's always good to have a worthy goal! The owner of the A&W popped out of the kitchen and after seeing all the mud on the Jeeps pleaded for us to make sure and take him with us on our next run.
Thanks Paul for suggesting and leading the trip and as always for the free air from the big York compressor at the end of the day.
Scott "Mad Max" Maxwell HoboJeepers
More Bill Moore/Empire Loop Photos from 1999:
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