May, Tis the time of year to call your insurance agent and put full coverage back on your Jeep, give it a good waxing for the "Rocky Mountain Pinstripes" to come, and hope for a warm spring to melt off all the snow in the high mountain passes.
On April 6th, we had our monthly Hobo meeting. We discussed some usual Hobo business, which included the website (hobojeepers.tripod.com), the 2nd Annual Hobo Run 2000 planned for July 15th, other planned trails, Trail 101 discussions, Hobo trivia, and vehicle "mods & fixes".
We had planned on our TAX RUN 2000 on April 15th to Moody Hill/Crystal Mtn, but they are closed by the Forest Service till they dry out in late May sometime. Springtime weather in Colorado is pretty unpredictable. One day it's 78 and sunny (Fri), the next (Sat), it's 36 and snowing. That's what happened the weekend we were planning to run Gillespie Gulch near Boulder. So we moved the April 15 Tax Run in honor of Uncle Sam to Sunday April 16th. The day started out cold and foggy, but ended up warm and sunny! Hobos Paul "Weiszguy" Weisz and son Bret (CJ), Scott "Mad Max" Maxwell (TJ), Chris Vieth & Bro-in-law Will (YJ), and myself with my jeepin sidekick Molly (CJ), all met at Hwy 93 and Hwy 72 at 8am. We all headed north to enjoy a soon-to-be nice day of jeepin up around the Left Hand OHV area. The plans initially called for Gillespie Gulch, and but soon included the Castle Gulch, Fairview Peak, and Left Hand Trails.
Gillespie/Castle Gulch/Left Hand OHV
We only had to stop at 5 of the 13 (includes 2 roll-thrus) stoplights as we took in the sights of Boulder on our way to the trailhead. I doubt anyone has every gotten thru Boulder without stopping at atleast 2 lights. We aired down, and hit the trailhead just south of Jamestown (the same people who shutdown the Jamestown Trail). On March 4th, some other Hobos had attempted Gillespie Gulch and encountered a lot of snow and patchy ice since it's a steep north-facing trail. We too found the same conditions the further up we went. Gillespie Gulch is rated a Moderate trail, but with ice and snow, it adds a few degrees of difficulty into the mix. We moved on up the trail climbing fun snowy sections, until as I (in lead) encountered a steep stretch with a big patch of ice near the top. I was able to reach up to the icy spot then get turned around and sliding all the way back down. I gave it a few more attempts until I finally ended up facing downhill, and not by choice. Thinking my Detroit's would work better (they did) backwards; I reached the ice patch again, but no further. So, we decided to stick to south-facing slopes and headed down to the trailhead. We found a nice south-facing trail off Gillespie that led to an old cabin at a mine site where we had lunch.
Not having gone up Castle Gulch before, I was surprised to find the secret "jewel" (shhhhhhhh) of the Left Hand area. Up the trail a ways you come across a "kick in the pants" rock chute, that's more fun the Bill Moore chute. It's a fun tight tree-lined medium to some large rocks to crawl over for some distance, and is one that is nice to your undercarriage if you pick the right line. I was behind Scott "Mad Max" Maxwell on his inaugural run with his 99TJ lifted and locked, and he ran it as clean as a whistle. Once up some more rocky climbs, we reached the ridgeline above Left Hand OHV. We opted to check out Fairview Peak as a side trip. I suppose on a clear day one can see a long ways, not that day, a hazy smog-like layer covered most of the Front Range.
We took the trail that leads down to the Left Hand area that includes the "Squeeze" and "Roll Me Over" (just made that up) obstacles. The "Squeeze" provided another look at it from the downhill prospective. Paul, Chris, Scott, and I ran thru it cleanly, as you gatta love those lockers and lift. The "Roll Me Over" obstacle almost had its 1st victim when we went thru. Especially for Paul with his spring over and 35's. A few tense moments were had as he almost slides off some stacked rocks in which gravity surely would have taken over. Going thru it from the West, you need to stay to the right (where the drop off is), and then a hard left, and right again, to avoid the deepest holes and a 35-degree plus tilt. The drop off only has a few trees to stop you from a minimum of 5 rolls. I went thru thanks to the spotting of Chris Veith. Much to my despair, as he was spotting me halfway thru, his eyes all of a sudden were wide open for a second as he frantically was pointing me to turn left! Scott with his automatic breezed thru, as did Chris after a few different lines.
On down thru Left Hand it was a really busy OHV user day, a good place for a lemonade stand. We passed thru the shooting range as some kids were drinking some Bud and shooting at stuff (what's wrong with that picture?), and then on down to the pavement. Thanks to Paul for his free air. A great day of snow/ice, rocks, and sweaty palms, but isn't that what jeepin is all about?
The Hobos look forward to wheeling in May with Patrol 11 at the Mother's Day Run, and our planned trip to MOAB over Memorial Day Weekend. Stay involved and up to date with Land Issues and keep "your" trails open. See ya on the trail, "Jeep, Jeep".
Happy Easter 2000!!!
Bill Hallinan HoboJeepers