Well, well, it's that time of year again. Time to lower your full coverage on your jeep, and change it's oil for a long winters nap. Though, if your jeep is your daily driver, not much really changes for you, except you'll end up using your heater a lot more often. It's November, and "Ole' Man Winter" is coming (or already arrived), but until he does, get out and jeep till all the trails are snowed in! Then pull your buddy with your tow strap on an inner tube around in the snow!
Hummmm, seems this article is a bit longer then most, it's never spilled over to three pages before, so grab your favorite chair and sit back and enjoy some Hobo trip reports.
I had mentioned briefly last month of the September 18th trip to Wheeler Lake 2 (revisited), but here's a brief report (the full report and photos are on the website) by Hobo Debi Vieth: "The three of us, Jon Brule, Pete Ramirez, and Chris Vieth all took on Wheeler Lake. We all had a great time and made it back out without any body damage, thanks to John's spotting us and a tow strap. Jon had been there before, so he knew what to expect. The three main obstacles were no problem to the more experienced and they were great at helping us out. We did run across a few people that needed help also so at least we weren't the only ones. The weather was great and the view from the lake was absolutely breathtaking. Pete's dog enjoyed the freezing water of Wheeler Lake and jumped in a few times. All in all it was a great trip and we appreciate John leading the way.
|Chris Vieths’s 93 YJ Jon Brule’s 98 TJ Pete Ramirez’s 94 YJ|
WHEELER LAKE TRAIL 2 (Revisited)
As fall was in full bloom up in the foothills, the Hobos attended the very successful and fun ASPENCADES 99' event on September 24th-26th above Central "Casino" City. Thanks to MHJC and especially Patrol "Where the Fugowie" 12 for a great time!! After setting up camp Friday night, new Hobos Chris and Debi Vieth and I tried our luck down at Fitzgerald's Casino in Blackhawk. As Chris, Debi and I used our money for the essential food items. Chris did try a few 25 cent slots and won $200 big ones! Chris stopped well ahead, and watched me pay the light bill to the tune of $25.
We awoke to a calm (an omen), and crisp morning ready to see some aspen, and do some jeepin. Hobo Ken Kordes, and prospective Hobo Scott Maxwell and his friend, Chris and Debi Vieth, and I (with my sidekick Molly), and Jon Brule, to follow trip leaders Dennis and Marci Ervin to run Jenny Creek.
About 15 of us with Dennis Ervin aired down just outside Rollinsville, Colorado. As the winds picked up, we paraded up past Tolland, and groves of peaking aspens up the old railroad grade to Rollins Pass. So we all "chugged" up the railroad grade and played follow the leader around potholes for a few miles, until we came to the Jenny Creek trailhead. Our group had never been to the Jenny Creek Jeep Trail, so we were ready for a new trail! The trail starts off in the deep thick trees as you maneuver to avoid some "rocky mtn. pinstripes" (well some did).
We reached Jenny Creek and a cool obstacle. After coming off what remained of a bridge, Dennis spotted everyone up and over a rocky ledge bounded by a tree. Thanks Denny! No breakdowns at that obstacle, but the "coffin" did require a little TLC. No one was really sure what was aching the "coffin", and no one was about to ask either. Pressing on, we forged up Jenny Creek many times as the creek had found the trail was easier to navigate then its own channel. There were lots of rocks to crawl over, and tight trees to maneuver around (as Hobo Ken found out, and slipped thru without a scratch).
We stopped for lunch at a small break in the trees, and Ken used his air compressor to pump up a suspected flat tire that held it's pressure for the rest of the trip (now that's compressed air!). We all made it up to Yankee Doodle Lake, and connected back up with the old railroad grade road up to Rollins Pass. We all headed back down towards Tolland, when Heather of the Patrol 8-ballers lost her "nuts" on the trail. Nuts you say? Well, that's what they call them do-hickys that keep your spring bolts on. Thanks to Kevin "mechanic of the day" Carter for a quick trail repair, and we were all heading for camp.
Commander Bob spotted by Denny Yankee Doodle Lake Another skilled Eightball trail fix
Once back at camp, I realized just how windy it was during the day there. My tent trailer was blown off its supports, and rolled a few feet down hill. After setting back up, and tieing everything down, it was chowtime! Thanks to the great food cooked by Tom Allen, Lynn and Karen Butler, and all the others who made it a yummy dinner! The wind gods were howling then, as we almost started a forest fire (don't ask), and it was very windy all night as a predicted cold front was approaching. A warm campfire kept the party diehards cozy in the cold winds, as did the refreshments (which for some reason never got warm).
Sunday morning I awoke to find everything hadn't blown away overnight. A warm sunny morning turned suddenly foggy and cold in a matter of an hour. So much for going topless, as the top went back on my jeep. The Hobos had planned a Sunday September 26th trip if an Aspencades trip was not run. Since rumors of the Caribou Flats Trail being graded and mostly closed by the Mine operators, we opted for an Aspen Loop Trail up and around the east side of Kingston Peak. This days group consisted of myself (and my sidekick Molly),Hobo Paul Weisz and his lady friend Chris, Scott Maxwell and his family, Kevin and the "coffin", Heather and her hubby, Bob Goble in his CJ, while his daughter and friend were in the early Bronco. The game plan was to find some good jeepin, and groves of yellow aspens, while making a big loop up and around and back to camp.
We headed up Clear Creek and up past lots of really old dead people in the cemeteries above Central City, and into the beautiful yellow groves of aspens everywhere! The fog also lifted just in time to see the aspen colors with a blue sky in the background and golden aspens along both sides of the trail (a definite Kodak moment). We jeeped up some side trails, and up to the ridgeline with great views of Mt. Evans framed by aspens. We pressed up the ridge heading northwest past Pisgah Lake, and found ourselves on a really small tree-lined jeep trail (actually I was lost, except I didn't tell anyone ;). After that nifty little trail section, we stopped for lunch in a meadow overlooking a view of the valley to the north. We eventually found the tree-lined trail we ran during the 1st Annual Hobo Run, and followed it along the east side of Kingston Peak. The trail was nothing to technical, but a nice tight tree-lined trail just the same. We made it over to the north side of Pile Hill, and ran into a motor "mosquito" cyclist out of gas. After we got him going, we followed a jeep trail from Apex around Oregon Hill, and down Pickle Gulch and back to camp. Most of us picked up RVs and camp, and headed back down to the big city. The aspens were at their full peak and the weekend event was a lot of fun!! Thanks again to all who put it on!
As most of the aspens have peaked, the Hobos set out on the cool morning of October 2nd for a day of jeepin' the Bill Moore Lake/ Empire Loop Jeep Trails above the town of Empire. We all met up at IHOP at 6th and Simms at 9am and headed west on I-70 to Empire. The wheelers for the day were myself (and Molly of course), Hobo Ken Kordes, and Chris and Debi Vieth, with guests Pete Ramirez and his wife, and Brad Riveria.
We all aired down in Empire, as I checked my maps as I was going to lead a trip I had never done. After a quick turnaround (yep, I took a wrong turn), we were heading up the canyon switchbacks above Empire. Along the last switchback, we took the cutoff rock chute obstacle section. This section is similar to Iron Chest's rock chute section, but less and alittle smaller rocks. The chute here still provides a challenge, since larger rocks need to be negotiated as loose medium-sized ones are crawled over, all in one steep climb. With only one stall (gatta love those carburetors), I made it up with a big smile as I passed the camcorder. Ken was up next with his 61 F-150, and crawled right on up with his ARB's and low gears. Brad Riveria with his open TJ was able to use momentum and tire placement (skill) to maneuver thru the rocks, and on up with just a couple scraping noises coming from the undercarriage. Chris Vieth climbed up as Debi's camcorder was rolling. I think she only stopped it twice as I spotted Chris thru a tight section. Chris's highway gears proved to be to high for a rock crawl, but with some finesse, he climbed on up with a renewed look of confidence. Paul Rameriz ran a clean run up, making it look easy even without lockers.
Once on the trail again, we took a left at the Bill Moore Lake sign, and headed uphill thru 10,000'+ spruce forests. The trail is more scenic then challenging up to the lake, as the views off to the south of Mt. Evans and Georgetown were spectacular. There are some fun mogul loose rock climbs on they way, which take your eyes away from the views briefly. We made it up to Bill Moore Lake, and had a windy lunch along the shore. A natural dam had broken recently holding a large portion of the lakes water, as it was down about a foot. We backtracked to find the turn to the north and the beginning of the Empire Loop Jeep Trail. This side trail is a fun tight tree-lined rocky jeep trail. No Hummers should attempt this trail, as width is definitely a factor in the amount of pin striping you apply to your paint. Most of us were able to avoid the deep pinstripes, except Hobo Ken who is a good 6" wider then us, and had more of a challenge negotiating the trees. With his new steering box recently installed, it proved useful as he sliced thru the trees like butter.
|Bill Moore’s “Rock Chute” Hobo Chris V. over Mill Creek obstacle Tree-lined Empire Loop Trail|
BILL MOORE LAKE/EMPIRE LOOP JEEP TRAILS
Along the Empire Loop we came across Mill Creek, and just past the creek crossing we came across an obstacle known for eating jeep hubs (ask Hobo Paul). It's a small 2' ledge and rocks, with a big tree on the left to avoid. There is a go around, but most of us opted for the "harder way" and made it up with our hubs intact. Back into the trees, this section gives any power steering pump a workout. Along with some rocky sections, it's a real fun "jeep trail". We finished the loop around Elephant Hill, and found the original way in near the rock chute. As weather set in, we headed on down to the Chancellor Mine to unlock. A great fall day, great company, and a fun "jeep trail", what more is there??
On October 9th, The Hobos and guests set out to enjoy another indian summer Saturday on the trail in Colorado. The weather was perfect, with some aspens still at their peak, and the Middle St. Vrain Coney Creek Trails calling to be jeeped! We met at Hwy 72 & Hwy 93 at 9am, and headed up thru the stoplights of Boulder, past Jamestown, and ending up at Camp Dick campground for the air down ritual. Along with myself (and my sidekick Molly), were Hobo's David Parrett (and his dog Tucker), and Hobo Chris "Colonel" Potter (and his son Jason). It was great to see these two on the trail again. Also along were Pete Ramirez and his wife, and Pete's friend Lynn who joined us for a great day of jeepin. After airing down and sway bar disconnects, we headed up the Middle St. Vrain Trail with the Indian Peaks Wilderness bounding the trail to the north. This trail is moderate to easy in some spots, but lots of rocks to negotiate or risk undercarriage damage. Most of the willows were at peak fall color, giving a look and smell of fall in the air, with winter not far behind. We crossed the clear Middle St. Vrain a couple of times, and reached the hiking trailhead into the wilderness at about 3 miles up the trail. We stopped for a break, and a group shot near Middle St. Vrain creek.
Backtracking about 100yards was the turn off to the Coney Creek Trail. A few obstacles are along the hillside, and with only 2WD (in rear) can be quite challenging. As Chris can attest, 3WD is much better then 2WD. He had just been to High Country 4x4 to have front ARB's installed the week before, well they were not working that day. No front lockers, and the hubs were locked and would not go back into the free position. So, combined with not finishing the Job on last Friday the 1st as promised (he missed the Bill Moore trip), and removing his muffler hanger for some odd reason, his 1st call that next Monday morning was directly to big Al himself (which the promptly fixed-the hub was installed wrong).
The Coney Creek Trail is different from the Middle St. Vrain Trail, as it's rocky and has numerous water catch basins to run thru, and a tighter tree-lined trail mixed in. Some of these "puddles" actually reach bumper height, though running in the springtime they must be much much higher, or impassable since there is nowhere for the water to go. We stopped at a picture-postcard view of a lake near Coney Creek, with the Front Range and Sawtooth Mountain in the background. As trip leader, and never had been to Coney Creek Trail, I assumed once we hit the lake the trail would turn easy (SUV trail) down towards Beaver Res., well I was wrong. Rocks and puddles were the norm for the downhill trip, not an SUV trail just yet. Down almost to the Beaver Res., we encountered some true-life full-size beer drinking 4-wheelers stuck bumper deep in a mud bog off the trail. Of course I took a photo for future educational purposes only, as we surveyed the situation. This side trail went nowhere past this bog, and all they wanted to do was "get muddy". Well, the muds on their face now, as even their winch wouldn't pull them out. Normally, if this was a jeeper in real trouble we would help, but this wasn't the case. They had a second unstuck vehicle, another 12-pack of Keystone, and the rest of the weekend. So, as soon as they got cranky and realized we were not willing to sacrifice our winches/jeeps for help, we headed on down the trail to enjoy the rest of our day. We reached Beaver Res., unlocked, and put on our sway bar disconnects for our trip down to Nederland and some quick 25-cent air. Coney Creek Trail is a neat little jeep trail, with no serious obstacles, but enough medium-sized rocks and puddles to play on and in for a great day on the trail!
Tentative plans for Oct/Nov include a trip to Slaughterhouse Gulch on Sunday Oct 24th, and trips to Longwater Gulch and the Left-Hand Canyon area when the snow flies and finally close the high mountain trails for the winter. We are sponsoring refreshments for the Nov. MHJC meeting and a MHJC led trip somewhere local.
The HoboJeepers wish everyone a Happy Turkey Thanksgiving 99', as Christmas shopping for jeep accessories is right around the corner!!
BILL HALLINAN HoboJeepers