Above Empire, Colorado

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    On Sunday October 22nd, 2000, the HoboJeepers headed "out of town" to run the Bill Moore Lake Trail above Empire. Yes, it was a Bronco Sunday, but who needs to watch the game when the Broncos should blow out an 0-6 team like Cinncy. Well, guess we all know the rest of that story,,,,,Ugggh.  Only in Colorado, can you have a Saturday sunny and warm in the 70's, and a Sunday cloudy/cold/and rainy in the low 40's, all in one weekend!  With the weather forecasts calling for a cold front to come thru on Sunday, we were ready for anything that the day would bring.  We all met up at the Morrison/I-70 exit at 8:20am.

    Along to "ride the trails" were Sean Tallant (TJ), Scott "Mad Max" and Janet (and Kids) Maxwell (in his 2000 Exterra-TJ in the shop), Chris "Colonel" Potter and son Jason (CJ), Ken "Toolman" Kordes (the "new" 61 Ford), and myself--with my jeepin-sidekick Molly (CJ).  Guest jeepers to "ride the trails" included: Steve "White Moose" Gilbert (TJ), Don Derleth and Tony Prough (XJ), Don Wilson of MHJC Patrol 11 and son Jason (TJ), Christian Kujawa and friend (2000 Exterra), & Brandon with Dad Howard Potter (Landcruiser).


    A sharp cold wind blew out of the north as we waited for some more people to arrive at the Morrison parking lot. A sure sign of how the weather would be like the higher we got, which came true throughout the day.  At about 8:40 am, we all headed up I-70 higher in the fog and drove up to the town of Empire to air down and disconnect.


Airing down at Empire ready for another great Colorado jeep trip!!



    Ready to ride, we headed up the canyon above Empire, onto the dirt road, and up past the mine where the 1st switchback starts. Just up from there is the "cutoff" to the "Rock Chute". A good steep narrow trail with lots of loose medium to boulder sized rocks strewn randomly along the chute.  I was the 1st to go up, I had noticed just like at the Iron Chest Trail near St. Elmo, someone had pulled about 75% of the rocks out of the trail to get up! 


The "Rock Chute" has many loose boulders to navigate thru...


Don Wilson works his way up the steep grade of rocks...


    Well---being 1st up, I walked back down the chute and helped a few of those big boulders somehow defy gravity and fall back onto the trail.  Maybe---if we all build up more and more rocks from the sides each time we run it, it will actually be a real "rock chute".  Everyone except the stock Exterras and Landcruiser ran up the chute cleanly as we moved on.


Steve's "White Moose" 2000 TJ crawls up the chute...


Hobo "Colonel" Potter meanders up with ease...


Hummmm.....seems the rocks have a mind of their own,

they know where home is...on the trail!!

    Taking two more lefts, we came to another intersection and took another left that is FS 383.1 that follows up to the lake. But first, one comes upon a little steep hill climb with lots of loose rocks and some deep moguls near the top.  There is no go-around (they are being reclaimed), so some needed help to get up.  First-timers Christian and his Exterra, and Brandon in his Landcrusier both surprised us all by making it with full throttle past the deepest moguls near the top. 

Locked up it's fun, stock a challenge...

this steep loose hill was quite entertaining.



Christian in his 2000 Exterra finally made it up with some good MO...


Don Derleth's XJ nears the top of the obstacle with some flex...


Speaking of flex, Hobo Sean's TJ has all 4's on the ground

while lookin' good as he motors by...


  Once thru, the fog thickened, and soon looking for the vehicle ahead and behind you became a challenge, so headlights were a must.  As we reached about 11,400' the snow began to pick up, and made the trail slick in spots. Luckily, we had all done most of the hill climbing for the day without snow.  We came upon the mud hole that was dried up with a little but slick with some fresh snow. 


The fog was thick as pea soup...this hill was steep too!


Don's XJ was 1st in and 1st stuck...

kids don't try this if it's full of water, it would be a deep one!!


The "White Moose" tries out the mudhole...


Hobo Sean also plays in the mudhole...and climbs the steep exit.


 Steve and the Moose make it up

the steep hole, this would be much harder full...


    After a brisk lunch in the snow storm, we played on the rock in the parking lot.  We took our last look at Bill Moore Lake for the year and headed back down the trail.  We followed our tracks (literally) back down out of the clouds and stopped by the "rock chute" for a run down it.  We took another look at the chute going down in the rain and snow.  All of the larger rocks were not only loose but now they were wet and slippery.    


A cold lunch stop at Bill Moore Lake with a brief snowstorm...


Don flexes for the camera at the top of the rock chute...


Don Wilson making his way down the chute, moving rocks as he goes...


My 82' CJ seemed to be attracted

 to the bigger rocks to slide down on...


Chris Potter doesn't shy away from any rocks being locked and in control!


Sean works down the rock chute,

 as the snow picks up and the rocks get slick...


A fun rock chute dry or wet,

stop and pile a rock on the trail next time your there...


    The "White Moose" had a tire snap the left front brake line at the top of the chute. Steve opted to run with his parking brake and low gears down to the flat pullout at the mine site. A fine bit of maneuvering with lower gears and using the handbrake as a backup.  


    After careful inspection by Don Derleth, he determined it wasn't possible to replace or close off the leak. So the "White Moose" was loose down to Empire and into Downieville.  Don escorted Steve back to Denver on I-70 in the fog and rain with no brakes,,,Thanks Don.  The Moose was fixed that Wednesday (Don't go to Broadway Jeep Eagle!!), and now is fully functional.  We all had a fun day, climbed some challenging hills as it was a bit foggy and rainy, but it's Colorado in the fall remember!


Heading back to Denver "The Moose is Loose!",

Steve drives home with only gears and a handbrake!

 Bill Hallinan HoboJeepers

Here are some other Bill Moore Lake Trip Reports:

Bill Moore Lake Trail by COSPORTS

Bill Moore Lake Trail 99'-HoboJeepers

Bill Moore Lake Trail 6-00'-HoboJeepers

Bill Moore Lake Trail Photos by Don Wilson MHJC Patrol 11


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