Pickle/Miner's Gulch/

Yankee Hill


Near Blackhawk/Alice, Colorado


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   On Saturday 'NITE', October 26th 2002, once again---we celebrated another fun 2002 Summer of Jeepin' while bringing in the gloomy early sunsets to come with a FUN nite run.  Around 5:15pm, some assembled at Hwy 6 and Hwy 93 west of Golden for a Pickle Gulch/Miner's Gulch/Yankee Hill 'NITE' RUN'!  


    Yes, it seemed appropriate for Miner's Gulch seeing we have run it many times in daylight, so it was time to try it at night!  The rocks looked bigger, and the touch of fresh snow made it much more fun!  This trip is along the same path as last year's run.  Jason brought up some people from Golden around 5:30pm up Hwy 6.  At the Blackhawk Post Office, he met with myself and  some more wheelers along on the trip.  There was just enough light to air down and disconnect.  Alittle after 6:30pm we had a meeting, and decided to include Pickle Gulch in the trip as well.


    Hobos in attendance were myself (CJ-with my jeepin' sidekick Molly), & Tailgunner Jason 'Milkdude' Brew (XJ).  Guests included: Rick Fitzimmons (76' Bronco), Richard & Sherry Dillon (S10 pickup), Dan Cole (82' Scrambler), Randy Harris (89' XJ), Eric Schmoutz (91' Ranger), Rian Sowbarger (47' Willys), Chris Wilpin (76' CJ7), Troy & Lisa Antill (99' TJ), Allen Mcashan (73' CJ5-Go-4'rs), Ken Urban & passenger Brian Filobus (92 YJ- Go-4'rs), & Roy Railsback & passenger Don Mannes (93 YJ- Go-4'rs).


13 rigs meet up at the Blackhawk Post Office,

and are ready for for some night time fun!


    Thirteen rigs headed up to the Pickle Gulch trailhead with lights on and "Jeep,Jeep" anticipation ahead.  The 1st hundred yards are tight and tree-lined.  Time to lock in at the trailhead, as we soon arrived at the small obstacle at Pickle Gulch with a dusting of snow. One by one we all went up and over.  I only took a few photos, so I dropped in some older daylight ones to see the area.  Seems strange not being able to see everything around you in the dark.   You see what you need to do, and then you make a mental photo of what you need to do as your tires finally make contact.  Just a light dusting of snow (~1inch) covered the trail.


Here is a photo of the Pickle Gulch obstacle in daylight and without snow...


    Up to the meadow, we took a 10-100 break.  The winds were light and just small flurries were around, the next snow squall would not come til later.  Heading around Oregon Hill, we arrived at Apex.  I was stopped by a 'local' (with binoculars in hand--at night?) who asked me and my group to keep a look out for a big bird with a 12 foot wingspan.  He said he is trying to document it so it can be named after him.  Then something about 9-11 and twin towers, ex-military, etc...  I just wanted to go, as my idle was acting up.  After many ok and yes's, I left my new 'friend'.  Except now we were all on 2 inches of snow on a steep hill, and need to help to get going again.


    We soon arrived at the trailhead of Miner's Gulch south of Elk Park ready for some fun!  At nearly 9,800', and deep in the trees, last week's storm had coated most of the rocks with a dusting of 2-3 inches here and there.  The snow was just enough to feel the bumps, but also just enough to slip off them at the steep grade.  My Jeep was acting sick as it would not hold idle.  We took a look at it, and got some idle going to run Miner's.


One the way thru Elk Park, our road was snowy and dark...


    One by one, we crawled up the lower section till we reached the 'rocky playground'.  We took turns climbing up, and sorta 'winging it' when it comes to knowing where you are.  What a blast!  All did great, and nobody needed strapped.  Richard Dillion drove his stock S-10 well.  This was the 1st time with this much snow, and it made for some big smiles by all!  This was a different approach for me (nite-jeepin'), and a lot of fun (this was only my 3rd nite run). Pictures were hard to take as you can imagine, flashes went off, but it was pretty dark in the trees.


Troy's TJ takes the harder right line, nice flood lights underneath!


This YJ with the Colorado Go-4er's ends up

having to stay alittle left to avoid diff contact...


Hobo Jason Brew sliding on thru...


and on up to the upper rocky snowy section too.


    We all made it thru and took a break in the open are just up the trail around 9:45pm.  The almost full moon was not present thru the thick snowy clouds.  Only flurries were seen.  On up the 2nd half of Miner's, the trail becomes steep with snow and smaller rocky sections as we finally made it to the top of the ridge.  Our next objective was Yankee Hill, so we headed west along FR 175.3  Up a few miles, we reached the base of Yankee Hill, where we all headed up the steep mogul hill.


Daylight photo looking down Yankee Hill

(imagine us in the dark and snow storm coming up)...


view looking up steep and mogul Yankee Hill.

(no photos of our trip here)


    We climbed Yankee Hill and parked on the saddle all looking back down towards Denver at 11,200'.  We all donned our maximum wattage towards Denver, as beacons of white light filled the sky.  You couldn't see I-70 though thru the thick snowy clouds, as the flurries picked up.  The normally howling winds were calm, as steady snow flurries were lit up by our driving lights.  Soon, winter snows will take over this area for good.  As the snow increased, the 'quality time' was over, and we all headed down Yankee Hill.



Group photo on top Yankee Hill.

(photo by Rian Sowbarger)



    Instead of heading right down into Alice, I went south down into Cumberland Gulch and finally meets up with the Fall River Road down from Alice.  This trail would be best 'served' going up it verses down.  It has a lot of small rocky sections and is steep.  It also doesn't get much travel, so it's a bit ATV-like along some sections.  We made it down to the pavement of Fall River Road, and put on the disconnects.


    My Jeep was still running like a dog down Cumberland Gulch, either carb or a vacuum leak.  Once organized, we all parted down Fall River Road.  Some stopped in Idaho Springs for gas and air, while Jason & I headed home.  Wow, what a fun trip!!  A different perspective on the trail and jeepin', those missing this missed a great time!  Hanging out with good wheelin' friends also make for a nice trip too!








*Photos provided by myself*, If anyone else has any others please send them to me.


Other HoboJeeper Miner's Gulch Trip Reports:


Jenny Creek/Miner's Gulch 2002-HoboJeepers


Pickle Gulch/Miner's Gulch 2001-HoboJeepers


ASPENCADES 2001-Miner's Gulch-HoboJeepers


Pickle Gulch/Miner's Gulch 2000-HoboJeepers

Miner's Gulch/Kingston Peak Trails 2000-HoboJeepers

Kingston Peak/Yankee Hill/Miner's Gulch 2000-HoboJeepers




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