Kelly Flats - July 5, 2015 - Pictures
The day after America's day, a few of us headed up north to hit a trail that has been eluding us for years now. Fires, floods, you name it, every chance the patrol gets to run this trail, something closes it down before we can get there. This time however, it was open, and we were runnin' it.
Paul, Ryan, and a friend of Morgan's showed up at the trailhead where we aired down and headed on up. Overall, this trail is just a moderate forest service road, but Heart Attack Hill and the Chutes are the two exceptions. Heart Attack hill didn't give any of us issues, so we pressed on no big deal. We came upon a UTV group that had popped a bead. We attempted to reset the bead but had zero luck in accomplishing this. It wasn't long before we reached the shoots. Ryan went in first and after a large wheel stand, was able to make it out with minimal scrapes to his body armor. Paul was next and he also had one giant wheel stand. Only about halfway up, the skies opened with a drenching rain and the winch became our only option. Paul was soon out and we continued through the rest of the trail with the rain just pounding us the entire way.
It was a fun, short trip to cap the holiday weekend and we hope to get more of the group up there next time.
Red Cone Opening - June 27, 2015 - Pictures
Lana, Ryan, and Dianna Anderson from Patrol 9 hooked up with a couple members of Patrol 14 to help them open Red Cone for the season. Unlike last year, snow was not a major issue this year. We cleared a handful of trees off the trails and only ran into two snow drifts the entire trail. The summit of Red Cone was unusually calm with no wind, so it was quite pleasant up there. After the first descent off Red Cone, we found an abandoned ATV that appeared to have been rolled on this same descent. We reported this back to the forest service but may have to go up for recovery of the vehicle.
Webster Pass was not an issue at all and the gate on that end was actually open already via the forest service. We cleared one drift so that all traffic following us can now traverse the whole trail.
We decided to check out Deer Creek and see how far up we could get. Just above tree line we ran into a mud bog that was giving some other jeepers issues. It was sticky, deep, and nasty, but our modified vehicles had no issues getting through. We continued to the top of the ridge where we found that the connecting road to St Johns/North Fork Swan was not accessible due to a very large snowfield. We tried our luck on Middle Fork Swan as well but ran into the exact same situation... a large snow field with no way through.
We finally called it a day and returned to Montezuma via Deer Creek.
California Vacation: The Rubicon Trail/Fordyce - June 13-19, 2015 - Pictures
After month's of planning by Jeff Miller, our group finally headed west towards California to run the famous Rubicon Trail. We had 13 rigs from 3 different states all meeting up at the Cisco Grove Campground Northwest of Lake Tahoe. Cisco Grove would be our base camp for the week. We relaxed and prepped our rigs for the next few days.
On Sunday afternoon, we loaded up and headed south to the Ice House Resort where we would spend the night camping in our tents, just a few miles from the trail start. We got up early Monday morning, had breakfast at the cafe, and then headed to the airdown spot at Loon Lake. We soon arrived at the Rubicon Trail welcoming sign. After a few pictures there, we all aired down and started our trek across the granite. We reached the Granite Bowl in no time and stopped for a group photo there. We continued on to the top of the granite bowl where we stopped for lunch.
Earlier in the day, Ryan had put some brats on the engine of Terry's V8 LJ and they turned out to be an amazing meal! There was a little tinkering with Laura's Jeep at the lunch spot, but nothing serious. We continued on down the slow path past Ellis Creek and down Walker Hill till where David found he had ripped a fuel line. A quick repair of that and we were back on our way till we reached Little Sluice. At this obstacle, Jeff led the way and had a slight bit of trouble crossing. Mandy followed. And then Ryan got himself stuck in between two rocks., on against the front bumper, and one against the rear. There was no moving forward, and no moving back. We tried winching until the winch rope snapped. The next option was to winch the Jeep up. That's right, UP, as in "up in the air". Because there was a bypass above little sluice and Ryan was right below a tree, Jeff had once seen where they hooked the winch line to the jeep and pulled it up off rocks, so this is what it took to free Ryan's yellow LJ. This recovery took quite a bit of time and dark was nearing, so the group camped at the start of little sluice for the night.
The next morning we continued on our way towards Buck Island Lake. It was rough, it was bouncy, and it was relentless on the vehicles. Terry dubbed this trail, "Beat the Shit of of Your Rigg Trail" because it was doing exactly that. Besides the rig beatings, we made it to Buck Island with no issues and had lunch once again. We continued on where we all tried different lines on different obstacles, came down big sluice, stopped at the Rubicon Bridge, and then stopped a swimming hole past Rubicon Springs where some of us enjoyed some fun on the rope swing.
After a brief stop, we headed up Cadillac hill and out towards Tahoe City. We arrived back at base camp extremely late, like 1am, but the first trail was in the books and there was no major damage to speak of so we were all in good spirits. After a day off, we were up extremely early to start Fordyce at 7am on Thursday. It didn't take long when we had our first break, a blown sidewall on the Sami. We parked it for the day and continued on to each of the 6 winch hills. At winch hill two, you traverse a narrowing boulder field that leads you to the one spot of exiting, a narrow, V-notch waterfall climb. This particular spot claimed a u-joint on John's rig, and put Terry's LS on it's side where we all got a nice smoke show. One repaired u-joint and we were once on our way again.
Ryan's lunch menu for today consisted of quesadillas. Once again, a perfect warm lunch for a long wheeling day.
At winch hill 3 or maybe 4, Ryan tried an untested line where he got bound up and his passenger u-joint became the third victim of the day. The outer shaft was a total wreck as well, but luckily spares were on hand and after a lengthy repair, the group was one more on it's way as darkness fell. We scratched and clawed our way out of the rest of the trail till we finally hit the highway and headed for base camp. We arrived around 1:30am to cap one VERY. LONG. Day on the trail.
All in all, a fantastic trip that needs to be on everyone's bucket list!!
Gilpen County Snow busting - March 25, 2015 - Pictures
With a few fresh inches of snow in the area, Morgan and Ryan took a mid week trip up to Gilpen County to try there luck on a few trails. The first destination was Pickle Gulch. Morgan took lead and had no problems reaching and bypassing the rocky hill climb. Ryan quickly hit ice about half way up and could never find traction, so he took the bypass. Not too far from here Morgan buried it to the frame and had to winch out of some super fine sugar snow. Ryan's fate was no different in the same spot.
Once the winches were spooled back up, we continued with no problems through the pasture with the fire pit and Aspen log couch, and all the way to the top of the ridge. Once we reached the top, we were confronted with multiple off camber drifts that had to easily be 10 feet deep. We decided to turn around and try somewhere else.
On our way out, we found a trail off of the main road that seemed quite interesting. We came upon a downed tree that previous drivers had created a bypass around, so we got out the chainsaw and performed some trail maintenance by removing the tree, and blocking the bypass. This trail was not very long and headed right back to highway 119, but right when we had 119 in out sights, there was a locked gate on the other end. So we turned around once again.
Our final attempt of the day would be Rollins Pass. Ryan took lead here and progressed through the deep snow fairly easily. The snow on this trail was perfect as it was super thick and packed very hard once driven over. We made it to the first switchback without having to winch, and only having to be pulled out once. We played around in the water pit for awhile before continuing on. Ryan's progress stopped at a long uphill climb about 2.5 miles in, where he let Morgan take a shot. Morgan made it a little farther, but then buried it once again. In an attempt to help, Ryan also buried his rig. After a ton of digging, both made it out and decided to call it a day.
Cascade Creek - February 28, 2015 - Pictures
In February 2014, Sasquatch Jeepers became a sanctioned patrol of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club. As such, it was time to have an anniversary run. We had been planning this run for about a month or so, and unfortunately the original destination had to be changed due to the weather. Plan B was to head up I70 to Cascade Creek. Many Squatches showed up for the anniversary run, so it looked to be a fun day. David even brought out his new Bronco Buggie for its first test run.
We first attempted the loop going south first, but the snow was just too deep and kept swallowing up the smaller rigs. After a ton of winching, digging, and pulling, we tried our luck to the north. Past the old mine we went till we came to the rock garden section. Morgan and Dave hammered ahead making good progress and a lot of us followed. The last hill was relentless though and never gave in, denying us a pass.
It was a long day with not a lot of miles put in, but the first Squatch anniversary run was certainly an entertaining one.
Eagle Rock - December 28, 2014 - Pictures
The final trip of 2014 was one filled with snow, ice, rocks, rally racing, snow busting, and majestic views. Great day to be out wheeling on Eagle Rock and Bull Hill.
November Greenhorn Run: Fall River Reservoir - November 23, 2014 - Pictures
This month the Squatches took lead on the monthly, MHJC Greenhorn Run. The plan was to run Chinns Lake and Cumberland Gulch. The area had received quite a bit of snow the night before, and was still snowing as we hit the trail. Being that it was a Greenhorn Run and a number of the rigs were new to this type of wheeling, it was a slow go. Ryan and Chad plowed as much of the trail free as they could, but the snow was just flat out deep. A quarter of the ways in Chinns, the group bailed and decided on Fall River Reservoir instead. We tried, winched, and tried some more, but only 5 rigs made it to the top. Still a fun day, and hopefully the snow didn't scare off any of the Greenhorns.
Jenny Creek - November 9, 2014 - Pictures
Many of you may not know, but Jenny Creek went through a restoration project this year to re-route the trail out of the creek. I hadn't seen any reports on how the trail had changed, or what it was like now, so I decided to go check it out. Rollins Pass was just as rough as it's always been... actually lost a lower control arm bolt somewhere during the day. Trail starts in the same location as it always has. You go down the hill to the creek crossing. Where you used to cross the creek and go left is where it is now closed. You now go to the right. You have always been able to go to the right, it just dead ended.
What I hated the most about right here, is that the forest service took all the good boulders from the creek to create blockades for the old route. I know the creek crossing hasn't been very hard for a number of years now, but at least there were a few boulders to play on a bit. Now there is nothing. Hope a few winters and spring run offs will change that. You begin going around the backside of the mountain and come to another Y. Looks like the strong wind recently left us with some obstacles. None of us had chain saws, but luckily we all pretty much had axes. Chopping up 4 large trees with one or two axes would have sucked! I would suggest anyone who goes up here takes at least an axe with you. The winds are very strong and there is nothing to help block that wind.
You come to one more Y and then you begin the new section of Jenny Creek that I think i'll start calling "Old Stumpy". You are just driving through a giant clear cut area. You then meet back up with the old trail well above the creek and the trail was extremely rocky. I don't remember it being that bad, but it was just super slow and bumpy. We eventually made it to Yankee Doodle Lake and then continued on towards the Needle Eye Tunnel. Nice clear day made for some good pics up top.
The new Jenny Creek has definitely lost its appeal. There wasn't anything making the long, bumpy drive to it worth it. I did like that they have some good signage at the moment, but I really hope BRD has plans to replace those next year as you can see they are only laminated signs posted with duct tape. That won't last long.
Billings/21 Road (Val's Birthday Bash) - September 26-27 2014 - Pictures
This past weekend was Val's birthday, and her and her mom graciously invited our Patrol out to Grand Junction to wheel Billings, 21 Road, and celebrate with her. The majority of us had never wheeled any trails out there in GJ and man, we gotta say, them trails are AWESOME!!! Cannot wait to go out there again and explore more.
Friday we hit up Billings with 6 rigs. We had 3 simple flops but no one broke anything, and we all cleared the trail no problem.
Saturday it was time to hit up 21 Road. We added a couple more rigs to start the day, including a couple guys from The Spring Works, a local shop. They brought out a Sami on 31s, and a CJ on 35s. Nice rigs. After having great luck on Friday, we had a variety of breaks on this day. A ripped tire stem at the beginning was the start. Then Morgan broke a stub shaft and it was a bear trying to get the beast off the obstacle and off the trail. Later in the day Paul snapped an upper control arm in half, and twisted the other and was lucky it didn't break in half too. By the time 6:30 came around we were just shy of Carnage Corner and decided to turn around to get out as dark was coming in fast, we needed to repair a few rigs, and it was time to have dinner and start celebrating someone getting another year older.
Once off the trail, the boys from Spring Works opened up their shop to us to swap on the new control arms to Paul's jeep, pull Ryan's front driveshaft as he had bent that, and helped Ryan adjust his toe as he had smashed the tie rod also. 30 mins later we were off for dinner and drinks! Thanks again to those guys for helping us get out of the rain and do some quick repairs. Again, fricken AWESOME weekend!! Can't wait to go back.
Sidewinder/Trough Trail Camp out - August 22-24 2014 - Pictures
About 2.5hrs Northeast of Denver is the small town of Kremmling in Grand County, CO. The area has a ton of BLM land and miles of trails surrounding it, with two extreme trail gems known as Trough Trail and Sidewinder. Patrol 16 took a weekend and conquered both trails.
On Friday, a small group of Squatches hit up Sidewinder with minimal damage and only left behind a small amount of DNA on the giant boulders in the ravine. After camping out near the headwaters of the Colorado River, a large group of us headed out in the rain to Trough Trail. The main branch of the trail was pretty straight forward with constant large boulders to traverse. The rain gave an extra level of difficulty but all was handled without a problem. There are two side branches known as “Trough Your Rocker” and Trough Hill. These two branches certainly are extreme and Ryan now knows one of them as “Trough My Oil Pan”. Other damage for the day included a very angry leaf spring, a dented quarter panel, a broken shock, and a bent driveshaft. All in all, a great day!
Day three took us back to Sidewinder for a second time, this time with the whole group. Jeff had got some major air on Friday, so today we were all going for high mark at the same spot. Paul showed us all up however by laying his Jeep softly on its side. This trail is very sandy and lose, causing the trail to change for each person as the person in front of them rearranged boulders at will. After the Squatches left plenty of DNA on the trail this time, every vehicle made it out with only minor issues including a smashed exhaust, a busted window, a torn top, a ripped off fender flare and some really jealous spectators.
All 4 Fun 2014, Silverton Colorado - July 26th 2014 - Pictures
All-4-Fun is a week long, 4-wheel at your level event put on by the Mile-Hi Jeep Club. The event offers trips from easy to extreme and run as many as 15 trips each day. All-4-Fun changes locations throughout Colorado every year. Locations include places like Empire, Leadville, Buena Vista, Silverton and other great Colorado towns. This year the event was in Silverton and it was absolutely AWESOME! Not much hard wheeling in that area, but the scenery is breathe taking. Many Patrol 16 members were in attendance this year and helped out in a variety of ways from trip leaders and merchandise sales, to the logistics team and even the head event chairman. 7 days of wheeling is one hell of a vacation.
Spring Creek June 29, 2014 Pictures
Spring Creek is the newly adopted trail for the Squatches. It is a fairly difficult trail located not too far from Denver, right outside the town of Idaho Springs. As our Adopted trail, we are required to make 2 runs up the trail per year to help maintain the trail. New comers Chris and Lana were in attendance for this run, and the entire day was practically ran flawlessly.
Red Cone , June 28th 2014 - Pictures
Red Cone and Webster Pass are two of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club's adopted trails and as such, the club is granted access to the trail first each year. We are allowed past the locked gates to clear the trail of debris and snow drifts so it can be opened for the general public. This year it took us two attempts to open the trail. Two weeks prior we tried and only made it a little ways above tree line. On this Saturday however, we made it the entire way over.
From the Bailey side of the pass all the way to the top we only ran into one snow drift that gave us some issues. Pretty sure everyone had to winch at this one drift as it was in the shade and very icy under the top layers of snow. Once we reached the saddle for Webster, it looked as if we were in for some serious snow busting. The trail was dotted with drifts higher than the jeeps. Some winch pulling and some shovels, these drifts didn't stop us. Neither did the 3 avalanche fields we had to traverse over. Once through all the snow and across the river, the day was complete and we had successfully cleared the trail now leaving the gate opening in the forest service hands.