View Full Version : San Juan Trip August 2010
08-21-2010, 05:46 AM
Got back today, awesome trip. Not quite as remote as our trip last year, but still an awesome time nonetheless.
We headed out last Sunday morning. Justin had some trailer tire issues, but we still made good time to Colona (between Montrose and Ridgway) where we dropped trucks and trailers. From there we headed over Last Dollar Road down to Telluride with Alta Lakes as our final destination. There's a few lakes up there with quite a few campsites, pretty cool area.
This was our view from camp at sunset:
The next morning we got up to head over Ophir Pass to 550, and then take Black Bear Pass back over to Telluride. As we started coming down from Alta Lakes I noticed a LOT of tire rubbing from the rear, turns out one of the UCA bolts worked itself out of the frame mount causing the axle to shift side to side. We got it all back together just as the clouds rolled in and it started to rain.
It sprinkled lightly most of the way over Ophir, never too bad.
As we made our way up 550 to Black Bear it started to rain a little heavier.
And the further we went the harder it came down, with a lot of hail of lightning. And there were sheep EVERYWHERE.
When we reached the summit it looked like it might start clearing soon.
And almost on cue it did.
I was really happy that it had cleared up as Black Bear has been on my to-do list for a good 10 years and I wanted to be able to take it all in.
The weather stayed great for the rest of the trail.
We made it to the switchbacks and started our way down
08-21-2010, 05:46 AM
This was probably the tightest of the switchbacks
Bridal Veil Falls
We headed back to camp where it rained again pretty good for a while. We broke camp in the morning and headed up over Imogene Pass.
It was a pretty long pull up the pass, and we had to pull over for a little bit to let the ZJ cool down. Something about pulling a 1,500lb trailer up a 13,114ft pass. But it was certainly worth it.
Got to work the pintle a bit towards the bottom
After coming down Imogene we wanted to run up Governer Basin and Yankee Boy Basin really quick. Both trails were pretty easy, but offered some amazing scenery.
Old ruins in Governer Basin
Top of Yankee Boy Basin
Very cool rock formation up there
We rolled into Ouray real quick to top off fuel and ice before heading down to the start of the Alpine Loop where we would make camp for the next 3 nights. We got up the next morning to run the Alpine Loop.
08-21-2010, 05:48 AM
Oh Point on Engineer Pass
Summit of Engineer
We took a quick detour on our way back up Cinnamon Pass into American Basin, another very cool area. After summiting Cinnamon we dropped down into Animas Forks.
Our camp was just below the trailhead to Poughkeepsie off Mineral Creek, so we had a few options on how we would head back to camp. We decided to go up California Pass and head down Poughkeepsie.
Summit of California Pass
Coming down Poughkeepsie ended up being a bit more challenging than we planned. Ended up slipping off our line into the rock wall and getting jammed in there. Had to get strapped back out and take another way down.
Justin had a little different take on the middle section
And he managed to make it DOWN okay
The night before we had some great chili and busted out the new Dutch Oven for some cornbread, and Justin had a hair brained idea for dessert for the next night. Considering this is a 12" dutch oven and there were only 3 of us, I'd say it came out well!
There were quite a few deer in the area that were very comfortable walking right by our camp.
I took a couple tries at Poughkeepsie, but the rain the night before made it nice and slick so I let Pam give it a shot while I spotted. We tried to crawl it a couple times, but that wasn't working with the wet rocks and wet/muddy tires, and one attempt she just stayed in it while I got the hell out out of her way!
08-21-2010, 05:49 AM
Justin wanted to try going UP the line he went down before. We had discussed it the night before, and it all really was hanging on whether or not he could get the front passenger to climb the wall being open/open.
This is about as far as it got up the wall, needed just a bit more.
So we hooked up the strap and tugged him forward just a touch. The result of that was something we pretty much expected.
So we kept going on the strap a bit to get the front down a little bit. Once it was "stable" again Justin went for it on his own.
And then as the back tire started climbing the wall . . . .
Only a couple little scratches
After Poughkeepsie we went up over Hurricane Pass and down Corkscrew Gulch to get back to 550. The area from California Pass into that area has some spectacular colors.
Once we reached 550 Justin headed north to head home while we went south to check out Silverton. Going up Red Mountain Pass on 550 I noticed the rear axle shifting a bit. We jumped out and checked it, and sure enough the same bolt from before was working itself loose. The bolt we used was a bit on the long side and was pushed into the unibody so I think I was getting a false sense of tightness as the bolt pushed into the unibody. I found another nut in my spare nuts and bolts ammo can and went to put it in. Since the bolt was still partially in and I didn't want to have to take it out and get it all lined up again, I grabbed a spare c-clip for my 8.8 and used that as another washer. Tightened it all up and rolled out.
Silverton is a pretty neat town, and the beer at Silverton Brewery is outstanding. We topped off on fuel and ice again and headed back to camp. It started to sprinkle right as we pulled back into camp, and would continue to do so for a few hours. Kind of a bummer to spend our last night in the rain, but a bad day in camp is better than a good day at work.
This morning we broke camp and went through Ouray back to the truck and trailer. When we were loading up we noticed the source of one of the noises we developed during the trip. The passenger side UCA axle mount was ripped CLEAN off the axle. So I was on a 3-link most of the week and didn't even realize it.
The ZJ and trailer both performed very well throughout the trip, minus the couple control arm hiccups.
08-21-2010, 06:14 AM
Thanks for taking the time to share with us.
08-21-2010, 06:25 AM
Great pics and story from an epic area...I have run those trails a number of times and never get tired of seeing the images.
I really like the pics of the deer near camp, crazy how used to people they are.
So tell more about this Dutch Oven Dessert that went down so well.
08-21-2010, 01:35 PM
Great report, never get tired of seeing CO.
08-21-2010, 01:56 PM
08-21-2010, 03:02 PM
So tell more about this Dutch Oven Dessert that went down so well.
Dump a can of pie filling in the dutch oven, spread a bag of yellow cake mix on top of the pie filling. Then spread some butter around the top of that, and let it go for about 30 minutes. Justin had seen it done once, but he was a bit inebriated at the time, so he wasn't 100% sure on how it was done, but it turned out amazing.
08-21-2010, 04:11 PM
Superb. I really cannot wait to explore Colorado!
I believe we have another great contestant for the trip of the month...
08-22-2010, 10:50 PM
First of all those are some very nice pics you posted.
I have a question for the original poster. Would a four door short bed F250 make it through all those trails or is to big to fit? Do those trails need to be made in a smaller vehicle?
I would love to plan a trip to that area of Colorado and right now I actually have time away from work but my vehicle of choice is an F250 with 35 tires.
So Would my truck fit through all those trails?
08-22-2010, 11:49 PM
I have a Crew Cab short bed F250 for my tow rig, and outside of Poughkeepsie, Black Bear, and probably Corkscrew you should be fine. The width won't be an issue really outside of passing oncoming traffic, but the length and poor turning radius will make some of the switchbacks and more difficult obstacles anywhere from much harder to downright dangerous.
08-23-2010, 01:14 PM
Gorgeous pictures. Although at first I was expecting to see Puerto Rico, didn't quite figure out how you made it from Colorado, and was anticipating quite a journey. Pleasantly surprised though.
08-23-2010, 03:07 PM
Awesome trip. Threads like this put a stamp on why I choose to live in Colorado.
It is so hard to take a bad pic up there. I was up in early August with storms everywhere and still got great stuff.
08-23-2010, 11:46 PM
Great trip report and fabulous pictures. We are hoping to make it back to Colorado next summer.
04-27-2011, 03:44 AM
Awesome. You are living my dream!
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