Argentine Pass Trip
story by Adam Mehlberg, photos by Adam Mehlberg

On September 6th Gail Straty took a few Trailridge Runners members up to the Ghost town of Waldorf and Argentine Pass. We met at the usual meeting place in Golden and fueled up before heading up to Georgetown.

In Georgetown we followed the signs to Guanella Pass and climbed the switchbacks to the turn off for Waldorf. At the pull off we all aired down in the light rain and locked in the hubs. The beginning of the Argentine Pass road works its way up to the old railroad grade that use to run from Silverplume to Waldorf. Once on the railroad grade the old railroad bed follows the north side of Leavenworth Creek through Aspen groves and pine forests toward timberline and the ghost town of Waldorf.

Argentine Pass

The rain cleared as we followed the railroad bed to Waldorf. As we got closer to town we spotted a few deer in a clearing along side the road. At the tailing piles of the Waldorf mine we ran into other vehicles. It was the beginning of archery season and hunters were exploring the Leavenworth Creek valley.

After our short stop at the old mine site we headed for Argentine pass, everyone except Don Owens. Don could not get his truck to start. After some investigation it was decided that Don would ride with Bill Boitano up to the pass so that we could continue our trip. Maybe Don’s truck would fix itself while we were gone.

Waldorf Mine tailings

As we climbed higher up toward the pass the clouds were rolling in, and at this altitude it meant snow. At the very top of the pass we stopped to admire the horizontal snow and wonder what view the snow cloud was hiding. Shortly Gail, Rich and Cathy Horiuchi, and Richard and Karla Harmon headed down to lower elevations while Bill, Bill’s sister, Don, myself and my daughter Steph finished our lunch. As we headed back down the skies began to clear a little and the snow storm headed off.

Santiago Mine

Back down at the Waldorf mine site Don checked his truck and it really did fix itself while we were gone. Don decided to ride with Bill up to the Santiago Mine just in case his truck was only faking it. At the mine we looked over the remains of the buildings and theorized on the purpose of the partial remains. Inside the main building were the remains of 1940's era mining equipment. The mine had been wired with electricity to run a rock crusher and a few shaker tables.

After leaving the Santiago, we headed up to McClellan Ridge following the old road that passed the remains of many prospects. Most were only tailing piles with some remains of buildings lying about. At the top of McClellan Ridge we saw three mountain goats and a hawk that was looking for some lunch. The Ridge offers some very nice views of Grays Peak and Torreys Peak. The light dusting of snow on top added to the grandeur of these fourteener’s.

Santiago Mine

We headed back down to the railroad grade to make our way back home. By now the clouds had re-grouped and we were in a heavy down pour. Every so often it would flash and before you could say one thousand one, the thunder would clap. We were definitely in the middle of this storm.

Along the way, we came across a GMC that was being pulled up a very rocky side road by another truck. The driver flagged us down to see if we could help. Bill and I assisted the driver in getting his truck almost back onto the main road. With his right front tie rod end snapped off, steering the vehicle was a two person job, and doing a hairpin turn in the rain was not going to do him much good. There was no field repair for this lifted GMC, so it couldn’t be limped back down to town. It would need a new tie rod end. Bill gave him a ride down to Georgetown so that he could get some help. From here we all headed home after a long and fun day of four wheeling.

TRR article disclaimer

All Articles, Photographs, and Graphics are the property of the Trailridge Runners 4WD Club Inc. Re-publication, or any other use, is strickly prohibited without prior written consent. Contact the club to obtain permission. Some content is in the process of, or is already copyright protected. The Trailridge Runners 4WD Club is a non profit organization. Thank you.