Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
Argentine Pass Trip
July 24, 2010

By Rich Horiuchi
Photography by Cathy and Rich Horiuchi

Richard and Karla; Mike, Caroline, and friends; Larry; Mike and Laura; Perry and Anita; Brian, Jamie, and daughter Lilly; and we (Rich, Cathy, Aaron, and Jordan) met at the Loaf & Jug in Golden and headed up to Georgetown, where we met up with Don and Karen. While it was a gloomy and cool morning in Denver, the skies opened up with sunshine by the time we got to Georgetown. We all aired down at the Georgetown visitor center and the headed up the railroad grade road to the site of the Waldorf Mine and town.

Beautiful wildflowers on the way to Argentine Pass

We continued past Waldorf toward the top of Argentine Pass on a relatively steep shelf road that is in good condition. Once we got to the top of the pass (elevation 13,207 ft.), we were afforded terrific panoramic views of both the west and east slopes.

Peru Creek from the top of Argentine Pass

USGS marker at the top of the pass

We had lunch and then descended back to Waldorf where we turned north to go to the site of the Santiago Mine. We climbed a fairly steep and fun slope and stopped for biological necessities, where Don showed me his (no, not that) iPad map of where we were, and determined we weren't on the road on which Chuck Wells said we should have been. We continued on anyway and found the correct path to the main railroad grade road (it was a nice diversion, anyway). We decided to go to the top of McClellan Ridge before the Santiago Mine because weather was starting to come in.

On the way up to McClellan Ridge

When we got to the top of the ridge (also above 13,000 ft.), we were again afforded fantastic views. We could see many people hiking the trail to the tops of Grays and Torreys Peaks.

Grays and Torreys Peaks on the right

It started to rain and thunder (funny, it has been fairly common for the trail rides we have led to have lightning, big thunder, and rain above timberline, as Don pointed out), so we headed down to the site of the Santiago Mine. About half of us made a wrong turn on one of the switchbacks, but Don and his multiple GPS units got us back on the right track. After we had taken in the sights of the mine (which has declined markedly in its condition since the last time we visited the mine about 7 years ago), we headed back down the trail to Georgetown.

Santiago Mine

Most of us had a nice dinner at Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs before heading back to the low-lands. All in all it was a great day!

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