Deer Creek / Sts John
|by Kathy Howell pictures by Rich and Cathy Horiuchi and Karla Harmon|
Our 4-wheeling outings give us an opportunity to view some of Colorado's spectacular scenery. The views are never better than when we are literally on top of Colorado looking down at the scenery all around. Those were the views we had on the Ladies Run to Deer Creek and Saints John. Karla and I selected these trails because we both love the views so much.
We had nine vehicles in all. Seven of us met at Loaf & Jug in Golden: Gail Straty and her grandson, Russell, Cathy and Rich Horiuchi and their sons, Aaron and Jordon, Anita and Perry Willson, Larry McGimsey, Erin Colcannon and Tom Healy, Karla and Richard Harmon, and Kathy and John Howell. Along the way, we stopped for a rest stop at Georgetown and picked up Christine and Gordon Howe and Kim and Bill Boitano. From there we drove over Loveland Pass to Keystone. We aired down in the Keystone parking lot and left a trailer and pickup. From here, it was only five miles to the trail head in Montezuma.
We headed out of town on the Deer Creek trail with most of the ladies driving. The trail was easy driving and quickly made its way through the valley and above tree line. Near the top we took the side trail to the top of Radical Hill and hopefully to see the herd of mountain goats that Karla and I had seen when we pre-ran the trail. The views from the top of Radical Hill are wonderful. Looking ahead one can see the trail coming down Red Cone to where it meets Webster Pass. Looking behind one can see the Saints John trail and the cutoffs to the North and Middle Forks of the Swan River. We also saw the storm clouds rolling in and felt the cold blasts of wind. While we did see a few mountain goats, we did not see the herd.
We retraced our path from the top of Radical Hill back to the Deer Creek trail. Karla and I had chosen a lunch spot along here before it connected back to the main trail, but it had started raining and hailing - so we kept moving. We literally drove out from under the clouds and stopped at the first sunny and dry spot on the trail. Even here, the views were still wonderful. But, with the clouds moving our way, we ate our lunch quickly and were back in our vehicles as the rain once again caught up with us.
Disappointed that we hadn't yet spotted the herd of mountain goats, we were pleased to see them on the ridge on the North Fork of the Swan River trail. So, we took a little side trip to get closer and take pictures. For many of us, that was the largest herd of mountain goats we'd seen. Their new coats are growing in so most of them are shedding their old coats. The fur from their shedding coats can be found on the fence posts.
We then headed back to the main trail. By now it was raining steadily. The trail was completely exposed to the elements and we all got to see the lightning bolts much closer than we liked. We moved along quickly skipping the stop at the General Teller Mine ruins and the side trip to the viewpoint. We were all anxious to get to lower altitudes and bit more protected from the lightning.
Our caravan moved steadily and quickly down the mountain through the remains of the Wild Irishman Mine and old town of Saints John. By the time we got back to Montezuma, the rain had stopped. We drove back to the parking lot at Keystone to air up. From there several went on to do other things. The majority of us, however, dined at the Kickapoo Tavern in the River Run resort area. After a cold, wet day on the mountain, the warmth of the tavern, the tasty food, and good company was great fun and a nice way to end the trip. To all the lady drivers, Good Job!