|Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
Miller Rock Campout Trip
by Ray Comeau
It was to be a great start to a great weekend with great friends as we met at 9:00am at the Super Wal-mart in Longmont. The early morning was sunny and warm as the 4th annual Miller Rock camping trip was underway.
The Miller Rock trail in located between Lyons and Estes Park on Highway 7. This trail trail is very difficult to locate due to it's unique entry. The entry way is located just 2 hundred yards from the Raymond General store. Once one enters the trail head, you would think you are incorrect on your entry as the entry way to the trail comes within 7 feet from the corner of a home.
Miller Rock Trail is about 4 miles long, has many spur roads and you normally come back out the same way unless you get permission to leave threw private land which is owned by Glacier View Ranch. The Trail has about a 900 ft elevation climb, Miller Rock it self sits at 8646 ft. From a scale from 1 to 10, I rate this trail a strong 6.
Around 9:15 am we departed Longmont heading west towards Lyons, myself and Wanda were leading with Richard and Karla as tail gunners. In between us was Brain, Jamie and Daughter Lilly, Alan and Eileen and our youngest member Scott in his stock GMC Jimmy. Larry and Paulette would meet up with us later at camp. We also were to meet some people at the Raymond store from Broken Bow Nebraska. Ryan and his wife. After our new friends from Nebraska joined us, we entered the trail head and drove 200 yards to the first switch back. Here we aired down and talked with Ryan and his wife. We then continued up the trail. The first 1/2 mile is one of the harder parts of the trail as Scott in his stock GMC was about to find out. Scott was doing great, there was one spot we thought he might need a tug, but after trying a few different lines, the GMC moved on under it's own power.
As we crawled along, Scotts GMC was getting warm, so at the fork in the road at the top we pulled over. The group still needed to continue about another 1/4 mile to reach Miller Rock. Scott decided to stay back to let the GMC cool down. The group crawled on up to Miller Rock with out any problems. We parked and all of us made the short hike up Miller Rock for a view that has never disappointed anyone. From the top is a 360 degree view of the Rock Mountains and the plains. It was a clear day so the view was fantastic. Richard and some others located Geocash boxes to rummage threw.
Geocashing is a game played world wide. It is used by using a GPS ( or luck ) to locate treasure boxes. Once you locate a Geocash box, you can open it to see what others have left behind, you can also leave something for others. Treasures left can be as simple as a note, a business card, old cell phone or any thing you like to leave behind.. Each Geocash box is unique.
After about 1/2 hour is was time to continue on. We met back up with Scott and the GMC was ready to roll. We headed on down the trail, at this point it is all down hill. The trail gets narrow with tree's and bushes. We arrived at the last obsticial I call the wedge.
Crawling threw the wedge requires placement of the tires on each side of the rock, as you exit the vehicles driver side front end drops down to an area that has loose rock and sand. At this spot the road also has a drop off making most people very uncomfortable with the exit. But as always, we all made it with out and problems. Scott did decide this may be to much for the GMC as smartly decided to park it due to camp was with in view. We all drove down to the bottom to a creek called S. Saint Vrain. Well, normally a " creek " but on this day was a raging river.
Until this day, the highest water I may have been in was on Coney Flats which goes up 3/4 way on a 37" tire. Today was going to be somewhat higher and faster flowing. So Wanda and I crawled on across the S. Saint Vrain with out any issue. But our doors were on this day. Not the case for Alan and Eileen. Alan had removed the front doors on his rig and flooded the interior and a 800 amp for his stereo stored under the drivers seat. Alan pulled drain plugs, but the carpet was drenched and the water was draining out like Niagara Falls.
After all of us walked around camp, checking out the river, another group of wheelers was heading down the trail, there was about 8 of them and Larry and Paulette was behind the group. The 8 rigs was from an on-line club called Trail Damage. It was fun to watch each rig take turns going across the river, some with out doors and same problem with water in side the vehicle. When you have a lifted rig, on 35 or 37" tires and the water wants to come in threw a door, you know the water is deep.
Alan, Eileen, Brian, Jamie, Lilly and our new friends from Nebraska was not on the trip to camp out, so after about an hour they headed out.
The rest of us set up our tents, gathered wood and repaired the fire ring. We cooked and told stories around the fire pit. ( Bill we missed you this year ).
Next morning, after a long night listening to what sounded like sleeping next to Niagara Falls it was time for breakfast, break down camp and head out. We sort of new Scott in the GMC might have problems going uphill to the top, after a small pull from my jeep on one obsticial, that would only be the beginning for Scott. After a small winch pull for Scott, he made it the rest of the way to the top with out any problems, but the fun was yet to come. the worst we thought was over, don't count those chickens yet.
On the way down, Scott drove slightly left to miss a rock, the side of the road was soft and pulled his GMC off the trail leaving both drivers side tires off the road with a hill side drop off. Oh boy, seen this before and we had our work cut out.
To make a long story short, after 1-1/2 hours, 4 vehicles, pull straps, 3 winches ( Scott out of vehicle ) we pulled and tugged until we recovered the GMC and all 4 tires back on level ground. I never thought we would loose the GMC to the mountain, but there was moments when Richards winch could not pull, thinking his Jeep was going to pull in half and the GMC never moved an inch. But with 2 more rigs (another wheeler stopped to help) pulling from another direction on a hill, and Richard winching, two rigs tow strapped together pulling, me winching from the front on the GMC to keep it from rolling off the mountain we won the battle.
After winding winches, picking up tools it was time to head down the trail and head home.
Thank you to those who went along, Wanda and I enjoyed the company and look forward to the 5th annual Miller Rock trip in 2012.
Another great trip with great friends. We are very lucky to have such great trails so close to home.