|Peru Creek and Chihuahua Gulch|
by Rich and Cathy Horiuchi
Most of us gathered at the Loaf and Jug in Golden and were greeted by a hot and muggy morning. We were eager to get to the high country, so Julie and Clay, Linda and Roger, JJ and George, Perry and guests Joe and Alex, Mike, Judy and Darrel, and we (Cathy, Jordan, Aaron, and I) left the lowlands and headed up the canyon. Along the way, we met up with Wally and Karen and Don. We planned to go over Loveland Pass, but it was closed to traffic for an organized bicycle ride, so we went through the Eisenhower Tunnel instead and then down toward Keystone Resort, where we stopped to use the facilities. Soon thereafter, we were headed up Montezuma Road and stopped at the beginning of Peru Creek road, where we aired down.
The weather was nice and cool. Peru Creek is an easy 2wd road with numerous potholes to keep speeds in check. At the beginning of Chihuahua Gulch, we put our vehicles into low gear and headed up. There's not much in the way of challenging terrain, but the views, including wildflowers and Grays and Torreys Peaks in the distance, were spectacular.
At the end of the Chihuahua Gulch road, we all had a relaxing lunch and enjoyed the views and conversation.
After lunch, we returned to Peru Creek road. We headed up Peru Creek road a bit more and decided to explore the remains of the Pennsylvania Mine, just a little ways up Cinnamon Gulch road. It was interesting to see the old structures that were still standing and some of the equipment laying around. It's too bad the mine has caused so much environmental pollution in the area, though.
The clouds were starting to come in and Don's weather gizmo was showing some looming precipitation, so we decided to continue driving up Peru Creek road until it ended to see the other side of Argentine Pass. Well, the weather didn't hold off and we ran into a downpour (and not surprising for the trips we've led in the past--lightning), really limiting our visibility. So, we just turned around at the road's end and headed out. It's a good thing we got a view of the pass from our vantage point at the mine.
[View of Horseshoe Basin and Argentine Pass from Pennsylvania Mine]
By the time we got back to Keystone, the weather had cleared up and we had sunny skies. Most of us headed back over Loveland Pass (beautiful) and had dinner (of course!) at the Buffalo Bar in Idaho Springs.