|Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
Snow Run Trip 2013
|story and photos by Ray Comeau|
|Once again it was time for the Trailridge Runners annual snow run. Looking back on snow runs dating back to 2003 this years run would be one of the warmest snow run days with the temperature being 28 deg. And would also be one with the least amount of snow. This years run also would be bitter sweet as this would be the last run for one of our members as they would be leaving us. More on that later.
Looking back at past years we have had so much snow on the trail the group could only travel less than a mile and with one run having so much snow we only traveled a mere 100 yards or so.
The coldest run was in 2006 when the starting temperature was a bone chilling 7 degrees below zero, but even with the cold 6 rigs showed up that day. 2007 it was 17 above with 8 rigs, 2008 we had 14 rigs, 2003 we had 12 rigs, 2001 we had 10 rigs and last year it was 15 degrees with 9 rigs.
For this 2013 snow run we met at the Super Wal-Mart in Longmont at 9:00 am. Attendees this year would be myself, Rick and Erin, Mike M., Alan and Eileen, Richard and Karla and there friend Mark. We would meet Don L. in Allenspark. Total of 7 rigs
We headed out of town at 9:05am to our destination by Allenspark there we meet up with Don. This year's snow run would start off on a trail we had never tried or thought of called Rock Creek. Trail Damage reports that there was once a ski area in the 1940's called Rock Creek Ski Area with 5 runs and 2 tow ropes. Today there are no signs of any ski area ever being around. Don had done his research and with some prior investigation a few days before by myself, Mike, Rick and Don, this looked like a great place to take the group on the 2013 snow run.
The Dirt road starts off as Ski Road out of Allenspark, Ski Road is maintained by the County and had no, to very little snow on it. We drove about a mile or so to a small pull out which would be our place to air down and prepare for snow bashing.
Off we went, we drove only a short distance to the Rock Creek Trail head. The elevation was around 8600 ft. This trail ends up at over 10,000 ft, but we would not see the end today. At the trail head there would be very little snow and the only tracks on the road was made by cross country ski's. Off we went like every snow run what would today's events bring to the group. Almost right away Mark gets on the CB and his Toyota was getting hot, so with out holding the group up, he parks it and rides with Richard and Karla.
The snow is a very hard packed crust with no recent snow on it. Most of the time we were driving on top of the snow knowing at any time it might give in and sink a tire or two. The group traveled along fairly well, the crusty snow had some deeper area's and having to back up to get a better run at it. The thing about being up front in a snow run is you only know what is going on in the back of the line by communication on the CB, someone is stuck, or working hard to get threw a section maybe because the rigs in front of him might had made it worse. Snow runs are not like in the summer when we all stay close and it's easy to walk back or back up to give a hand, in a snow run you sort of keep moving because you have to keep the momentum up or you to could be stuck. As a leader you feel somewhat guilty not being able to walk or drive back to give a hand. So most of the time there are always two stories to a snow run, the front rigs have the story of breaking trail, the back rigs have a story getting threw the mess the front rigs made.
It's very hard to determine the distance traveled during a snow run, you can not go by your odometer because your tires spin more than you move forward, but I'm going to guess we traveled about a mile or so before coming to a switch back, here would be our ending of this trail, after the switch back the trail has about a 16 deg incline with hard packed crusty snow I'm to guess two feet deep. I gave this spot 6 tries to keep the group moving forward, I would back up to the switch back, low range, 3 gear and high rpm and as I moved forward or tried to move forward the front axle and tires bouncing and making a lot of noise as the tires would try to grip and me praying everything would hold together and with all that only going up the incline only 30 or 40 yards gaining only a few feet at each attempt. Being defeated, it was Ricks turn, off he went, tires throwing snow into the air, gears whining all with the same result, he had managed to gain a few more feet than me, but it would be the end of this trail and I mentioned to the group it was time to turn around and head down.
Turning around was going to be a feat of it's own, trying to get everyone into a parking spot on the switch back would not be easy, Don decided to fight with a tree as he tried to move into position. But we all fit, we turned around and back down the trail we went.
We then traveled to Bunce School road, this would be our lunch spot before heading to Ironclads trail. This trail is a loop and is just under 3 miles long. With out any issues the group was able to complete the loop with no problems.
Rick would now be in the lead with Alan following. The group headed to the Bunce School trail, a trail in years past would stop us in the same area on every trip, two very large snow drifts in years past would keep us from traveling any further, but for the 2013 snow run the group would get through this area with very little problems. But after only traveling about 100 yards we came to another hard packed 2 or 3 foot deep drift that is about 30 yards long. Rick plows into it but does not even make it half way, Alan tows him out, then Rick backs up to give it another try, only to repeat this process again.
Rick was done, It was Alan's turn, With no lockers Alan knew his only chance was to hit it fast and hope momentum does the trick, Alan backed his rig up about 30 yards before the drift, the engine came alive, tires spinning, he hit the drift with every rpm available, floating across the top of the snow, the rig was moving, he had made it almost the end, his rig came to a stop, but he was not done yet. Working the gears he was moving ever so slow, but he was moving forward and he made it. Alan jumps out arms in the air whooping with joy.
A few of us had also made it threw the drift and traveled up the road having to turn around due to the hard crusty snow which made it very hard to move on. The time of day would now be 2:00pm, we headed back down the trail, aired up and said our good byes.
More on the bitter sweet part of today's story. As a club turning almost 30 years old, many members come and go, most go with out most even noticing they are gone. Why some families or people join the club then go away we really never know why. This would not be the case today. Alan and Eileen came to our club in 2011. But in the short time they have touched so many of the club member's hearts. They have been on many club outings and we all enjoyed having them along. In our Friday night club meeting before the scheduled snow run Eileen stood up to inform the members Alan's job was calling him back to New York, they would be packed and gone in 3 weeks.
There are so many memories in such a short time. Club camp outs, many trails, dinners, and our club Moab trip in November 2012.
On a personal note, Wanda and I will miss the poker games, billiard games, bowling games at Centennial lanes and dinner nights out. We all hope you get back this way someday, and you join us on a trail and have dinner again.