|SPRING CREEK TRIP
Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
|story and photos by Don Owens|
On June 13th the group that started out from Golden was myself, Matt Nunn, Gail and Hurshell, Dave LeMaster and a friend, Dan LeMaster and a friend, Bill, Harvey, and Roberta Boitano, Ron and Lynn Reichner and their son and sister-in-law.
We headed up Route 6 to I-70, then to the Downeyville exit to Lawson, then a left on to the frontage road. Immediately after crossing Clear Creek go left on to a dirt road that leads up to the beginning of the Spring Creek trail that is marked by an iron sign by the Mile Hi Jeep Club.
After stopping to air down the tires and lock the hubs, we began the climb. The lower road has gotten rougher due to the rain we had as of late. The beginning of the trail starts off as a shelf road one vehicle wide with very few places to pass two vehicles, but it is wide enough for a full-sized truck.
The first obstacles are some rocks that make up the ridge spine that the road goes around. All got over it except Ron, he had to be strapped over the rocks by Gail. By the way, this road is rated and 8 and is on par with the Holy Cross City road, but shorter. A bit further up the road there was a very recent rock fall on the road that wasn't there Wednesday. After pulling Ron over this as well Ron and his son decided to go back down and meet us at the top of Saxon Mountain for lunch.
As we rolled up the thirteen switchbacks to the rock garden the view kept getting better and better. When I got to the bottom of the rock garden the two CJ's who were in front of us had stopped. There are two to four different ways to get through the rock garden, including the bypass, but the boulders keep moving so it changes over the course of a year. The second CJ was trying to get up the last obstacle in the garden, and not doing too well. So, he moved over to a spot that goes between two very tight trees in the process he punctured his oil filter and broke a motor mount.
Well another filter and some oil, and his friend in the first CJ tugged him out of the way. Meanwhile, Dave was getting his door rocker panel high centered on a big boulder. Out came a Hi-Lift jack to get more rock under Dave's left front tire, and thus get the door off the boulder.
Matt came up to the spot that ate the CJ. Matt put his right wheels up on a shelf of rock and climbed up. When we got to the end of the trail we did a group shot. I noticed that the 'Family 4-Wheeling Fun' sign was missing. At the tip of the road it T's. If you go left this takes you to the Lamartine Mine and Idaho Springs. To the right and you go to Saxon Mountain and Georgetown. We went to the top of Saxon Mountain for lunch. Ron and Lynn showed up just as the snow was starting in earnest.
After lunch we headed toward Idaho Springs via the Griffin Mountain road, then the Cascade Creek road. When we pasted the homestead and crossed Cascade Creek, we started on FDR710.1C. I stopped at a mine site that had an old portable compressor and a three level wooden ore sorter while waiting for the rest of the group to catch up. The space around the mine tunnel gate had been mortared with rock and was unusual the first time I had seen it done.
As we continued on, the road doubled back on itself at a tailings pile. Someone in the group noticed a smoldering fire, so we stopped and put it out. We got to the road that comes down from Mount Evans through the new construction, which makes it a little confusing.
Upon finding the right road that led up to the Lamartine town site, we heard a couple of guys shooting at clays as we drove by. At the junction at the top, the left road went back to the Spring Creek trail and Saxon Mountain. The right road went to the Spring Creek Gulch road and the Trail Creek road. We headed for the intersection of these roads.
A few went down Trail Creek road which comes out a bit before Idaho Springs. The rest of us went down Spring Creek Gulch road that comes out just before Idaho Springs on the Mount Evans road. We had a great time between the boulders, the raindrops and the snow squalls.