Thursday, May 30, 2019
Trail - Chinaman Gulch

Some folks wish to run one of the more difficult trails (for my class of Jeep). It'll be a long drive to get there but I've been curious - so here we go.

The drive down I-25 was somewhat before morning rush hour. Blue sky for the front range was enjoyed - morning sun lighting the white peaked mountains. From the meet spot at west central Denver we were on US-285. The first bit was not following a river and was up and down several large hills.

At Bailey we join the river and enjoy a more gradual and consistent gradient to the road - working up in elevation to Kenosha Pass (10K feet). Just before the pass, snowcovered trees and grass was the change (road was dry). At the pass was a good fog bank. Down into south park we had a fair bit of fresh snow (2 or 3 inches). The roads were mostly dry with snowcoverd trees and large banks of fog.

Jumping out of south park at Trout Creek Pass the snow was switched off - within about 1/2 mile of the pass there was no sign of snow - a curious "switched on / switched off" transition between the two passes.

The trail had perhaps three obstacles that we needed to process. Between them was a mix of easy trail or smaller obstacles that might have bypasses. Scenery was in-the-trees with several views out to the snow covered peaks across the valley (Mts Princeton and Yale - both 14'ers).

Being a weekday run - scheduled for low traffic - we did enjoy not seeing many others on the trail. Only a couple vehicles were encountered. We didn't hold them up and neither did they to us. We could take whatever time we wished and not be pressured.

A nice day out - though a long trek back and forth. I'd use the rating for this trail to set my upper limit. I'm more for scenery than obstacles.

 6:00 am - On the road to meet spot (C-470 @ US-285)
 7:35 am - Arrive @ The Fort meet spot
 7:47 am - Start drive to trail head with fuel stop at Johnson Village
 9:54 am - Arrive trail head / air down
             (28 min air-down)
10:22 am - Start trail
             (7.2 miles of trail, 6h 14m overall, 1h talking @ Carnage Canyon exit)
 4:37 pm - Finish trail / air up
             (40 min air-up)
 5:17 pm - Start drive to home with fuel stop at Morrison
 9:00 pm - Home

US-285 between Bailey and Kenosha Pass

Up near Kenosha Pass

All of the white will be melted by our return trip.

Just remember... MAY 30

Trout Creek Pass

Slightly down from Trout Creek Pass

NO snow to be found.

Off of the asphalt for the one mile trek to the trailhead

At the trailhead - heading onto the trail.

Here we go...

Most of the group

The reason for this trail.

James recently put a rear differential locker in his 1970 CJ-5 and he wished to give it a good test.

Trying a more difficult line (none of us could make it). On a dry day (no wet tires) we would have a better chance.

The rock just below the spare tire is the rock that my spare tire rubbed against.

Rear license plate modification underway

Going for the easier line - that ?all? of us ended up using.

There might be more snow-peak photos than trail photos

A decent windshield view

A playground area

The Jeep can take me to many scenic places

Heading back to the trailhead we noticed rain to our south - would it hold off while we aired the tires? (yes)

Moving out - home

Back at south park - this grass was white this morning and is clear and green now.

Still, we had spotty showers.

Many might recall the recent semi-truck that barreled out of the mountains and crashed into a traffic jam - causing multiple deaths and burned vehicles. This is the lead-up to where it happened (at the bridge).

Just in front of the jeep's hood you can barely make out a darker line of asphalt left to right. New, temporary, asphalt was needed (from me to almost the vehicles ahead of me) as several vehicles burned and damanged the road. Grass seeding on the right. I don't recall how many people were killed or injured. The semi-driver is working through the court system. If he would have taken the runaway truck ramp likely no person would have been injured.