Sunday, June 5, 2022
Pickle Gulch and more

What an unopened chips bag looks like at 10,000 feet

Oh, look, there's a bit of snow still around.

LOLOL - this picture is laughing at me as there will be SIGNIFCANTLY more snow - enough to stop us on two trails. The first with an one hour winch-out session and another with a 10 minute pull-out.

Coming to the 4-way intersection.

Past the intersection, to the old tailings pile (that we used to drive down). It has been "reclaimed".

Enough snow that we're driving over it (not deep - but it's still on the trail).

Ah, some long views.

Looking east - over the foothills to the plains (Denver area) on the hazy horizon.

End of Pickle Gulch - the group

First snow blockage / winch out. The goal was to keep the passenger side from sliding down slope into the trees.

The trees show contact from some vehicle - not us though.

We came one to two feet from the trees - but no contact.
We had a mix of behind the front wheels (frame) and rear bumper to keep either end from sliding down slope. Near the end, with the front tires on bare ground, we pulled the back end up.

Weather was a mix of blue sky and light rain - alternating waves.

The old Rollins Pass railroad line over the Continental Divide (now 4x4 road). Right of center where the white line / railroad disappears is the Needles Eye tunnel - closed for vehicle traffic as it is unstable. We can drive from either side to just either side of the tunnel.

The big, wide trail heading north towards Tolland. I'm surprised at the large snow piles.

And then we have two full piles. This is not overly deep (2-3 feet). The snow is packed where it supports the weight of the jeep.

The second pile is perhaps four feet high. The snow was starting to get slushy. Two vehicles (one visible) were contemplating crossing the snow piles. They didn't have recovery gear. I said I have what's needed so they gave it a go - no problems were had.

A wave of rain across the valley working its way to me.

Heavy rain masking the mountain.

Ten minutes later - blue sky - same mountain (James Peak perhaps)

At the two snow piles, one guy, traveling solo was looking to try and cross them. I said I'd stick around if he got stuck. A fairly stock newer pickup. It didn't make it over one of the piles so we headed in the direction I was headed. He did mention he turned back at a questionably deep water crossing on one of the nearby trails - sure - let's go look at it. This is not the deep crossing - but it is the trail).

Here's the deep crossing - but we're on the way out now.

On the way in, we crossed this water crossing and then he got stuck - similar to the gent who got stuck higher up in the pictures. This recovery only took about 10 minutes. With this black pickup removed from the stuck, I drove the jeep through the stuck area - it was a bit sketchy (nothing dangerous) but we made it (this gent was riding passenger). Unfortunately, around two corners we came to a large snowdrift where I said it's time to turn around. Back through the snowbank - I tried to push forth to pack the snow - but it wasn't happening.

Momentum will be the answer. He started recording video. I engaged both differential locks - chose a good gear and got the momentum rolling. A bit of snow flying - the momentum was just right. Straight through the pile with no down-slope slide.

I found a scenic location to air up the tires. The UP line heading to Denver (Moffat Tunnel several miles behind me). Rain clouds, with an occasional rainbow, pushing to the east.