We were at the four-way intersection at the end of Bassam Park and we turned south to see Black Dumps. We expected to see more black earth and rock than we did. The trail turned from an easy road to a trail as we headed in.
We turned to see what was on 186.A and it soon dead-ended at a locked gate and a sign for the Bassam Guard Station. What were they guarding? It was all a mystery until we got home and found out that it used to be a guard station for people who guarded the forest from poachers and recorded weather. Not a bad job! We couldn't get any closer to the cabin so we turned around and headed back to the main trail.
When we came to the intersection we saw a fresh sign pointing the way to firewood. We went the other way and headed in a counterclockwise circle around the loop.
The views were nice and it was a relaxing drive. We came to a wide open area that turned out to be above the Elk Mountain Ranch, and the views were really nice. We pulled over to take a break and some pictures, and a truck passed us going the other way.
We came to a gate just after this spot and we opened it to pass through, closing it after we passed. Then we stopped to pick our jaws up off of the ground. It was one of the most beautiful views we'd seen in a long time. There were layers of valleys, hills, and mountains in front of us, all under a clear, blue sky. The valley directly below us was filled to the brim with aspen trees with yellow and green leaves sparkling in the sunshine. Everyone was grinning -- this is why we had Jeeps and maps. What a great find.
There were a couple more gates, and we found ourselves in a fairly remote area. The trail had been rerouted from the old trail in order to avoid most of the private property in the area, but we still passed through a bit of it. It was the northwest corner of a huge area of private land, and we were thankful the trail continued. We dipped down into a cool area of darker soil and some indication of previous mining. It was very scenic.
After that, the trail was easier though it wound back and forth quite a bit. The farther along we got we saw more and more people with trucks and chainsaws collecting firewood. We passed the trailhead for Herring Park, saving that for another day.
When we got back to the intersection we headed back to the trailhead. This ended up being a nice trail with some of the best views in the area.