We did Middle St. Vrain before running Coney Flats, having lunch at the end of the first trail. It was chilly and windy but we hadn't really had any troubles so we were hopeful we would do all right for our second trail of the day. The hill between Middle St. Vrain and the "lake" is steep and bumpy, so we were expecting a few issues on the way up. We weren't disappointed.
Ladd started up the hill first and quickly found out that getting through the very first section was going to take some momentum. After testing a small amount of speed, then an even quicker pace, he realized it was going to have to be a fast trip. He kept sliding down the hill backward, even if his tires were trying to move him forward. There were even a couple times when he slid pretty close to the edge.
Ladd backed almost all the way to the beginning and got a good running start. He bounced off of rocks like a pinball, then it got very slow at the top of the first hill, but with spinning tires and patience he made it up to the first flat section. Next!
Dave came flying up the hill and had the least amount of trouble out of anyone. It wasn't more than a minute or two until he was up in the first flat section, too.
Bob came up the hill without too much sliding, but then realized that Perry was behind him and wasn't having as much luck on the snowy hill. Bob backed down to give him a hand, sliding down a lot of it.
Bob hooked Perry up to a tow strap, then started to winch the both of them up the hill to the flat section. Perry's Samurai has open differentials, and the hill was just too slick. It doesn't weigh very much, though, so it wasn't too difficult to get him to the top. Perry even got pulled up the last bit by a bunch of people on a tow strap. It's not too difficult to move a Samurai in the snow.
Eric and Jed were next. Eric was going up the hill without too much sliding, but Jed has open differentials just like Perry and he wasn't making too much progress on his own. Eric didn't go too far before hooking up a tow strap to Jed's Jeep and winching the both of them up the hill. Jed's Jeep weighs a lot more than Perry's Samurai so it wasn't as easy to keep them going. Jed had to really fight the last few yards but he made the last of it on his own.
Carlos took the time he had to put chains on the front of his Cherokee, and that ended up making a huge difference. He drove right up the hill like it was dry.
We figured Don would come around the corner and up the hill without too many issues, but the hill was really slick now from all of the traffic and he kept sliding back down the hill. He worked on it for awhile, though, and made it through and up the hill.
We still had more hills and rocky sections before we would get to the lake, though, and we were thinking we hadn't seen the worst of it yet. This time we all kept going pretty fast through the rocks, trying to keep momentum going.
The section with the whoopdeedoos followed by a tight right turn and the rock garden was concerning us the most, but it turned out to not be nearly as bad as the first hill. Ladd was bouncing off of rocks left and right but he never even slowed down as he flew through the whole thing and got to the top of the rocks.
Dave followed Ladd and didn't have any issues, then Bob came right through too. They both made it look easy.
Perry gave it a lot of gas and really kept on it, and the Samurai came through on its own. Eric didn't have any issues, then Jed came through on his own, too.
Carlos still had the chains on, and it didn't make things worse on the rocks. He didn't have any issues at all.
Don was still in the back and it was really slick by the time he got to the hill. He had to work the hardest at it, but he got through it too and we were off again.
We came around the corner to the lake and the wind was really strong in the more open area. Ladd walked down to check the ice depth. It wasn't completely frozen, but it was past slushy. We've been through the lake more than a few times, so he just drove out into it knowing it wasn't too deep.
Ladd had to keep bashing at the ice, then backing up, then smashing into it again. It took some work but he eventually made it to the other side. The ice was at its thickest at the far end, but it wasn't long before he had worked his way through to the gravel on the other side.
Bob waded out into the ice chunks and went to break the ice on the other side of the far end. His Jeep has a bit more height than Ladd's does, and he didn't have any trouble at all getting through it.
It was really, really cold. The wind would pick up and almost blow us over at times. It blew Don's hat off of his head and he had to go chase it a little bit into the lake, freezing his pants leg solid and making his shoes all wet. We were all still laughing even though it was freezing.
Dave and Perry went through together and neither one had any issues. Then Jed went right through, too.
Carlos went through and made it look easy, then Don came through last without a problem.
We usually spend so much time here, playing in the lake and enjoying the scenery. This time it was just too cold and windy so we left as soon as we were all over to the other side. Eric peeled out in the snow and we were off.
We had been following some ATV and Jeep tracks all day, but there were no tracks on this side of the lake. It made trail-finding interesting, but fun. We really felt like we were alone out there.
The rest of the trail is fairly mellow, even covered in snow. We even met a single Jeep with a couple people in it at around 5:00 PM -- they were going up camping.
A lot of people had issues airing up because of frozen valve stems and rims completely packed with snow and ice. Everyone was getting some vibration or wobble on the road because of newly unbalanced tires.
Most of us had dinner in Boulder and enjoyed being somewhere warm. It was a great day!
Reports from Other Days: 13
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