Engineer Pass marked the second half of the "Alpine Loop" and we did it right after finishing Cinnamon Pass. Monica quickly ran down to the Engineer Pass trailhead at Animas Forks and then back up to the intersection with Cinnamon Pass, just to get it on the GPS. Then we were off, in a parade of other vehicles.
We saw ATVs in both directions and vehicles ahead of us as well as behind us. It was busy for a Tuesday! The initial climb up the switchbacks to Oh Point were dramatic and gorgeous. This is definitely not a fun place for someone afraid of shelf roads. It was like we were driving off the edge of the Earth.
We made it through "rush hour" and parked at Oh Point with a couple of other Jeeps. Monica and Bob had both been in this area before but they hadn't completed the trail. It was very, very foggy that year and you couldn't see very far. We remembered how intimidating that made everything, and we appreciated the sunny weather we had this time.
The stop at Oh Point is definitely worth it. The views are amazing, providing some great photo opportunities. We stayed for just a bit, watching the traffic on the main trail. We got in our Jeeps to leave just as a Suburban worked its way over to us, so we waited for a bit until they made it to Oh Point so we could leave. It was such a busy area.
It felt very "Alpine" as we traveled to Engineer Pass and started heading down the mountain. There were no trees, and everything was very barren. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before we were heading into the trees.
We found the Hurricane Basin trail soon after Oh Point, which we ran up and back down, enjoying it thoroughly. Once we were back on Engineer Pass, it was pretty easy going. We didn't see as much traffic anymore, and the trail went by pretty quickly.
We stopped at the Whitmore Falls overlook, and almost everyone walked to the overlook spot to check it out. No one was motivated enough to hike all the way down, but we all enjoyed the views from the man-made viewing area. The waterfalls are one of the best things about the San Juan Mountains, and we were happy to be snapping pictures of one of the big ones.
Gary had noticed earlier that one of his rear hubs was getting really hot. He was worried that one of his bearings was shot, and that seemed to be the case. He kept an eye on it, but things weren't looking good.
We continued on, enjoying a short diversion along the North Herman Road trail before heading back to Lake City. We had a good dinner and managed to turn in before it got too late. We didn't even need to air up because the next morning's trails were nearby. We finally finished the Alpine Loop and things were good!