We had heard that the trail was very muddy and slick and that a lot of people were having a hard time getting through The Chutes past the cabin. We had to go check it out for ourselves! When we got there it was completely dry but it was still a blast. Ladd even did Nugget Hill without any problems.
We were airing down when a couple other vehicles were on their way down, and luckily we didn't come across anyone else coming down on our way up (the trail is often very narrow). We started up and made it to the mine at noon so we stopped there for lunch. The sun was out and it was pretty hot out, and we enjoyed our lunch there. There had been a lot of rain and snow so the trees were very green, unlike some years there. A few vehicles passed us while we were eating.
When we got to the first big hill right before the cabin we passed the people who had just passed us. They were concerned about making it, so they wanted to follow us. All but one of them turned back soon after that, and the one who kept going stayed with us the rest of the day.
Almost everyone played on the big rock on the left in the middle of the first hill. Kendall was driving his Dodge truck that is usually the tow vehicle for his Samurai. It's a huge truck and it was a lot of work getting it up the first hill. He ended up backing down the bypass for the first hill just a bit, which proved to be as difficult as the trip up the hill in the first place.
We were all packed around the cabin and all over the trail, then we started up to The Chutes. It looked a little different than it did the year before. The earliest part of it wasn't tough at all because it was mostly flat instead of full of big whoopdeedoos like it had been before. But the rocks in The Chutes were much more pronounced because the loose dirt around them was really dug up.
Monica tried to go up the right side, over a big rock. She got a pretty good wheelstand or two before realizing that path wasn't going to work. She went around it and up, and that proved to be the line everyone took. Bob S. tried the same rock on the right but it didn't work out that time, either. He came right up through the middle instead.
Jed came through next, making it look easy. Derek brought his Grand Cherokee through it right after and showed us how a few things are a lot more difficult when your vehicle is a lot bigger and heavier. He managed to make it through with no body damage, though.
Austin followed right after Derek and drove right up it like it was pavement. Then it was Kendall's turn. Coming through it with a little finesse wasn't going to work out so he had to give it some gas. At first it looked like he had come through it just barely missing the rock sticking out of the wall on the left, but closer inspection revealed a couple deep scratches near his gas tank cap. The truck is officially broken in, now!
Perry came through next in his Explorer and we were expecting more damage because of the larger vehicle. He came through with no issues, though, and no damage. Dave and Gary followed right after him and also didn't have any issues.
Bob R. was next and it was going well until that same rock that got Kendall's truck also completely dented in Bob's fender flare. He managed to not get any of the actual fender and he also missed his turn signal light. He popped it back out but it's a little worse for wear.
Cheryl and Ladd brought up the end of the group and neither one of the Rubicons had any issues.
We got to the meadow fairly quickly and we all stopped to go take a look at Nugget Hill. Monica and Bob S. also took some time to pose for flex shots in the little ditch there. We walked down to check out the obstacle but no one wanted to do it at that point. Ladd said he might consider it if we had time after we went up and came back down.
We went up the whoopdeedoo hill and everyone had a good time getting tires in the air and flexing suspensions. A lot of people played on the rocks on the last hill before the overlook, too.
The scenery at the overlook was as beautiful as ever, though there was definitely a brown haze over the front range as far as we could see. The mountains behind us were still covered in a lot of snow, so the higher trails are still very closed.
We made our way down and stopped at the meadow again to see if Ladd was going to do Nugget Hill. He thought about it for awhile and then decided he was up for it, so we all got out and made our way back down the hill on foot.
Bob S. rode along in the passenger seat while Ladd carefully made his way down. He got very tippy in the usual spots but Jed spotted him through it exactly where he needed to be. Ladd didn't need a tow strap or any other assistance, making it through it without any scares.
People often turn around at the bottom to come back up, but Austin knew of a wider spot in the trail further down. Ladd went further down the trail to turn around and we all hung out and waited for him to return.
He finally got back and started back up Nugget Hill. There was a spot where it looked like he may have been too high on the hill but then his tire slipped down where it needed to be like he planned it. He went all the way back to the top with no issues. It was great to watch!
It hardly took any time to get back down the trail, like usual. Ladd was playing on the big rock on his way down through The Chutes and landed hard on the front edge of his rocker panel. It didn't hold up and the lower part of his fender is now pretty bent.
We aired up at the trailhead and a lot of us went to Murphy's afterward for dinner and beverages. We were filthy and fairly sunburned and we were all smiles. It was a great time!
Reports from Other Days: 4
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Gillespie Gulch. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.