We just came off of the Piney Ridge trail and we were heading for the pavement when we got to the trailhead for High Trail. If we turned right and stayed on the Sheephorn Creek trail (forest service road 402) we'd stay on a relatively easy trail until we hit Trough Road. However, if we turned left there was a chance we'd end up on Trough Road or highway 131 via a much more interesting trail. The MVUM wasn't very clear and maps showed two ways out. We decided to risk it so we did the High Trail.
We kept going west and the trail got less and less defined. When we reached the "T" intersection it was pretty overgrown but you could tell people had been there recently. Ben went farther west but he could tell that wasn't a trail so he soon came back. Bill took forest service road 445 a bit to the north and he found a trail that saw some use so we followed him. There were freshly cut logs clearing deadwood from the trail, so we hoped that it would take us out to Trough Road.
It was pretty on the mesa and we enjoyed the trail. It looked like it was used by snowmobilers in the winter, too. We were happily working our way through the scenery when the trail ended at a fence and gate with a fresh chain and padlock on it. There were signs stating we couldn't cross, and a phone number for the sheriff's office. Monica called the number to see if we were missing another way out, but they didn't have maps of the area. They were pretty rude as they told us they couldn't help us, so the phone call was pointless. We turned around and headed back to the "T" intersection.
At that point, we talked about what to do. The southern part of the trail didn't look much more used as it climbed up the ridge. After a brief discussion we decided to go check it out, just in case it got us to the pavement.
The hill climb was a blast, up slippery rocks in the trees. It looked like it was well used, too. We climbed up and over the ridge, and it was much lower where we were compared to what we'd seen earlier.
Once we started heading down High Trail Gulch the trail was more overgrown. It was always easy to find, though, and it was very fun in spots. It was rocky and muddy sometimes, and always bumpy. We worked our way downhill, and the trail ended again at a locked gate and fence. The trail used to continue at another spot, but there was a sign noting it was no longer a trail. We were about 1.2 miles from a main road, so it was a bit frustrating, especially because the sun was going down. There wasn't much we could do, though, so we headed back up the hill. It was a pretty fun hill climb, though.
We headed back to the trailhead and then out forest service road 402. It was completely dark by the time we got to Trough Road. We ended up back in Kremmling about 12 hours after we left it that morning, so it was a long day of wheeling. Ben aired up and headed for home.
Bill and Monica had planned to camp again and then do some more wheeling on Sunday. We discussed it, and we were both exhausted from two long days of wheeling with little sleep in between. It was already around 50 degrees, and neither one of us felt like heading back to a wet campsite. After a bit of discussion we decided we weren't wheeling the next day. Then we decided to head back to camp, pack up, and go home.
It was after midnight by the time we were leaving our newly emptied campsite, but it wasn't far back to Denver. That was the good part -- the trails were all fairly close to town. It was a long two days, but it was a great time. We'd be back to see the rest of the trails at some point. Good times in the mud!