This was one of those trips where it seems like everything went wrong and everyone had some sort of damage -- but we all had a blast doing it! Our round trip from Minturn and back took 11 hours so we were all exhausted when we got back, but it was that kind of tired that reminds you that you had a really good day on the trail.
Almost right after we started out from the meeting place Scott blew a fan belt on the highway. Then Kendall smelled smoke in his Cherokee and pulled over to find the muffler burning a patch of carpet in the back seat (no fire, just a lot of smoke and a little damage). Then cars slammed to a near stop in the fast lane on I-70 and everyone narrowly avoided a pile up -- Mike came within inches of hitting Monica's Jeep.
We made it to the trailhead and the dogs were almost eaten by the dog of the property owner across the road. We were 2 hours late already and we ate lunch at the trailhead, finally getting started on the trail at 1:00 PM. We had met outside of Denver at 8:00 AM so we were all ready to get started!
Monica and Kendall both got stuck on a ledge (Mike S. had to yank Kendall out of it with a tow strap). Then Mike, Kendall and Ladd all ran into each other on the trail for no apparent reason (no body damage). We were cruising along fine after that until Monica's Jeep died at Tippy Tree and she lurched back into a sharp rock that punctured a big hole in her tire. We changed the tire and we were off again (luckily a couple groups of people had just passed us so we didn't hold anyone up).
We made it to French Creek and Monica went up the leftmost line first without any problems. Scott tried a difficult line but his carb made it too difficult. He went up the leftmost line instead and it all went fine. Mike S. made it through that line too with only a little negotiation. Then it was Kendall's turn.
The only obstacle that stopped Kendall all of last year was French Creek. His Cherokee has the longer wheelbase and last year he had
saggy springs and no lift. This year he had some lift and French Creek was a big challenge to finally conquer. He tried and tried but it still didn't work out! He messed up his rockers a little more for trying, too. If he went far to the left his front left tire would be hanging without traction, but if he went further to the right he would hang up on his crossmember. Oh well, maybe next time!
Ladd went next and his Rubicon and good driving skills got him through it. He actually hit the rock in the left wall and his fender bent in, but it popped right back out with only a scratch. His right rear wheel got scratched up pretty well too but he made it through.
We spent an hour and a half at French Creek, letting a couple groups pass us on their way down. Kendall hopped in Monica's Jeep and we made it up to Holy Cross City where Mike R. and Derek had been waiting for us for a few hours.
Mike R. had made it up Cleveland Rock earlier in the day but not without some damage. He backed down and caught his tailpipe enough to fold it back on itself. He used a hacksaw to saw off the bent part. When we all got up there he tried to make it up Cleveland Rock again but didn't have any luck. That obstacle is crazy!
Ladd drove up to the Rock to check it out and on the way got the second flat tire of the day. He went to Cleveland Rock but it was too big for his stock Rubicon so he turned around.
We left Cleveland Rock at 8:00 PM and made it back to Minturn at 10:30 PM. We ate a late dinner at the Village Inn in Silverthorne and we all made it home in one piece. It was a great day on Holy Cross, one of our favorite trails!
Reports from Other Days: 9
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Holy Cross. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.