We found Hurricane Basin on the USGS topo maps and had hoped that it would start and end at different spots on Engineer Pass, making a loop. We went by where we thought it came out on Engineer Pass, just before Oh Point, and we noted that it looked like a trail came out there. Then we worked our way over to where the trail started, just around and over the pass.
It looked like the trail wasn't used nearly as often as most of the other trails in the area, though we did see fresh vehicle tracks in front of us. We crossed the creek right away and soon headed up.
The trail started as a rough climb, which was fun. Near the top of the climb, we stopped because there were lots of sheep on the trail and on both sides of the trail. A sheepdog stopped in the middle of the trail and looked at us.
The dog inched forward bit by bit, looking at us and looking like he was wondering what to do. He eventually walked over to us, with an expression on his face that almost looked like he was interruped while at work (which he was). He came over to our line of Jeeps and walked around us on both sides, checking things out. Monica was in front, and the dog eventually led our group through the group of sheep.
He would walk a bit and if there was ever any space between him and Monica's Jeep he would stop, turn his head, and look at the Jeep with an annoyed expression. He slowly walked our group along the trail, and the sheep moved to each side of the trail as he approached. It was definitely an interesting experience, being herded by a sheepdog.
In that same area we expected to find the other half of the trail that would lead us back to our other intersection with Engineer Pass, but we couldn't see it. We figured we'd look again on our way out, so we pressed on.
When we got to the hotel, we passed it with the intention of exploring the area on the way back down. Everyone parked up at the mines and got out to enjoy the scenery. Monica went up to the top, scouting the rest of the trail. It was rocky and fun, but there wasn't anything to see so she came back down and no one else went up. It was worth it for the views of the mines and the hotel, though.
We all parked at the hotel and explored the buildings. The hotel was very well-preserved, full of many rooms. It made for some great pictures. The other building next to it wasn't preserved at all, and it was a mess. It appeared to be a mill, with much of the old steel and iron equipment sitting where or near where it once was when it was in use. It must have been quite the production and a sight to see up there.
It started to rain a bit but then it let up again. We eventually headed back down, looking closely to find our other spur. It seemed that it was gone, unfortunately. We went back down to the trailhead, intent on exploring the other side we saw earlier the next time we did Engineer Pass.
This was definitely one of our favorite trails of the trip, with a real feel for the area. Trips to the San Juan Mountains always involve old mines, waterfalls and big scenery, and this trail had lots of it. It was one we'd definitely do again.