The weather almost made it look like summer was coming as we planned this trip, and as the date approached it went right back to winter. It was cold and snowy in town as we headed up to the trail, and we wondered if we were crazy for wheeling. We were ready to start the Colorado season, though, so we toughed it out.
We aired down and started on the trail, and followed some tracks in front of us. There was only an inch of snow on the ground, so we hoped that we'd be able to finish the trail.
Only Don was up for Poser Rock. It was snowy and probably pretty risky, but he didn't have any issues. He got some nice flex.
When we got to the crossroads for the loop we noticed that the tracks we were following went in but didn't come back out the other side of the loop. Either they turned around and gave up, or they were still out there.
The snow kept getting deeper, but it seemed to be fairly easy to negotiate. Then we started up a hill in the trees and found the Jeeps we were following. The snow suddenly got quite a bit deeper, with a thick layer of ice underneath. The three Jeeps in front of us were all having a hard time staying on the trail and moving forward, even with winches.
We stayed and helped for a bit, then realized that even if we got past this point we wouldn't be doing the loop with the trail conditions like this. We weren't that far from the meadow at the top of the big downhill, but we decided to turn around rather than wait.
We got turned around and planned on heading over to the mud pits to play. The people in the Jeeps in front of us said they were going to do the same thing. On our way down, we ran into a couple more Jeeps on their way up. They also turned around to follow us down to the mud pits. A couple other vehicles were headed up, but we didn't see them again after passing them.
We were the first ones on the section of trail to the mud pits -- at least since the last snow or two. When we got to the pits, there was hardly any snow because they're so exposed. It was warm enough to actually have a lot of slick mud and sloppy puddles.
Gary and Don parked on a couple of rocks and we broke out our lunches. We watched two of the Jeeps play in the mud, then watched the other three. After we finished our lunch, it was our turn.
Mike was all over the mud, having no issues climbing out of the biggest mud hole on the far side. It was good to see, because everyone else had some issues there. He got his Jeep nice and dirty.
Gary played for a bit, then tried a hill in the middle. It had deep ruts, and the mud was really slick. No matter what he tried, he couldn't get up the hill. It seemed impossible. Eventually, he went to find another hill to play on.
Don had to give it a try, of course. He tried a few lines, but he ended up having the same issues Gary had. It was just too slick and steep, and the ruts were too deep. He was working his way off of it when his front end slid sideways. He was close to going over and flopping sideways into a deep mud puddle.
He was going to need some help out of the mud, so Mike hooked Don's winch up to his Jeep. The mud was so slick, so another Jeep helped out as an anchor to keep Mike from sliding. Gary hooked up a tow strap to the back of Don's Jeep to stop him from flopping over during the recovery.
When Don started winching himself up the sloppy hill, his rear end slid sideways and he ended up winching straight up the hill. It was a close call, but he came out of it without dumping himself into the mud.
After that, we decided to see where the trail goes past the mud pits. After all of these years, we've never gone past them. We didn't get very far. The snow was very deep and heavy, so we had to back out after a couple of minutes.
We headed out, aired up, and went to dinner at Crossroads in Pine Junction. It was a good dinner, and it was nice to be warm. Even though we didn't get to do the big loop on the trail, it still ended up being a fun day of snow and mud.
Reports from Other Days: 14
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Slaughterhouse Gulch. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.