It was a gorgeous day for 4-wheeling up on Spring Creek. The weather was nice and warm, probably on up into the high 70s if not low 80s. The ground was dry, so the conditions were perfect for a good run. Brian and Heather (passenger and photographer), Mike, and Bob met up at the Starbucks in Downieville, aired down and disconnected, and headed for the Spring Creek trailhead.
This was Brian's first time to conquer Spring Creek, so he rode between Bob and Mike, who had both done Spring Creek many times before. At the first optional rock obstacle, Bob drove up with relative ease, only needing to engage his rear locker when he tried a more difficult line on the right of a boulder at the top. Brian followed and he had very little difficulty owing to the very good flex his new suspension allowed. Mike was last up this obstacle in his slightly modified, rear-locker equipped 4Runner but ran into some trouble with traction. When he tried to back down and change his line, he hit is rear tail light on a tree, breaking it. After some spotting to get backed up and re-aim his line, he went right up, and took the same right-hand line at the boulder near the top as Bob did, getting some great front wheel lift.
Along the way up the boulder fields we ran into some people with a stuck Ford Explorer. The Explorer had broken a hub, and was stuck in some rocks. Bob offered his assistance, and after some heaving and moving of a large rock, Bob managed to pull the explorer backward out of his predicament. The extraction was made more difficult by the Explorer's lack of tow hooks.
Further up the trail, we all went around the rocky ledge 90 degree turn with ease. Mike and Brian both hugged the left wall, and walked up the obstacle like it was nothing. Bob tried a more difficult right-hand line, and after some problems hitting his rear diff, made it up without further issues. Soon after the turn, we came to the optional steep whoopdeedoo shortcut. We opted to give it a shot, and it proved a
non-issue. All three vehicles drove straight up without even a hesitation. This was a great test for Brian's recently installed suspension lift, and it flexed beautifully.
At last the group came to the difficult climb at the switchback near the top. It had changed greatly. The tree was missing that used to make clearance more difficult, but a large boulder had rolled into the middle of the trail. Luckily there was still enough room on the left to get a line up the obstacle. Bob drove his right side over the boulder, but slammed down hard on his passenger rocker protection when his front tire slipped off. Brian followed, taking his time and walked up it with ease, barely sliding his rocker slider against the boulder. Mike was last, and went up in style, not even touching the boulder, taking it nice and slow with his automatic transmission.
Finally, we came to the Rock Garden. There was a short line at the start, but most of the groups ahead of us were already to the latter half so there wasn't much waiting required. Bob tackled it first, trying the center line over the two large boulders at the start of the garden. The ruts before and after the boulders proved too deep for Bob's suspension, though, and it became clear he wasn't going to be able to make this line. At one point his Jeep came down hard on one of the boulders, putting a dent in one of his rocker sliders' tubes. He then backed off and veered right, squeezing between the right hand boulder and the tree on the right edge of the main rock garden path. After some more hanging up of his rear diff, he managed to adjust his line to pop on up.
After Bob's display, Mike opted to take the bypass, not wanting to smash up his vehicle trying the obstacle. Brian did decide to give it a shot, though. After a few attempts, though, it was clear the lack of clearance and open differentials were making it very unlikely he would complete the obstacle without breaking something so he finally backed down and took the bypass as wel
l, following Mike.
At the top of the Rock Garden, Bob took the other optional obstacle, between the tight trees over the oil pan-catching rocks. He slid off his line at the top, but after locking his front and rear, managed to walk the rest of the way up.
The remainder of Spring Creek was just like normal -- slow going but nothing too difficult -- and all three vehicles climbed to the top of the trail with no further issues. Once at the top, the group decided to take the Ute Creek/Trail Creek path down the mountain rather than going down to Georgetown.
Back at Idaho Springs, Brian, Heather, and Bob decided to stop at Beau Jo's for some pizza, while Mike headed home. We were all somewhat dirty, but very happy, after a beautiful and fun day on the trail.
Reports from Other Days: 14
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Spring Creek. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.