We had a huge group and we experienced just about every kind of weather you can imagine all in one day. This was probably the most trail damage we've seen in one trip, too, making this one of the most interesting trips we've ever taken.
The weather had been very rainy for the week before, including some days of massive amounts of hail in town. We knew the trail would be soggy and it could possibly snow once we started getting higher up in elevation. We were right about the weather, anyway.
A small group of friends ended up just in front of us at the first obstacle, so luckily we didn't hold them up at all during the day. They waited for us at the Rock Garden so we got to see them again at that point.
The first obstacle was very muddy and slick when we got to it. It looked pretty much how it had looked the year before, though someone had tried to saw down the tree to the right of the hill. They didn't remove the parts of the tree that cause trail damage, though, so it still got us.
The group in front of us struggled in the mud but they all made it up fairly quickly. Monica went first and worked at it, making it about halfway up the rock before she just couldn't get any further. At one point she came sliding down the hill and right into the dirt part solidified with the tree roots, denting her rear corner panel, bending her rear tail light protector and tearing her soft top. She ended up having to winch herself to the top.
Eric went next and wrestled with it for awhile, hoping his new gears and locker would do the trick. It was still too slick and sloppy and he couldn't get past the halfway point on the rock slab so he winched himself up to the top.
Robert went next and didn't have to work at it for very long before his Jeep was up and over the sloppy hill. Gary and Dave went right after and also didn't have too many issues.
The sun came out then and started to dry up the sloppy mud, giving us the perfect lighting for the show that Jordan would put on next. He tried the center line up the rock like others had unsuccessfully tried before, giving it more gas than the others had. The plan backfired a little and he hopped across the hill, ending up sideways right in the middle and in danger of rolling sideways down the hill.
While Jordan was finishing his dance on the hill we heard a "snap" and it turned out his front differential had broken somewhere inside. It was this break that probably brought his hopping to a halt, possibly saving him from rolling. It was definitely the better of the two choices.
Everyone strapped him to the hill and Gary winched him up. Jordan pulled off to the side to make the necessary adjustments to hobble off the hill and back off the trail. It was scary to watch but we were very relieved nothing bad happened to Jordan.
Ed, Austin and Tom came up the hill next and drove right up like it wasn't tough at all. Bob S. came up next and got pretty tippy as he took a line closer to the middle of the rock, but he came up just fine.
Carlos was next, the first of the longer wheelbases. He didn't wait too long before he ripped his antenna off the side and gave himself a few passenger-side dents and scrapes. He finally had to winch himself through it.
Dane went next, driving up it like it was dry pavement.
Then it was Derek's turn and it ended up giving him the most trail damage of the day. He cut it close to the tree and his line looked good, but then a root off the tree caught his passenger-side tail light and ripped it off the side of his Jeep. The root also bent his tailgate enough to shatter the rear window.
He was close to making it up but it wasn't going to happen so the guys tied a tow strap to the front of Derek's Jeep and tugged him up. It didn't take much to get him going up the hill and the guys had to run for cover.
It must have been a little unnerving for Bob R. and Aaron to follow that show, but they both drove right up the obstacle without any issues.
It was 1:00 already so we ate a quick lunch there and headed up the trail. The sun was still out and we all worked on our suntans as we enjoyed the views of Georgetown and the highway below.
When we got to the second obstacle it was dry so it didn't give anyone too many troubles (there aren't any pictures of this obstacle for this trip).
We went up the switchbacks and when we got to the third obstacle the sun had left us for awhile and it started to get chilly. By the time the last vehicle went through the obstacle it was lightly snowing and you could see your breath.
Everyone took a slightly different line through the third obstacle and many people got high-centered or couldn't go any further in a few places in the rocks. Everyone had a good time on it. Bob S. won the award for the fastest trip through it. Austin managed to hit the line a lot of people were trying to hit, running his passenger-side tires over the larger rocks at the top.
We could hear the group in front of us on the CB, playing in the Rock Garden. We kept going and then the sun came out again right when we got to the base of the Rock Garden. It was completely empty, though the other group would come down in a little while to watch us work on it.
Monica went through first, enjoying the rocks that were relatively dry. Everyone took pretty much the same line through it. We came up through the middle at the first section of rocks, then over to the left side, then through the middle and up to the part where you go between the two trees.
Most people who took the line at the far left had to work at it a bit, but everyone made it up. Ed got a few scrapes and dents on a rock in the middle, and Austin gave us a scare when he got very tippy in the dirt. Dave ended up bending a drag link somewhere, and Bob S. ran his driver-side fender into a tall rock and dented it in quite a bit. He pulled it back out and kept on going.
Though we spent a lot of time at the Rock Garden our biggest obstacle ended up being the one at the very start. This obstacle should continue to get more chewed up and more interesting throughout the years.
We worked our way down the trail, most of us on Lamartine on our way down to Idaho Springs while a few others went down to Georgetown instead. At this point it was raining, sometimes pretty hard. We were often in clouds and fog, and the views of the mountains still mostly covered in snow were absolutely beautiful.
A lot of us met at Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs for some pizza. When we came out it was pouring rain again, making for a soggy drive home. It ended up being an awesome day and another great trip to Spring Creek.
Reports from Other Days: 13
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.