It seems hard to believe, but this was the first time our group had been on Storm Mountain. We had tried to run it the year before, but we showed up to find the gate closed. This year, the forest service said it was open so we headed up with our fingers crossed.
While we were airing down, someone stopped to tell us that the gate was closed at the trailhead. We were already there and airing down, so we just decided to go see for ourselves and hope they were wrong.
On the way up, there was a sign that said "forest access gate locked ahead" but we kept going. We'd come too far to turn back. When we got to the trailhead, the gate was locked open so the sign was wrong. That's a bit confusing!
It was worth all of the effort and worry, though, because the trail was a good one. We were surrounded by green as we worked our way past happy campers at really nice campsites. Then the fun started as we went up the hill.
Bob hadn't been wheeling in over a year, and he was having an especially good time on the rocky hill. We were all happy as we found our own lines through the bumpiness.
We passed a couple of numbered spurs on the way up, figuring we'd come back to explore them on the way down. When we climbed up the meadow we met up with some equally happy hikers on their way up as well.
At the top, we took in the gorgeous views at the overlook. It seemed like a great place for lunch, but we thought we'd explore a bit further. Unfortunately, the trail dead-ended almost immediately and the views weren't worth the trip. We turned around to go have lunch at the overlook.
The views here were just fantastic, and we could see a lot of the front range, the mountains around us, and peaks above timberline in the distance that still had snow on them. What a great place for lunch.
After lunch, we tackled the Rock Hill around the corner. Don went first, trying the really tough line. It was too much for his 35" tires, though, and he couldn't find a decent line through it. He ended up cruising up the far left.
Bob tried the crazy line as well, but he didn't have lockers at the time (they broke the last time he went out). Without lockers, he wasn't going anywhere. To make matters worse, he got stuck and unable to back out of the obstacle or move forward on his own. Roger went around to give him a tug, and that's all he needed to pop through.
Another group came up behind us, so the rest of our group took less extreme lines through the Rock Hill. We circled around and started heading down.
It was still early, so we thought we'd explore a side spur (one we then named Storm Drain). Ladd had to go, so the rest of us carried on. It was already a great start to our day.