We were barely into the Cinnamon Pass trail when we found the trailhead for Wager Gulch, so we headed up that trail. It started by weaving its way through a residential area, but soon we were on a trail climbing through trees.
And wow, did it climb! This is one of the most continuously steep trails we've been on, and the climb continued for quite awhile. We were almost always surrounded by trees on both sides, and though the trail could be loose at times it was never difficult. If it was wet, though, that would change everything. We weren't sure it would be passable in mud.
When we came to the first open and flat area, we stopped to get out and stretch our legs. We were by an old cabin and the views were gorgeous. We were treated to warm sunshine though it was still a bit chilly. We visited for quite awhile before getting back in our Jeeps and continuing on.
We didn't go far before turning down on a spur to go see the Carson ghost town. There was lots of easy parking, and everyone got out to explore. The buildings were well-preserved, making it easier to imagine what it would have been like to live there. Apparently, the town used to be huge, stretching up to the Continental Divide that we could see above us. It must have really been a sight.
We could see a vehicle far above us on the trail that seemed to be parked. Another one was on its way down so we waited until it passed. Once it was past us we headed up.
The trail above Carson is fun, with a few bumpy sections and trail that weaves in and around low brush. We were far above timberline, allowing us to really see everything around us. We passed the parked vehicle and were soon at the top and at the Continental Divide, enjoying the amazing views of the valley and Carson below us.
Just over the Divide is a parking area and intersection of many trails. Some trails are closed while others are not accessible by vehicle. Mike told us about when he and Roger went up and over a trail we could see contining on, and luckily we had that trail planned for the next day. We knew we'd be back, so we skipped that spur.
A few of us went to the end of the trail, noted the non-4x4 trail continuing on, and then turned around and headed back to the others at the crossroads. The views were gorgeous, but we had a lot to do before the day was over so we headed back down.
We didn't see anyone else on the way down, which was good. It's amazing how quickly a steep downhill trail will go by when you're on your way out. We were soon back at the trailhead and we turned left to continue along the Cinnamon Pass trail.