We had just started Peru Creek after finding there was too much snow to do Santa Fe Peak. We were hoping to complete Warden Gulch, a trail we hadn't done before. We started it well before lunch.
The first water crossing was very shallow and had a bit of ice at its edges. The second water crossing was much bigger, and we broke through a thin piece of ice as we drove through it. As the trail turned left, we found ourselves in a couple of inches of fresh snow.
Luckily, when we drove on the snow it stayed as powder snow instead of turning into ice. That meant that after Don made tracks it didn't make it worse for the people behind him. It actually made things better, so Don was the only one who had to struggle with the snow.
The problem was the hilly nature of the trail. The first hill was the worst one, and Don had to work on it for awhile. We were actually considering turning around already and we were maybe only a mile into the trail. He kept going, though, and inch by inch he worked his way to the top of each hill.
The other hills were easier, and we started making good time. At one point, the snow had drifted on a flat part of the trail but there wasn't a drop-off on the other side so we went through it with ease.
Bill went through that portion just after Don and he hit a rock on the side of the trail with both of his driver's side tires. Mike saw this and warned the others about the rock on the left side of the trail, but it was too late for Bill. We couldn't believe it, but he had flattened both tires with a rip in each sidewall.
It was a flat area in the sun so the work wasn't cold, at least. Bill had brought his brand new Hi-Lift Jack, and it was rare to see one that didn't need two people and a lot of effort to use it. It went right up and down with ease.
He was up on the jack when we all remembered that we hadn't reconnected his front sway bar. He put his spare tire on the back and then let the Jeep back down to reconnect. Once it was back up on the Hi-Lift it was a piece of cake to put Mike's spare tire on the front of Bill's Jeep.
Don was ahead of Bill when Bill discovered the flat tires, and at almost the same time Don discovered that the trail was blocked by a huge dead tree across the trail followed by a couple of smaller ones. There were a few trees that had been brought down recently in the area, and this one was huge. There was no cutting through this tree, so this was the end of the trail for us. We only had about 0.6 miles to go, too.
Once Bill had four full tires again we headed back down. We stopped for lunch just before crossing the creek, and the trees there blocked the wind. We sat in the sun and really had a great lunch. Matt has his father-in-law with him who was from Germany, and he was really having a good time. They don't have wheeling in Germany like we do in Colorado, and he was taking pictures of everything. Showing off our state really makes a good run even better.
Once we finished lunch we headed out to do some more trails. We'd have to come back soon to completely finish Warden Gulch. This was a fantastic snow run.
Reports from Other Days: 2
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