Wheeler Geologic Area
Monica and Gary both had some issues the day before. Monica had lost her front track bar bolt and then found some cracks in the track bar mount just before we were heading off for the trail. Gary had lost both of the nuts holding his manifold on to his exhaust, and the entire town of Lake City didn't have nuts he could use. So Gary was out for the rest of the trip. Monica and the rest of the group ran up to Rene's Garage and he had her all fixed up quickly. We had a later start than we had planned on, but we left long before lunch time.
We found the trail easily enough. Pool Table Road was well marked, an easy dirt road. We aired down at a wide spot just off of the pavement, and then went just a little way before Mike heard a new noise. He hit the brakes a few times and probably dislodged a rock making the noise, and then we were off again.
The road to the trailhead was long but it went by quickly enough. We read signs at the trailhead but didn't stop. We were finally on the trail! We didn't see any vehicles for a long time, though we did see some ATVs here and there.
We made our first creek crossing and then found a nice spot for lunch. Everyone put their chairs in the sun, hoping for some warmth to break up the chilly vacation we'd been having. One by one, almost everyone moved their chairs into the shade as the sun got a bit too hot. It was a really nice day.
We continued on, meeting other vehicles every once in awhile as they came back from the geologic area. We also saw the sections along the trail that can be impassable when muddy. It really looked like some people had a tough time at one point. Luckily, the trail was dry except for a few puddles here and there. Some of the puddles were deep and wide, but only one was sticky at the bottom.
The trail started in the trees and ended in the trees. The parking area at the end snuck up on us, but soon we were all parked and ready for our little hike. Everyone was excited to go see the sights. You could see just the top of an interesting rock from where we were parked, but nothing else. It turned out that the true sights were just over the rise in front of us.
Some of the group quickly went to the end to see the geologic area while others took their time. We all got there eventually, though, and it was really cool. The rocks seemed bigger in pictures, but that didn't mean that they were any less impressive. They were definitely interesting, and we stayed at the bench overlooking the area for quite awhile.
We considered hiking further, but it was a bit late in the day and not everyone wanted to get off of the trail after dark. After taking lots of pictures, we headed back down. There were a couple of people hiking the trails with us, but it was relatively quiet.
The trip back was quicker than the trip in, of course, but it still seemed to take awhile. We bumped and bounced our way out, and as the sun went down so went our warm temperatures. At that point, we were glad we didn't do the big hike.
We aired up where we had aired down, and the sun was only threatening to set as we settled in for a good dinner in Creede. It was nighttime on our trip back to Lake City, but the long day was well worth it. What a cool thing to see! We'll have to do it again but include the full hike next time.