We were on our way to do some wheeling in the Steamboat Springs area, and this trail was on the way. It was really easy to find, and the scenery was awesome.
We disconnected our sway bars but didn't air down. There was a dusting of snow where we were, but it didn't look like it was going to be too bad.
We followed the regular trail and noticed a shortcut on the way, so we decided to try that on the way down. Haystack Mountain was really cool, and it was nice to see it from all different angles as we climbed up and around it.
The aspen trees were almost all yellow, but they all had snow on them. It was weird to see the fall colors with snow, all on the first day of fall.
We climbed up the switchbacks, following another vehicle who was either hours or a day or two ahead of us. The snow got deeper, and it wasn't long before we were in a few inches of snow. The heavy, early snow had weighed down a lot of the trees, making them lean far into the trail. It was mostly aspens in the road.
Monica was first, and she would only have to touch the snow-laden trees with the front of her Jeep. Then the snow would move off of the trees just enough to spring back up, depositing all of the snow on her Jeep. Sometimes there were quite a few aspen trees to drive under this way.
We climbed and climbed and finally got to the intersection with the radio tower road. The main trail curved around a hill on a very exposed road, but the snow wasn't too deep and the trail wasn't steep so we continued on. We noticed that the vehicle tracks we were following went in and came back out, then went up to the radio tower.
Soon we came to where the vehicle's tracks stopped and turned around. There were a couple of aspens down in the trail, and they weren't moving.
Mike got out his hatchet and worked on the branches so he could clear the road. It wasn't the first time he'd done it, and his "Hatchet Man" nickname still fit. He worked on the tree with Walt's help, and it wasn't long before the trail was cleared.
We kept going and the trail started climbing in the trees. The snow got deeper and deeper, and when we got to a wide spot we got out and talked about how far we'd be going. The weather report said that a big snow was about to start, and we were worried about getting snowed in on the dead-end trail. We were seven miles in and a little over halfway to Williams Peak, but we decided it was too risky. We turned around and headed back out.
When we got to the radio tower road we decided to check that out, too. The road was mellow all the way up, and the parking area next to the radio tower didn't have too much snow on it. It was lightly snowing when we pulled out chairs and food for lunch.
We had a quick lunch because it was getting colder and colder, then we headed down. On the switchbacks on the way down there were two deer next to the road. One posed long enough for a picture, then they were off.
We got to the bottom and though the weather wasn't great the roads were still clear. We reconnected our sway bars and headed up to Steamboat Springs. We'll have to come back when the weather is better.