Jim Williamson has been asking if we wanted to take a jeep ride into the mountains. I received an e-mail from him last night and immediately agreed. We made arrangements for when to get together (8:15am at my place) so we could go to the Twin Peaks Mall to meet up with a couple of other folks going up.
At Twin Peaks, we met up with Bill and Tracy, two fellow jeepsters on a local forum who agreed to let Jim come along or to go with Jim (I couldn’t quite figure that out 🙂 ). We headed out on 119 and on up to Rollins Pass.
The first ride was up to Rollins Pass
Then from there up to Jenny Creek:
And then up to Yankee Doodle Lake and Jenny Lake up to the old railroad tunnel on Rollins Pass Road.
Heading up to Rollins Pass
The group, using CBs, set channel 4 as the go to channel and after stopping for gas in Boulder, headed up into the mountains. Jim and I had a lovely conversation at full volume (those big tires are loud!) up until we passed through Rollinsville and headed towards Moffit Tunnel. At one wide spot, the others were deflating their tires getting ready to head up. We pulled in to also drop the tire pressure.
Jim and his Jeep
Bill and his Jeep (Bill is in IT at Seagate)
Tracy and his Toyota (Tracy is a drive tech for Seagate)
Once the tires were at an acceptable level, we headed on out.
When we got to the train crossing, an eastbound coal train was blocking it so we stopped so I could grab a picture for Rita
There’s a painted school house just past the railroad crossing. One of the more photographed buildings in the area.
We’re heading up that trail and around to the other side. It’s the old train route, used up to 1927 when Moffit Tunnel was completed. We’ll be riding on the old route for probably 2/3’rds of the ride. It has a steady grade and wide radius turns. There are spots where we’ll bypass the route for instance at one point where the turn is too tight, the railroad used a Y intersection. The train was pushed up the down arm of the ‘Y’ and then backed down the right arm.
The aspens were coloring up nicely
After heading up the grade for a bit, we got to the Jenny Creek intersection. A quick break and we were off.
We stopped briefly at Jenny Creek. Bill was heading around and since it’s a pretty rocky and steep route, he scouted it out before heading up.
Bill got to a point where he couldn’t go forward due to the rock grade.
After Bill backed up, Jim dropped a couple of big rocks in the gap to help.
And off he went
Tracy decided to do a three point turn instead of trying to go over that rock. Even so, he came down pretty hard on that stump you see in the middle just to the right of Bill. Good thing for running roll bars under the drivers side door.
Jim’s jeep is a bit more tricked out with bigger tires and a few other things. The rocks didn’t slow us down. We’re unstoppable 😀
We headed up Jenny Creek, one of the few trails where you ride in the creek instead of next to it.
We stopped for lunch. Pretty day out, nice and cool (we were wearing coats or sweat shirts and Jim had taken the top off and dropped the windshield). After lunch we headed on out again. We’re getting a little higher up in elevation. Trees are a little farther apart and shorter so we can see the sky.
We’re coming out at Yankee Doodle Lake and we can just see the tunnel on Rollins Pass (Needle Point tunnel? Something like that). The tunnel is blocked due to the decay. If it was open or cleared away entirely, there’d be an over the mountain way to get to Winter Park where we wouldn’t need to go over Trail Ridge road or Rt 70.
You probably shouldn’t be sitting in the middle of the road fixing a flat tire 🙂
Yankee Doodle Lake. The group would be splitting up here with Tracy and Bill and Tracy’s daughter Georgia hanging about. Georgia wanted to fish in the lake. Jim and I headed further up to Rollins Road to check out the tunnel.
The dark spot up at the top is the west side of the tunnel.
You can’t actually drive all the way to the tunnel. There’s a gate and a fall of boulders to keep you from continuing. So we stopped and hiked the half mile to mile up to the tunnel.
Looking down on Jenny Lake. To the right you can just see a red and white tent. There was a group of folks down there camping and they had a few guns. We heard them shooting on our way back from the tunnel. The shots made an interesting echo from the surrounding mountainside.
And the tunnel. As you can see, it’s blocked off to keep folks (vehicles actually as we could certainly climb the barrier) from driving through.
The route up to the tunnel. You can see the grade and how it follows the contours just as a train might have.
A peek through one of the gaps in the barrier. It’s a sideways peek but you can see the other side and where a few rocks have fallen.
We climbed up above the tunnel and looked down onto Yankee Doodle Lake.
Farther back in the mountains, you can see a “carpet of green”, almost no beetle kill back here.
We headed back down to Moffit Tunnel
Where Jim used his onboard air compressor to fill the tires back up to 29psi. It took about 45 minutes total I guess but we were ready to head back to Longmont at this point.
All in all, a real pretty day to go riding and the guys were IT _and_ motorcyclists and Tracy seemed to even be a gamer type (sort of). So it was a pretty fun day.
All the pictures are here: Jeeping with Jim