This last weekend was a long awaited opportunity for a real adventure. Fishing and short hikes aside, I got to take a friend on a significant jeep ride.
My friend Allen and I spent an afternoon driving up near the ghost town of Hancock, CO. It had been more than five years since I last driven the road. It was one of my favorite places, but not so much now. Years ago the mine building was in decent shape, but now it has fallen in on itself due to snow. Along with two other old mining structures, it lost its top half. All three had lost their top halves.
Here is Allen with the ore dump building in the background.
Here is the same building from years back, the same view.
Here is a top view of the same building with the upper story.
We also stopped by the Mary Murphy Mine. It had been the same amount of time since I had been there. The other two buildings I mentioned were these below.
I neglected to take updated pics of them, but the first building no longer has these doors. These pics are of it front and back. In fact the whole section of the front had imploded inside itself from the weight of snow. Completely gone, just a tangle of wood and the under-structure.
This next building lost its third story entirely, but the rest seemed unchanged. Its the part with the cable stretching from the doorway. All gone. Another difference I noticed was the missing tailing pile. It seems that someone came in and did A full reclaimation on it. The yellow rocks in the foreground and background are gone. They did some serious digging because it was a four story tall dump.
Allen and I continued our drive by going up an extremely rugged jeep trail. Our destination was to go fishing in Pomeroy Lake, unfortunately the weather had other plans. The drive proved to be really rough. I banged my from axle on a big outcropping the trail went over. The jeep now has a superficial scar.
We were in the vicinity of 12000 feet above sea level. The clouds produced a wee bit of hail and some sprinkles, but no lightning. This trip I did something I had never done before. We walked a couple hundred yards east of the park-spot where I hoped we would have a view of Grizzly Lake. It turned out great.
Years back I took my jeep up the trail to Grizzly where I broke a control arm bolt and fished.
I took a further walk to the south to see what the top of Grizzly Lake valley looked like. Allen was the first to notice the amount of dead trees as we drove by Hancock earlier. Maybe a fourth of the trees were dead. In this pic it looks like half of the trees are dead, all from beetle kill. I think we will see some serious tree loss over the next decade.
This next view shows where we came from. The bottom of the V the foreground makes is the bottom where Chalk Creek runs and the original road starts.
We ate lunch then headed back down. On the way I chanced a trail that led to the upper levels of the Mary Murphy. I chickened out after it looked like the trail ahead might not be wide enough for the jeep. If we had the time I would have parked to walk ahead and scout the trail. I ended up backing down a quarter mile of trail. Good thing though. I realized we were driving along a couple of hundred feet of raspberry bushes.
We stopped and had a snack of near ripened berries. They were good and I ate a few mouth fulls.
Some other activities I had a chance to do this last month include canoe fishing with Allen while using a tire iron for an anchor. Allen didn’t have an anchor so I improvised one. I also got to spend some time on Saturdays volunteering at the 51:10 mentor ranch.
You can’t see him, but my youth was sitting on the hay bales painting his side of a horse named Buddy. Before painting we scooped a huge pile of horse poo.
After two canceled camp-outs this summer, my next adventure will be camping at Black Canyon of Gunnison.