Elwood Pass & Kerr Lake trip 06/25/05

Elwood Pass & Kerr Lake run...
Saturday June 25th Club members met at the Junction Restaurant in Pagosa Springs for a run up Elwood Pass. Trail runners included leader Glen Hood (club VP), Randal & Judy Denny, Don & Linda Dodson, Pat Henkels, Denise & Pat Boggess, Steve, Jen & Nicholas Rumore, Jerry McGeorge (me, club President), Dan Pickett and Glen’s friend Jeff. Steve & Jen brought out their new Hummer H1, which was very capable on this trail. 

We had a feeling we’d be the first up the trail and that proved to be correct. After getting Pat’s rig off the trailer on East Fork road, we aired down and headed towards the Elwood Pass trailhead. After the first of several major water crossings, Glen took us on a detour, and another great water crossing, up to the old Black Diamond mine site, where we had a quick lunch break. After lunch Steve, Jen & Nicholas had to head home. Meanwhile, the rest of us we pressed on and team-winched the first of seven tree falls we encountered blocking the trail. After the first tree was cleared we headed down the side road from the mine to the main Elwood Pass trail. At the next water crossing we got time for some pictures. Along the way we picked up another Jeeper, Mike Kelley of Pagosa Springs who we invited to come along with us. Mike had a super time learning what his new Rubicon could do. (Mike later sent Glen a nice thank you card, and a very generous donation to the Creeper Jeepers.)

We proceeded on in anticipation of the trail becoming snow-bound and we weren’t to be disappointed. I took over “lead dog” duties at the second snow blockage, and with “Glen the super-spotter”, busted through about 10 more before the day was done. All this fun was interspersed with six more tree-fall clearings, numerous winch-fests and strap-jerks to get everyone through the snow. Dan Picket had gone over Wolf Creek Pass and took the Summitville Road to the Elwood Pass turnoff. He met us on his ATV at the last (and worst) snow pile of the day, and got a great picture of me getting high centered.

With everyone safely on top, Glen led us down the road and up the short run to Kerr Lake. We found a fabulous camping spot at around 7:30, whereupon it became a scramble to get camp set up before sunset. Everyone got settled, ate & turned in after a fun but exhausting day. Rainfall off & on all night just made things that much more “campy”. (The bugs loved us, too.)

Next morning Glen, Pat Boggess and others tried some fishing but the cold wind put a damper on things. The rest of us got breakfast going (or, in my case, murdered numerous pieces of bacon & three eggs which I ate anyway.) All packed up we stopped for a group shot at Kerr Lake, before heading down to the old town of Platoro to check out the Skyline Lodge and look for fuel. Pat & Denise decided to head on home at that point. With no gas to be had in Platoro, Glen, Pat H. and me headed down to Rocky Mountain Estates, 13 miles south of Platoro, gassed up and met everyone back at the Platoro Reservoir turnoff, where we headed on to Elwood Pass for the return trip. Naturally, the trip down was a lot easier than the way up. We had fun with the water crossings again and late in the afternoon finished the day off with a hike up to Silver Falls before we all broke for home.

Next year, let’s camp for two days at least!  -Jerry McGeorge

Elwood Pass Campout...
June 25th started out as a beautiful morning with just a few clouds floating around.  We left Bayfield Grocery Store at 8:25 with 4 rigs & 1 being trailered.  We met with 4 others at the Junction Restaurant east of Pagosa Springs.  We were all off about 9:40 to the pull off area on East Fork Rd where Pat Henkels unloaded his jeep & we all aired down for a smoother ride.  It was an easy trek to the Black Diamond Mine site where we had lunch & put Pat's front driveline back in.  Steve & jen Rumore had to head home from there, so Don & Linda Dodson went to the creek crossing to make sure they made it back okay.  We had to pull a large tree out of the way in order to continue.  It took 2 winchings to slide the tree about 10 feet. All was going well until we got to the shaded swithbacks which had snow on them.  We did come across a guy with his son & girlfriend in a Rubicon, & they joined us for the trip.  There were probably 14 snow drifts & 6-8 trees across the road which we cut up & dug out of the way.  After alot of winching and digging in the snow we made the top of Elwood Pass at about 5:30 pm.  Then it was on to Kerr Lake which was easy going and we arrived at the campground around 7:30 pm.  We were all pretty tired by this point but satisfied that we had a great day of breaking trail.

Next morning we broke up camp by 10:30 am and headed to the little town of Platoro, & I mean little, to get gas.  Well, this little town didn't have any gas.  So 4 of us had to go 13 miles down the Conejo River to get enough gas to get back home.  It was a nice drive down and back up a beautiful valley for about an hour.  We met up with the rest of the group except for Pat & Denise Boggess and Dan Pickett decided to go back via the highway.  We decided to go back down Elwood this time, we had never gone down Elwood before so we thought it was a good idea, thanks for the suggestion Don.  It only took us 2 hours to go back down but we stopped near the bottom to play in a water crossing and then a short hike to check out Silver Falls.

All in all I think everyone had a wonderful 2 days, & as always it was beautiful!  Thank you all, Don & Linda Dodson, Randall & Judy Denny, Pat & Denise Boggess, Jerry McGeorge, Pat Henkels, Jerry & Dick Kelley, the guy in the Rubicon, for all the help with the trees and the snow drifts.    -Glen Hood

Steve Rumore's new H1 Strap city! Kerr Lake End of the trail
Denise Boggess FSJ Pat Henkels Randall Denny Don Dodson
Jeff Woodsman Glen Yet another winching spot Jerry bustin' snow
(Click on an image to see a larger picture)
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