Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Poughkeepsie Gulch

Jay was excited to finally have the chance to tackle Poughkeepsie Gulch on Monday. It is rated difficult, actually even more difficult than Black Bear Pass. Granted, you can't flip off a mountain and land in Telluride on this trail, but the rock climbing is challenging. We chose to drive up the gulch, accessing it from where we were camping in Animas Forks. We drove the beginning of Engineer Pass to where it meets Mineral Point, then a few miles down Mineral Point to the entrance of Poughkeepsie. This first photo is the view of the gulch from the Mineral Point trail.
The farther you drive into the gulch, the rockier it gets.
I have seen photos of Jeeps being winched through the trees on this rocky part here. Thank goodness Jay wasn't interested in trying it!
Checking out an old mine entrance.
A bee on the side of some Subalpine Lockspur.
Now for the fun and challenging part!! I was relieved that there was a group of people at this point and some were helping out as spotters. The kids and I got out for this. There are actually 3 ways to choose from here. There was a woman driving the Land Rover from California, and it was impressive that she made it up without lockers or winching!! We didn't have to winch since the road was dry and we have lockers. Besides, we don't even have a winch on the Rubicon.
Check out the yellow Jeep! Jay chose to drive up this section.
Nice place in the center for the audience.
This was another tough spot with the guy spotting the same Land Rover down.
I didn't get a photo of this sign at the other end of the gulch, but it says the same thing. Without lockers it is definitely easier to drive down the gulch from the entrance near the summit of California Pass. It's a good idea to avoid the gulch altogether if it is raining, though. The lower section can become very muddy and the rocks slippery near the top.
At the top of the pass, we finally reached Lake Como. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see a dinky Colorado lake! I took photos of this lake from the summit of Hurricane Pass back in June when it was still completely frozen and Poughkeepsie was still packed with snow.
Looking back at Lake Como and Poughkeepsie Gulch. We summited California Pass and then took California Gulch to get back to our campsite near Animas Forks. The only damage the Jeep suffered was a rock cut caused a slow leak in the passenger rear tire, which we had fixed in Silverton the next day.
The road on the left of Lake Como here is Hurricane Pass.
This is the stream where Maralee was standing in the photo above, and also where I photographed the bee.


Richard said...

Pretty cool. I watched some video of that trail this past weekend. Looks pretty challenging.

Barb said...

Lovely post, Lisa - I shared some of the excitement with you vicariously. Thank goodness for Jay's expertise - I lived to see another day! In the 5th photo, at first I saw that tree stump ahead and thought it was a bear! Those two last photos are fabulous. Your perspective really shows a lot of depth. I like the macro, too. Hope your family enjoys the next weeks before school begins. Stay safe!

~Cheryl said...

That is gorgeous country! But the mere thought of "winches and lockers" is too much for me!

EcoRover said...

Nice adventure, and good larkspur pics.

I don't have a locking differential on either the '72 Rover or '91 Toy p.up, but the Rover will climb over or through about anything--way better than the Toyota which is pretty good (and in winter I keep about 400# of sand in the back). Better weight distribution helps (much like Jeeps). But it's good to have chains + come-along or winch for backup!

Tony said...

That's so awesome! From the looks of it, this is one I'm going to have to put on my list..semi challenging and beautiful! The water in that lake is so blue!

Lois said...

The color of that lake is such a beautiful shade of blue! James likes the video too. He just made me go back and watch the waterfall again and he loves the one of the koi!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow! That lake is such a beautiful hue. Looks magical. The jeeping is too scary for me. gah! I don't even think I want to know what lockers and winching or for. I'm glad you all had fun, and made it out without too much damage.