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The 4th of July with “The Wild Bunch”

The Wild Bunch 4 Wheel Drive Club is a group of people dedicated to fun and adventure. This year over the 4th of July, we entered the Ouray parade with 9 members. Afterward, we took a trail ride up Engineer Pass to Animas Forks and back over California Pass, down Poughkeepsie Gulch and back to Ouray to enjoy the fireworks display.

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Engineer Pass is part of the Alpine Loop, that runs from Ouray to Lake City and Silverton by way of 4wd roads that once were part of the huge mining industry that helped settle this region. Today, the roads are enjoyed by many off road enthusiasts, including not only Jeeps and other off road vehicles, but also dirt bikes and ATV’s.

The day was filled with sunshine and good times as we began our expedition up Engineer Pass. The trail has remained roughly the same over the years with a few exceptions where mother nature decided she needed to rearranged a bit. It’s not a difficult trail but it is unmatched in scenery. On the way up we pass the Mickey Breen mine. Located in 1874, it saw most of the mining action in the 1890’s. It was also in production as late as the 1980’s, seeing some on and off use.

img_1744 About a mile past the Mickey Breen we came to the Poughkeepsie Gulch turnoff. Normally, Poughkeepsie is still closed on the 4th of July but this year the snow has melted a bit quicker and it is open for travel. We opted to follow Mineral Creek on up Engineer. Our next stop was at the little settlement called Des Ouray. It received its name from investors from Des Moine, Iowa. It was comprised by some twenty claims. It also had a sawmill and a hydroelectric dam on Mineral Creek that served for electricity throughout the town and mines. After a picnic and some exploring we were ready to venture onward.

Another mile or so we turned off the main road and headed up to the ruins of the San Juan Chief Mill. Just to the south on a rough and rocky road is the remains of the town of Mineral Point.

We then proceeded to the ghost town of Animas Forks. There were a lot of people there today. The road from Silverton is a graded dirt road and makes easy access for the “car bound”. We opted to bypass Animas Forks till another day, and another story. From there we drove up California Gulch, past Bagley Mill. At the top of California Pass we decided to head down Poughkeepsie Gulch. With just a small amount of snow on the road we mad it down safely to “the wall”. This is the toughest spot on the trail. It’s a rock outcropping that just get better with age. Since we were going down, it wasn’t too difficult. But being “adventurous we had to play on the wall. There are two or three options available to climb so we spent about a half hour trying them all. From there we headed back down and joined up with the Engineer road and went on into Ouray. It was a great day in the mountains. The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect. Plus we were with the best of friends.

Check back often for more adventures of the Wild Bunch

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 7:15 pm and is filed under Author Story, Blog, Jeeping, Recreation, Things To Do with the following Tags: , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

51 Responses to “The 4th of July with “The Wild Bunch””

  1. Vincent says:

    goodwin@compete.backyards” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks for information….

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