Sunday morning I spent some time with my DSLR taking photos of our camping area. I could easily have spent all day in the area. It would be a great location for a macro photography seminar. Spending quality time with a camera in my hands is something that I need to do more of. Lately, I’ve mainly been doing “documentary” photography for the USFS and it doesn’t require much beyond being able to recognize what the picture is supposed to show.
Anyway, after picking up camp we went exploring in the area. Our first stop was to go to La Salle Pass. Which, as it happens there is a geocache on the pass. This last week Karen received her new Garmin Montana 600 GPS and wanted to try it out. Off we went in search of La Salle Tool Pax. After a few minutes of looking around Karen found the tool box. She is really liking the new GPS and is starting to get comfortable using it.
I was contacted by the owner of a new web site, 4x4Trek.com (looks like it started in Feb. 2012). He was nice enough to point out that one of my blogroll links was broken. (Oh the joys of web masters changing things around on you.) Anyway. I took a look at his site and it looks like it’s off to a good start with lots of promise. The site has trail maps and discussion areas. There’s not much there yet, but it is only about 2 months old.
One post did catch my attention, It starts with trash. It’s a good discussion on trash on public lands. Something that I know all too much about. Last year I pretty much filled two 30-yard roll off dumpsters with trash that I’d picked up in the local forest.
You may want to wander by the site and take a look.
Our friend Jim contacted us about going out for a run. He had a couple of nice suggestions, so we went with his ideas. His plan was to go down by Canon City and head up Shelf Road and check out some BLM land areas. He’s been down there several times, so we just followed his lead.
We received a pleasant surprise when he met us with his wife, Marylin, driving Sunshine—her bright yellow Toyota FJ Cruiser. Apparently, Sunshine was wanting to come along and not miss out on the fun.
It turned out to be just about a perfect day to be in the mountains north of Canon City. We headed up Shelf Road and through Red Rock Park to get to the BLM areas of The Bank and Sand Creek. Our only pictures are from this area. There was only a small amount of snow on the trails. Nothing that caused any problems. Oh yeah, I should mention that Karen did all the driving. It was another girls day to drive.
There was an spur trail that Marylin was hesitant to drive because of a large v-notch for water runoff on the left side. The notch was about 2 feet deep in spots and had sections about 3-4 feet wide. So it was intimidating. We talked it over and had Karen take the Tacoma up it first. I spotted Karen as she drove up the notch without any problems (and little need of corrections). I then spotted Marylin and Sunshine up the v-notch. Once again with very little trouble and very little need to suggest corrections.
The only other difficult section was a rock ledge down in the Seep Springs area. Marylin chose to go around most of the rocks and ledge on the right. I had Karen go up the left side. This was a more difficult line, but I figured she could use the practice and I knew the truck would easily make it up the ledge. Karen had made the line look easy.
Well weekend number two wound up being about the same as week 1. We didn’t get any snow during the intervening week, so the roads were still clear. We did pick up a lot of trash on Sunday. We even hauled a sofa up to the main road so the Forestry could take it to its trash dumpster. Why people haul furniture and appliances into the National Forest is something I’ll never understand. They do it with surprising frequency. The Forestry has a large pile of lumber from someone’s deck and fencing to deal with because some idiot had to haul into the forest.
The only excitement that we had with stuck vehicles is when I tried to cross an ice flow and slid off the road. We were on the road a couple of times already and I didn’t think that it would be a problem. I guess the weather warmed up enough to start melting the survice of the ice. With water on top of the ice, it became very, very slick and it was difficult to walk on. Chuck and I rigged up his winch to pull me back on the road and we decided it was best to back up and go out the way we came in.
Every year the US Forestry Service sells tree cutting permits so people can go into designated area and cut Christmas Trees. This is a really great deal. You are allowed up to 5 permits and each permit costs $10. So you can get 5 trees for the cost of one tree at a tree lot. The size of tree is limited to a 6-inch diameter trunk. That may not sound all that big, but the a tree with a 6-inch trunk is about 20-25 feet tall. Not many people have a house large enough for a tree that size.
The local Colorado Land Cruisers club helps the Forestry every year. Karen and I have gone along for the last couple of years. This year our friends Jim and Marilyn went along as well. The club provides support the stuck vehicles, lost vehicles (yup, people loose their vehicles all the time), lost pets and provide more eyes and ears to help people.
In years past we were usually very busy with stuck vehicles. However, this year there was very, very little snow and the roads were clear except a few shaded valley sections. We didn’t have very much to do. The only stuck truck that we had to help out was one of our own trucks with the driver got hung up on a large rock in the middle of the rock. It took longer to get the equipment out than to pull him off the rock.