Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Corkscrew Gulch/Hurricane Pass (8/15/2016)

Leaving the Million Dollar Highway, we quickly started up the narrow, steep road leading into Corkscrew Gulch.  Having never been in a similar situation, I'm not sure Pam knew what to expect.  I've made this trip several times, as it's a favorite of mine, but it was 2007 when I was last here.  I could not believe how much rockier and rougher the road had become in my absence.  I suppose the high volume of traffic, particularly ATVs, is responsible for tearing up the trail.  Despite the rough ride, the scenery here is some of the best, with spectacular views of the three Red Mountains, as well as many surrounding mountains.

Going up Red Mountain 1, we see some of the distant mountains.

As Red Mountain 2 comes into view, we note that the trees along the trail have been bent over by the weight of the heavy snowfall received up here.

We stopped briefly at an old miner's cabin that has collapsed.  A couple there told us they had been driving this trail for more than thirty-five years and brought their sons here for many years when the cabin was still standing.

Here you see parts of Red Mountains 1 and 2, as well as one of the trails going around them.

At a pullout, Pam stays in the LRJ, not really comfortable getting out at that spot.

From higher and higher viewpoints, we see more of the Red Mountains.

Pam has walked up a rise to get a better view of Red Mountain 1, the mountain we are on.

As we drive over that rise, we see we are near the summit, and will go no higher on this mountain.

A pool of water from snowmelt still exists just below the summit.

 We now enter Hurricane Pass and get a view into the valley created by a circle of mountains.  The fireweed here is in full bloom.

We pass an old head frame over a collapsed mine shaft, then a small stream of water indicating very little snow left above.

We see some nice color in the rocks, and a patch of snow that is hanging on.  Then another mine shaft that has been collapsed to prevent people from going in.

We get our first views of Lake Como, where we planned to have lunch.  For me, this is one of the prettiest places I've seen.

Sitting next to the lake by ourselves (for only a few minutes, due to heavy Jeep traffic) was very pleasant.

On our way to California Pass, the yellow Indian paintbrush is thick on one hillside.

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