Jeeping The San Juan's
By Ken Womack

This trip to the San Juan Mountains of Colorado was the third one for me, and the second for J.J. This area is so beautiful and the trails trails so awesome, that I felt I needed to go there to finish running the trails I had missed. J.J. agreed, and we decided to make this trip a 4-wheeling trip mainly, and a budget one at that. Our wives were very good to let us go without them.

Our Colorado trip followed the Chokecherry Canyon SWFWDA Run. We left Farmington for Ouray Sunday morning Aug.3, and we arrived in Ouray that afternoon. After checking in at The Riverside Inn (Polly’s), we un-loaded our gear and JEEP THRILLS, and headed for the Mtns. We took off for some trails just outside of town, Dexter and Cutler Creek Roads. After passing Lake Lenore we took the left fork across the bridge to the Cutler Creek Rd. This trail took us thru a spruce forest and across the creek to a very nice rustic campgroundand up to an area called the “Thistle Farm”. Our little trail dead-ended about a half mile past that, but gave us a wonderful view of the valley floor below and the mountains all around us.

It was getting to be supper time, so J.J. suggested I take him back to cook, while I explore the other trail, Dexter Creek. So, after a quick trip down the mtn. I was back up exploring Dexter Creek Rd. Many of the trails in this area are private and gated, too bad because the book I have show these trails to have very interesting mine buildings still in good shape. When I found a trail that was not closed , it led to the old ghost town of Ash. Three men started mining here long ago, and struck it rich. The initials of their last names make up the town’s name.

Little remains here except for a few crumbling cabins and the mine tailings. Across Dexter Creek again led me higher into the mtns. up a nice two-track road built my miners long ago. Soon I was at the Wedge Mine, a large mine dump is all that remains. A trail leading into deep woods (4-wheel Low) brought me up to a clearing where I saw 4 deer. I stopped to let them go, but they just stared at me, and I just admired them. When they left, they used the trail!

After continuing on up the road, it made a loop that brought me back around to the Wedge Mine. Just as well, cause it was nearly dark, and it was supper time. On down the Mtn., I got to try my new K.C. Lites mounted on the windshield hinge. They worked so well, lighting my way safely down the trail.

After a killer steak dinner, and a trip thru town, we got a good night’s rest. We would need it, cause Black Bear and Imogene Road followed the next day.