Summitville Trail Member Report
Run on August 27, 2011
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We had a big day planned. We hoped to do at least four long trails that worked their way through the Rio Grande National Forest. But the weather in the afternoon decided we'd only get to one new trail, Summitville Trail. At least it was a great trail.
We started south of Monte Vista, taking farm roads through the countryside from Alamosa to get there. It was a gorgeous morning and we enjoyed the drive. We pulled to the side of the road near the trailhead to air down and get ready for what looked like it was going to be a sunny day in August.
We knew we'd have to drive by a lot of trailheads over the course of the day. There are so many trails in the forest and only so much time. We drove by quite a few promising trails but we knew we'd be back again.
Terrace Reservoir was pretty in the morning sun but we didn't go down to check it out. When we got to Jasper we started talking about the fact that you could rent cabins there. It was a plan! The cabins were all fairly new and very upscale, and the town was nice. They had electricity, water, and all you could need. They even rented horses.
The excitement may have been how we managed to drive by a trail we planned on doing. It was a few miles later before we realized it. But no biggie, we'd be back.
The best part was coming out of the trees and seeing Schinzel Flats. The sun was shining on all of the different shades of green. It was perfect. We drove by the Elwood Pass trail, a place we planned on returning to later in the day. That wasn't meant to be, though we didn't know it then.
When we got to Summitville we were bummed to find that it was a Superfund operation and all of the side roads were closed. We couldn't access any of the cabins, either. We found a short road we could use to get off of the main trail so we could have lunch. We had it next to a modern building and watched a few work trucks go by. It was definitely a weird lunch.
As we were wrapping up our meal the weather started to look threatening. Mike is the expert at calling when it's time to put tops up and windows in, and he called it. We barely got everything situated before it started raining.
It rained all the way down to the end of the trail, almost. It was cold and wet at the top but then by the time we got to the pavement and Del Norte it was sunny and over 80 degrees. We gassed up in town and headed along the pavement to Wolf Creek Pass so we could do Elwood Pass.
But at Wolf Creek Pass it was raining so hard we could barely see where we were going. It was really coming down. Mark and Bill didn't have doors on their Jeeps and they got soaking wet. It was also pretty chilly.
It rained all the way to our next trailhead but then it slowed down a bit when we aired down again. We made it about 2/3 of the way up Elwood Pass before we found the trail washed out in a fast-moving river of muddy water. Some ATVs came up to the other side but they were stuck with no way across. Our trip on that trail was done.
We went back to the trailhead and aired up again, and then went back up over Wolf Creek Pass. It was a serious bummer! But we knew we'd be back. There are so many trails in that area to explore.
Members On This Run
- Bill: khaki 2004 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (TJ)
- Mark: red 1989 Jeep Wrangler (YJ)
- Mike: silver 2004 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (TJ)
- Monica: red 2010 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (JK)
- Walt: gold 2004 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (TJ)