Today the journey was much better than the destination.
The area just east of Buena Vista is called the Fourmile Travel Management Area. It is set in the foothills of the mountains a little farther east and is littered with dirt roads.
According to the map of the area that I have, it says that most of the roads are open to “all vehicles’'. To me that meant that a car should be able to handle them but if you look closer at the brochure it says “the area is managed for the recreation of hikers, mountain bikers, four wheel drive visitors, ATV and motorcyclists”. Now I know what all vehicles means because anyone that took a car in there would quickly get stuck. The black and white dash roads are the all vehicle ones.
The instructions for the hike said to go south from Buena Vista, east on highway 24 and then exit on road 311 and drive back west to the trailhead.
Both Google and my GPS wanted me to go the more direct route, through a jumble of roads directly east from Buena Vista to the trailhead.
I realized there was probably a reason to take the long way around but we had all day so we took what looked like the more interesting way, avoiding the highway.
The road that headed north out of Buena Vista used to be a railroad bed as evidenced by the old tunnels.
Off east into the dirt we go.
The roads were narrow but had almost no rocks, just nice smooth dirt. We were climbing most of the way to the trailhead and added about 1000 feet in elevation.
There were however a lot of very sharp dips and bumps that might give a low clearance vehicle some problems.
The first creek was not very deep and easily forded.
We stopped at a few spots that had views back down to Buena Vista.
The next picture is down what looked to us to be a steep hill. I stopped in the middle and we felt like we were being pressed against our seatbelts.
It looked pretty lame when I got out and took a picture from the side.
The second creek was, shall we say, “interesting”.
It looked pretty deep. I got out and poked a stick in and along the edges. It was about 6” deep but in the middle it was probably 10-12 inches. The CRV has just under 9 inches of clearance.
I looked at the GPS to see if there was an alternate but it was a really long way.
So I just backed up a bit and took a run at it, keeping as close to one edge as possible. Well, there was water flying everywhere but we got across. The engine seemed to struggle for a few seconds afterwards, which was worrying, but it quickly recovered.
I wish we could have gotten a picture but if Jennie was outside of the car I would have had to cross 3 times to come back and get her. Nope. We could have gotten a picture of the water splashing up around the car but we hadn’t expected it to come up so high.
I must note that during our entire dirt road time we saw three other vehicles, 2 ATVs together and a forest ranger in a pickup truck. Both occurred at places where it was really easy to pass.
We turned onto the even smaller road to the trailhead.
There were lots of bugs so on went the head net and bug spray.
I must admit that the trail itself was a bit of a letdown. The description, as they always do, sounded great. We could have been hiking in Ontario. Not that hiking in Ontario is bad, it is just that we didn’t travel 1000’s of kilometers to see scenery that we could get close to home.
We are always checking out things beside the trail.
The afternoon dark clouds we rolling in. We seemed to be on the edge and the wind was not blowing them towards us so we continued.
We never saw any lightning but when we started hearing thunder we decided that it was time to turn back.
By now it was about 11:45 and we had gone 2.5 km and climbed 500 feet. We never did see Davis Meadows. I think we would have had to go another kilometer.
We usually have lunch at our turnaround point but decided that having it in the car was a better idea. Let’s just say that our pace going back was much quicker than heading out.
The little red smudge (of the car) in the distance.
Our weather luck held out and only a few minutes after we were in the car the rain started.
It was not that hard and if we had still been on the trail we had our rain gear but it was nice to be in the CRV.
The heaviest part only lasted a few minutes but we got sprinkled on as we headed back out to the “main” dirt road.
We decided to exit the way we were supposed to come in, There was no way I was going through that creek again.
Looking back the way we had come.
The road in from this side didn’t have the bumps but it was much rockier so I had to go slow anyway to protect the tires.
As we approached the highway we went down a wide valley.
Someone was building a huge home with a nice view
Heading back down into Buena Vista.
It looked like it was raining up north by our campground.
We got sprinkled on a bit as we went from the car back into the RV.
A fun drive and a so-so hike but still a good day.
The sunset shining on a distant rain.