What's new

Red Elephant Hill and Bill Moore Lake

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
Instead of doing the Recovery Class that Ben was hosting/teaching, I led of group of my former co-workers up to some trails near Idaho Springs and Empire. The plan was to run up Red Elephant Hill, do the Mill Creek Loop and then see how far we could make it to Bill Moore Lake.

We met at the Conoco in Downieville off I-70. After we all gassed up and a few got lunches from the Subway inside, we headed up to find Red Elephant. None of us had done this trail before. Once we found the trail, we went up part way before stopping to air down and disconnect sway bar links. I was in the lead and I randomly chose a spot right below a house. After a minute or 2, the wife wanted to leave and we were blocking the road. Someone in our group said we'd be done and gone in less than 5 minutes. She seemed happy with that answer. 2 minutes later, the husband came out and started giving me an earful- cussing me out and being a total jerk. But I'm the hard-headed type and continued on with airing down doing my best to ignore him. Once aired down, we were on our way.

Red Elephant Hill is kind of a fun trail. We had a 100% stock Jeep Grand Cherokee with highway tires and nearly 200k miles, a Hummer H1, a Rubicon with 35s and a small lift, Brian's (Rover Trex or something) 80 series Lexicruiser with a small lift, lockers and 33s and my Frankenstein Explorer. We stacked a bunch of rocks to get the GC through and the H1 squeezed, rubbed and even ran over a small aspen getting through. Progress was slow because of the tight trees on this trail- the H1 coming in at 8 feet wide doesn't fit well on many trails through the trees.









When the Hummer isn't moving, it becomes a viewing platform:






The group:


Can't seem to go on a trail run without at least one Jeep hood going up:
 
Last edited:

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
We decided to skip the Mill Creek loop because we were so slow on REH. We decided to try to get to the lake and if we had time, come back and do the loop.

BML is a fun trail. I ran this trail back in about October with several of these same people. On the way in, there was a fair amount of snow on the trail. We got down to the Mud Pits before turning around due to snow. We knew there was snow on the trail this time too, but we were still hopeful to get to the lake.


Looking up toward Georgetown:


But we soon found snow that was too much for us. And too far of a hike to hike it (in a reasonable time). This time the snow was just before the long hill that drops down to the Mud Pits. It was probably 3-4 feet deep in spots and the consistency of mashed potatoes.

As we were backing out, the GC drifted wide and into a snow bank and got stuck. So while we missed out on the Recovery a Class, we still got to do a recovery.

First we tried the TReDs but the front tires were too stuck for this to make any difference:


Then we tried pushing it onto the TReDs:

Still didn't work.

Break out the winch:


One last poser shot on our way out:


Once down we went to Idaho Springs to get some BBQ at Smokin Yard's BBQ. We ended our day here after the first BML attempt in October as well. Good BBQ.
 

nuclearlemon

Active Member
no offense, but you were blocking someones driveway and made them wait while you aired down? not a way to keep up good appearances for fourwheeling.
 

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
None taken. The person that was actually wanting to leave, the wife, was fine with it. It was the asshole husband, that wasn't going anywhere, that came out and started cussing me out that ruined any chance of diplomacy. Had he come out and been civil, things may have been different. But he chose to be an asshole and cuss me out in front of my daughter over something as trivial as delaying his wife for 3-5 minutes- I won't back down. Ige, you do the same to me and you'll witness similar results.

And we weren't blocking the driveway per say, we were on the trail just below their driveway. How often do you stop on trail and block it? If we had stopped 100 yards further down and she was on her way down, then this wouldn't have been handled just like any other trail encounter- and oh: uphill vehicles like us, have the right away.
 

nuclearlemon

Active Member
but could she get past you? whenever i'm pulled over to do stuff, i try not to block the locals since pissing them off leads the them getting their town/county to shut the trails down. uphill has right of way if travelling, not if stopped. ;)
 

Overland1

Administrator
Staff member
Looks like a fun trip. How does the H1 do off-road. I know they are wide but can it actually get over rocks, etc. well?
 

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
It'll go over just about anything. The portal axles really help with ground clearance. It'll take large rocks right down the center and not touch that we have to either drive over or go around. Plus it'll do it at a significantly higher speed comfortably than I'd ever drive mine- like lets say 80 mph across open prairie (not a dirt road).
 
Last edited:

zukrider

Member
was it the house right at the tight right turn? Johnny and I saw a few owners and none were all that happy to see us! Glad you had a good time