Matt from the jeep group wants to visit the Sevenmile Creek trail. While most trails close in the winter
(locked gates maintained by the Forest Service), this trail is open all
year. Deep snow becomes the next reason for a trail to be "closed" -
and that was the case for us today.
There were four of us from the jeep group. While we were at the
trailhead another set of perhaps five vehicles started down the trail -
then a group of three quads headed down - and then us. Shortly later
the first group of jeeps came back - they were turning back and heading
out. We pushed on. The first creek crossing turned out to be a big
surprise at how deep it was. Dropping into the puddle almost saw water
hitting the front of the hood - certainly into headlight range - though
the full crossing wasn't headlight depth.
With the four of us past the first crossing we encountered a mechanical
issue with the white blazer - it's front driveshaft would disconnect
from the transfer case. A short task to reconnect it found us moving
along. Not too much later the driveshaft would pop out again and when
that happened the driveshaft was removed for the day. The blazer would
be a two-wheel-drive vehicle. It had new tires with great tread. An
extra set of chains was around so they were put onto the rear tires to
give it a bit of extra help.
We kept rolling west until a snowdrift section was encountered. There
was a small side-slope to the section that wanted to pull us down
towards the creek. This eighty foot section was a task. The narrow
quads left tracks where they were able to drive right over the snow -
not so for us heavy and wide full-size vehicles. The first two vehicles
(I was fourth at this time) needed to be winched through the section.
Three separate trees were put to use as anchors for getting through.
Once the first jeep was through, it was able to turn around and lend
use of its winch line to help speed the process. Without winches or the
trees for anchor points we would have turned back.
The set of quads found the end of the trail for them (snow too deep and
they turned back) and had returned to bunch up behind the first jeep
that was working to get the second jeep through the snowdrift. The
third, the blazer, started to winch through but we ended up pulling it
back to let the quads get by. The blazer, without any drive on the
front axle, was having a difficult time.
The blazer and I watched the quads work through the snowdrift area. The
quads were having a difficult time as we stirred up the snow on our
push through. The quads were gone and the first two jeeps headed up
trail to see how far they could go. The blazer and I waited an hour and
then decided to check on the first two. I was 2/3 of the way through
winching through the snowdrift when the first two jeeps came back.
Blazer and I already decided to leave the blazer behind to look for the
first two so with all of us together, the three vehicles headed up
The first two jeeps had already been up trail but I and Blazer hadn't
and with an "easy" drive we did the five or ten minute drive. We
arrived at the Stump Hill / old mine ruins area and turned back. The
first two jeeps, on their earlier visit, had pushed farther up the main
trail and up the Stump Hill trail.
Now, the three of us needed to re-process the snowdrift area - and
curiously all three of us drove right through with no side-slip down
towards the creek and no "stuck" due to deep snow.
Now for the water crossings. The first of two that gave issue wasn't of
much concern and all of us drove across. The second, the larger pool,
would not let us across if we went straight through it - the far end
was too much of a ledge to get up. Knowing the two-wheel-drive blazer
would likely need a pull, the driver connected a two strap to the front
before getting into the water. It needed a pull to get out and that was
the end of the need for mechanical assistance.
Off of the trail, I decided to head home via the northern route. Some
in the group were curious to have a visit to Red Feather Lakes so we
decided to trek a bit farther north and made a quick drive through the