This past Sunday we embarked on a big one day wheeling trip.  Meeting in Basalt for breakfast we set out past Rudi Reservoir to Hagerman pass.  The 30 plus miles of pavement lead way to a smooth well maintained dirt road before turning to Hagerman pass.

The view as we passed Ruedi Reservoir


The turn off to Hagerman.

Hagerman pass is a treat.  Relatively smooth with almost no need for 4X4 this is a great Sunday cruise the brings you to 11,925 feet.  With the hot summer air in the low lands of Basalt it was refreshing to be in the cool high country breeze.  Headed down the other side towards Leadville there is a beautiful view of Turquoise Lake.  The road remains smooth and fun to drive on.  Low gears are pretty nice to control the speed.

Top of the world

Pulling through Leadville we topped off on fuel and got a few snacks for the next trail and the main event of the day, Holy Cross City.  This is a trail located between Leadville and Minturn that leads you to the historic ghost town of Holy Cross City.  We aired down and prepped the rigs for the trail.  The signage before the one way entry states 33s and lockers are a must and I would say it’s not an exaggeration.

The first obstacle is a good gate keeper.

The trail becomes difficult about 100 feet in and provides entertainment the whole way up.  This required careful line choice and a little extra speed in my 32 inch tires non locked Willys.  With that said the Willys did fantastic on all but the hardest obstacles.

As you get to the end of the 1.5 mile one way section you have a serious of difficult obstacles leading you to the first major obstacle.  A tight left up a pretty steep rock.  Suspension travel and lockers will help a lot here.  Not having either of those I needed to be winched by Lindsay who made it look easy in his Land Cruiser.  This was the only place we got bottle necked a little bit with another group coming down the trail.

The top of the first hard obstacle that I had to get Winched up.

Cruising up the trail it’s pretty mild until you hit the river crossing.  This is a pretty amped up obstacle that had some pretty big boulders to climb through to get out of with constant running water traction on the rocks is not easy.  Lindsay got through with minimal effort until the end, I however struggled up the last boulders coming out of the river and found myself high centered.  After some hard winching I made a few more moves before being high centered again.  Some more hard winching and I found myself with an unresponsive winch.  Luckily Lindsay’s Land Cruiser was able to pull over the next few rocks till I was good to go again.

Lindsay coming out of the River. Note the size of the boulders compared to his 35 inch Coopers

We kept cruising till we hit Holy Cross city.  A quick look around and we kept going till we got to the last obstacle Cleveland Rock.  This was the turnaround spot for us.  Cleveland rock is huge with no apparent way around or easy line.

Holy Cross City

The way down was pretty easy till we hit the river crossing.  Again I was high centered and this time the clutch linkage got clobbered and went out.  It worked okay for a while before giving out on me in the middle of an obstacle.  The quick fix was to tie my Bubba Rope soft shackle around the clutch pedal and manually pull it back each time I used it.  This worked great and got me off the trail.

Our turn around spot, just before Cleveland Rock.

Leaving the trail we headed to I70 and home through Eagle over Cotton Wood Pass.  Getting home around 11 made this a long but great day.

Exiting the trail.
Lindsay making the obstacles look easy
The views on the the way up Hagerman are incredible.
The little Willys that could
Where the clutch decided to give up.

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