JUST RUNNING THE HILLS 2
I did not manage to run in the dirt this weekend. I had to pick up my new vehicle. I did manage to make a quick run through Glacier Park though.
There was a lot of smoke but a beautiful drive just the same. the construction on "Going to the Sun" can cause some sizable delays but is is an opportunity to jump out and get a closer look from vantage points where you usually could not stop.
New vehicle? Do tell...
I just upgraded to the new 2012 version of the Rubi. New engine, new tranny, new color.
Frontier 4 Wheelers monthly club run was to Caruthers Lake out of Deer Lodge MT. Eleven vehicles would make the trip including 1 from the Cascade County Four Wheelers and two from the Continental Four Wheel Drive Association.
This trip included quite a few guest including a potential new member for Frontier and a good number of family and friends along for the ride.
All the creeks and lakes were way below the level of the trip with CFWDA about two months ago. Wow! What a difference.
The trip to Caruthers is a good one. Just easy enough for such large groups and just tough enough to keep it interesting.
Once to the lake we went up to Little Goat Lake and 3 rigs, lead by Mike K. and his monster buggy, headed up to what I think is called Big Bend. They would tell us later that it was a good thing the rest of us did not attempt that piece of the trail. I guess it got REALLY rough up there.
It was a good but long day. It had to get real long for John L. from Cascade. That was a long ways home to Great Falls but we sure are glad he joined us and hope to see more interaction with our neighbors to the north in the future.
It was the first trail run for my new '12 Rubicon and the beast did well. that new lower gearing is nice and I am not going to complain about the additional 80 horses either. I hit a few more places than I should have. In it's current config it is actually a little taller in the body and due to smaller tires, the axles are about 1 inch shorter than the last rig. I got started polishing the paint off the skid plates (using rocks) but only hit hard once...once too many. No Damage done other than a bruised ego though.
I will add some more links to photos later but here are some on the Frontier FB page by Brian L. (Remember these can be viewed even if you do not have a FB account - when it says you need to log in, just cancel and keep viewing.)
Wheeling in a brand new, not even licensed yet, still shiny and 'new car smell', rig? My hat's off to you!
I am disappointed that you didn't choose a Tacoma as your new vehicle though
Here is the link to another 114 pics from Caruthers.
Lisa... Oh there are so many responses I can give. LOL
I will just have to settle for "honorary taco" for now. lol
I did not take any photos this weekend but I did a little light wheeling. I left Boulder and went over the Amazon to Wicks and on to the Occidental Plateau above the Tunnels Mine. A little running around Bluebird Flats for good measure. From there I ran over until I hit Cataract Creek Road and then back over to High Ore Road. A bit of zig-zagging all over the place but it was a nice little 4 hour ride.
I won’t have much free time to just wonder in the near future. Will need to spend my time working out some new trails (to me anyway) down by Whitehall.
If you know some good trails around Whitehall (+25 miles or so) let me know about them.
Joe and I took a nice run down to Whitehall to work on some association business and do a trail run. We ended up at Ringng Rocks then down the hill to the Whitetail Road (the one on the delmoe lake side) and up to the Hay Canyon Trail. We came back accros Hay Conyo to the State Creek turnoff which we took over to the gates at the State Creek Mine. We took another left heading north on a trail just before the Tamahawk Ranch. We then came back out to the other Whitetail Road (the one between Boulder and Whitehall) and aired up at the Jefferson County fairgrounds.
It was a great ride.
I took another ride out of Whitehall today. I was looking for Gold Hill which was easy enough to find. Easy enough after I realized my GPS was trying to send me over a bridge that I assume has not been around for at least 20 years. There was another creek crossing on Fish Creek but I would not chance it as I was wheeling without backup. I would actually run out to Waterloo on the way out but would take Kuntz Road back to town. (the way back is what is shown on the map.)
Once I managed to find my way over to Point of Rocks Road I went over to Gold Hill. Looks like a nice jaunt to the top but it is on private property. I then went over to Bone Basin Creek (who made up these names?) and followed that road to the Guyman Spring which is nothing more than a cattle water tank.
This is a nice ride but not much of a destination. It could be real interesting in a full size rig though. The road is a little thin right along some big drop-offs. There is a great view of Whitehall and the Golden Sunlight Mine on the way back though.
I saw Sandhill Crains (I think) and pheasants, Deer and some quail on this ride. no pics though...my camera battery died.
I went to Whitehall again on Saturday looking for trails. I went up Hells Canyon. Nice ride but not much technical driving.
After running in Whitehall, I headed to Dillon for a trail ride with the CFWDA on Sunday morning.
Sunday, six vehicles with about 14 people headed up Birch Creek Road up to Pear and May lakes. We were rained on for much of the day with a little snow mixed in just to add some variety. It is a fun trail with just enough technical stuff to make it interesting but not hard. We stopped to air-up at the trail head and were greeted by a large moose. He stuck around just long enough for some quick (and poor) photos and headed off to find a less crowded area. It was a bit muddy towards the bottom and we had some snow at the top of the trail. We would have lunch at Pear lake.
On the way bake we took a side trail I do not know the name for. It was a great trail. A bit thin in places…muddy places, just to add to the excitement. This trail would eventually bring us out a little south of Melrose. I think I enjoyed the trail out as much as the main trail. We would use a tunnel under the interstate to air-up out of the rain. Always an enjoyable time with the Butte club.
Here is a link to photos on the F4W FB page (remember you do not need a FB account to see the F4W page):
Here is a link to more photos by Deb Stone:
On the 23rd of October a few of us with the Frontier Four Wheelers gathers for our club run. We ha inteded to go to Rock Creek (Leadville) but were informed it was closed for the season. So then we figured we would run Lava Mountian Trail. Guess what? It is closed until November. Well, I figured we would just have to make it up as we go so and that is JUST what we did.
We went down South Fork and then up North Fork of Quartz Creek. We would then cut across to Cateract Creek Road and run down to Basin. From there we traveled down th eold frontage road to Galena Gulch. Up Galena, over the top and then down North Fork of the Little Boulder.
When we his the Little Boulder Road we turned south and headed up to the Shields and Iron Sides Mines at the top. We would turn arond there and run back down and come out by the Fair Grounds in Boulder. Let's just say we covered some ground that day.
Sunday Oct 31st Joe Skaggs, David Jacobsen and I met for breakfast in Boulder at the Elkhorn Cafe at 8:30am. After a great breakfast we headed for Elkhorn. I had not been up to Iron Mine on Muskrat Trail #72 but had heard it was an interesting trail. It turned out to be a fun ride ending with a beautiful view of the Helena Valley. We would hit some snow and a little ice (on a sidehill of course) but what a fun little trail. From there we went up to the Skyline Iron mine for lunch. We would do a bit of exploring at the mines and then headed back toward town at about 4:30pm. These were not really tough trails but it was a great relaxing day in the mountains. Good friends and Montana's great mountains...who could ask for more.
The Frontier 4 Wheelers had their club run today. Mike, David, Ryan Joe and myself would head up to the Tizer Basin. Was a lot less snow up there than I anticipated but the ice in a few places definitely made it a little more interesting. If you are familiar with the road you know there is a 100 foot stretch on a hill which ices over every year and has caused many wrecked vehicles. I rolled up onto a bit of a hump in the road and suddenly felt myself sliding back down the hill and toward the edge of the road. It felt like I slide 50 feet and was teetering off the edge but in reality I had slide about 15 feet and was still a good distance from the edge. Everyone came up and helped spread dirt onto the ice to add a little traction. It was so slick that a most of us fell at some point while working on the road but we would all make it up without issue. I was first up and over and felt it was not safe so I ran a winch cable up the hill with the help of the others and just reeled it in as I drove up. Truth is, I never ended up needing the winch cable but it made me feel a whole lot better having it. My wallet passed before my eyes and I needed a security blanket…lol There were a few more icy spots where creeks cross the road but nothing too difficult. We drove up to the upper Tizer Lake and built a fire. We had some hot dogs and BS for a bit before heading down. I think we were all a bit nervous about coming back down that ice slide but we all came down without a slip. Not a hard ride but it was in a beautiful area and another days with good friends.
Joe took some photos and I will try to add a few afer I steal them from his facebook page.
Joe and David have photos posted and available on the F4W FB page: http://www.facebook.com/Frontier4Wheelers
November 20th, 4 vehicles with 5 Frontier 4 Wheelers members and two experienced wheeling dogs made the trip to Melrose Montana to join members of the Continental Four Wheel Drive Association on their trail ride to the Hecla mines. It was an early morning with the Helena crew met at 6:30am. It was 3 degrees when we met up. The trip is right at 100 miles and with the roads snow and ice covered we wanted just a little extra time to ensure a safe speed and still make it on time. We would pull into the meeting point a few minutes until 9:00. CFWDA would show up a few minutes later with another 4 vehicles, six members and another 4-wheelin’ pup.
It was a nice run in the snow up to the Hecla mines. We explored the area a little as there are plenty of old mine cabins and mining memories in the area. The old mines are in a beautiful area I really want to see in the summer when everything is green. It was great in the snow though.
After exploring the main mines a little we spent a bit of time searching for a side road which was really hard to see in the deep snow. Once we finally found it, we headed up to another area behind and above the area we originally explored. The snow was much deeper on this trail. Steep hills, tight turns and areas of 3 foot deep snow would make it very interesting. We would still only have to break out the winch once. Scott’s big Bronco slide a little sideways in a really rough bottom.
As a full sized rig is so much heavier than the Jeeps and Toyotas the rest of us had we tied off the rear of a jeep to a tree and then ran a which cable down into the hole to the Bronco. It would not take much to get him out as we just had to swing him back onto the road.
Six vehicles would go all the way to the top of the mountain. It was a great ride. After the run, most of us went to a restaurant in Melrose and had dinner. Great views, great trails, great frineds…all add up to a great day.
SEE our FACEBOOK page at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.248251728561408.64669.152476354...
Our good friend Tony S. wants to get a few more rides in before a medical condition sidelines him for a while. So a few of us got together today for a little playing in the snow. Joe S, Brian L., Tony S., Mike H. and Richard H. all got together at 8:30 am in East Helena. We had not decided where to go so with a little discussion we harassed Brian into leading the way up Priest Pass and down the other side. We would play around Mullen Pass road, Duck Creek and Austin road among other trails. We went where ever there was snow to play in. We would find some deep and long drifts where everyone would get their chance at being stuck…several times for most. While heading into a new area to play we noticed two trucks down the hill from us. A large ¾ ton truck was stuck in a drift we had traveled through earlier in the day. Richard and Joe would go check it out. Richard, Joe and Joe’s passenger would tie off Richard’s Jeep to a tree and a winch cable ran out to the truck. It was not all that tough to get them out but they would offer to pay us and they were really thankful. I handed out a bunch of F4W cards. Turns out that one of those stuck was an old acquaintance of mine who I had not seen in years. That was cool. For lunch a fire was built in a somewhat sheltered spot and hot dogs, chips, sodas and jerky were shared. We would eventually come out where Austin Road meets Birdseye Road where we would air back up. While airing up, a couple of guys in a pickup stopped to ask about where we had been. Cards were provided and they said they would try to be to our next meeting. So all in all, it was a good day with good friends once again.
See more photos in the Gallery or on our FB page.
The F4W tree run was Saturday the 3rd. I think we started with 12 rigs and headed up Magpie looking for snow and trees. We would find both. While plenty would bring snakes (EDIT: THATS SNACKS!!!) , breads and chips, special thanks to Don and Cathy, Pam and Shawn and Mike and Charlene for bringing the HOT main courses of our lunch. It was sort of an odd trip but I hope folks had a good time.
On Saturday December 10, Frontier 4 Wheelers had our 2nd club one of the month. Jay suggested we attempt Hogback and since none of us had a better idea, we harassed Jay into leading us up the mountain. 5 vehicles (two Jeep Wranglers, a Tacoma, a 4Runner and a Suzuki) would make the attempt. The snow, while not that deep for much of the trip, was powdery and was a bit like driving on marbles. You couldn’t get up on top of it but had to just cut through as best you could. Jay would lead about half way and then turn over the trail breaking duties to a rig with a bit more horse power…David. We made it a good bit further than last year’s run at hogback but certainly still missed the top by a good distance. We had a lot of fun playing in the snow though. Most took turns getting stuck. At one point or another it seemed all but one was stuck at the same time. Tow straps were applied liberally and winches were used a few times. We had a great time and followed that up with a burger at York.
On Sunday December 18th a few members of Helena’s Frontier 4 Wheelers, Butte’s Continental Four Wheel Drive Association and a few guests gathered at the start of Hell’s Canyon road south of Whitehall Montana. We were looking for some snow to play in and hoping there was some up by the Ranger’s cabin. We would not find all that much snow but had a great time anyway. One of our drivers was in a new-to him vehicle which would break down. A quick trip to town by a couple of folks and new parts were retrieved, installed and off we went again. (I admit there is more to that story) We got to play on a little snow, a few icy spots, a slick hill or two and some rocks. What more can you ask for? Good friends, good trails and a great time.
On DEcember 23rd Joe S., his wife Barb and thier daughter Rachel join me for a run in the snow. Due to the shortage of snow locally, we opted to run down to Bernice and up the Boulder River Road. (note: they did finally repair the road where it was washed out at the Indian Creek intersection) We decided to head up Indian Creek looking for snow. We would find some great drifts to play in on our way to the top. Actually, we were surprised that we made it to the top. We got plenty of opportunity to practice self recovery and just plain getting un-stuck though we would both need a little extra assistance once or twice. We had a good time enjoying Montana's mountains once again.
On a side note: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Saturday January 7th was Frontier 4 Wheelers first club run on 2012. 8 rigs would gather for a run up Lump Gulch, past Park Lake and down North Fork of Quartz Creek. The road up to the Park Lake entrance was icy so I was glad we aired down early. Once we passed the intersection with Lava Mountain trail we his deep drifts right away. There was a hard crust on the surface of the drifts with a loose power underneath. This means being high centered as soon as the tires broke through. This resulted in a good deal of winching and tugging was going on. I think everyone but Tyler needed help at some point and some of us needed help a number of times. It was certainly the longest trip over North Fork I have ever done. In fact, we spent so much time fighting snow drifts we never managed to stop for lunch. A few of us would stop off for a nice dinner among friends though.
Who would have guessed we would not be able to take a break from wheeling this weekend? David started contacting people on Thursday to gauge interest and of course 5 of us would end up going. We had hoped for a couple more but these extracurricular runs are often on somewhat short notice. (Sorry Mike) The core group on most of these runs all live right in or around East Helena so we meet at the CONOCO Town Pump there.
The road going to the trail turned to thick ice as soon as we left the payment. No running fast there. With so much ice we decided to air-down early. Good thing we did too. The twisting hills on the way to to the trail were a bit slick.
We hit deep snow as soon as we took the turn onto the trail but would not get too bad until just before the first creek crossing. Snow was drifted in that area pretty heavy. I have 34” tires on my rig and the snow was well over them in an area about 100 feet long. It was a powdery snow so we could not get on top of it but had to just plow through. I wish I had taken a picture of it because when I would back up to get another run at shoving through, there was this perfect impression of the front of my jeep in the snow clear up to my Warn lights. It was kinda cool.
Crossing the creek was no issue once one of us got through and the snow was not as drifted through the first blow-down area. You had to be careful but the snow was only about 1.5 ft deep in this area...until we hit the hill. It would take me a good 30 minutes or more to get up that hill and honestly, I would have given up if not for Joe encouraging me. It would take at least another 45 minutes to get the other vehicles up that little hill as well. It was a BEAR! Last rig up was Daryl and his son. I didn’t think he was going to make it over. He was trying hard but it just was not working for him. We watched this for a bit and then we made a plan to get where I could winch him up the hill. I called down on the CB and told him of the plan. That did it. I’ll be damned if he didn’t drive right up the hill to tell me, with a big smile, there was no way I was winching him there.
At the top of that hill we would switch out leaders as David would start cutting trail for a while. Good thing too. The snow got so deep in places that David ended up with snow up over his winch. That’s about 3 foot+ off the ground. I don’t think my rig would have been able to get through some of that. We would dig, winch and fight our way to just below the bridge and then it happened. David lost his steering. Well, that is one way to pick a spot for lunch. Amazingly enough, Dave had a replacement S-arm with him so while he beat on a ball joint until it came loose, we cleared a spot of 2 maybe 2.5feet deep snow and built a fire. Hot dogs all around while David got his steering repaired.
We decided to turn around at this point as it was already about 3pm. It’s funny how it works in the snow. We had not made it to the bridge yet, though we were close. The bridge is only 2.7 miles from the turnoff at the main road. We had spent around 4 hours going less than 3 miles. And we had a great time doing it. With the trail broke now by 5 rigs, going back was really quick and almost depressing in how easy and fast it was. It worked out great though as we made it back down by the highway and started getting re-aired before it the sun went down. Another great ride, on a great trail with great friends!
A few members of F4W got together again today for a little playing in the snow. I really did not want a very serious a ride today so we just headed up to see if we could make it to Park Lake. Truthfully none of us thought there was any chance of actually making it. …and we did not. Joe, Daryl w/his son, and I met up at the East Helena Conoco Town Pump at 9:30am. I would get a call that Jay and his daughter were going to join us after all and he would follow us as soon as he could.
We aired down at the Legal Tender in Clancy. We knew Lump Gulch would be icy and we wanted the extra traction. It was not an eventful ride…just a chance to play in the snow and practice our snow-wheeling skills. We made it through a few drifts before heading back a little ways to meet up with Jay. Then we started back up and just kept going from one “stuck” to the next with everyone taking turns at leading us into oblivion. lol.
As the pictures show, we would end up in snow which was just too deep to fight through and to powdery to get on top of. That drift was REAL deep and at least 200 foot long so we turned around there and started looking for a place to have lunch.
When we found a good spot we built a fire and cooked all Joe’s hot dogs while we tried to dry out a bit by the fire.
After lunch we headed back down the mountain playing in every drift and spot of deeper snow we came across. It was a lot of fun. Once again…A great ride, on a great trail with great friends!
For those not familair with the area, Park Lake is a favorite recreation area for people in the general vacinity. During the Summer it's camping areas are packed with fishermen, swimmers, hickers...etc. Two more of our favorite trails are accesable just past the gates to Park Lake. Those are Lava Mountana Trail and North Fork of Quartz Creek. During the winter, the area is snowed in. The actual lake is closed for the season and will not be accesable until May or maybe June due to the snow.
On Saturday the 28th we went out and did it again. Around 9am, 5 rigs carrying 7 people would meet in East Helena and then head up Galena Gulch off the High Ore exit to play in the snow. We would get our fill of it. We hit snow right off but it would not start getting deep until we turned off toward Berry’s Meadows. We would run into drifts right away once we got up top. As soon as we hit the tree line the drifts started to get deep quickly. By the time we got to the Forest Service gate, for the hunting season closure, we were starting to struggle a bit. It is hard to judge just how far we went but the person up front was pushing snow for mile after mile. Daryl and I would take turns cutting (read: plowing) the trail. The snow had a harder crust on top but was a dry powdery snow underneath so there was no getting up on top of that. I don’t think we were too far from the end of the road when we found a place to turn around. We had to cut a tree out of the road to get to the turnaround point but everybody helped and it was removed in no time at all. It took a little finagling but we got everybody turned around and headed back down to find a place for lunch. Hot dogs and hamburgers all around!!! Now that we have the trail opened up we could play in the drifts…AND WE DID. We had a good time. Another great ride, on a great trail with great friends!
Last Saturday, February 4th, a few of us got together for another fun run to the hills to play in the snow. This is another un-official run…in other words a few of us got together at the last minute and decided to go play. Joe, David, Mike K and I would meet and head out for the snow. It would be a particularly difficult run. The snow was very unforgiving and EVERYONE would end up stuck. Over and over and over. Lol It is tough to describe all the getting stuck we were doing. I spent almost two hours trying to get out on one spot with a glaring LACK or trees to hook to. When Joe came to “save me”, he got stuck. While Joe and I were stuck, Dave got stuck down below. While getting Dave un-stuck, Mike got stuck. (really stuck) Since Mike’s rig weighs so much more than any of ours, it would take three rigs working together to get mike back on the road.
David would try to get Mike winched out by himself but just kept winching himself TO Mike. In some of the photos below you will see David’s yota, Joe’s red jeep and my jeep JK all working together to get Mike’s Bronco (not the tube buggy) back up on the road. I buried myself into a snow drift to act as an anchor. Joe would run a strap to the back of my rig to anchor me a bit more. Then David ran his winch rope to Mike’s rig through a snatch-block attached to my front bumper. Sounds complicated but David, Joe and I are getting used to this kind of thing. It only took us a few minutes to get set up and about 10 minutes to get Mike back up on the road.
This Saturday I rode along with Joe on his trip to Lewistown. Joe was picking up his white Wrangler from a repair shop there. Wow do they have his engine purring! We picked up the rig met up with and a group of locals and headed up a road I guess is called Judith Peak. It was an interesting group for the amount of snow on the road. Several full sized rigs, a jacked up yota and a couple stockish jeeps with drivers new to snow runs of this type would head up the mountain and we all would promptly start getting stuck. It was just a short run be a hell of allot of work. Riding shotgun turned out to be a lot less relaxing than I thought it would be. Lol Still, it was a good time with a good friend. I even got to meet some more nice people and fellow wheelers too.
About a month ago, the Continental 4 Wheel Drive Association announced a trail ride over Hay Canyon for the 25th. This little trail between the pipestone area and Whitetail Road (which runs between Boulder and Whitehall) is a nice little trail in the summer. HOWEVER, when there is snow on the ground this little piece of heaven turns into a very interesting challenge. This time was not quite as eventful as our last two winter attempts with the Butte folks but it certainly had its moments. There would be 14 rigs on this run with 5 traveling over from Helena’s Frontier 4 Wheelers and a rig with a couple members of the Rimrockers joining in on the fun. We even had a rig where they noticed all the 4 wheel drives staging at Billy’s and asked what was up. They would bring along a little white Suzuki which sounded like a small chainsaw when they wound it up. It sure made the trip well though.
The Helena crew would meet at 6am in East Helena and travel down to Boulder for Breakfast at the Elk Horn Café. Good food and some great conversation.
We would meet up with the others at the Pipestone exit at 9am. After airing down we made a short run to Ringing Rock. Then off to the trail with a quick stop to see the Native American paintings hidden back there.
There is a kind of rock fence that protects the pipestone side entrance to this trail. I have seen this spot really frustrate folks in dry weather so with a little snow it is an interesting way to start the trail. It seemed to be all about the line you choose with some going right over and a few having one heck of a time. Joe did manage to find that spot “between a rock and a hard place” we have all heard about. Specifically between a big rock and a big tree. Just a few hundred yards from that “rock fence” is the first really interesting obstacle. For lack of a better name I will just call it the twister. As in frame twister. This spot, even in dry weather, tends to cause 4 wheel drives to be more like three wheel drives and sometimes, 2 wheel drives. That is, if we are only counting those wheels actually touching the ground. Once you get through the first part of the twister, you have a section which seems like somebody greased the rocks. By the time we have all 14 rigs over that spot, it would be time for lunch.
After lunch at the water trough we would end up needing to winch a few folks up the next hill. The front of the line went right over but for those in the back, the road had been polished to a nice sheen. At one point we lost the road. There had been a number of BIG trees and a few smaller ones which fell across the road. Together with the snow it made it tough to even tell where the road was. A bit of work, three chainsaws, and some winching and we re-opened the road. Hey…there were three clubs involved in clearing the road---is that a conservation project? From there it is through the painted rocks. They are called that because if you have a full size rig, you’re going to paint both rocks the color of your body panels.
It was not too eventful from there. We would take a detour into the State Creek area where Billy would lead us up some REALLY twisty trails. Then air up just below the Tomahawk Ranch and then back home. Just another good time with good friends on a good trail.
See more photos at:
Finally got the photos added to the last post. Lost and lots of photos on the two facebook pages I show links to. It will be abit before I get the photos here on the m4x4a gallery.
The F4W March club run was this past Sunday. We would make a stab at going up onto Occidental Plateau via the High Ore Road. We spent a few minutes in COMET before heading further up the mountain.
“The remains of the town cover about thirty-five acres and consist of an ore hopper, a large ore processing building, several other company buildings, and numerous houses and other private structures. High Ore Creek runs through the center of the property and separates the mine buildings from the town proper. The town is abandoned except for a single active residence; although it sits on private grazing land, it is open to public access.
The town is named for the Comet Mine, which was developed in 1883 by the Helena and Livingston Smelting and Reduction Company, based on a discovery made in 1874. Ore was transported to another mine in Wickes for processing. This operation shut down in 1897. Operations were revived in 1900 under the Montana Consolidated Copper Company; in 1927 the Basin Montana Tunnel Company took over the property and built a processing plant on the site for both this mine and the nearby Gray Eagle mine. The company was the largest producer of base metals in the state, outside of Butte, Montana, due to production at this mine. They employed 100 men. The operations of BMTC continued until 1941 when the mine was exhausted and operations were permanently halted.
The Comet mine produced some $20 million in ore and was the richest mine in the district; the Gray Eagle mine produced over $2 million on top of this. Ores produced included lead, zinc, copper, silver, and gold.”
(stolen from wikipidia-end history lesson)
We would not really get very far as the snow got deep and the side hills got steep quickly.
I did get a number of chances to test out Joe’s new “bungee-style” pull rope though. I have seen this style of snatch rope before but I have not had the chance to use one to pull or be pulled. Joe’s rope is a Master Pull version which I understand is similar to the Bubba Rope products. I must say, after using one, I WANT ONE! It is nice to be able to put a bit more skinny pedal into getting someone out of a drift without the normal JERK both vehicles receive with a “normal” snatch strap. That bit of stretch is also great for towing a vehicle up a long hill or other longer distance as the stretch allows you to move along without the normal jerking of the strap getting loose and then jerking both vehicles again as it tightens up again. I don’t know if this one is better or worse than any other brand but I can tell you I like the idea A LOT!
Last Saturday Joe S., Daryl H. and I travelled down to Glen Montana to join the Continental Four Wheel Drive Association for a trail ride to Browns Lake. We took Exit 85 and aired down just off the interstate. About half an hour later 9 rigs were headed west up Rock Creek Road. After a short run we would cross the creek and head up a very THIN trail heading north. We got some excitement when Mike got into the rocks a bit hard and hit the gas in his Grand Cherokee and caught some serious air. The rocks were high enough I rubbed a good bit of paint off my rock rails and at one point, off my main skid plate. We would continue up a short way until there was just no way my Jeep was going to fin between the trees along the trail. Then back down and across the big rocks again.
From there we headed toward Browns Lake again. We would have to backtrack a little for a lost cell phone (it was found) and then we got slowed down for a failed radiator fan controller. We had lunch at a campground at the lake before heading further west. Part of the road is closed apparently due to some washout. So we played on some side roads goofing off in the snow before heading back down to the interstate. There was a bit of excitement on some slick sidehills where the rear tires wanted to make you belive they were going to shoot you off the mountain, but everyone made it accross with just enough drama to be fun. After airing up we headed to Brian’s ranch south of Dillon for some burgers. As is always the case with the CFWDA, it was a great time. If you ever get the chance to run with this crew take it. They are simply great hosts and damn nice people
You can sit back and let those who wish to deny us access to our public lands do so or you can let YOUR voice be heard. Your choice.
The Bureau of Land Management’s Dillon Field Office is reviewing a request for a special recreation permit to conduct recreational activities on BLM managed public lands. The Montana 4X4 Association is proposing to conduct their annual Montana Divide Ride, basing operations this year out of the Whitehall area during the week of July 23 – 28, 2012. The Association proposes to use 10 – 15 trails, primarily located on USFS lands, but including trail segments across BLM lands managed by the Dillon Field Office, and other trails entirely within the Whitetail – Pipestone OHV area co-managed by the BLM Butte Field Office and the USFS. All routes proposed for use on BLM managed lands are open to motorized wheeled vehicles with the exception of a route known as Carcass Canyon, just south of Silver Star. This approximately 1-mile route is not designated open to public motorized use, and is not appropriate for motorized vehicles except for the most capable “rock-crawler” type vehicle. In response to this proposal, the BLM Dillon Field Office will prepare an environmental assessment to consider the impacts of authorizing organized 4X$ rides that fall within the following parameters;
• Approved by a Special Recreation Permit, including appropriate insurance, stipulations, and fees
• Non-speed (and non-competitive) organized events including less than 15 vehicles per day on routes designated open to the public for wheeled, motorized vehicles.
• Up to 6 rides per year in the Carcass Canyon area south of Silver Star for appropriately equipped vehicles, not to exceed 12 vehicles per day.
• No camping or parking/staging areas to occur on BLM lands.
The Montana Divide Ride will be limited to a maximum of 150 vehicles total, with no more than 15 vehicles using any particular trail per day. (A total of 100 or fewer vehicles are expected.) No camping or vehicle staging areas will be authorized on BLM lands associated with this event. The event is a non-speed, non-competitive organized event intended to provide a community atmosphere for the enjoyment of Montana’s scenic forests and mountains. Montana 4X4 Association is a conservation-minded non-profit organization which promotes and adheres to the teachings of the “Tread Lightly” program.
Public comments on this permit application regarding social, economic and environmental benefits or concerns of issuing the permits will be helpful in considering this application. For specific details on this proposal, people may call or visit the BLM Dillon Field Office. Comments may be sent to: BLM Dillon Field Office, 1005 Selway Drive, Dillon, MT 59725 by April 20, 2012 or people may call Rick Waldrup at (406) 683-8000 for further information.
AGAIN....IT'S YOUR CHOICE.
Sunday April 29th. We would meet as Frontier 4 Wheelers always does, at Murdoch’s Parking lot. We meet at 8:30 with plans to leave for the trail at 9:00am. We would leave Helena with 8 rigs and meet three others at the Bernice exit as we were heading for the Rock Creek Trail sometimes called the Leadville Trail by the clubs. Heck, we got Ryan in from CFWDA to join us in his FJ. Mike Kelly and crew came along in one rig with his daughter driving the buggy. David made it to the end in what I think to be a stock Durango. WOW! (his toy should be back together soon) Don G. joined us as well. Ryan H. put some larger tires on his rig and was trucking right along the trail. It was looking good at the exit as we could not see much snow from there. It would be a really great ride but it was going to be WORK and there would be snow.
The crossing of Rock Creek was better than expected as the colder weather, for a couple days, had assuredly lessoned the runoff. We would hit snow between the first and second creek crossing. It was starting to get deep fast at this point. I was in front with Daryl H. behind me and although the snow was deep, we were packing down what we thought was a great trail through the drifts. We had no idea just how much work, winching, tugging and digging was going on behind us. Actually, I would not get a real idea about that until Jay posted his photos on facebook. SEE: http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.348202518563086.72981.100001200214986&type=1
We did make it to the bridge but that was about the end of my (and the crawler's) capabilities for breaking trail for the day. There were a good number of trees across the trail. Some of them were big too. If I had to cut many more I might have needed a logging permit. I guess at one point a tree fell right in between two rigs back behind me. Apparently 3 vehicles popped beads on tires but all were easily repaired and no major damage occurred to anyone’s rig.
It was a good ride with a great turnout. I hope everyone had fun. Oh and God only knows what me and my passenger were discussing when I "sat on the mic" on my CB as we have some strange discussions at times. Sorry about that!
April 21st Daryl and I (Richard) would meet at 7:45am to head down for a run with Continental Four Wheel Drive Association. We were going up into the Pipestone OHV area to explore some trails for the upcoming Divide Ride and heading up to Whitetail Reservoir. I had never been on this particular trail and new ground is always a little more fun. I think we had about 8 or 9 rigs on this run with two families I had not met before.
The whole group would meet up at the Pipestone exit at 9:00am. I had no idea this trail existed until just recently and while it was not really rough, it was a nice trail. On one of the first corners with snow on it, Billy would end up tuned sideways on a thin spot in the road. Somehow I still had cell service in this spot and managed to snap a photo and get it on facebook. I had no idea his other half was out there watching FB and regretfully he still had service when she told him I had already posted a photo. LOL What a beautiful ride but we would not make it to the lake. Still too much snow back there.
As we hit the meadows below the lake we would end up in an interesting water crossing. The snow was really deep and there were ice banks on both sides. There would be some tugging and winching to get across this obstacle with everyone out taking pictures and talking crud to one another. Lol Getting back across this spot would be almost as interesting.
We would have a good lunch, tell some stories and give each other some crud before heading back down the trail.
On the way down we would encounter a couple of large groups of ATVs. The road was far to thin for us to get off the road and let them pass but they were great about it. They had to work to get off the road in these spots but they did it with a wave, smile and friendly words. When I apologized for causing them so much trouble I was told it was not problem sharing the road. Very nice.
After coming back down to 4 Corners, we aired up those who wanted to leave and a few of us set out for the Beaver Slide trail (some of you may know this trail as "Sheep Camp" trail. This is another trail I have never been on. It is a scenic trail with a few steep (read: VERY STEEP) sections. Doing this in the winters looks like no fun at all. Hence the name. It was dry as we did it though so was no real issue. It is mostly just a bumpy though scenic trail outside of those aforementioned steep hills but I enjoyed it.
Once we got back, we had a little BBQ at Billy’s house. Another good ride with great friends. A special “THANK YOU!” to the CFWDA for scheduling this ride to help me locate good trails for DIVIDE RIDE. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.
More photos can be found on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.340084609378119.81712.152476354...
This past Saturday Frontier 4 Wheelers had our May Club run. 4 F4W rigs with 5 of us, one Guest from the new 4x4 club in Lewiston (Dan) and Tony and his friend from Columbia Falls would head out for the Tizer Basin. Ok…actually there were originally 5 Frontier member's rigs but one would barely make it to the interstate before loosing a U-joint on their rear drive shaft. The rest of us headed up the mountain after we got the broken shaft off and the driver went home in a front wheel drive jeep.
We were about 4 miles in when we hit deeper snow. It was still cool out and the snow was not all that slick at this point. That would change later. We made it up to the 4 corners spot at the top without much trouble. We tried to help an ATVer who was not able to get through the snow but I don’t think they were happy they could not go in the deeper snow we had so little trouble in. (insert snicker here) From there we turned toward the lakes. It got more interesting right at the intersection and would remain “interesting” all the way to the lower Tizer Lake. We did not go to the upper lake. There are a few spots on this trail with some large rocks it is best to avoid. Dodging them when they are buried in snow just adds that much more…uh, let’s say “fun” and challenge. The lower slung rig in the bunch would end up doing that “turtle on a fence post” thing once or twice.
The trick was not sliding sideways into the trees along the edge of the road. I was having a kind of flash back along the way. Well, sort of a flash back…if you can have someone else’s flashback anyway. Essentially I kept trying to rub my mirrors off on those darn trees. This is something normally reserved for one of my wheeling buddies from the Continental 4 Wheel Drive Association in Butte who single handedly went through every passenger side mirror, in Montana, for his year of Bronco. Lol
After a great lunch we headed back toward 4 corners. It had warmed up a lot by now and the snow was a good bit harder to deal with. No more riding up on top of it. When we back to 4 corners we headed up toward the Ranger Cabin. I really did not think we would be able to make it all that far due to the snow. In actuality, we would make the whole Tizer Basin Loop. There was barely any snow except for the last long hill above Wilson Creek. We stopped at a couple of the old mines to explore, checking out the mine shaft at one and an old ball mill at the other.
It turned into a long day but it was a great ride. Everyone laughed a good bit and enjoyed the company of good friends, even if a few were also really new friends. The Tizeer Basin is not a tough ride by 4x4 standards, at least when there is no snow, but it is a beautiful ride. If you get the chance, make the trip this spring as everything starts to turn green. You won’t regret it.
Updated link....hope this one works.
Photos on M4x4a:
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On , at 8:30am, three Frontier Four Wheeler Rigs met at the East Helena Conoco Town Pump. This is our usual meeting place for non-club trail rides. Joe, Daryl and his son Ty, Mary J. and I would then head down to Boulder’s Elk Horn Café for Breakfast. (Note: the owner said that was the largest single order of French Toast she has ever had.)
After breakfast, we headed toward Elkhorn Montana. We would not go into Elkhorn this time but took Queen Gulch Road instead. It was a nice ride up the mountain. This is not a hard trail but it is one I always enjoy. I have taken this trail many dozens of times over the last 25 years but it never gets old. I have run up there on a summer evening, just to cook a steak over a fire and relax many times. But I digress. When we got to the vistas close to the top we got a great view. It was one of the clearest days I have even witnessed up there. You could see all the way to the mountains on the other side of White Sulphur Springs to the north, and even to the Gallatin Range out by Belgrade. We had a small issue with an overheating Jeep due to a loose fan connection but we got that fixed in no time at all. We would not make it all the way to the cabin. As we hit the last flat section of road before the cabin we ran into deep snow. I tried to cross it but it was just shoving me off the mountain. Oh well, we will try again in a few weeks.
From there we headed back down and took the turn at Tramway Road to make the loop over Radersburg Pass and then down Dry Creek. We took time to explore several old cabinsand even found a tree where several bears had been testing scratch heights. The highest was about 6 ½ feet high or so.
We decided to have lunch just above Muddy Springs. Just about the time we got the fire going good, here comes the rain. Ok, some rain, some hail, some wind, some lightning…standard springtime weather for Montana. Lunch would get a tab bit soggy. Amazing how much fun misery can be with the right friends around.
As we passed through Boulder on our way home, we decided to go through the Boulder/Wickes tunnel. I had never been through before. Sort of sad considering I am from that area. Either way, what a nice time.
I can’t say it is really rare but it certainly does not happen on every run either. However, this is one of those runs where everything came together and there was nothing but smiles from one end to the other.
What makes clear when a run hits this lofty mark actually happens after the run ends as much as while it is happening. When participants rush home to start posting photos and comments right after almost 12 hours on the road/trail you know you have a winner. That’s when photos, videos and comments start coming in from all those involved and then all those who really wish they had been involved.
The F4W Ladies Run (with Continental Four Wheel Drive) was run of these trail rides. Look at the hundreds of photos posted within hours of the end of the ride. You will have to work to find any pics where a smile is not visible. Heck, Joe even got one of Blizzard, one of the wheeling pups, in the back of a Jeep, with a BIG smile.
Pam and Sean hosted a great lunch with just the right shade and even the mosquitoes participated by leaving us completely alone. It simply could not have been better. Special thanks to them for all their extra work to make this happen.
It may not be a particularly rough trail, and actually only has a few tougher spots, but this is just another example of how a group of friends can make a wonderful experience out of a day in the mountains. This is why I participate in these clubs. Thank you to everybody who participated for giving me another great day of constant smiling in the Montana mountains. I had a good time.
For even more photos go to: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Frontier4Wheelers
I will spend the next weekend down in Dillon. I will be helping out at the 3rd Annual CFWDA Mud Bog in Dillon. Come down and join us. It is great fun. If all goes as planned Joe and I will be timing/measuring runs.