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Old 06-09-2012, 11:02 PM
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WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

Took a short trip through the Alamosa area and Ouray/Telluride are over the past couple of days. Thought I would share a few pictures of the area. We were travelling with family in two vehicles, a 2003 Ford Sport Trac and a 2011 Cherokee (Overland). We drove along a few trails which ranged from Easy, Moderate to a low end Difficult trail. The ratings are based on a guide book by Charles A. Wells. We travelled along the Last Dollar Road near Telluride, Yankee Boy Basin (Ouray), Mineral Creek/Engineer Pass (Ouray) and Imogene Pass/Upper Camp Bird Trail, Ouray side, and Ophir Pass.

The Cherokee performed very well on these trails and in a couple of places spent some time on 2 and 3 wheels but never had to drop back and rerun an approach. Though, these trails are low risk stuff, nothing radical.

I did have one troublesome glitch, one I have seen others reporting, but one that cleared off with an engine restart. Right after clearing the pass on Ophir, I had the Service 4WD System light come on. I believe I was in Rock Mode, but overrode the Off Road setting to OR1 on Ophir. Was in 4LO. While I have mostly seen this warning light mentioned by WK2 owners who were in sand running in Sand/Mud Mode and subsequently lost power to their front wheels, I think I still had power to my front wheels. I am not 100% sure of that since I had already cleared the steep climb, but, the 4LO light stayed illuminated and it still descended with the slope with the low gear performance feeling. I cycled power to the vehicle and the light went off. Troublesome as the last thing you need to have happen is lose your 4wd while climbing a steep very narrow shelf road and suddenly lose the ability climb. I'll get the Jeep to the dealer for a computer read as soon as I can.

Otherwise, the trip was fun and while we did record some video of the vehicles climbing some rock outcrops along Camp Bird/Imogene, the wife somehow managed to only record in an extremely unusable video resolution while using an HD camera. Sigh!
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:07 PM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

This picture was taken while descending Imogene Pass on the Ouray side. We couldn't get to the pass due to snow still blocking the pass on this side. But, the first set of water falls were reachable and the view was awesome. By this time in the day, thunderstorms were starting to build over the area, so, we couldn't stay up here to long. This side of the trail can get pretty rocky and there are rock outcrops up past this point, but there isn't anything that is outside the stock abilities of the vehicle. Again, beautiful basin, well worth the effort to see.
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File Type: jpg Colorado 2012_20120604_0078.jpg (589.6 KB, 599 views)
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:14 PM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

This is looking down back at the Jeep from the same place we stopped in the prior picture.

While the kid was giving me the evil eye for suggesting we get back on the road, we had to go due to the lightning coming in. What this picture does show is the really decent ground clearance you get with the WK2. While this is a fairly smooth area, the trail right below here is pretty rocky. With nearly 11 inches of ground clearance I never hit a rock. But, the Sport Trac we were with hit a couple of them hard underneath their vehicle. The Sport Trac only has 7 inches of ground clearance.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:19 PM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

This right at the start of our run up Imogene Basin, a little lunch break before heading up. This is right off the Yankee Boy Basin road, right after a creek crossing. You can kind of see some rock outcrops that are pretty common along this route, there are 3 or 4 more steep ones the first half mile are so up this trail before things level out some. Fun stuff.
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File Type: jpg Colorado 2012_20120604_0074.jpg (626.8 KB, 558 views)
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:24 PM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

Creek running right up the Upper Camp Bird trail leading to the Imogene Basin. Pretty tame stuff, but scenic and fun.
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File Type: jpg Ashley Coloarado 2012_060412_0031.jpg (609.5 KB, 447 views)
File Type: jpg Christine Colorado 2012_20120604_0406.jpg (591.2 KB, 431 views)
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:33 PM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

Yankee Boy Basin near the Twin Falls area. We were here right before Imogene and the weather changed very quickly from the very nice weather we had at this time of the day. Yankee Boy Basin is pretty tame and was driven in 2WD by the Sport Trac to just a 1/4 mile prior to this point. Then the trail gets steeper and they had wheel spin starting to occur. Past this point the trail gets much more rocky and there are some short narrow switch backs that occur right before the end of the trail. Unfortunately there was some snow up there and snow and steep trails are not worth risking.
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File Type: jpg Colorado 2012_20120604_0057.jpg (585.5 KB, 498 views)
File Type: jpg Christine Colorado 2012_20120604_0440.jpg (619.2 KB, 319 views)
File Type: jpg Christine Colorado 2012_20120604_0445.jpg (574.5 KB, 311 views)
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:41 PM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

First picture is taken looking back at us as we left the Yankee Boy Basin area back into Ouray as a loud thunderstorm approached. It was just starting to rain here.

Other two pics are approaching the small town of Ophir with the Ophir Pass road in the distance and one shot just as we were starting to approach the shelf road area. It was right after clearing this pass I had the temporary illumination of the Service 4WD System light.
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File Type: jpg Ashley Coloarado 2012_060412_0033.jpg (534.3 KB, 357 views)
File Type: jpg Ashley Coloarado 2012_060512_0008.jpg (559.5 KB, 407 views)
File Type: jpg Ashley Coloarado 2012_060512_0010.jpg (568.4 KB, 375 views)
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:43 PM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

There was one obstacle I couldn't get by with all the Jeep Cherokee's advance Quadra Drive II gizmos; sheep, herds of sheep. They popped up right at the bend along the end of the Last Dollar Road heading into Telluride. Half of them crossed the road and decided to stop for lunch, the other half stopped right in front of the Jeep and just stared at us like we were aliens or something. They didn't move until the sheep dog showed up and herded them on down the right side of the road.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:02 AM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

Those are some fantastic photos Meso, definite +rep!
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:56 AM
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Awesome stuff and great pics. It really is troublesome though, hearing about that 4WD service light since it comes on when one needs it the most.

I will be out there this time next month, but I'm sticking to the basic California Gulch, Cinnamon (climbing a 14er) and maybe Engineer.

I toured the San Juans last year in my Xterra, which is amazing off road. How did the Jeep do on Mineral Creek? It had some rough spots last year and I would hesitate taking the Jeep through it.


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Old 06-10-2012, 01:06 AM
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Re: WK2 Trip - San Juan Mountains

Mineral Creek is rough in the beginning for sure, very slow going, but navigable. The main problem the rocky nature of the trail for the other vehicle we were with. One of the passengers was pregnant and the ride in the WK2 while rough, was not nearly as bad as in the Trac, which was described as violent. It would be better to hit Engineer from Silverton and if necessary come out down Mineral Creek, if you were needing to get to Ouray.
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:21 AM
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Violent? LOL! Yeah we did Mineral from the Hwy to Animas Forks, which was going uphill. They had a mild snow year this year from what ive read, so it looks like most of those trails are clear already. Last year Imogene didn't open all the way until the week after I left the area mid July.


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