Trail Report: Dakan Road, Rampart Range Road, and Hotel Gulch.
Today we had four members of the patrol run these three trails. I led the trip, and we started at O'Brien's Cafe in Sedalia. Attending were Robert Lee Crossman and his friend Cindy, Dan Casebolt and his wife Stacey and boys, and Rick Ball. Riding shotgun with me today was my wife Lori.
We headed down hwy 105 and soon found the end of Dakan Rd. After running out of pavement on Dakan, we aired down a bit, just to ease the washboard areas and make for a more pleasant ride (it was worthwhile, indeed). Dakan heads up onto Rampart Range and the sites are very nice, although the dust was high, until we got up into the more forested part. We greeted a number of quads, dirt bikes, and trucks hauling the same, as well as a few fellow 4-wheelers on our climb up.
We broke for rest right near the end of Dakan, where it dumps into Rampart Range Rd. Rampart Range Rd. was dusty, but relatively smooth, probably the best I've seen it. Only a few washboarded areas, but those were small, rather than the large, bone-jarring ones. We stopped at the map alongside the road, to ensure we knew where we needed to turn for Hotel Gulch, because often, the signage is incomplete, and Hotel Gulch is not well traveled.
We got to the top of Hotel Gulch, and headed down, through the Manitou Experimental Forest. I'm not sure what they're experimenting on in that place, but it surely a pretty drive. We had butterflies galore, and the quaking of the aspens that are mixed in with the pines on that trail really made it worth while. Everyone enjoyed the scenery, and Dan's wife Stacey drove most of the way, her first time wheeling their Jeep. She did an awesome job.
It was great to get together with Rick and Bob for the first time on the trail, and wheeling again with Dan. Smash all that in-between a good breakfast at O'Brien's and a nice lunch at the Hungry Bear in Woodland Park, and it was a great day. Thanks everyone for making it a Sunday well-spent.
-Bill Adams, Patrol 13