Leadville, Colorado Trip Report | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Leadville, Colorado Trip Report


DIY stunt double
Staff member
Elite Explorer
June 16, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
Humboldt, KS
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Mounty
Whew. I'm pooped. What a trip.
First, I must thank Stang5lgt, Dkchrist, and Jeffbethandkidz for making this trip possible.

We left Humboldt around 6:00 PM Monday Aug 27 and headed west toward the Denver area. I only made it to Oakley or so before we turned into a rest area for a small nap. See, there was a reason...

We pulled into Stang5lgt's place around 11:00 Mountain time Tuesday, and promptly began tearing up the Puff wagon for a 4406 transfer case swap. There were quite a few stupid hangups but the swap was completed in under 6 hours--all the while MLB Sheri was sitting there like a good soldier, only asking if we were about finished 36 times. We even got to ride in the famous Mounty Josh built. That was pretty cool.

Work proceeded too" down and dirty" for pictures-but I will tell you I did manage to stick my head into the drain pan 2 times.


Ok on to the Hotel
Oh--um, on the drive there I noticed a grinding noise --and it hit me that I did not do what I tell everyone else to do, which is change the trans mount to a new one with the new transfer case.

The hotel clerk didn't even seem to notice all the fluids on me, why in the heck do hotels use white towels anyway????

We got a real good nights sleep, and headed to the mountains.

After contacting Jeffbethandkidz, we headed to their secret campsite between Vail and Leadville.




We set up a permanent base to live for a week. Sheri even set up a bathroom add on with porta potty


Day 2
We head into Leadville to find a trans mount at Carquest. "It will be here at 8:00 AM tomorrow.
So, we decided to take it easy and drive around Leadville, Minturn, Redcliff and the surrounding areas--







Up this road we found plenty of firewood due to a logging operation in the area, so we grabbed some and headed back.

I got a fire gong just in time for it to rain hard enough that we bailed into the Mounty to ride it out. My fire burned through it though, and kept us warm once the rain moved out.

Day 3
Plan is to go into Leadville, pick up and change the trans mount then go to the laundry place to wash some things and take a hot shower since I will get dirty.
We got to Carquest and found the part was missing in the order, but they had a gal who would get it here by 2:30. So, we wash up , wash some laundry and head out for some exploring. Went to Carquest to get the Transmission mount and headed back to camp.
Sheri's boss found us. They were setting up their pop-up when we got back


I changed the trans mount, and was greeted with a steaming bowl of hot chili. Ok, you guys can stay.

Day 4.
McAllister Gulch 1--Puff Wagon 0

Plan was to shake down Puff on McAllister Gulch. We made it almost to the top when we encountered the obstacle from hell rock which you have to twist your truck up and over. No locker or winch--and being alone we could not make it. Some ATV riders came by, one of them made a " you're braver than I am" comment and I kicked everyone out of the truck to give it another go. Nope. OK, this is not good, since the approach is about 45 dgerees and now I have to turn around. Sheri bailed out without the camera, and the trail itself was too bumpy for pictures. Sorry for the lack of video but I about rolled it down the mountain about 500 feet. My new " most scared" moment-:D

I gassed it right as it was about to go over and pulled the front end out and down the hill. All good.
The grade going back down was too much for our passengers so they offered to walk ahead--lol

We went back to camp where I licked my wounds.
Time for another firewood run. Sheri and I headed out to gather some, thinking our "guests " would be cooking again. Nope, they followed us up to the reservoir just to make sure we were ok. Headed back down and who do we see coming up the trail but Jeff-Beth and yes their kids. We hung out by the campfire, ate leftover chili and some buffalo burgers while making plans for the next days runs---Quote Jeff " I coulda winched you up McAllister ya know"--ouch


Sheri wanted this certain handbag she'd seen at the farmers Market in Minturn. Problem was the farmers market is in Vail today. We went anyway.
Wow, well, when we finally did make it out of that madness, without the silly bag by the way, I called Jeff and asked if he'd still like to go hit Mosquito pass.
We met up in Leadville , I suggested Weston pass as the return.

Well, folks, Mosquito Pass is kinda bumpy. Most pictures were blurry.





The views up there are amazing




About 1/3 of the way back down you encounter the North London Mine



Air pump ruins




Heading back down



Once we were down we headed over to Weston pass for the quickest route back to leadville.

Found the "mother of all" campsites with it's own little elevated beaver pond




Jeff Playing in an erosion hill


No Hands!



I think we did weston in about an hour. :D

After this we all headed back to Leadville where Sheri and I had the privelige to have super with Jeff's Family. They have a great sense of togetherness established, it is always nice to spend time with them.

After dinner at the Golden Burro, we parted ways vowing to do this again some day. What a great day we all had.
Crunching on these girl scout cookies is pretty good too. Thanks Beth

Day 6
With sadness we now have to break camp and head back to Kansas. Since we had conquered the "highest pass" we thought it only fitting to conquer the "highest road" also , and, since I70 traffic was at a standstill ( 2.5 hours from Vail to Idaho springs) we bailed off the highway and headed up Mount Evans

We got to the top, I got out and it was freezing! Oh man I think it was like 25 degrees, so I drove over to the Mount Evans sign, parked in the Handicap stall, took a picture and we headed back down--:D




A resident family of Mountain Goats


Ptarmigan > Sheep


If you zoom in on this picture you will see a whole covey(?) of them

We had to wait for them to cross but the one above just sat there


Oldest living organisms on earth

Bristlecone Pines



Man what a great trip. Can't wait to go back next year.

Thanks Corkey for Loaning me the sliders. I think there is a new "love bump" on one of them.
Thanks to Vroomzoomboom for letting me use your scanguage.

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sweet trip report. you guys have some nice rigs. great pics. me and the gf just got back from a labor day weekend trip up into the sierra mountains and camped and wheeled through 50 miles of trails that we havent seen before. we came across a few lakes, a few rivers, and even an old preserved ghost town. ill have to write up a trip report myself i think.

the best part about a three day weekend is see all of the trip reports that come out!

...Great read...:biggthump

...Tell Jeff to get back to the Forum as he has people dying to know how his project worked out..:D

Ptarmigan > Sheep > Donkey

^ Fixed it for you since you left off a little piece :p:

Mcallister Gulch must have been pretty bad, I dont remember anything hard on it the couple of times I have run it. It might have been washed out or something.

Overall it looked like a good trip! It was killing me to not be in colorado over the holiday weekend this year.:(

^ Fixed it for you since you left off a little piece :p:

Mcallister Gulch must have been pretty bad, I dont remember anything hard on it the couple of times I have run it. It might have been washed out or something.

Overall it looked like a good trip! It was killing me to not be in colorado over the holiday weekend this year.:(

"If" I had removed the swaybar links we might have had a chance, but I did not want to risk breaking a cv axle.

Tires were at 28 psi ---
No Locker
No winch

I think a little more front droop, and a locker in the rear would have gotten us over the white slick rock --here is a picture of the obstacle-maybe you know the spot.

That boulder to the right wouldn't move, I have a few dents on the bumper to prove it. I got sideways between it, and the tree, in an attempt to attack the rock head on. Big mistake.


  • mcallister gulch obstacle.jpg
    mcallister gulch obstacle.jpg
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Looks like a great trip! Would love to take one like it some day. :)

Looks like, fun. I know next time I go, I will be exploring some new places also.