We jumped in with a small group (five Jeeps including us) on Friday. Since the picnic was scheduled for noon-4pm near Eureka (just south of Animas Forks), we decided to run some trails close to the area that morning — Placer & Picayne Gulches. On the way out of town, I raised Mike Baxter, SuperKen Wetherall, Michel Balea, Phil, and Frank from Norway on the CB, so I stopped and said hi before catching the rest of the group on the trail.
As is the case with most of the trails around Ouray, the roads through Placer and Picayne Gulches is decent quality. Most of these roads are official San Juan County roads, complete with road signs. Airing down wasn’t necessary for traction, but certainly made the rocky road feel smoother. Placer Gulch is just north of Animas Forks, and you pass through this historic ghost town en route to the gulch. There are restrooms just south of Animas Forks in case of emergency. The road started out very mild, but got steeper as we climbed closer to the ridge separating the two gulches. There are several hairpin turns near the top. Without an enormous amount of low-end torque at idle speed, 4-low is certainly necessary.
We stopped for a while at the top (which was quite windy and somewhat cold) to talk and take pictures before heading back down Picayne Gulch toward the main road and Eureka. The roads through both gulches are mostly just narrow shelf roads with a steep incline on one side and a steep drop off on the other side.
We made it to the picnic site about 2pm. By the time 4pm came, 67 FSJs had made it to the parking lot. It was fun to get a close look at so many FSJ’s in such nice condition. Mike Baxter won best of show for his brown ’79 Wagoneer. I suspect they awarded extra points for each of his antennae.
Below are a few other photos from the picnic, taken by R.J. Baynum and sent to me about 18 months later.
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