22. April 2019

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If there's one thing that's certain about four-wheel adventure it's that it's almost alwaysmore enjoyable when it's shared with good friends.?We guess??that??it??hassomething to do with man's inherent need to explore the great unknown and anassociated sense of camaraderie while doing something exciting. There is a reason youown the four-wheel-drive vehicle sitting in your driveway, and subconsciously it just maystem from your childhood. As kids we loved to explore the unknown, and whether it wason bikes or skateboards or foot, we just had to see what was up around the corner.
Recently, we met up with a group of friends and casual four-wheel-drive club membersjust south of Denver in the small town of Castle Rock, Colorado. We headed south onHighway 25 to Highway 50 and then west toward the Rockies. If you've been to this areabefore, you know just how spectacular it is for adventure. If you haven't been herebefore, we highly recommend it as a future recreation destination.Wheeling with friends has a twofold purpose: safety in numbers and fun. It's also mucheasier to overcome daunting challenges and obstacles when there's someone there to helpspot or motivate you through the tough sections with the proper hand signals, a littlefriendly name-calling, and some radio banter.
Our destination was an area just east of Salida, Colorado, around the Arkansas River. Thereal objective of this adventure was to find a pass through a canyon that connects one trailto another - a missing link of sorts. A year or so back this group thought they had foundthe connection, but it wasn't passable. Upon further consideration, they weren't reallysure if it was the right pass at all. However, as incongruous as it may seem, just one of theexciting perks of four-wheel adventure is searching for a hidden trail and never finding it!This may sound strange, but it makes things on the trail exciting. Besides, there's alwaysmore to explore along the way.
The area around Salida in Chaffee County offers some phenomenal mountain recreationand is a mecca for four-wheeling. The trails here consist of loose rock, sandy and rockywater crossings, and steep off-camber passes. Most people we've spoken with who visitthe trails around Salida are usually hooked for life.
Salida is nestled between three amazing mountain ranges: the Mosquito Range to thenorth, the Sangre de Cristo to the south, and the Sawatch to the northwest. This year, thetown was homebase for one of Colorado's oldest and largest four-wheel events, the Mile-Hi Jeep Club's annual All-4-Fun. The area is also rich in Old West and mining history, sothere are plenty of sites to visit off the trail.
Along the way to the trail, we visited a few other interesting sites like the Royal GorgeBridge and Park in Canon City. This is the world's highest suspension bridge, hanging1,053 feet above the Arkansas River. For some people, driving the 1,260-foot length ofthe bridge is a little unnerving, but we thought is was a blast as the boards under theJeep's tires squeaked and creaked from the vehicle's weight. In some sections of thebridge you can actually see the distant river below between the spacing in the planks.The conditions of the unmaintained trails in this area sometimes change drastically dueto the harsh winters. After quite a few hours on the trail, it was evident that we justweren't going to find the linkup between the two trails we were looking for.What we did find was some good trail action, conversation, great scenery, and thealways-necessary escape from the rigors of everyday life. We would like to thank JeffLeonard and Dave Gauthier of Rokmen Manufacturing for an exciting time on the trailand another cool adventure. We are sure we'll be back for years to come.
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