Monday, August 12, 2013

Colorado Backroads & 4WD Trails: Grand Lake

This is the second in the series of posts about the new map we've digitized from a new book we've come across: Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, Vol. 2by Charles A. Wells. And by "we" I mean I.

The book is a sequel of sorts to his initial "volume 1" which covered the more southern portion of the state and overlaps to a certain extent the trails already contained in our previous map: Colorado Trails. And fortunately a number of the trails we've already digitized are in the same area so connect to a certain extent.

There is a lot of "color" in the book for the trails in the area; unfortunately, the author seems to have a bias about "that newfangled GPS Stuff" and includes absolutely none of it in the book. So now we've got the best of both worlds.

Difficulty Ratings Used in the Book

Even though SUVs have become much more capable (and expensive), don't, for even a minute, think that because it is four-wheel-drive it can go anywhere. It can't, and most of us have seen evidence that it only takes one silly little rock placed in just the right place to high-center it, or capture it in a hole for eternity, or, worse of all, flip it over completely.

The author, Wells, says he uses the following trail difficulty scale guidelines in his book:

EASY: Suitable for all stock four-wheel drive sport utility vehicles with high ground clearance and low range. Some EASY trails can be driven in two-wheel drive without low range in dry weather. A few EASY trails, in completely ideal conditions, are suitable for passenger cars.

MODERATE: Suitable for most stock sport utility vehicles with high ground clearance and low range; however, factory skid plates, tow hooks, and all-terrain tires really should be added to the vehicle.

DIFFICULT: Suitable for some stock sport utility vehicles with very high ground clearance, excellent articulation, tow hooks and a full skid plate package. All-terrain tires at a minimum, mud terrains preferred. A winch and differential lockers may be needed. These trails really require a modified vehicle with higher ground clearance, oversized tires, and heavy duty accessories.

The problem with a rating system like this, as I see it, is that you never know when you'll need something (like a winch) until you need it. Then it's too late. And, it doesn't take into consideration anything about the experience or skill level of the operator.

Area Two: Grand Lake

Area two has eleven trails and four basecamp towns and covers some of the most beautiful areas in Colorado. Notice that this list includes a trail difficulty designation following its name.

Basecamp Towns: Boulder, Longmont, Nederland, Grand Lake

Trails: North Supply Creek (M), Kawuneeche Road (E), Middle St. Vrain Road (M), Coney Flats Road (D), Jamestown/Ward Rd. (M), Gillespie Gulch (D), Lefthand Canyon Area (D), Caribou Creek (M), Elderado Mountain (D), Sugarloaf Mountain (E) and Switzerland Trail (E).

Free Google Earth File

The free Google Earth file for the Guide to Colorado Backroads and 4WD Trails - Volume 2 is available at: Google Earth Trail FileOffroading Home on the specialty map resource page. Click to arrive at the page and select the "Wells Colorado, V-2" map. It is a .kml file which is utilized by Google Earth. You can either save the map on your computer or click "open" to have it open directly inside Google Earth.

If You're Going To Get The Book?

If you are planning on purchasing this book, I'd like to entreat you to do it via this link to Amazon: Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, Vol. 2. That way you'll still pay the same price but a portion of it will go toward keeping Offroading Home "on the air." Thanks!

The combination of these FREE Google Earth maps along with the original descriptions from the book is the best of both worlds.

Learn A Little More

Ok, last post we learned that for our entire life we've been tying our shoes wrong. NOW, we can watch Joe Smith tell us that we've also been needlessly wasting trees because… wait for it… we've been drying our hands all wrong as well.

Saving Paper Towels


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