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Thread: Clohesy Lake Aug 7-8, 2021

  1. #1
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    Default Clohesy Lake Aug 7-8, 2021



    We met up in Leadville shortly after 10:30 on Saturday beneath atrocious, smoky skies. Cool temps and a slight breeze provided some hope of relief from the smoke, but the immediate conditions were uninspiring. Although not specifically planned, the rule of the group appeared to be "bring your best female companion" - Mark brought his wife, Ty his dog, and I brought my daughter.

    We began by taking US 24 south to Clear Creek Rd (390). Along 390 we encountered a ton of traffic and parked vehicles. Many campers, mostly in tents, were near the road towards the Missouri Gulch trailhead and Vicksburg historic site (museum). It may be difficult to convey how busy this road was. I think we passed between 75 and 100 vehicles parked along the road near the trailhead and and a completely full parking lot to boot. Fortunately this was not our destination and we were able to continue slowly past the crowds to Cloyses Lake Rd. The turnoff for this road is a few hundred feet after an historic mining village that has a CLOSED gate at it. The trail itself is open, but you must be aware to proceed past the mining village to the next turn. This was a minor point of confusion on the CoTrex maps for us.

    Very soon after turning onto the trail you encounter the first water crossing and the subsequent gate keeper. This trail is very mild except for the gatekeeper, a collection of rocks and a steep climb out of the second water crossing.



    After clearing the gatekeeper, the trail is fairly steep uphill for several miles with some rocky sections and a few very small whoops. The trail is generally surrounded by pines and aspens and would likely make for good viewing in early fall as the aspen leaves turn golden. We encountered several side by sides and quads coming down the trail as we ascended shortly after noon. The lower section of the trail has few turnouts or clearings and no camping.

    Within a couple hundred yards of the trail end are a few dispersed camp sites just off the road. Luckily a large campsite along the creek was available and we staked our claim.



    After a short lunch we hiked the remaining section of the trail to the lake. It appears the legal 4WD route used to end about 0.4 miles from the lake, but currently the end of the trail is closer to 1 mile back near where we camped. Recent tire tread in the mud indicates some vehicles have recently traveled up the closed section of road, but this section is securely gated and locked with at least two different locks. The hike is along a well established dual-track route and is steeply uphill nearly the entire length. We found ourselves often stopping to regroup and allow ourselves to recover from the surprisingly strenuous hike at over 11,000 ft. The lake is majestic and worth the hike. We saw several people fishing, so I assume the lake is stocked.



    The hike back from the lake was slow due to the steep downhill grade, but less taxing than the climb up to the lake. After 3pm we arrived back at camp where we agreed to remain for the night and not pursue other trails or camping further away. Mark had hoped to also explore Half Moon Creek, but his research indicated it is not open.

    We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon making dinner and sitting around the fire ring (though we had no fire). All was well until Ty asked why my sway bar link (JKS quicker disconnect) was hanging below my tie rod. I had no answer, as I had not bothered to disconnect my sway bar for this trail and it should not have been in that location. Upon inspection I discovered that my rig had taken some nasty trail damage though I have no idea how or when it occurred. The upper bracket for the disconnect was mangled and the bolt completely missing.



    Reviewing my photos of the day, I do not see the sway bar link hanging low in photos from just before we reached camp, so I can only assume the damage happened on the ~ 0.5 miles we drove to find our campsite and situate the vehicles for the night. Nothing we encountered here should have caused the damage I have. I removed the remaining passenger-side sway bar link and stored it on the retaining post so I could drive home today with the sway bar safely disconnected. I've ordered a new set of disconnects, though I may really just need a new bracket for the driver's side. The link that flopped has some damage to the main body (superficial scratches) and slight damage to the spherical bushing where it seems to have been scraped by the bracket or bolt as the entire mess came apart. Now I feel a bit of a fool for lazily choosing not to disconnect my sway bar for an "easy" trail, but I wonder when this failure would have occurred in the future if I had disconnected and avoided the situation today.

    Aside from the annoying, minor trail damage, this was an excellent trip and night camping. Our daytime temps were pleasantly warm. Overnight we were all chilled as temps likely dropped below 40F. Late afternoon brought a clearing of the skies which held through breakfast - a welcome relief from the smoky start to the day.

  2. The Following 5 Members Say Thanks to open_circuit For This Post:

    Jim (August 8th, 2021),Paul (August 9th, 2021),rckymtnt4r (August 9th, 2021),Tom (August 8th, 2021),TyTheJeepGuy (August 9th, 2021)

  3. #2
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    Default Clohesy Lake 8/7-/8/8/2021



    We met in Leadville Saturday - it was a smokey morning, with the mountains just barely being visible in some directions.

    We set off southbound along the highway where we turned off onto a dirt road that goes past Clear Creek reservoir. We continued along this dirt road for several miles until we got to the trail. This road was pretty rough, with lots of small holes, dips, and even rocks from small rockslides covering it in several parts - nevertheless this didn't stop heavy traffic, with parking areas completely overfilled, presumably for hiking and such.

    We arrived at the mining settlement where the trail supposedly began, and for a moment, my heart sank as there was a gate blocking the apparent trail and where trails.colorado.gov and its COTREX app showed it to be. Thankfully Trent noticed on his map that the trail began just around the corner.

    We proceeded onto the trail, immediately plunging into water crossings, and the only two that there were for the whole trail. Both were low and mild. On the other side of the second one was our biggest obstacle for the day. Ty and Trent cleared it no problem, though it took a little spotting and maneuvering to get my Jimny through it.

    We then continued for a few mild miles up along the trail further alongside the valley until we reached the "end" - the 4x4 trail ended much sooner than anticipated, with the rest of the trail requiring hiking. By this point we were all ready for lunch, so we parked at a campsite then hiked from there after lunch, as the campsite was pretty close to the end of the 4x4 route anyway and we anticipated camping there for the night.

    The hike to the lake itself was uphill but not very long. It wasn't apparent why it was closed to 4x4 traffic, as the end of the 4x4 route itself was marked with a sign but nothing else to prevent people from driving through, and it looked like others had done so recently. It appeared to be a continuation of how the trail was so far - just a mild 4x4 trail. Eventually we did reach a gate just past where a cabin apparently used to be, and also a large amount of debris from an apparent avalanche or landslide. Not far after hiking past the gate we reached the lake, and had a fantastic overview of it.

    After we were done at the lake, we hiked back to camp and decided to stay there for the night. I believe it was Ty that pointed out that one of the sway-bar links on Trent's Jeep was hanging down. The part that attached the top of it was mangled and partially missing if I recall correctly. We were all pretty stumped about how this happened given how mild the trail was. Trent and Ty worked to disconnect the sway bar completely, which is how Trent would have to drive it home Sunday.

    Our campsite was nice with plenty of tree cover next to an open meadow with lots of flowers, and the creek was near enough that we could hear it. We settled in for a chilly night, had our breakfasts and caffeine in the morning, then headed out.

  4. The Following 2 Members Say Thanks to Mad Maxx For This Post:

    Paul (August 10th, 2021),TyTheJeepGuy (August 9th, 2021)

  5. #3
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    Default Re: Clohesy Lake Aug 7-8, 2021



    Whoops, dunno how I missed Trent's post - thanks for moving mine.

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    Default Re: Clohesy Lake Aug 7-8, 2021



    I don't really have much to add from what Trent and Mark had to say. I really liked the area, would have been nice to have a campfire but unfortunately that's just not something that's often allowed dispersed camping in the summer.

    It was cool to see the Jimny doing its thing, I like the uniqueness of the design and the practicality.

    Thanks to everyone on the trip for accommodating my dog. She likes to keep things interesting.

  7. #5
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    Default Re: Clohesy Lake Aug 7-8, 2021



    I replaced my broken JKS quicker disconnect bracket last night. To do so I just ordered a complete new set of links which came with all hardware and instructions. The previous owner or shop which did the last install seems to have ignored the directions regarding how the bracket is supposed to be installed. I think the incorrect installation contributed to the failure. The instructions show the sway bar inside the U of the bracket, while the previous install had the bracket beneath the sway bar. Due to this, I also suspect the angle of my sway bar was greater than the recommended 10 degrees and perhaps beyond the "allowable" 15 degree maximum. I pulled out a spirit level and protractor to sort that out on the new install last night.




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    Default Re: Clohesy Lake Aug 7-8, 2021



    Is the angle of the sway bar adjusted by adjusting the length of the links?

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Clohesy Lake Aug 7-8, 2021



    TyTheJeepGuy previously posted:
    "Is the angle of the sway bar adjusted by adjusting the length of the links?"

    Yes. The length I ended up with last night seems similar to the length of the original link. I'll have to measure them sometime to compare exactly. With the bracket installed properly, I'd expect my new links to be the thickness of the sway bar end longer for the same effective length -- maybe 3/4" longer?

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