I am writing this post a little late tonight. I had some dental work done 8am this morning that put me under the weather a little. Luckily my cleaning appointment should not be as painful as today. Last month a friend/blog reader wanted me to check out a campground called Ramsey Vista Campground but I found out it was not on my bike road named Ramsey Canyon Road but at the very top of Carr Canyon Road. The hounds did not know what they were getting me into. Some of the best photos were not taken because I was too scared to stop the 4Runnder and start again ... two hands on the steering wheel at all times. LOL
Since we had made a similar trip up and over Montezuma Pass a day earlier I wasn't too concerned with roads like this but I did know we were going to the very top of the mountain so things could get interesting. Would we meet anyone driving down the mountain as we were driving up? Not really a lot of room for oncoming traffic, if you know what I mean.
As you can see we are slowly gaining elevation. It's level where I could stop and take a picture over the side of the road. It was a beautiful day to go on an excursion but my neighbor had warned me previously that I needed to get down off the mountains this time of year by noon to miss the thunderstorms. On a day like that ???
We saw many trailhead signs and campground signs on the way up ... or I did because Heidi and Stella were sound to sleep in the back of the 4Runner. They didn't see any of this.
We did a lot of climbing to get to this point and a couple of switchback were just amazing and I was thrilled I had 4-wheel drive. We didn't meet any trucks or cars coming down but did slowly pass 3 hikers that were walking in the middle of the road. Maybe they too were afraid to walk near the edge of the road at times.
I also saw a couple of signs warning me this was bear territory. Would it be safe for the hounds to do a little sniffing around once we stopped and got out to look around?
As I let both hounds out with their 6' leashes attached, something they wear at all times when traveling even short distances. It didn't take Stella long to find where those food storage containers were. They are bear proof but are they bloodhound proof?
I let them both wander within eyesight while I took photos of the area. Believe it or not, Heidi has a better nose than Stella. She is keen and bred to find rabbits and there are a ton of rabbits in the area we live in. I was hoping there were no rabbits in the area.
Between the bear warnings and the chance of rain under sunny bright skies, I figured it was time to load up and head back down 'the hill'. Little did I know the pucker factor was going to double going down than what it was going up. I sent a few pictures to friends that want to come to visit me but they swore there was no way they were riding with me up that mountain no matter how fantastic the scenery was.
We live somewhere down there.
Not a bad road, fairly level, wide enough for two vehicles and an occasional pull-out.
Those are bugs on my windshield collected on the way from Indiana to the west a few weeks prior.
Does it look like we are getting ready to drive over the 'edge of the world' ????
That big shadow you see to the left ... it's that Aerostat I took a picture of a few days ago.
This is where things got 'tight', my knuckles were white as I gripped the steering wheel tighter. I was proud of myself for at least stopping one time to get a photo of something like this switchback. There were 4-5 more of these along the way to and from. Luckily about a 1/2 mile before I got here I noticed a warning in the middle of my speedometer.
"Stop the car, shift to low 4-wheel drive"
I did as they told me plus from the start going down I followed their speed limit signs of 10mph max and I was going 5-7 miles before that switchback. It took me almost 45 minutes to drive down the 6 miles and over 9,000 ft.
Do you think the hounds were sitting up panting and drooling with nervousness while we went downhill ???? No ... the slept from the time they got back in the 4Runner.
Looks like a few deer up ahead. They turned and climbed that steep bank with ease. The roads looked great but there were many places I was sure I was going to hear rocks or a rock screeching along my skid plates even at 8.6 inches high.
We made it back down to reality without any problem. My pulse rate had returned to normal according to my Apple Watch, I could breath again and could relax my hands off the steering wheel. Looking at those skies you would not believe about 100 ft further up the road large rain drops were pounding the windshield. I glanced at my watch and it was 12:45pm. Just like the neighbor warned me ... by the time we got home it was a full out thunderstorm up in the mountains that we had visited. It was sunny sitting on the patio.
On the way down I met 3 vehicles driving up the mountain and all 3 had violated the warning signs.
- No vehicle longer than 20 ft past this point
- I see the largest newest dual axle Chevy Silverado so wide I had to pull over and straddle the edge of the ditch to give him enough room to get by. I'm sure it was close to 20' long based on how my 4Runner barely fits inside the garage.
- All vehicles must have 4x4 past this point
- I meet two cars going up and past this warning sign. One was a Honda Fit who's oil pain was not going to clear the rocks I just passed a 1/4 mile back of me or ahead of them.
- The other car was a low riding Honda Accord and 4 people inside to help with weight and traction I guess. They were not going to make the road in some spots from being too low and all the pull-outs to turn around doing the "million point turn" were way way past the worst parts of the road.
There are over 19 official hiking trails in these mountains and I intend to check them all out. There is a waterfall in these mountains but the neighbor who hikes tells me I will need to have some hiking experience to get up to see it. It is steep and treacherous, in his words.
Like I said before ... most mornings I will be bike riding and then hiking in the afternoons or taking local roadtrips to explore this great area of the Southwest.
It seems late at 8:30pm. The hounds have been sleeping for hours and yes ... they did attempt to talk me into letting them on the new couch or as Stella said with her eyes .. "there's plenty of room on the empty loveseat for her" ...
It was a 'numb' morning but a great day in the Wild West.