Douglas Pass, Upper 4A Mountain, and East Douglas Creek

Last Friday was a bit of a wash for Sprocket and I. He needed to spend the day at the vet trying to find the answer to his chubby cheek and I spent it anxiously waiting around for news about my fuzzy child. Although Friday night was a bit of a struggle, by Saturday, Sprocket was wondering just why we were not out doing our usual Saturday hike. Since he’s on instructions to take it easy for two weeks, I knew we couldn’t go for a hike but I figured that a Jeep ride wasn’t out of the question.

We headed west on I-70 to Loma, Colorado where we picked up the southern end of Colorado 139. This highway leads north to Rangely and I’ve never explored it! My hope was to resume my attempt to reach a highpoint that was foiled by a gate low in De Beque canyon.

Sprocket looks unsure about wearing his cone but he was mostly happy to be out and about. He never really did understand why he couldn’t go out and get his sniffs.

Douglas Pass was pretty neat. For a numbered state highway, it was definitely narrow in places, had some fairly worn asphalt, and climbed pretty steeply. Ruth took it in stride and we paused near the top of the pass to take in the view back to the south.

At the top of the pass, we turned on to Upper 4A Mountain road. This road climbed gently up and down small knolls and was occasionally punctuated by a mud puddle or two (Saturday was a gorgeous bright spot in the middle of about of week of Pacific Northwest reminiscent grey).

It took Sprocket a few minutes to figure out how to maneuver his cone out the window but he got the hang of it and spent most of the ride like this:

Sadly, we ran into private land just three miles shy of my goal for the day. Reluctantly, we turned around, half heartedly explored Kimball Mountain Road (and also ran into private land), and headed back to the highway.

Impulsively, at the top of the pass, I decided to head north to Rio Blanco County Road 27 for a long shot access to the peak I was looking for. Alas, barely out of the canyon bottom of East Douglas Creek, I ran into a private gate.

Back at home, I did what I probably should have done originally and went to the Rio Blanco County website. County webpages can be really useful because a lot of time their GIS personnel have access to more updated information about access, road closures, gates, ect. than maps that haven’t been updated for a long time and found that it appears that the only access by road is actually from the northeast (towards Meeker and Rifle). Looks like SP lucked out and gets another ride.

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