The Squealing Tire

Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

The Squealing Tire - Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

2013 FJ Summit – California Pass and Corkscrew Gulch

2013 FJ Summit- California Pass and Corkscrew Gulch

For my last ride during the 2013 Fj Summit I joined Eddy on the California Pass and Corkscrew Gulch.   Eddy and I rode in his Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner.  Eddy was running one of the newest tire additions to the Discount Tire catalog; the Pro Comp Xtreme MT2 in the LT 285/75R-16.  He had them mounted on a set of Level 8 Motorsport’s Guardian Wheels.

Pro Comp Xtreme MT2  LT 285/75R-16

Combining California Pass with Corkscrew Gulch is an awesome way to tour through the San Juan Mountains.  They are both scenic and there are a couple of fun technical spots along the way too.  The sign at the trail head recommends high clearance four wheel drive vehicles with a short wheel base.  Eddy’s Pre-Runner is only 2 wheel drive but his rear locker and new tires should help him get through the trail. (I hoped.)

California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

A short time into California Pass we made a brief stop to check out some old mining buildings.  There was even some old tracks that were used by mining cars.

Old mining tracks

Old Mine on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

As we continued, the trail guide came on the CB saying there was a mother bear and cub in a small clearing ahead.  As soon as I heard this I bolted from the truck to try to get a photo of them. Unfortunately we were too far back in the group.  By the time I huffed and puffed to the front of the line the bears had already gone into the trees. I waited and watched for them until Eddy caught up to me, but no luck.

Here is a photo of the place where the bears were spotted.

California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

Back on the trail, we hit a junction where the trail splits.  One direction will take you to Poughkeepsie Gulch and the other will take you to California Gulch.  We steered left and continued on California Pass toward California Gulch.

Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner with Pro-Comp Xtreme MT2 tires

Falken Tire was also on this trail in one of their Toyota Tacomas, shod with Falken Wildpeak A/T Tires.

Toyota Tacoma, shod with Falken Wildpeak A/T tires.

The waterfalls beside the trail looked very inviting.  I wish I had brought a fishing pole, however, with the bears in the area, we might not end up being the only ones fishing.

Waterfall on California Pass/Corkscrew Gultch trail at the 2013 FJ Summit

As we exited out of the treeline there is a fun obstacle at the start of the switchbacks.  The old FJ in our group put on a show by lifting his front wheel high off the ground.

Old FJ wheels up

Eddy didn’t let that intimidate him in his 2 wheel drive Tacoma as his Pro-Comp Xtreme MT2 tires didn’t even slip as he went up the obstacle with ease.

Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner with Pro-Comp Xtreme MT2 tires

The view of the lush green foliage on the treeless mountains was beautiful as we continued to climb.

lush green foliage

As we were nearing the top of this part of the trail we saw some old mining buildings off in the distance.  There was also a sign depicting some of the history of this area.  It seems the old miners used to call mules and burros the “Canaries of the Rocky mountains”.  They called them canaries because they could hear them braying from miles away.  Their noise would let the miners know they were close to a village.

Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail

We kept up a steady pace through the switchbacks as we were heading to another old mining town just a little further down the trail.

Green Mountains

As we pulled into the old mining town of Animas Forks it was time for lunch.  As we enjoyed a little bite to eat we couldn’t help but wonder how difficult it must have been to haul in all the lumber and equipment to build the mines and villages. Back in the late 1800’s they didn’t have all the fancy equipment and plush tires we have now.

Old mining town on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail

Old mining town on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail

Once again it was a perfect time to get a group photo while we had everyone together.

Group photo on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

Of course I had to get one more jump shot to make it a perfect trip.

Group jump shot photo on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch

We saw lots of other people at this stop.  There were lots of side by sides and ATV’s parked along the road.

ATV's and side by sides on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail

As we continued on, California Gulch laid out a carpet of green grasses in front of us.  Maybe this is why it got the name “California”?…  Eventually, the scenery started to take drastic change and the green grasses gave way to rocky, rust colored mountain tops.

 The scenery was making a drastic change from a carpet of summer greens to rocky, rust colored mountain tops.

The scenery was making a drastic change from a carpet of summer greens to rocky, rust colored mountain tops.

As we crest the summit we could see the Lake Como down in the valley.  We were also able to see 2 other FJ Summit groups coming out of the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail. What a breath taking sight.

Como Lake.

We continued on and took Hurricane Pass where the elevation is 12,730 feet. From there we dropped into Corkscrew Gulch.   I love wondering what is around the next corner and once again, the trail turned into a narrow and steep switchback trail that ran next to the majestic rust colored mountains.

The California Corkscrew trail goes over Hurricane Pass where the elevation is 12,730 feet

switchbacks

Eddy was showing us what his Tacoma Pre-Runner was capable of.   With some finesse and accurate tire placement he continued along the trail with ease.   Here he is lifting a rear tire for fun.

Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner with Pro-Comp Xtreme MT2 tires, rear wheel up

As we hit the tree line we knew the highway back into town would be coming up soon. It was kind of sad because this meant the 2013 FJ Summit‘s end was also near.

As we came back into town the local fire department was doing a benefit car wash to help them raise money for their department.  Eddy thought it was a worthy cause so he jumped in line.

After a good soapy scrub down each vehicle was rinsed with a blast from a couple fire hoses.

Discount Tire truck washed by firemen

After getting ourselves cleaned up as well we headed over to the main tent to celebrate the last night.  There was an awesome raffle after dinner and everyone gathered to try to win something.

Discount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit

Discount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit, tickets

The Discount Tire crew started off the raffle by giving away a few sets of tires and wheels along with a host of other goodies.

Discount Tire Raffel

Winner of Discount Tire raffel

Some of the people bought LOTS of tickets to improve their chances of winning.

Winner of Discount Tire raffel

Winner of Discount Tire raffel

As the vendor give away was winding down the crowd was getting weary.  It had been a long but very fun week.

Matt (one of the FJ Summit Committee members) took the microphone for final announcements.  After thanking everyone for their courteous participation he asked that everyone please line up on the main street starting at 5:30 AM tomorrow for a photo shoot.  There were a few groans from the crowd because of the start time but this had become a tradition.

Matt (one of the FJ Summit Committee members)

After another short nights sleep we showed up for the group photograph. It was a fun time to mingle through the crowded streets lined with FJ’s. I spoke with many new friends I had made during the week. It is amazing to watch all the tricked out FJ’s being lined up as the town of Ouray closes off their main street for this event.

2013 FJ Summit Group Photo

The Falken Tire big rig closed off the street for the end of the line.

Falken Tire tractor trailer rig

Here we are for one last group glamor shot.

Discount Tire group shot in Ouray 2013

Discount Tire would like to sincerely thank all the participants, vendors and promoters for your unbelievable support during this years FJ Summit.  We heard countless stories from you about your great experiences in our local stores and online.  We appreciate each and every one of you and will continue to work hard to earn your business.

Remember to take the time to enjoy this beautiful and free country we live in, appreciate your families and buy all your tires and wheels from Discount Tire. Your journey starts here!

Here are some additional photos from this ride.

Ouray group meeting for ride California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail FJ Cruiser California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Ouray sceneryDiscount Tire Tacoma with Pro Comp xtreme MT2 tires Couple on the trail California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Mining equipment FJ Cruiser happy on the trail Falcon Tire Tacoma California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch shelf road RZR on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail ATV on California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Discount Tire and Falcon Tire at lunch FJ Cruiser happy on the trailFalken tire guys on the trail Mining equipment Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Beautiful view on the California Pass/Corkscrew Gulch trail Falcon Tire TacomaNatural bridge near Ouray CO car wash at the 2013 FJ summit car wash at the 2013 FJ summitcar wash at the 2013 FJ summitFalcon tire rigDiscount Tire guysDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit eventDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit event Discount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit event Discount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit eventDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit eventDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit eventDiscount Tire Raffel at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit event girl with dog at the 2013 FJ summit

Don McNeillyAbout The Author: Don McNeilly (17 Posts)

If it has 4 wheel drive and I'm allowed to take it off road I'm on it! I've been an ATV and UTV off road enthusiast for as long as I can remember. I love exploring new areas photographing my adventures and helping other outdoor enthusiasts... Click the Author Profile icon below to read more.


Category: Events, FJ Summit
  • mike kibbe says:

    looks like a very good time awesome scenery.Remeber If you ever need a driver call me.

    August 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm
  • Don

    Don says:

    Thanks for the offer. I will keep that in mind. I had a driver for this event so I could run around to get photos.

    What an awesome trip. If you have never been there make sure you put it on your bucket list.

    August 28, 2013 at 8:15 am

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