The Squealing Tire

Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

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

FJ Summit 2013 Poughkeepsie Gulch

FJ Summit 2013: Poughkeepsie Gulch

July,2013 Ouray CO: This was the first official day of the 7th Annual FJ Summit event and everyone was anxious to get the ride started.  Chris and I ran the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail in his old school FJ-40 that he nicknamed The Great Pumpkin.

We met at Ouray Mining Park for the drivers meeting before heading south of town to the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail head.  

GP 005

The start of the trail quickly climbs in elevation.  Some of the crisp morning views were absolutely incredible with the waterfalls running along the canyons beside the narrow road.

Waterfall on Poughkeepsie Gultch trail at the 2013 FJ Summit

There was a booming rain storm the day before this ride that left a few good size puddles along the trail.  Chris couldn’t resist testing out his Cooper Discoverer STT tires.

FJ 40 going bumper deep in muddy water

This was the biggest puddle of the day.

FJ 40 splashing through water on the Poughkeepsie Gultch trail

FJ 40 pushing water

Around every corner was another fantastic view.  The terrain changed from deep woods to a large meadow with huge mountains cresting amid the cool blue sky.

FJ's winding through the woods

On the Poughkeepsie Gulch Trail

FJ 40 glamor shot

We were almost half way into the trail when we came upon another FJ Summit group that left ½ hour before our group.   We found out that one of the FJ’s was having trouble with his front drive axle.  A couple of the guys in the group were laying under the FJ trying to figure out what they could do to fix the problem.

Fixing an FJ Cruiser on the Poughkeepsie trail

They assured us they would be able to take care of the problem one way or another so we continued on towards the obstacle known as “The Wall” that was only a few miles ahead.

FJ's on the Poughkeepsie Gulch Trail

FJ Cruiser happy on the trail

FJ Cruiser driver waving

There was another decked out FJ-40 on the trail with us.  The Great Pumpkin and its friend looked great together.

Two FJ 40's on the Poughkeepsie Gultch trail

FJ 40 having fun

A short time after passing the early group we ran into a spot with some large boulders.  Its fairly easy to get high centered if you choose a difficult line.  Thankfully, our group only had to pull 1 vehicle that got high centered on a rock.   A cement colored FJ with strong tow strap saved the day.

Black Cherry FJ Cruiser

Cement FJ Cruiser pulling a Black Cherry FJ Cruiser

As the maroon FJ was being pulled backwards it rolled a large pointed boulder into the middle of the trail.  With a little man power, the boulder was moved off to one side.

Musceling a rock off the trail

The rugged FJ-40’s made quick work of the small rock garden thanks to the grip from his Cooper Discoverer SST tires.

FJ 40 in the rocks

FJ 40 off camber

FJ 40 wheeling on Poughkeepsie trail

The Copper Discoverer STT tires worked excellent in the sharp rocks as well as the mud.  Chris gave the sidewalls a workout and they held up great.


As we started our climb above the tree line we were are all anxious to get to “The Wall” on Poughkeepsie Gulch. 

scenic view of Poukeepsie gultch trail

Just as we were getting close Chris had trouble with The Great Pumpkin.  It popped into neutral and would not go back into gear.  Chris worked and worked on the shifter even bending it slightly trying to get it into gear.  Nothing worked.  There was a guy in our group that was a mechanic that came to our aid but the old FJ would have none of it.  As a last resort we tried pulling Chris’s FJ up the hill to see if it would unlock the gear box.

FJ 40 winching

It was a good effort but nothing worked.  Since we were out of options we decided that Chris would roll down the hill to a spot where there was a turnout so he could park his vehicle.  We then grabbed all our gear and started walking up the hill to see if we could jump in with someone else in our group.

Looking for a ride on the Pookespie gulch trail

Thankfully, we met Josh and his mother and they invited us to ride along with them in their new Four Runner with upgraded Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires.   I have to say I was happy to get in their vehicle as hiking up the hill carrying a bunch of gear in this altitude took my breath away.

4 Runner on the trail

By now the group we passed had caught up to us and we had a rather large caravan from here to “The Wall”.

When we arrived at the Poughkeepsie Gulch wall there was still one vehicle from yet an earlier group winching to the top on the left side of the trail.  Our trail leader (Jimmy Buffet) headed off to the right but was unsuccessful.  He then attempted the left but again was stopped by the rock face.  He decided to use the winch point at the top to winch himself up rather than hold up the group.

FJ Cruiser getting ready to winch on Poughkeepsie Gultch trail

There were vehicles trying to go up the left and right at the same time.  I wasn’t sure which line to watch until the white FJ-40 lined up on the right.  It took him a couple of tries to get the correct line before he went right up without any problems.

FJ 40 up The Wall

Just after him another FJ came flying up the right rock face wheels in the air. I swear I heard him yell “Yeee Hawww” as he flew to the top.

FJ Cruiser up the wall wheels up

Well now it was time for Josh to show us what his new Toyota Four Runner could do.  With a valiant attempt on the right wall he almost made it to the top only to get high centered just before clearing the obstacle.

Toyota 4 Runner high centered

After backing down Josh went for the left side line.  This turned out to be a bad choice as his rear bumper got caught and was drug off.  I was looking at his mother and she said with a smile “Oh well, I don’t mind.  Now I can upgrade the bumpers”.  Wow, how cool is that to have such an awesome mother?  She not only took her son to this event but she didn’t even get mad at him for causing some damage to their new vehicle.

Toyota 4 Runner stuck at the wall on Poughkeepsie trail

Toyota 4 Runner pulling the bumper off on Poughkeepsie Gultch Trail

After everyone in our group had made it past the wall on the Poughkeepsie Gulch trail we continued on and eventually stopped at Como Lake for lunch.  This was a perfect time for me to snap some photos of our group.  The jump shot photos are my personal favorite.

FJ Summit group shot at Como Lake

FJ Summit group jump shot at Como Lake

It was starting to rain so we all loaded up and headed back on the trail.  From this point it is only about 6 miles to the main highway back to town.

Como lake along Poughkeepsie Gulch Trail

The view of the lake as we climbed the steep switchback trail to the top was amazing.

scenic view of Como Lake

As we came over the top of the mountain for our final decent to the highway the red colored mountains looked beautiful against the cloudy sky.  I spoke to one of the local guides in town the first night we were there and he said the red color was caused by a volcano many years ago.  He said there are 4 mountains close together that erupted.

Red mountains on California Corkscrew trail

We made it all the way back to our condo thanks to the generosity of Josh and his mom.  Later that afternoon we were able to recover the Great Pumpkin and get it back into gear.   Special thanks for Josh and his mother for letting us hitch a ride. 

Here are some additional photos from the Poughkeepsie Gulch Trail ride:

Waterfall on Poughkeepsie Gultch trail at the 2013 FJ Summit Lunch with Discount Tire at the FJ Cruiser Sumit 2013 on Poughkeepsie Lunch with Discount Tire at the FJ Cruiser Sumit 2013 on Poughkeepsie begging for candy Black FJ on Poughkeepsie Toyota 4 Runner high on trail Black Cherry FJ Cruiser on trail Cement FJ climbing the wall Black FJ climbing the wall People at the wall at the 2013 FJ Cruiser Summit event Black  Cherry FJ climbing the wall Trail ride White FJ at the wall Green FJ on Poughkeepsie Flowers on Poughkeepsie On the trail Off camber FJ FJ stuck on Poughkeepsie scenery on Poughkeepsie


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
  • Primer says:

    It was great running Poughkeepsie with you Don. Thanks to everyone from Discount Tire, a great vendor, and sponser.

    • Don

      Don says:

      Thanks for the kind words. People like you made our trip. We all had a blast. Thanks for the great memories.


      • Nuck says:

        Don I’m ready to come and work for Discount Tire you’re having too much fun! Actually, Don I know taking great pictures on rough terrain demands a lot of hard work.

        I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since I drove my quad on those trails. One day I have to drive out again from Philly and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado. Thanks for sharing this off road adventure with “The Great Pumpkin”.

        • Don

          Don says:

          Thanks for your comments Nuck. Sounds like you need to load up for another adventure.

          The mountains in Colorado are unbelievable in person. Glad you enjoyed my view.


  • Marla says:

    Hi Don, I have 2011 Toyota 4rnr, exactly like the one in the picture. I was just wondering what is the tire size on the one in the article?