Coffee Pot Road, Grizzly Jeep Trail, and Budge’s Resort
Thu July 27th:
Dispersed camp – ??? South Fork Meadows (All Day)
We woke up (or at least Mandi did) for sunrise pictures, me sometime later and decided on a quick breakfast and camp breakdown. We had no real way to judge what kind of time it would take to explore this southern/western legs of The Flat Top trail, but we intended to get it all in.
We got out on the incredibly well traveled and maintained Coffee Pot Road, and climbed another couple thousand feet in elevation and shortly after cresting this (pass?), I see an out and back trail, and get the nod to take it as we’re here to explore. While cresting this mountain, we’ve been passed by folks in all sorts of vehicles, including Truck/Campers, trucks with RV trailers and cars too. Some folks seem to have more money than sense (at least in my mind), because we we’re all running aired down to like 12-15lbs in our tires and they were at highway pressures… Crazy I tell ya!
Good thing we decided to check out this trail, as it led to Deep Creek Overlook, and as we’re approaching what appeared to be a fairly large dirt parking area, I notice a guy about my age on his back on the backside of a behemoth Eagle 12.5’ Camper (w 3 slides) & Ford F-350 Dually set-up pulling an enclosed trailer. It looked as though he might need help, and I was correct. I pulled up next to him and jumped out asking if he was in need of assistance? He immediately said yes and showed me a screw in his right rear outter tire and the tire was flat, putting the whole weight of this thing on one inner tire.
Now this thing was loaded down and he was attempting to air the tire back up so he could get off the mountain. I offered up my onboard air, knowing it was a bit more powerful to his little handheld Amazon portable pump. Then we decided to pull the screw as it continued to leak and plug the tire successfully.
This set-up was HEAVY, but with a little patience we got him aired back up to 80 lbs and got them on their way. Good deed for the day done it was time for us to make-up the hour or so we just spent. The gentleman told us about Broken Rib Spring up the road that we had to check out. He said he’d been using it as a water source every time he had be up here in the last 20 years. “It’s always flowing right next to the road,” he said “Best water you’ll ever taste!”
Well, with that they set off in one direction and we went the other to find said spring. A few miles later, we found the spring with a turnout just opposite and decided to see if what he said was correct. Man was he right, most of us grabbed whatever empty containers we had and took some 4 gallons with us, we also made a quick lunch here. It may seem dicey to drink spring water without some trick filter, but this was the coldest, cleanest best tasting water I ever had. Should I ever find my way back here, I’ll be hitting that spring again!
After lunch we continued westerly, and not very far down the road we came upon The Grizzly Jeep Trail… Now The other night when I was mapping we saw this Grizzly trail and looked it up, and some guy (probably a Subaru owner) left a comment about it being totally impassable, and took hime 5 hours for a 4 mile trail. So we were going to skip right on by, but curiosity had us wondering, so we decided to check it out, figuring we could always turn back if it were truly impassable. It was a fun little trail that dumped us out at an old Cow Camp and then back onto the wide gravel road. Definitely not a Jeep guy, it was easy going and beautiful. Now having taken the cut-off I wondered what we might’ve missed on the other trail so we headed back up and around to where we started (I know waisting time we don’t know if we have), I could see on the map a trail that connected us back to the trail further along towards where we might camp, so we took it.
Along the way we came across a much need bathroom (at Deep Lake Campground – the map was a little off the purple line was made late in the trip without service so it straightened out the actual route we took). After relieving ourselves we were on a mission (at least I was) to find Budge’s Resort.
We had no idea of what to expect, but it gave us a target to shoot for, and boy did it turn out to be an incredible trip. We dropped into the trail way beyond Heart Lake and found ourselves dropping into a back country valley, and soon caught up with a truck and trailer hauling hay (Budge himself?) down a legit 4×4 trail.
After some exploration or three looking for campsites we caught them again, this time it was wide enough and they let us pass. On and on we went further down into a valley on a well used but rugged 4×4 trail that dropped us out into the conjunction of Fawn Creek and the South Fork River aka South Fork Meadows. To say it was beautiful just doesn’t do it justice, more MAJESTIC I would say.
We found an Escalade sitting some 2000’ up parked and pointed uphill along the trail (not sure if it broke or the driver knew he’d never get outta there if he went further). Then we ran across a couple set-up for fly fishing who told us about Budge’s and the area, and recommend a site just around the corner for camping up above where their camp was so we set out to find EPIC CAMP.
And it was an incredible camp, our best to date! We went about setting up camp and settling in for the night with the weather doing what it does in Colorado (changing). Lucky for us the weather held at least until we were asleep…