Day Five – Yankee Doodle [3rd Day of Riding]

After a little strategy session the night before we decided that since we like Imogene so much we would assault it from the Ouray side, up and down, before we did Yankee Boy Basin and Governor Basin.  After the Silver Nugget breakfast we headed up Imogene.  The weather was great; no rain in sight, only bright sunny skies with the temperature fairly moderate given the altitude.  We drove up Imogene hard making only one or two stops to soak in the scenery.  I don't think we saw more than one or two jeeps the whole way up.  I remember someone making the observation there weren't very many motorcycles either.  We didn't see many but my thinking was that motorcycles travel so fast relative to Jeeps and ATVs that the chance for us seeing them is fairly limited.  At any rate we made it to the top of Imogene just before 9:00.  We stayed at the top longer than normal talking with some Jeepsters from Texas.  On the way down it was much less risky this time; there was no rain and we had one more day of riding under our belts.  At Camp Bird this time we headed west towards Governor Basin.  Mike and his Dad rode this last time but Steve and I missed this portion.  The first portion of the trail is a little tricky as there is lots of loose rock and switchbacks and a very narrow path.  At the top is a nice view as we sat at the base of Mendota Peak.  We came back down and continued west towards Yankee Boy Basin.  This is one of my favorite trails in the area.  It is easily one of the more difficult trails we rode but there aren't any steep cliffs that would make it a risky trail, it simply is difficult, but if one can't make it there is not much downside.  Just when you think you've made it up the hard part you realize there is much more to go to the top and it's much more difficult.  We rode hard and now that it was well into the day, about 1:00, the trail was becoming a little crowded making it that much more challenging.  So, we rode hard and fast up to the summit and got off the bikes for a rest and to take some pictures.  As we sat there a Rubicon Jeep pulled up and older couple got out and we struck up a conversation.  We came to find out they had watched us climb the last portion of the trail and thought with the speed and agility we rode up with we were on the younger side.  They were quite surprised to see three middle-aged guys sitting by the bikes.  This made us feel pretty good.  After our helping of humble pie we headed back down and into Ouray.  Next, with time on our hands, we decided to head down to Silverton.  We hit a little trail just outside Silverton but it didn't appear to go anywhere so we went back out to the highway and into Silverton.  We stopped at the Grand Imperial Hotel and Saloon where we had, of course, been before.  This time, though, we met Grumpy the owner who was indeed not grumpy at all.  We had a couple of brews and some bar food and decided to head back.  We went up C110 and over Corkscrew Gulch and back onto US550.  The trail begins just above Gladstone where there are some remnants of an old mine.  The start of the trail is steep and has many switchbacks as we get above the timberline.  Once there, we can see a small seasonal lake that lies at the summit of roughly 12,200 feet.  The pass splits between the three Red Mountains #1, #2,and #3.  This pass is where we first noticed a microwave tower on one of the surrounding peaks.  In this case it was McMillan Peak that had the tower.  We were fairly certain these did not exist during our last visit in 1999.  As we descend back down we run into a number of abandon mines and dumps they left behind.  A nice view of US550 can be had here as we get to the bottom.  The trail leads into Ironton Park and back onto US550.  We called it day, and headed to the Timber Ridge for dinner.