Day Seven – The Gulches [5th Day of Riding]

Fortunately we didn't meet the riders at breakfast who said we'd never make it up Poughkeepsie, so I had the pancakes rather than the crow.  We were down to one day, so we hoped it would be a good one and indeed it was.  We started by going over Corkscrew which we hadn't done this trip from US550, we had only come the other way.  We went up and over before 9:00 and stopping at the summit but we were quickly down to Gladstone well before the day got too old.  We started Gulch day be heading up Minnehaha Basin.  We kind of doubled along the creek and we could see the road we came down to Gladstone on.  There were some old abandon mines along the trail; the Red and Bonita, Adams (how appropriate), and the Pride of Bonita.  Everything was closed off and we didn't spend much time there.  Back down C110 headed south we turned right and up Prospect Gulch.  This may have been the best one of the named gulches of the day.  The trail just kept climbing, getting narrower all the time.  The gulch goes up between Red Mountain #3 and McMillan Peak which gave us a better view of the microwave tower.  Looking back we could see the whole valley below us with C110 running through it.  We turned around came back the same and continued south on C110 eventually turning right again up a gulch with no name (wasn't that a song by America?).  This was a nice ride for not having a name; some snow met us at the summit.  Next up was Niagra Gulch.  There was an old mine a short way up and the road was blocked.  We thought about going around but thought better of it and went back the same way.  We went into Silverton and grabbed a bite to eat at the Best of West Restaurant and Bar.  We stayed on C110 and headed north on the east side of town.  I always struggle with C110; it runs north and south into and out of Silverton; it's a U-Shaped road that runs from Gladstone on the northwest and Animas Forks on the northeast side.  So we headed toward Animas Forks and went up the Minnie Gulch.  Two old fairly large abandon mines are on this trail, the Esmeralda and the Kitty Mack.  The Kitty Mack sits of on a little shoot off of the main trail.  We stayed right and went to Esmeralda first and then hit Kitty Mack on the way down.  The day had turned out beautiful it had warmed up and we were shedding clothes.  After Minnie we decided to pass on Eureka in favor of exploring a little off-shoot road we had noticed on the map as well as our trip down Picayne the day before.  The trail took us off of the Picayne main road less than a mile from the trailhead.  This was a great road except for the fact it did not lead anywhere.  The map showed it reconnecting but we rode as far as we could and didn't see any way that could connect.  We turned around and went back the way we came which just fine with us.  Back up Picayne and over Placer Gulch we were at Hanson Peak and got a little turned around and found ourselves at the Sound Democrat Mill.  We got back on California and Hurricane and before we knew it we were headed down Corkscrew and faced with the thought of having to start packing and returning.