Corral Hollow and Mattley Ridge Loop By Chris Mains
Wow, what a fun 2 days.
I arrived at Horse Gulch campground on Wednesday night. I had the whole place to myself until about 11:30 pm or so when Jason, Jim, Ron and Mike arrived.
The next morning after everyone was fed and rigs were prepped we headed out to begin the opening of the Corral Hollow trail. In addition to Jason, Jim, Ron, Mike and myself were Tom V, Ole and Sherry. It was pretty uneventful until after the cabin. We found a couple of trees that needed to be cut up, so out came the chainsaws.
Ole and Jason made short work of the trees and the rest of us pushed them out of the way. A short time later we came to an area that usually has some snow in June and boy did we find snow….and a very stuck and abandoned Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Grand was blocking the trail so with a little digging and a tow strap it was soon moved to the side so that we could attempt to continue on. It was tough going getting past the first couple hundred or so feet, but with Jim’s and Tom’s winches everyone was through in short order. We came across a little more snow up at the top which turned out to be not much of a problem and then we stopped for lunch at a spectacular view spot.
After lunch we began our descent towards Hwy 4, but soon came across a huge fallen tree that was suspended above the trail. It was an extremely dangerous tree to remove, but after much discussion and planning the group managed to lower the tree to the ground, cut it up and move it without any injuries. The remainder of the journey was uneventful.
Day 2 was the Mattley Ridge Trail. We had 4 rigs with me, Jason, Jim, Mike, Ron, Tom and his brother Jim in attendance. We decided to start out on the side that we knew would not have snow. Actually, there was very little that needed to be done. I believe we had to cut one fairly large tree early on and then drag a few smaller ones out of the way.
I guess at some point we missed a turn that would have taken us onto a difficult steep off-camber trail. So, we ended up on a trail that was new to me. It was very tight in spots but not too challenging. Eventually we ended up on a gravel road that we thought might take us back to 7N09, but in actually put us at the bottom of the steep off-camber trail. So, of course we decided to go up it. That was very cool. The off-camber stuff definitely keeps my attention. Couple that with some really tight spots, very steep climbs with a poor traction surface and you have some serious fun. We have to do that again. After that excitement we stopped for lunch. After lunch we decided to tackle the other side of the trail from the bottom up. Gravity was not helping us. We shoveled, winched and strapped our way to the top with Jim leading the way. It was epic. In the end the trail was opened at we headed back to Horse Gulch to pack and head home. A hot shower was waiting.