Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

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RichardLillard1
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Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

Post by RichardLillard1 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:09 am

Went up to the Sunflower area to check a few things out last Saturday, specifically to see the conditions of 3721 and 3722, the connecting routes between 25A and 201A which have been closed due to a pretty precarious washout with no clear spot to turn around. we had heard reports of the washout being repaired and after being granted permission from Allen Cross (thanks, Allen!) we decided to evaluate and collect information on the area to form a plan for working with Honeywell 4-Wheelers, and hopefully find some good news.

The washout in question, just a couple years ago:
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As you can see, a pretty off camber section of the trail, with very little drivable surface and a lot of room for error.

Trail conditions can change constantly, so it's no surprise that these pictures tell a slightly different story than a Virtual Jeep Club run from 2014:
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This looks somewhat better than the first couple pictures, but we were still left curious what we would find.

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RichardLillard1
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Re: Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

Post by RichardLillard1 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:18 am

We decided to run the loop backwards from the usual direction, planning on going in through 201A and dropping down to the creek for 25A to exit.
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Headed up a fun climb on 201A, Mt. Ord and its clouds making for a nice backdrop.
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It wasn't long before we reached our turnoff. The trail down has always had some fun texture, making for a great place to test suspension or to get those cool poser shots. :hillbilly:
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Wasn't long before we reached the turn to 3722 and decided to stop and take a look by foot before driving down.
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RichardLillard1
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Re: Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

Post by RichardLillard1 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:29 am

Brian had suggested using his military trailer to haul water to the end of 25A for the upcoming ACE project in the area; in addition to our washout evaluation we decided to see which route felt more feasible for pulling the trailer.

Someone's not-so-little 4Runner has been marked!
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The washout in question; we found that repairs had obviously been attempted, but driving through meant getting off camber due to a low spot on the outside of the road and a large rock on the other. For reference, the blue jeep is up on the rock in question in the third photo I put up in this thread.
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Re: Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

Post by RichardLillard1 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:46 am

After discussing things for a few minutes, the decision was made to use hand tools for breaking down some of the high side of the road and smooth things out to make getting the vehicles through a bit easier.
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Due to the type of terrain, the hillside breaks down fairly easy and in a very short amount of time we had made a little more room to drive the trucks down. Ultimately, it would be best to get the gas-powered jackhammer up there and break away the bottom couple feet of the hill in this section, making the road wide enough for a full-size vehicle and also quite a bit more stable by moving trucks away from the erosion.

As we began pulling the vehicles down, spotting each other along the way and discussing the fun suspension flex, we got a few shots of how deep the hole is, making for a stronger case to move the road away from it.
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This hillbilly repair is obviously not the most sustainable solution and in speaking with members of Honeywell, it would be great to see the loop back open again.

A few poser shots from working our way down, just because.
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This illustrates how much room there currently is. Still a little too close due in large part to a couple rock sections that protrude into the trail a bit, specifically the lighter-colored rock right in front of the driver's-side tires in the first picture. We went at it with a hammer and pick axe, but the jackhammer would make very quick work of that.
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Re: Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

Post by RichardLillard1 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:54 am

Despite the fire from a few years back, the area is recovering quite nicely and I couldn't help but take it in for a moment before working down the hill myself.
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At the bottom of the hill, closed markers are still in place, but a few have been removed. During lunch on 25A there was a Jeep club working their way through the creek. Nice guys and naturally they inquired about the status of the complete loop once they saw our volunteer shirts. Interest in the area is high, this has always been a popular route and I'm sure there are several out there that would love to experience it again and soon!
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Re: Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

Post by RichardLillard1 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:01 am

Had fun wheeling through 25A on the way out. Big rocks to play in and several smiles were had. The trail is a little more run in than it was in March, but definitely not in a bad way!
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Noticed that one of these is not like the other? Likely part of the old mine facilities, but an interesting find all the same.
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The trail is still pretty green and lush for this time of year. Not a lot of water in the creek bed, but still a great and pretty drive with the occasional peeks at the surrounding mountain tops.
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Not bad for a day's work? Such a shame that I'll have to drag myself back out there again on Saturday... :grinpimp:

Even played in the poser spot on the way out!
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Re: Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

Post by fumann » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:43 pm

Nice report! :clap: I reckon more could be done with that washout ifin we applied some more resources to it. :hillbilly:
"He had learned some of the things that every man must find out for himself...through error and through trial, through fantasy and illusion, through falsehood and his own foolishness, through being mistaken and wrong and an idiot and egotistical and aspiring and hopeful and believing and confused."

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RichardLillard1
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Re: Sunflower Mine Loop 10-17-15

Post by RichardLillard1 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 12:59 am

fumann wrote:Nice report! :clap: I reckon more could be done with that washout ifin we applied some more resources to it. :hillbilly:
Couldn't agree more, in fact...

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