Deep In The Heart Of Colorado's Rocky Mountains
Each year the dramatic and scenic grandeur of Colorado's Rocky Mountains is the setting for the Mile-Hi Jeep Club's week-long All-4-Fun event. This year was the milestone 40th anniversary event for the club. The event was based in the historic mining town of Silverton, an 1800s boomtown laced with some of this country's most famous Jeep trails. It's also rich in history, folklore, and natural wonders, making the event much more than just another day on the trail.
The Mile-Hi Jeep Club is Colorado's oldest and largest 4x4 organization; it was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1957. Part of the club's mission statement is to meet and help support the community's needs. The All-4-Fun event is not only a great way for members to spend quality time together on the trail, but also to help raise funds for a good cause. The majority of the proceeds raised at the event goes to the Children's Hospital of Denver Burn Center in Frazier, Colorado. Another portion of the proceeds goes to the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition, which represents and fights for our rights to use Colorado land in a responsible manner.
The trails in this area twist their way up, over, and around the slopes of the San Juan Range of the Rocky Mountains. This rugged area of southwestern Colorado is considered the state's mineral belt. Gold and silver were the attraction in the early to mid 1800s. Luckily for Jeep enthusiasts such as us, the mining operations of yesterday created the spectacular trails of today.
In some respect the trails here are not that technically challenging, but they do offer up a very real serving of fear for those uneasy at dizzying heights. Quite a few of the trails in the area have sections called shelf roads. Basically, way back when, the miners carved a road out of the side of a cliff to get to their claims. Some of these shelf roads give you just enough room to squeeze through in your Jeep. The trail's edge in some sections is about a foot or so away from your outside wheel and tire. Throw in a little off-chamber lean, loose surface contact, switchbacks that require a three-point turn, lots of blue sky, and you have just found yourself experiencing a case of the jitters and a bit of the trail creeps. Someone once explained that the feeling is similar to that of looking out the window of an airplane. If this sounds like your cup of tea, Black Bear Pass above Telluride is the trail for you.
The Colorado Association of 4WD Clubs Inc. (CoA4WDCi) had its raffle Jeep on display at the event. The '81 Scrambler has undergone quite a transformation since the association acquired it, and it's now a very cool and functional Jeep. This is CoA4WDCi's main fundraising vehicle for the year. The proceeds go to the association's philanthropic funds for land use, scholarship, and the Sunshine Fund. Portions are also used for promotional and raffle funds.
As the rest of the country sizzled under yet another year of record heat waves, the enthusiastic participants of All-4-Fun enjoyed cool weather and event activities at camp headquarters. Sporadic thundershowers kept the crowd refreshed, and Fabtech Performance Suspensions kept everyone dry under a new big top it supplied for the event. In addition to the evening raffle entertainment, good food and great times were enjoyed by all. This year, everyone walked away with a door prize.
The Mile-Hi Jeep Club and the All-4-Fun committee, along with help from corporate sponsors, put on another amazing event. Next year's event promises to be even more elaborate as it is the 50th anniversary of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club.