Ear to the  ground:

“They still haven’t answered me if they accept condiments that have been in the fridge for an indefinite amount of time … I think they thought I was joking.”
– Local discussing the types of hazardous materials the City will accept for Household Chemical Collection Day

Road to ruin

In case you haven’t heard, the trip in and out of Horse Gulch became infinitely more technical over the weekend. Although we’re sure someone has tried to ride it, we’d strongly advise against it.

Seems Horse Gulch was ground zero for Saturday night’s storm, which registered 2 inches of rain on the Telegraph’s official weather station (a neighbor with a rain gauge). The resulting torrent took it’s toll not only on the brand spankin’ new Horse Gulch Trailhead, but the Horse Gulch Road as well.

“The irony is that forever, we had a trail but no trailhead. Now we have a trailhead, but no trail,” Durango’s Assistant Director of Community Development Kevin Hall said Wednesday.

Hall walked the road earlier this week to assess the damage. And while he was reluctant to call it the “100 year flood” or even a 50, he did say the damage to the road – which technically can’t be called a road at this point – was massive.

“It’s like nothing I’ve seen in the 16 years I’ve been here,” he said.

For those who haven’t had the chance to survey the damage firsthand, the lower section of the road, between the quarry and the trailhead was basically eviscerated by a wall of water. In many places, the dirt road was stripped down to the bedrock, making it hard to tell where the creek stops and the road starts. Boulders make many parts impassable by bike, and maybe even a little tricky on foot. And for lovers of outdoor “natural sculpture,” there is what appears to be a marooned beaver dam of sticks and debris high-centered squarely in the middle of the road.

Hall said the City is still assessing its options when it comes to fixing the road, not to mention the rest of the devastation the storm wreaked on the area. “We’re evaluating the whole mix and trying to put the pieces together,” he said, adding that Goeglein Gulch Road, Santa Rita Park and parts of the Animas River Trail were also affected by the deluge. “We’ll re-establish the road at some point, but we can’t just go up there with a grader. Everyone’s just got to be patient.”

In the meantime, alternative accesses to Horse Gulch, such as the Ranch Road and the Squawker/Talker trails went unscathed. And most of the trails in Horse Gulch – and the Mountain Park  – seem to have weathered the deluge for the most part. However, obstacles do exist - and travelers should expect some surpise dismount zones, particularly after the hairpin on the Anasazi donwhill (the upper part actually seemed improved by the rain.) Overall, expect varying degrees of rooty, rutty, rocky and rough while the trails recover.

As for the massive debris ball, perhaps it will find a new home as an art installation at the new trailhead.


















In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows