Silt A-6 Trips
Day Seven: Monday Sept 13 , 1999
We studied the Civil Air Patrol info I had and noted that a Navy A-6 Intruder had crashed not too far from here in 1979 and that the CAP info list had very precise coordinates (degrees, minutes, seconds). This suggested that it was a good location.
So we studied the map and set out to follow TR 2093 to a bigger forest road to carry us to the vicinity of the A-6 coordinates. About 4 miles and 1.5 hours) down the trail we found some great mudholes to crawl thru which needed 4WD and locking differentials set to avoid slippage (and videotaping to prove it). Then, after a big meadow we came to numerous trees blown down blocking the road. A gap had been recently chainsawed thru the trees but the gap was only ATV/snowmobile width.
I took a walk up the road to see if the trees were few enough that we could profitably just hitch up a tow strap to the trees and realign them along the road with the truck. No such luck. The blowdown was extensive and we were blocked.
So, back to Haystack Gate, past Ski Sunlight and into Glenwood Springs we went. We contacted a Forest Service employee along the road to ask him about land access to the sections the A-6 seem to be on. He suggested we see the BLM office in West Glenwood Springs for more info.
After refueling in Glenwood and getting the address from the phone book, we went to the BLM office and asked the lady at the desk about land access. She was extremely helpful and friendly and sold us a newer version of the White River NFS map as well as the current BLM usage map.
She didn't know about any airplane wrecks though. While we were there, several of her colleagues looked out the window and admired the Unimog. The idea of a couple of guys out seeing the countryside in a funny old truck made them smile. (at least I think that's what they were grinning about....or maybe they were grinning at us!)
We left there with maps and headed for New Castle, sticking to the frontage road (US 6) when possible. We waved to 2 German Army cargo mogs, Mogbert's cousins, parked for sale in a guy's yard as we went by.
At New Castle we went south on County Rd 312 into the Garfield Creek State Wildlife area and started uphill. It was a long, long, warm climb at 30 kph on the narrow roads with coolant temperature around 88C.
As we reached the proper area to start looking for a side road upon which the A-6 coordinates lay we had a hard time finding the road. We drove up and down there several times until we finally figured to walk across the creek and look. Upon looking we found a disused trail following a creek uphill that seemed to turn into the remnants of a logging road. We parked and rigged up for a short hike with water, camera and hiking stick.
After an hour of slow careful walking we were on top of the coordinates (by GPS) with no sign of wreckage. (typical) But we DID see a bull elk in the trees, heard another bugling and so we froze in place in the middle of the meadow. After awhile, we'd seen 13 elk at ranges from about 50' to 100 yds from us including a cow with 2 calves who eyeballed us VERY carefully for a long time before deciding we weren't a problem. After about an hour of this, the wind shifted and they smelled us and ran away. Cool!
We circled the meadow finding no airplane parts and then returned to the truck, drove down the road to find a camp spot and settled in for the night.
After sunset the sky was extremely clear and with no moon the stars were exceptional. It was a 1 bag night due to lower altitude.
Day Eight: Tuesday Sept 14
At 0830 we went back to hike up to the wreck coordinates again and then to seach the valley sides. We enjoyed the cool sunny morning as we returned to the meadow and then spread out to see what we could find. I eased right and found a hunter's treestand (unoccupied) and then started working my way up the hillside thru the scrub oak. Dad eased left and found the remains of a very primitive road and climbed it. While we were out of sight we stayed in contact with the Talkabouts. I reached the ridge crest and started walking the ridgecrest following cow/deer/horse trails. Dad climbed more slowly but eventually gained the crest without finding any airplane parts. We stopped in the shade of a scrub oak for lunch and then descended back to the meadow.
At the meadow we found the small aspen that the bull elk had been scraping the night before.
So, having no success with this wreck, we returned to the truck and hit the road. We eased downhill to Silt then headed north on Colo 13 thru Rio Blanco to Meeker. The pull up the hill to the summit at Rio Blanco was quite a drag. It was 4th gear much of the way. Fortunately there wasn't much traffic to be held up by our slow speed.
Last Modified: 1/1/2008