Our man Jonathon Ramsey drove a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon on a 14-week, 14,000-mile journey across North America. Check out his first, second, third, and fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh installments. Note: I've received some comments from trail users upset about my mishap on Yankee Boy Basin, where I slid off the trail and left some tracks on the land. This was unintentional, and I certainly didn't want to disturb the area. It was a mistake. For clarification, I'd like to note that the trail was open at the time this occurred, in mid-October 2018, and other vehicles — even hikers — were on the Yankee Boy Basin road while I was up there. A local offroad outfitter with an understanding of the terrain pointed me to this trail. Once I found myself in the predicament, there was no other way out. Colorado is a beautiful state and I'm sorry I did some damage there. FARMINGTON, New Mexico – Looking for a Rubicon-testing trail in Colorado, I headed to Poughkeepsie Gulch in Ouray, on the Western Slope. Even though Wyoming's my favorite state, Colorado wins for nonstop heart-stopping views in the lower 48. The drive from Fairplay wandered north through Breckenridge, then above the ski town to cross the snow-covered Boreas Pass. In the valleys on the other side, the trail cut through evergreens in the Rocky Mountain National Forest, cattle grazing lands, lonesome Western ranges, a 360-degree horizon of distant peaks. I also found frequent rock-filled puddles, so thanks again Spencer and MudBudz for coaching on how not to kill a vehicle in a mere eight inches of water. I shacked up in Montrose, waking up early to hit Poughkeepsie Gulch. The woman in Ouray's information center looked at me like I'd appeared from the 19th century as she informed me, "Poughkeepsie's closed! Everything's closed! Done until next year!" She told me there was a little trail above town, so I shuffled to the Jeep to see what I could see. The little trail lead to Box Canyon Falls, but once on Camp Bird Road, I skipped the falls and kept climbing the mountainside, to Yankee Boy Basin. A thread of wet, rocky dirt ascended the hillside between Gilpin Peak and Teakettle Mountain, headed for Blue Lake Pass. Snow piled the higher I went. I passed a sign warning that only those with high-clearance 4WD should continue. I scoffed. I hit a switchback a half mile beyond the sign, the snow getting deeper. Then another switchback, after which the road got steeper and the snow got deeper again. I got out and walked. Someone had tried to come through recently, getting perhaps 50 yards up. I decided that if I couldn't make it to Blue Lake Pass, I was going to get further than the people who'd come before me. My first stupid move. I could barely move without sliding down the hill. If I'd stopped to listen after conjuring that brainstorm, I could have heard the trail whisper, "You're …
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