On Saturday, February 17, 35 rigs showed up to support military Veterans at the Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado’s snow run on Sevenmile trail in northern Colorado. The weather was sunny though windy, and thanks to good organization and communication from the Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado (WFTWofCO) crew all rigs completed the trail by day’s end.
No one anticipated that this event would be so well-attended… anyone who wheels knows that usually half the people who sign up actually show, so maybe 15 rigs were a sure-show, it was thought. But 35?! This just goes to show the growth that WFTWofCO has experienced, for a very good cause.
About Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado
Their primary mission is to utilize the off-roading community to reach out and build lasting relationships, provide support and to give back to the men and women that have served our great country and who have sacrificed for our great nation. WFTW of CO accomplishes this by taking wounded Veterans from any and all military conflicts on off-roading and camping adventures in the great state of Colorado. While doing this for our heroes they also hope to raise awareness to the issues that have fallen on these great men and women. (Source: Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado on the web)
The day began at Bullhide 4x4 in Fort Collins, who were nice enough to let us take over their whole parking lot. Here's just a small sampling of the rigs that rolled in:
The caravan to Ted’s Place gas station at Hwys. 287 & 14 was a loose one but everyone was made aware of the route beforehand, and we knew stoplights through Fort Collins would cause some separation. Given that it was a simple route, everyone made it to Ted’s Place to top off gas tanks and meet up with some wheelers from Wyoming.
Then we headed up Poudre Canyon to the trailhead, where everyone aired down.
WFTWofCO President John Walters was trail boss and broke some serious trail through snow that was in places knee-deep.
During the driver’s meeting at the trailhead John provided instructions to everyone and gave safety tips, such as always keep the rig in front and in back of us in sight, in case someone needed help. Wheeling in snowy and icy conditions can be difficult and safety was a priority. Additionally, he made sure everyone knew that 35 rigs on a trail is A LOT, and would result in delays and quite possibly a slow and long day. So, everyone knew in advance what they were getting into, though many of the off-roaders in attendance hadn’t run Sevenmile before and were in for a bit of a surprise at all the icy creek crossings.
There weren’t many who could make all the creek crossings without at least a little trouble so everyone was in good company. Tow straps, D-rings, and winch lines all made an appearance for much of the run. I myself had to winch back on the trail after sliding off the path and slightly downhill while pulling the Jeep behind me through some deep powder. (Truthfully though, I am always thankful for the excuse to use my winch!!)
Many of us wolfed down some lunch while standing around at a large section of the trail with many posing rocks…
… where a JL and a JK met for the first time!
Near the trail summit, portions of the road were blanketed with thick fluffy drifts, the trees were covered, and it was so beautiful! We had all hoped for snow when we headed out that morning and we got our wish! Luckier still was the rig (not in our group) that we found had slid off the trail and needed a little assistance… it’s a good thing our group happened by.
The group planned on an all-rig photo in the open area at the top but the wind was whipping at nearly 65 mph, it was cold, and there was a large delay as some rigs had to be pulled through deep snow by Bighorn Automotive’s beast of a Jeep with chains.
So, half the group headed down to finish the trail and air back up. The rest weren’t too far behind and everyone made it out safely, thanks to WFTWofCO Vice-President Ryan Morin acting as trail cleanup at the end of the line.
Maybe everyone just had cabin fever yesterday, or maybe they just wanted to play in the snow, but support for organizations like Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado is shown in numbers. The back country and fresh mountain air is a healing and bonding experience for Veterans… and everyone. Events like these give us all an opportunity to meet new friends, build camaraderie, learn and grow as off-roaders, and – of course – plan that next rig mod.
While I didn't get video footage of every single off-roader in attendance, here's a video of just a few highlights. Enjoy, and thanks for reading!
by Dawn Gallegos
Dawn Gallegos is the founding editor of the Chicks On The Rocks blog. When she's not working to fund her Jeep habit she's thinking up new ways to inspire others to explore the great outdoors.