Taming Kelly Flats

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Today, the Colorado Hummer Club planned an event at Kelly Flats. I have done this trail on my ATV before and it was pretty challenging. The big ruts and steep vertical climbs are pretty tough. I took my wife here and she asked that we go somewhere easier. So nothing better than to try it in my truck!

We met at the trailhead at about 10 AM. All the H1 guys started to air down their tires by the turn of a knob. I had to get out and do mine one by one the old fashioned way but it works all the same.

We headed up through the entrance. Whenever my wife asks which trail Kelly Flats is I always say “the one with the hard entrance”. The rock climb starts right away. Over the first set of ruts, my running boards were touching a bit. Oops, I had meant to take those off.

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When we got to the first flat stopping spot, I told everyone that I probably shouldn’t go further because I don’t feel like buying new running boards on Monday. They promptly suggested that we remove them and store them inside of the truck. I was hesitant because I figured it would be just as fun to ride with somebody else so I could take pictures. “But don’t you want to drive your truck up THAT?”, as they pointed to the big hill ahead. “Yes”, I said. “Then let’s get them off!” So between the group we found the right tools and pulled the boards off. Dave noted it took us longer to actually stow the boards than it did to remove them. We were off! Oh wait, Jeremy has to drive through the mud puddle. Its kind of a rule with him. Any mud must be driven through. It should become law.

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Heading up Heart Attack Hill, we encountered our first obstacle. Bob and Dave got out and directed us all up and through it. I was using my brake too much and it was turning off the traction control. Once I got that figured out, this one was a lot easier to cross.

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Here is Sean taking the crossing you saw Jeremy on in the last picture. He stopped to pose for a picture right in the middle — right, Sean? 🙂

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Once over that, its up the big section of the hill. Its a pretty steep grade — the kind that is a pain to walk up. Most of us went to the left, but Dave drove right up the right side and made it look really easy. When you are going up this thing, all you can see out your front windshield is sky and hood.

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The last driver makes it up the hill. Success!

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The notable big obstacle on this trail is called The Chutes. It is an optional obstacle because you can drive around it. We stopped to admire it. Jeremy was thinking about doing it but decided not to when we showed him that his truck was too wide.

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So we stood around for a while and talked about the line you would have to take up through this thing. Would anybody crazy show up and go through this so we could watch?

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Introducing Mike Finnessy. Mike shows up in a new Jeep with only 3,000 miles on it. He has 2 buddies with him. And they all want to see Mike do this. At the top of the hill we have about a 1/2 dozen Hummers with winches and we offer to help recover him if he doesn’t make it. With the buddies and Hummer guys looking on, Mike walks the trail a few times and then says, “I will do it.” He is going to do it! Let’s stay and watch…something “interesting” might happen.

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So Mike sets up and starts working it in there. The first big turn is the issue. Once he gets by that, you can drive right up it. The Jeep isn’t that wide so its fits — you can’t open your doors while in the shoot, but it fits.

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After a good 30 minutes of working the truck through the turn, Mike made it! He came up out of the chute with a look that said, “I hope I didn’t piss my pants.” Amazingly enough, he did it with zero body damage. Not even a scratch that we could find. Great work, Mike! Its all because Mike is a Boilermaker.

Much of the rest of the trail is rolling through the woods. Here is Dave aka Mr. BlueHummer rolling along.

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You don’t get many pictures of your own truck with your camera. Odd how that works. I might get some from the other guys when we swap photos. Anyway, here was one that somebody took of me with my camera.

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Remember the rule?

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All done! At the end of the trailhead, Sean noted that he was going to remove the “H2 Recovery Vehicle” sticker from the back of his H1. Not necessary anymore after watching the H2 today. There are lots of things that all trucks can do. There are some things only a Hummer can do. And there are some things only a Jeep can do. Takes all types to make this fun…and it was!