Colorado '04 Trip Overview
The 2004 edition of the Syncro Safari took place in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The event included Syncronauts from near and far, socializing, 4-wheeling, a few repairs, and even campfire sing- a-longs. I ( Jim Davis) for one really enjoyed this event.
Syncro Safari, Colorado ’04 was held in the beautiful San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado near the towns of Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride. The official days of the Safari were Sunday, August 9th, 2004 (the arrival day) through Saturday, August 14th (the departure day). The timing turned out to be great. We had spectacular blue skies during the days, zillions of stars at night, and no wind to speak of. However, only 3 weeks after we sumitted Imogene Pass it was covered by impassable (in a Syncro) snow.
In attendance were 9 Syncros plus honorable mention for Syncronauts Dan and Dannette Hays who left their Syncro in Juneau, flew to Denver and arrived at Camp Syncro in a rented Toyota Camry. Check out the Syncronauts page for more details! Syncronauts came from as far as North and South Carolina, San Diego, CA, and Lethbridge, Alberta to attend this event. You’ll just have to attend a Syncro Safari event yourself to see why people would travel so far for this.
One of my favorite things about Syncro Safaris is building friendships and connecting with other Syncronaut families. Having entire families at Safari really adds a special touch and all the Syncronaut kids hold a special place in my memories. Cultivating a family-friendly environment at Syncro Safari is an important tenet of planning a Safari event.
The group did 4-wheeling on three of our days there and summitted four high elevation passes on our journeys. Please see the separate descriptions on each of these passes. These were Engineer, Ophir, Imogene, and Cinnamon Passes.
The week’s itinerary was fairly relaxed, yet included some serious 4-wheel fun.
Sunday: Arrival day, review Monday’s plan and the schedule for the week.
Monday: 4-wheeling: Engineer Pass, 12,750 feet (3,910 M)
Tuesday: Individual recreation or relaxation day
Wednesday: 4-wheeling: Ophir Pass, 11,789 feet, Telluride, Imogene Pass, 13,114 feet (4,022M)
Thursday: Individual recreation or relaxation day
Friday: 4-wheeling: Cinnamon Pass, 12,260 feet, and side trip to American Basin
We made “Camp Syncro” at the scenic Molas Lake Campground. Our campsite was at 10,515 feet (3,225 meters) in elevation which made for freezing temperatures most nights, but once the sun came out, the temperatures rose quickly with day high temps in the 70’s (24 C).
The 4-wheeling days are described on separate web pages, so here are a few other things we did and saw in the area:
Several times coming in to Silverton or Durango we saw the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, although I don’t think anyone from our group took a ride on it. I think the views on our 4-wheeling days were spectacular enough without warranting a train ride to see pretty sights. Other attractions in the area were the Hot Springs in Ouray (the Davis and LaPlante groups went there at least), bicycling on high altitude alpine passes (Serge LaPlante), a little fishing in Molas Lake, and also dinking around in inflatable kayaks, visiting the Silveton Museum, repairing Syncros, and a nice dinner outdoors in Ouray after Ophir and Imogene Passes.
Participants at Syncro Safari, Colorado ’04 have said:
“Way better than Holister!” (and added that this was an understatement)
“We too wish we could have spent a lot more time with the group”
“I had a GREAT time at SS04.”
“The people were great, the campsite was great, the trails and terrain were
great, the views were great, the vehicles were great what more can I say...
it was great!”
Most participants completing the follow-up survey rated Syncro Safari, Colorado ’04 overall a 10 out of 10!
Expenses for the trip were just a split charge of the campground fees and amounted to $45 per family for the week and even included a bit of firewood for evening campfires.
Just the Facts:
Where: In the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado
When: August 8 th – 14 th, 2004
Who: 21 People, 9 Syncros, 2 dogs & 1 cat
What: A week of 4-wheeiling, camping & recreation with Syncronauts
Why: We’ve got Syncros, Colorado’s got trails!
Sunday, Aug 8 th – Arrive, make camp, make friends
Monday, Aug 9 th – Engineer Pass
Tuesday, Aug 10 th – Free Day
Wednesday, Aug 11 th – Ophir Pass & Imogene Pass
Thursday, Aug 12 – Free Day
Friday, Aug 13 th – Cinnamon Pass & American Basin
Saturday, Aug 14 th – Break camp, Say goodbyes, depart
The San Juans are widely renowned for their scenery and 4-wheeling opportunities and were picked for just this reason. All the routes were well established and we could get information about them from several guides. Looking through 4-wheeling magazines (like “ 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine”, http://www.4wdandsportutility.com) that focus on trails and using your 4WD vehicle, one can easily find numerous articles featuring this area and even the particular trails we enjoyed.
The area we experienced ranged from Ouray to the North, Durango to the south, Telluride to the West and only part way toward Lake City to the East. In this region there are at least dozens (perhaps even a hundred) of 4WD trails to be explored and our group was treated to four of the scenic “pass routes” during our three days of 4-wheeling. These were Engineer Pass (12,800 ft), Ophir Pass (11,789 ft), Imogene Pass (13,114 ft), and Cinnamon Pass (12,640 ft). Imogene Pass is reputed to be the second highest pass route in the USA.
The event included Syncronauts from Canada and as far away as the Carolinas and Alaska with 21 people, two dogs, one cat and nine Syncros in attendance. We split the week up with three 4-wheeling days on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and had “free days” on Tuesday and Thursday. To read more about the 4-wheeling days, see the “Trails” pages. On the free days we made repairs, did laundry, rode bikes, fished, paddled around in Lake Molas, visited the Silverton Mining Museum, and even took naps too!
The 4-wheeling we did at this event and at other Syncro Safaris could best be described as “mild to moderate family friendly 4-wheeling”. While we challenged ourselves a bit and saw our Syncros do some things that are exciting, we didn’t bash any fenders or break any axles. We’re not that “hard-core” and on this event we didn’t even have anyone get stuck! Almost disappointedly, there was not a single use of our “snatch straps, come-a-longs, or Hi-Lift jacks. “Family friendly even means that small children and even an infant have attended Syncro Safari and gone on the 4-wheeling trails. All the trails we did are “designated” 4-wheeling routes and we never go “cross country” cutting tracks where there is no road. To do this would violate the ecological values set for Syncro Safari events.
All the attendees at the event were a pleasure to be around. This was a repeat Safari for 10 of us, while 11 people made “ Colorado ‘04” their very first Syncro Safari. I really enjoyed the company of both the veterans and the newbies and I think our group “clicked” pretty well. While the first impression one might have upon hearing about a Syncro Safari event is about 4-wheeling and adventure, Syncro Safari is just as much about having people “connect” as we spend time together. The size of the group has a lot to do with this and I think about 10 Syncros is the upper limit. In ’98 and ’99 we had 6 Syncros and in 2000 we grew to 12 limited mainly by the size of our campsite. With 12 Syncros and over 30 people there were just too many people to connect very well as a group. We certainly had fun in 2000, but a big part of a Syncro Safari event, for me, is personal connection time with individuals and families. Personally, I felt I hardly got to know anyone at the 2000 event. Another part of this “connection” at Syncro Safari is the duration of the trip. Our 98 trip was a “5 day weekend” and the Safari’s since then (including Colorado ’04) have been a week long over all with 5 days of Safari. This provides enough time to get to know the people you’re with, to have meals with them, to check out their vans, to spend some relaxation or recreation time together, and this really contributes to the sense of “Syncro Community” at Safari.
The weather we had during our week in the San Juans was absolutely spectacular! While nights were cool (just below freezing) the days were warm and typically hit highs in the upper 70’s (F). Almost every day was clear with deep blue skies, a slight breeze, and a few puffy little “cotton-ball” clouds contrasted their bright white against the blue backdrop. Tuesday we got a few real clouds and sprinkles on and off for less than an hour – just long enough to throw a few things into the vans and then get them back out again.