Crooked Creek Reservoir, CO
Returning home from our first camping trip with our new 4WD Tiger CX in early May 2002, we decided to explore the backcountry north of Aspen, CO in White River National Forest. The plan was to turn off Colo. Hwy. 62 at Basalt and go east on Frying Pan Road past Ruedi Reservoir to FR 400, then drive up and over Crooked Creek Pass to Eagle, CO and I-70. The winter of 2002 had been unusually dry and spring was shaping up to be the same. FR 400 was dry as a bone as we ascended to 9,800 feet. We were within a mile of the pass and 5 miles from the paved road to Eagle when we encountered a long stretch of impassable snow, even with 4WD. The road was narrow, steep and hanging on the side of the mountain. We backed down a quarter-mile then maneuvered little Tigie II around with a series of small "bootlegger" turns. It was nearly dark by the time we were headed back down FR 400 with no halfway level turnouts in sight. Then we found this closed access road to Crooked Creek Reservoir and it become our overnight refuge. The next day, we had to backtrack to Basalt, then Carbondale and finally Glenwood Springs before we could continue east on I-70 to home. Things were a bit tense for awhile on that narrow, shelf road in the dark but with morning came the unveiling of spectacular mountain views that made our adventure worthwhile.