12-Aug-2001 -- The previous attempt at this confluence tried to go cross-country from where the road crosses 105 West straight to the confluence. The maps indicated that the San Carlos Trail starts about a 1/4 of a mile from where the road crosses 105 west. We intended to park at the trailhead and hike to the point on the trail closest to the confluence. This point appeared to be on the south side of the Saint Charles River. We then planned to go cross-country to the confluence. Instead we did something completely different. We left the house around noon and headed south to the city of Pueblo. In Pueblo we turned southwest onto route 78. Route 78 turns into South Pine Drive when it starts to head up the foothills. After we crossed 105 west we kept a careful lookout for the trailhead. We turned off the road onto what we thought was the trail. In reality it was a 4-wheel drive road that led to the trail. We lurched along the road until we found a small meadow to park in. We started our hike from the meadow. Less then 200 feet from our parking spot we found what was obviously the real San Carlos Trail. The trail led us in what we thought was the correct direction. We soon came upon the official trailhead. This was marked by a pile of dirt attempting to stop the 4-wheel drive crowd. This was an abject failure as they simply drove around it. The trail seems to be a popular 4-wheel drive attraction. Within a few minutes the trail was completely blocked by a large brown Ford Suburban. We pushed our way through the scrub Oak to the other side of the vehicle. On the far side we found two men using the winch on the Suburban to extricate a thoroughly stuck Jeep from the side of the road. Soon after this was where things went wrong from our plans. The map shows the trail as crossing the St. Charles River to the west of the confluence. The obvious trail (on the ground) makes a turn to the east. This was the point where we lost the San Carlos Trail. We thought that we were still on the correct trail, but what we were actually following is not listed on the maps that we looked at. When we were at 0.38 miles from the confluence we decided to go cross-country since the trail was leading away from the confluence at this point. We had not crossed the St. Charles River as we expected. Within a few feet of leaving the trail the terrain went sharply down. We scrambled down the side of the very steep ravine leading to the St. Charles River. It took us about 45 minutes to go down about 1500 feet. As we approached the river GPS coverage was lost intermittenly. When we reached the river we were still about a 1/4 mile from the confluence. I crossed the river and headed upstream. Michelle stayed on the north side of the river. After about an 1/8 of a mile of heavy bush whacking I was stopped by the river widening out to touch both rock walls on the sides of the ravine. If I had a pair of hip-waders I could possibly have made it to within 100 meters of the confluence. According to the track log of my GPS I was 174 meters from the confluence when I couldn't go any further. I walked downstream to where Michelle was waiting and we headed back up the side of the ravine. The two guys with the stuck jeep were gone. It took us three hours from the time we left the truck until we got back to it. Things would have worked out better if we had stayed on the San Carlos Trail. It was a disappointing trip, but we feel that on our next attempt, if we are able to stay on the San Carlos Trail, that this will be much more conducive to successfully reaching the confluence.
Thanks to my brother David for making the map.