I had Friday off work and decided I ought to drive up into the mountains before the fall colors were gone. I decided on Gentry Mountain just ’cause it was close to home and easy to access. We’d had a couple of days of rain, then a day of sunshine before I went. It was a cool and crisp 45° as I drove up the steep road from Mohrland. The scent of decaying aspen leaves was wonderful combined with the cold air. There were small spots of color lower in the canyon and they grew larger and more numerous as I ascended. There were mostly bright yellow and green aspens, but on the way to Wild Horse Point there were a few vibrant red colors. There wasn’t much to see from the end of the road at Wild Horse Point so I drove around McCadden Hollow to Trail Ridge. There was a lot of mud on the road as I descended into McCadden Hollow and I was almost certain I’d need 4WD to get back up. The view into Huntington Canyon from Trail Ridge was nice, as usual, punctuated by big patches of color far across the canyon on East Mountain. The Jeep surprised me on the way out by easily rolling through the mud in 2WD.
I expected but hadn’t yet seen burned areas from the Seeley Fire, though en route from the southern end of Gentry Mountain to the northern side I found some burned pine trees north of Fiddler’s Green. Beyond there, all along the main north-south Gentry Mountain Road were burned areas. Across Gentry Hollow I could see entire mountainsides blackened by the fire. I took the fork in the road leading to Gentry Ridge with the intention of driving to the very end of the road where I’d taken my ATV a couple of years earlier. I drove through the worst mud of the day where the road circles around the north end of Gentry Hollow, and again the Jeep slipped and slid through it with ease in 2WD. Two miles before the end of the road on Gentry Ridge I found a new barricade put there by the Forest Service. That effectively ended my exploration for the day, so I headed for Star Point and took the road down into Wattis, seeing more large swaths of charred pine trees along the way. It was quite a departure from my normal routine to simply drive around and not hike on this trip, but it was just what I needed this weekend.