Recently in Camping Category
In about August 2014, I started planning a fall event in the San Rafael Swell. The plan was to stage at the end of the pavement near Temple Mountain. I posted an invite link on Facebook and invited many to participate.
As the week neared, the weather was looking to be perfect. Mid-70's and full sunshine were forecast for the entire weekend. It was going to be great.
I took that Thurs & Friday off and was on the road by early afternoon on Thursday. Traffic was mild and the trek south/east was uneventful, except for what I noticed on my speedometer. I truck has just clocked 111111 miles. It was an odd sight.
GPS Tracks for the weekend here: TempleMountain-Area.gdb
An interesting history of the mining in the area found here: SanRafaelOralHistoryReport4-16-2012.pdf
Upon arriving at the Temple Mountain area, I found my staging/camping location was already fairly full, but I did manage to carve out an area large enough for my rig and friends.
That Friday, I decided to pre-ride many sections that I thought could be technical. Behind the Reef and Little Wild Horse trails had a few technical rocky sections and I determined that we'd avoid the rock craw on Little Wild Horse.
100 miles ridden on Friday and only two sections that were somewhat technical. I mapped everything out with the GPS, plotted on the BLM / County map and prepared for Saturday's ride.
Saturday, the sky was clear and morning temps in the high 50's. Everyone donned their gear, with one heavy jacket in sight and off we went.
One of the many exciting discoveries had to be an accessible mine near Tomisch Butte. The mine seemed to cover the entire length and width of the mountain. We entered near the chute and would come out on another section of the mountain. Probably not advisable for us to have wandered through given it was a uranium mine..A few videos:
For the entire 2nd half of September and first half of October, I was fortunate enough to get in some camping, fishing, hiking and ATV'ing.
GPSr tracks found here:
I spent the first 7 days between Koosharem, Utah and Marysvale, Utah. My goal was to ride as many "new-to-me" trails as possible while in those areas, with an emphasis on filming and riding the much-touted Barney Lake trail.
The first four days were spent at the Koosharem RV park; a small park that can host approximately 10 RV's. I was quite surprised that I was able to get my massive rolling Marriot into their park.
Day 1, I found myself wanting to go fishing at Otter Creek reservoir. Sadly, the lake was at 50% of its normal water capacity, and I was able to drive my truck across a sand bar that placed me about where the middle of the lake used to be.
With the water as low as it was, I was unsuccessful, but I did still manage to net about a dozen crayfish and boiled them up for dinner that evening (along with a great steak!).
Day 2, and my friend Gary Elias (and wife) arrived to join me. After getting his camp setup, we thought we'd make the ~80 mile round trip to Otter Creek and back. Unfortunately, Gary's diabetes were acting up and we changed course, instead heading toward Monroe.
While leaving Monroe and heading back toward the trails, we saw a couple towing the most interesting camper (with their ATV) that I've ever seen.
Day 3, we decided that we'd make a run at the Barney Lake trail. This trail was known for being brutally steep, rock covered and for advanced riders; it really didn't seem to be any of those (to me), but did have a few decent technical sections.
My favorite trail though had to be the PST65 coming off Monroe Mountain and into the town of Monroe. This trail had tight switchbacks, some interesting terrain and a descent of over 7000' in elevation.
On Day 4, I said my goodbyes to Gary and his wife and departed for Marysvale. I had already phoned ahead and reserved a spot at Lizzie -n- Charlies RV park (easily my favorite RV park in central Utah).
From this location, I rode the Deer Creek 74 trail, the 606, Barney Lake (yet again) and the PST 65 (yet again).
After ~7 days, it was time to return home. Fortunately, for me, another friend contacted me and asked if I wanted to join him in riding from Kanosh to Marysvale (as a day trip). This ride is easily my annual favorite, so I gladly accepted and we departed for the Adelaide campground.
The PST97 "Al Gay" trail and Paiute 01 were our primary destination trails, and neither disappointed.
What a great time on the Paiute in September!
So, I'm back home, interviewing for new jobs and trying to find additional trails to ride. Again, the phone rings and my brother-in-law is wondering if I'd take him and his wife riding from Five Mile Pass to Eureka. Sure, I reply - so we head off to the Five Mile Pass area and enjoy a day of riding. Sadly, somewhere en route to / from Eureka, I managed to lose the keys to my truck. Fortunately, I have an awesome wife and she agreed to drive the 45 minutes to drop off my spare (and only remaining) set of keys.
A week or so passes and I again get invited to ride the Jacob City Loop (Ophir, Utah area) with a new friend. We stage on Mercur Canyon road and depart for my secret trail on the south side of Ophir Canyon.
Now, its almost mid-October and again I meet up with another new friend and we ride Little Moab to Eureka. We ride through (from East to West) Black Rock Canyon, then through Chilius Pass and into Eureka for lunch at the HWY6 Deli.
The best section of trail riding in this area is the Dry Lake, Mill Canyon trail. This trail is easily the most technical ride in the entire area.
So, its now the 12th of October and I'm prepping for 10 days in the San Rafael Swell, White Sands and Moab. That trip report will be posted later.
On 01 Sept 2012 - 03 Sept 2012 (over Labor Day weekend), I set out for Lizzie -n- Charlies RV Park in Marysvale, Utah.
GPSr tracks here: Marysvale-to-Panguitch-Loop.gdb
Our goal was to complete a full loop from Marysvale to Panguitch and back, staying overnight in Panguitch before returning back to Marysvale.
We departed Marysvale at 0930 Saturday morning, following the Paiute 02 trail until it connected to the Paiute 01 South. We climbed elevation until reaching about 11,600' near Delano Peak. The views were breath taking.
After bypassing the Beaver High Adventure Camp and Three Creeks, we started onto the Paiute 88 trail. This trail was a very narrow two-track surrounded on all sides by Aspen and Pine. As the kids soon discovered, the trail was also quite technical in sections, with tight switchbacks, loads of rocks and other obstacles.
The 88 trail seemed to last 50 miles, as it just went forever. Somewhere high above and West of Junction, East of Beaver, we finally connected to the Paiute 67 trail and continued out southbound journey.
Again, we continued southbound until reaching the 68 trail, which then took us out of the Paiute trail system and onto the Panguitch system. At this point, the trail was foreign and not on my GPSr tracks, so we relied on our compass to continue navigating us to the South and to the East.
Finally, at around 7pm, we could see in the distance Bryce Canyon and what looked to be Panguitch (albeit three mountains to our East).
We continued on. Butts were sore, kids (and I) were hungry and tired. At this point, we were about 90 miles into the days journey.
We pressed on and finally made it into the far South/West corner of Panguitch. We checked into the New Bryce Western Motel, cleaned up and walked over to the Cowboy Steakhouse. Steaks were awesome, but I forgot this place specializes in traditional smoked/BBQ and not in fire grilled steaks.
Day 2: We fuel up and start searching for a place to have breakfast. A local informs us that a truck stop 3 blocks away serves breakfast. We are the only customers. We eat, head back to the motel to pick up the last of our gear and head out.
With everyone being exausted after Day 1 and the 101 miles covered, we decide to skip Casto Canyon and instead, follow the Fremont 02 trail into Circleville. Most of the Fremont 02 is wide open roads, so our speeds were averaging 30-35 mph. We were making great time!
At Circleville, we turn East and catch the Paiute 01 and follow that North, stopping for a brief break just before crossing Kingston Canyon.
Again, the trail pretty much was wide open throttle until we again reached the junction of the 01 and 02 into Marysvale.
We arrived back at camp filthy, exhausted and glad to be back!
Again this year, Nick and I got Early season tags for Turkey. We decided we'd head out 2 days in advance of opening day to the same spot we hunted last year: Marysvale, Utah.
We setup camp at Lizzie & Charlies RV park, then took the dually out to scout for sign of Turkey. Sadly, for two days, we saw nothing. No prints, no feathers, no calls - nothing. We thought that perhaps the early Spring had caused the turkey to migrate elsewhere. We were undeterred. Come opening day, we still geared up and went out in the dawn's light. It was snowing pretty heavy, but we still climbed through the oak to try to call in any gobblers that may have been around. Nothing!
On day 2 of the hunt, one of the RV park employees told us he had spotted turkey less than 1/4 mile from camp. We loaded into the truck and found the turkey. After trying to determine where the toms & hens had come into town from, we were promptly informed that they were all domesticated turkey and belonged to a local farmer. Yikes!
A few photos from Marysvale & Fillmore:
We saw more deer and elk on our turkey hunt than we've seen EVER while on the mountain. I'm guessing that come the deer hunt, we'll probably only see turkey!
On Friday, October 21st (2011), we departed Salt Lake City for Fillmore. Our goal was to get in one more camping and ATV'ing adventure before the weather turned cold and snowy.
On the first Fillmore exit, we stopped to hit Carls Jr. for a quick lunch. Just as we parked, we noticed a guy on a golf cart inspecting every trailer that pulled into the lot. At first, we didn't think much of it.
A few minutes later, this guy was looking at my 5th wheel tires with much interest. He came over and told me that my tire tread was separating and that if I pulled my rig to the service station a few hundred feet away, his guys would gladly mount my spare. I pulled to the service station and was immediately told that all six of my 5th wheel tires were coming apart.
Initially, it looked very likely that I was in a very dangerous situation with my trailer. I was quoted $2100 for 6x Cooper "Provider" tires in 235/80 R16. I declined and we made the 2-3 mile tow to the Fillmore KOA.
Google was fired up and I researched Cooper tires. To my dismay, I learned that Cooper doesn't carry a brand called "Provider", nor did they carry my tire size. Clearly, these guys were pedaling Chinese knock-off tires at twice the price I could source replacements from Discount Tire/Sears/Walmart.
To compound matters, upon arriving at the KOA, we determined that the front electric motor for the levlling legs was not working. We had to manually crank to lower (and then raise) the legs. Additionally, the rear garage door was not sealing completely, allowing both sunlight and bugs to come through.
We settled in that Friday night and for dinner, drove the ~50 miles to Hoovers for another awesome meal.
The following morning (Saturday), we decided to sleep in a bit. Overnight temps were near freezing, so nobody was really inclined to get out into the cold morning air.
My 11am, we had the ATV's loaded and were ready to roll. Destination: Marysvale (just shy of 60 miles one-way across two mountain ranges (Pahvant & Tushar).
Our route would start at the far North/East corner of Fillmore via the Paiute 03 trail through Chalk Creek.
Somewhere near the middle of the Max Reid trail (Paiute 01), the Honda Rancher lost all brakes at one of the steepest sections of trail. My tactic: Get my ATV and my sons in front of the wife and have her just coast down using the two front ATV's at brakes. Success!
Hunters were everywhere in the woods. How they managed to spot a deer is amazing considering how close they all were to each other. Deer to hunter ratio had to be 100:1 (100 hunters for every deer).
We returned to camp after sun-down with temps in the 40-50F range.
That evening, we discussed the situation with the 5th wheel tires. I went out and inspected and determined the tires would be able to handle the 140 mile return trip home.
We departed early Sunday morning and didn't exceed 55mph the entire trip home. We arrived without incident. Seems to me that tire center in Fillmore has a pretty interesting (and unethical) racket: Scope out every trailer, spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), then when they hook somebody, they increase their tire prices by $600-800 over normal retail.
The quest for replacement tires is underway and the 5th wheel goes back to Motorsportsland for service on Friday. What an eventful weekend. It would be nice to have one outing with the 5th wheel not end with maintenance/repair issues!
Over Labor Day weekend (2011), both my brothers came into town. My oldest brother is retired Air Force, now IT Tech residing in Vacaville, CA. My youngest brother is a 7-8th grade Math teacher, residing in Olympia, WA. Although my oldest brother hunts and camps a bit, he and my youngest brother are still inexperienced ATV'ers.
My plan was to stage at the Panguitch KOA (south end of town), get the guys oriented with the machines on Day 1 (ride toward Bryce Canyon, etc.). On Day 2, our plan was to ATV tent/camp at Castlerock Campground, just off I-70 and West of Richfield (over 100 miles to the North).
Garmin tracks and Google KML found here:
Day 1: Staging at the KOA. We had hoped to come in Friday night, but the KOA owners were worried that our rig was so big that we'd take their trees and power lines down. Apparently through the night, they had friends at work clearing branches and making the campground accessible to our monster-5th wheel. I'm sure glad they did. It was still tight.
Day 1 went without issue. Both brothers proved they could handle the machines, not get lost or destroy anything. We retired back to the 5th wheel for the evening. Overnight, the temperatures dropped to the mid-30's. Far too cold to get up and turn-on the furnace. My brothers, now sleeping in the garage area (on two drop-down queen beds) were freezing and had no issues with telling me so the next morning. That morning, we got an updated map of the area and instructions from the KOA owners that temps overnight had been getting very cold. My youngest brother and I were the only two to have packed sweatshirts. My oldest brother started seeking out a source to purchase on (no success).
Off we went. Our first leg was to ride through the entire Casto/Lime-Kiln loop. After that, it was the Fremont 02 trail to Circleville.
As my older brother was staging this video, I had just had a collision (low-speed) with a tree. I pushed in the right headlight, bumper and frame. I was upset as evidenced in the second video below where I ram the gate and create new suspension issues that won't manifest for another ~80 miles. (upper A-arm bushing)
My youngest (Nick) and his friend (Kevin) thought it would be fun to make a camping trip out of it. That evening (Friday), we loaded the 5th wheel and prepped to head out first thing Saturday morning. I have NEVER camped at 5 Mile Pass in July. Normally, its just too hot and uncomfortable. This weekend, it was supposed to stay in the low-to-mid 80's.
After a few stops for necessities (Starbucks, Walmart, etc) we departed for 5 Mile Pass. We decided to stage on the extreme North/East corner. It took some work, but we got the trailer leveled and situated in less than 45 minutes.
Bill arrived and we took off to Eureka. Unfortunately, 30 minutes into the ride, Bill had a
change of mind and went back home. The boys and I continued our ~50 mile trek to Eureka.
Although temperatures were "supposed" to be mild, it was HOT out in the west desert. The hiking/cliff climbing at 3pm didn't help much with chafing, sweating or general discomfort, but we endured and made it to the top of our favorite cliff-climb.
Burgers in Eureka are phenomenal. If you ever have the chance to drive through, do stop at the East side of town and try a Miner-Burger.
We arrived back at camp just in time for the storm to hit. Within one hour, the sky went from cloudless to some awesome formations.
We arrived Wed. early afternoon (after a nice lunch at Hoovers), staged the RV (can't camp without Satellite TV, XBOX360, Air conditionining, 50amp power and ice cubes!) and called it a day.
On Thursday, we met with the TBU group and initially participated in the ride up to Bullion Falls and Monroe Mountain. After eating dirt & dust for a few miles, we (my son, myself and Gary Eli) decided to leave the group and seek out our own adventure. Our destination: Koosharem via the 53 and 33 Paiute trails (some of the most Black Diamond rated trails in the area).
Considering we've ridden this area in years past without issue, we went with our normal half-day gear (wet weather, lunch, drinks). Normally, Marysvale to Koosharem is a 4 hour round trip. This day, it turned out to be a 9am-midnight adventure.
Why was it adventure? Let me tell you our story:
The ride up the Paiute 01 and 02 can be done in a truck; That was our initial trail up the mountain. Upon reaching 7000' elevation, we started to encounter many trails blocked by either downed trees or a combination of massive snow drifts and downed trees. Our only available trails to Koosharem were the 53 and 33. Did I mention Black Diamond rated? (BD=Extremely difficult).
Gary was in a Razr SxS while my 13 year old was in a 2wd Honda Rancher.
Both trails were not easily accessed due to the amount of trees that had fallen over the trail. We spent a considerable amount of time cutting the trees back. I initially used my trusty handsaw (never leave without it) until Gary came clean that he brought a battery powered Sawz-All. What a relief!
About 1/2 way up the mountain, we encountered our first creek crossing. Was the creek ever moving and deep. After gauging depth, we determined that creek was 2-3'. Probably not safe to cross without either taking water into the intake or having a machine pushed-over on its side. I decided to toss my winch cable across, get across the creek via a fallen tree and hook up the winch cable.
Without fail, a few feet into the creek, I found a hole and the front-end of the quad sunk to the front-rack. Quick action on the winch and throttle popped me out before I ingested water into the machines intake.
Upon arrival on the other side, I reversed the winch process and connected to Nick's 2wd Honda. He clearly didn't want to ride it across, so I tried to pull it across with the winch without a passenger. The power of the creek tried to tip the ATV over, so I quickly jumped into the creek to stabilize the machine. Water was rushing over the top of the quad, so I had to react quickly by shutting the machine off (to minimize any damage to the motor). We got the Honda across and repeated the process with the massive Razr.
Other than fouled plugs, no harm or damage was sustained! (WHEW!).
This creek crossing process was repeated a few times while trying to make our way down the mountain.
Near the top (9800'), we encountered a trail junction: Monroe or Koosharem. The sun was going down and the trail we wanted to take was buried by a massive snow drift. Nick egged me on to try the snow-packed trail. I made it 30' into the snow drift before becoming high-centered and stuck. Gary decided he could get his machine in to assist, but also got stuck. Unfortunately, there was nothing close-by to winch to. After combining my 50' winch cable, my extra 50' nylon-coated winch cable, my 12' tow strap, Nicks 8' tow strap and a hand-winch from Gary, we were able to reach the sign post. Our fear was that we'd yank the sign out. We were grateful the USFS sunk and cemented those posts in well, because it got my machine free. In turn, I was able to winch Gary's Razr out. Another hour lost on the mountain.
By now, it was nearly 5pm. Where did those hours go? Hmm.. cutting down trees, playing in the snow.. they all added up.
Shortly after extracting ourselves from the snow, we noticed the sky was becoming increasingly black and overcast. Temperatures had dropped 30-40F and the wind was picking up.
By now, we were thinking about an exit strategy and abandoning our route to Koosharem. Unfortunately, all other routes except the Black Diamond rated 33 and 53 trails were not accessible. The safe play was to get closer to civilization. Down the mountain we continued.
We finally reached Koosharem at ~6pm. The gas station and Cafe' were still open. Gary (being diabetic) needed food in order for us to continue. As we dined on burgers and corn-dogs, the storm started raging outside. Winds were easily 60+ mph with raging rain. Temps continued to plummet.
I had no cell service, but Nick's iPhone4g had some ability to dial out. I phoned the wife and put her on standby and to start contacting Flat-bed tow truck companies in Richfield in the event we couldn't make the ~60 mile trek back to camp.
We made two night attempts back up the mountain in driving rain & wind. Unfortunately, our visibility was so low, we constantly missed the trail we needed to take. Back down to Koosharem we went. As luck should have it, the gas station owner was just closing, but allowed us inside while the tow truck arrived (ALWAYS have a PLAN B). By ~10pm, we were loaded up on the two truck and en route to Marysvale. By midnight we were unloaded and back at camp.
Quite an interesting day.. and I'd do it again without hesitation!
In early May 2010, my brother, youngest son (Nick) and his friend (Alex) all took off for Fillmore. We brought our rolling Marriott to stage at the Fillmore KOA.
Garmin tracks for this route:
The weather was moderate with temperatures in the high 50's and lower 70's. Our plan was to ride (and camp) from Fillmore to Beaver, stopping for food and fuel along the trail.
By the end of Day 1, we had already crossed I-70 and staged our camp just between the Paiute 01 and 02 trails at about 10,000' elevation. Unfortunately, a massive storm blew in soaking everything. Fortunately, our little camp was well prepared to last through the storm.
Before getting too far toward Marysvale, we stopped at our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant (Hoovers) and enjoyed an excellent meal.
Nick made a bet that he could finish an 1 pound slice of chocolate cake. Needless to say, we didn't allow him to complete that bet.
Off to Marysvale we went.
We awoke the next morning, broke camp and headed into Marysvale for food and fuel. Next stop was somewhere near Beaver and the lakes above the mountain. First though, it was a nice jaunt through Delano Peak and Big John Flat.
We found a few lakes about 15 miles south of Big John Flat and decided to make camp again. Fortunately, we had planned ahead and brought our fishing gear. Unfortunately, the fish weren't biting, so we just enjoyed the day.
For the return leg, we definitely wanted to hit the Max Reid and Paiute 76 trails. Toward the end of the 76 trail, we encountered a washed out section of trail and had to build it up with rocks to make it safely passable.
Moments after reinforcing the drop-off, another group approached from behind and we gladly helped them down the 4' drop-off - were they ever grateful!
Most of the way through the Max Reid trail, we stopped to climb my favorite spot. I went up first to stage a rope so the boys could have a safety line.
All in all, this was a fantastic way to spend 3-4 days with family! For Sept 2011, we're planning something similar, but in a new and interesting location near Casto Canyon.
Where is James King?
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