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Circleville to Panguitch and Back

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On Friday, 14 August and immediately after ending the work day, my youngest son (Nick, age 17) and I departed for Big Rock Candy Mountain in central Utah.

I had that very morning reserved a room at the BRCM Motel; a place I will likely not stay again. We had an outstanding supper at Hoovers (me: 18 oz Prime Rib, Nick: Burger w/Hoover fries).

While sitting outside the motel enjoying a cigar, I approach a large group a few rooms over and we began discussing trails and riding options. It would seem at least one member of their group recognized me as he had my Facebook profile photo up on his phone.

The following morning, we departed at 0730 to enjoy a quiet breakfast at Butch Cassidys in Circleville. We got there at exactly 0800 when the establishment opened. The waitress, a very nice lady with a thick New York accent went above and beyond, giving me two maps for the Markagunt and Panguitch Loop areas. Score! The drive into Circleville was  spectacular, with the sun just coming up over the mountains. With nobody on HWY89, I pulled to the side to take a few photos:

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After concluding breakfast, we went straight up the mountain via the Paiute 01, destination: Panguitch!

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Trails covered were as follows:

Paiute 01 --> Paiute 88 South --> Paiute 67 --> Paiute 68 West --> Markagunt trail system South --> cross HWY20 --> Markagunt 02 Trail East --> Unknown trails South and into Panguitch --> Casto Canyon --> Fremont 01 --> Fremont 02 --> Horse Valley/Canyon trail --> Circleville and back to the truck.

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Total mileage for the loop was just under 150 miles!

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Within just seconds of coming off the Markagunt trail system and hitting asphalt into Panguitch, the sky opened up with rain, lightning & thunder. Our original plan was to fuel up and head into Casto Canyon to make camp (tent) there. Instead, we rolled across the street to "Church's Blue Pine Motel". On the outside, it looked sketchy, but to our delight, the rooms (we had 3 bed, 2 room + bathroom) was totally awesome and clean. It was now near 5pm and time for supper. Usually we'd go to the Cowboy smoke/steak house, but this time we walked next door to Foy's Country Corner restaurant. Nick was brave (or stupid) and ordered Teriyaki stir fry, while I just got a turkey sandwich.

Across the street, we saw the movie theater / ice cream store. Watch a movie while eating Ice Cream. Unfortunately, they only had two movies and neither was appealing, so we opted for ice cream alone.

After a fine cigar sitting outside the Motel room, we watched the sky light up with thunder, lightning and rain. We watched the tourists run about taking photos of virtually everything on Main street.

The following morning (Sunday), we decided to depart by around 0800. Not a cloud in the sky, the day was going to be perfect!

We ran main street / HWY89 to the Casto Canyon trailhead/turn-off and hit the dirt.

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Not too far into Casto Canyon, we decided to stop and make breakfast. I broke out my backpacking stove, old canteen cup and our favorite breakfast stuff + some awesome instant Filipino coffee.

20150816_084649.jpgThe rising sun and the reflection against the red/orange Hoodo's was breaktaking!

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Slightly more than halfway through, I let Nick take point. I'm thinking he thought it was a race, he tore up the canyon so fast. At one point, he almost got his machine sideways:


At the 2:56 mark, you can see Nick almost get sideways!

Sadly, Casto Canyon is only ~5 miles long. It is interesting to note that to enter, you must go through a super small 50" gate, but to exit at the North end, you have a ~60 inch or so wide gate. I'm wondering how many have entered from the North, only to find they can't exit the south side.

Onto the Fremont trail we continued. With the sky clear and cloudless, the scenery was just amazing.

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Somewhere along the trail, we encountered a slightly steep, loose gravel section that required me to tow Nick up. I tossed the winch cable underneath the machine, hooked up, put in 4WD/Low gear and up we went..

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What a fantastic weekend to share with my youngest son, Nick. It's looking favorable I'll do this trip again in late September when its a bit cooler out.

Garmin tracks for this trip found here:


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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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:

3+ Weeks on the trails

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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:

5Mile-to-Eureka-via-BlackRock.gdb

Koosharem-to-Richfield.gdb

Kanosh-to-Marysvale.gdb

05 Oct 2012-Jacob City-Soldier Creek Ride.gdb

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Koosharem-Marysvale-Riding

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

Barney Lake trail

 

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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.

 

PST65

 

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).

 

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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.

 

Kanosh-to-Marysvale

 

The PST97 "Al Gay" trail and Paiute 01 were our primary destination trails, and neither disappointed.

 

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Sam Stowe

 

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.

 

The Snake Charmer trail @ Five Mile Pass

 

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.

 

Jacob City Loop

 

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.

 

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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.

 

Mill Canyon

 

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.

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Spot-Marysvale-to-Panguitch


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.


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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.




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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.




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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.


 

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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.


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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!




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Turkey Hunt - 2012

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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.


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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!


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A few photos from Marysvale & Fillmore:

 

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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!

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Fillmore and 5th wheel saga..

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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!

Brothers Ride 1

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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).

BroRide1-Map

Garmin tracks and Google KML found here:

Panguitch_to_Marysvale.gdb

 spot_messages.kml

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.

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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.

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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)


Somewhere en route, my youngest brother (who was in the middle) was no longer visible. Seems he had "popped off" the ATV and rolled down a small hill and my older brother had just passed him by. We all had two-way radios, so made contact, determined what happened, cleaned him up and continued on our way.

 

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Shortly after the "pop-off" event, my oldest brother pulled up next to me while taking a break and I noticed a tire had gone flat. Apparently, he had cut several gashes in the sidewall of his front/right tire. I set out to plug the leaks and fill the tire with SLIME. To our surprise, it all HELD!

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6 or 7 plugs later and we were back on the trail.

Prior to reaching Circleville, we decided to teach my youngest brother how to shoot. He had informed us that morning that he had never fired a handgun. Out came my trusting Walther P99 9mm and a few magazines of ammo and he was zeroed in. He was an quick learner!

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After finally arriving at Circleville and finding the RV Park open, we refueled, grabbed cold soda's and proceed up the Paiute 01 switchbacks.  We left the Panguitch KOA at around 0900 and it was now 2:30pm.

I warned my brothers to beware all the fast-moving machines after we arrived at the top of the mountain (we went from ~5000' elevation to about ~10000' elevation on that single trail).

The views, wildlife and trees were phenomenal. Temperatures dropped from ~85F to about 75F in that 5000' elevation change.

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After another 1.5 hours of riding, we finally arrived at Delano Peak. A high point that sits just under 12000' elevation.

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Part of ride required that we follow the Paiute 01 toward Max Reid. En route, there's one little hill climb that's always been problematic for 2WD machines. We quickly found out that my youngest brother couldn't make the hill climb. I was equipped and ready for the challenge:


A mandatory stop before making camp was Hoovers. Just off US HWY89 between Big Rock Candy Mountain, Joseph and Marysvale. We arrived at around 6pm and each enjoyed a great dinner. I had the 18 ounce prime rib. There's nothing like coming in after 100 miles of dirt riding and enjoying a fine dinner.

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Comparing our sun-burns.

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We concluded dinner just after 8pm and by that time, the sun was mostly set in the canyon. After some brief discussion, we decided we'd take an easier trail (Paiute 22) to I-70 and follow the pavement ( a legal ATV trail) to Castlerock Campground. We arrive at the campground in pitch dark just after 9pm.

From our headlights, we could only find one spot open.. the CAMP HOSTS spot. They were set to arrive the following morning. Our fingers were crossed that they wouldn't arrive in the night and run over our tents.

Fortunately, they didn't and by 8am, we were again back on the trail. MRE's, two hot cups of Pilipino coffee and we were rolling.

My goal was to not back-track, but instead to catch a trail to the East of Beaver. Unfortunately, the track would have required us to go far out of our way and fuel was a concern. We back tracked..

The old Joe Lott (now Max Reid) is a favorite section of trail for everybody that rides the Paiute 01 between I-70 and Hoovers. Although I've now ridden this short trail at least 50 times, it never fails to impress. We started at the lower gate and worked our way up.

Originally, I was intending to volunteer for USFS trail work in the Marysvale/Richfield area over the 9th of July weekend. Instead, a good friend of mine was in need of companionship, so I offered to meet him at 5 Mile Pass for a ride to Eureka (and back).

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.

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Thumbnail image for IMAG0142.jpgBill 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.

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IMAG0139.jpgBurgers 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.

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On June 16-18th, my 13 year old son and I departed South Jordan en route to Marysvale. In tow, we had our massive 42' 5th wheel, two quads and my mountain bike. We were intent on participating in the Take Back Utah event at Lizzie and Charlies RV park.

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.

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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).

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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!

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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!).

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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.

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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!
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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:
Fillmore-To-Beaver.gdb

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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.

 

Rather than my normal route through Meadow and Kanosh, we decided to head out via Chalk Creek, exploring many side trails along the way. Water levels in the creek were moderate.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.


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