Bear Lake Shake Run – Sept 2015

Sept. 12, 2015

The plan was simple enough; meet at one of three staging areas, be at Curtis Creek by 10:00 AM, two hours to ride to Garden City for lunch and a raspberry shake, a two hour ride back, and be home for dinner by 6:00 PM.

Lynn and Lewis arrived early at Ross’s house; they rode over Trapper’s Loop and waited for us in Huntsville. We (me, Jamie, Jason, and Phillip) planned to be ready to ride from the Monte Cristo snowmobile staging area by 9:30 so we could be at Curtis Creek by 10:00. We finally set off at about 10:15, so we were already 45 minutes behind schedule.

But it was a beautiful day and all seemed well as we rode up Hwy 39 through Monte Cristo. The aspen leaves were already turning yellow, so it was going to be a spectacular ride.

Back in 2012 we rode from Garden City to Monte Cristo in 3.5 hours. For some reason (age perhaps?), I remember it only taking 1.5 hours. So our plan was faulty from the start.

Purple=pavement, green=easy, blue=intermediate, red=advanced

Purple=pavement, green=easy, blue=intermediate, red=advanced

Autumn leaves along Hwy 39

We started down the Curtis Creek road (#5) and found that the road conditions were not as good as our previous ride. There was a lot of loose dust and silt, making the road more slippery and it was very difficult to see at times.

Curtis Creek Road (#5)

Rather than take “easy” dirt roads all the way, we wanted to spice things up a bit by taking some of the intermediate side trails along the way. We ventured off onto trail #43 which is ridden by a lot of ATVs. The trail was very dusty and had sections with loose rocks. It wasn’t overly difficult, but it was slower going than the main road.

Trail #43

Lewis on Trail #43

At one point we took a wrong turn. The trail turned to a narrow ATV trail down a steep mountain. The dirt was loose, and those on the larger bikes kept sliding. We rode for about ½ mile down this steep, narrow trail only to find that it was a dead-end. So, we turned around and rode back up. Going up was more fun than going down. This took at least 45 minutes, so now we are 1.5 hours behind schedule (not including the 2 hour error in my time estimate).

The steep dead-end trail

Back on #5 we were able to pick up our pace a little bit, but it was still slower than last time due to the road conditions. Lynn took a couple of spills in the loose gravel and bent one of his cargo boxes. It took another 15-20 minutes to fix that, so now we are almost two hours behind schedule and everyone is starting to get hungry.

Lewis on #43

Lynn’s bent cargo box

Jamie enjoying the scenery as she rides

From #5 we turned onto #50 and planned on taking a shortcut to #51. Unfortunately the shortcut was on private property – so, we had to take the longer way around on #52 and then part of #3. Road #3 had some pockets of extremely deep silt. If you were following too closely behind someone, you would have a total brown-out and not be able to see anything. Lynn took another spill here and broke his clutch. Now we are over two hours behind schedule.

We slowed down the pace some since Lynn was tire and losing his confidence. Later he learned that his front tire was going flat, so it wouldn’t hold traction on corners.

Trail #51 (Kearl Pond Road) is a really fun ride through some open meadows and wooded forests. This was my favorite part back in 2012.

Kearl Pond Road (#51)

Did I mention that it was dusty?

This trail drops out in Temple Canyon, which we rode down to Hwy 30, and rode in to Garden City. We finally arrived at La Beau’s just before 3:00 PM – everyone was very tired and hungry. We enjoyed a nice break, a raspberry shake, and a burger.

Phillip approaching Hwy 30

Lunch at last!

After lunch, Lynn and Lewis decided to take the highway back home (which is where he learned that his tire was flat). The rest of us rode up Hwy 89 to the pass heading towards Logan.

From the pass we headed south on #3, which was in great shape and allowed us to cruise at a good speed. We turned west on #2, then south on an ATV trail #53. The first part of #53 was quite rocky – it wasn’t too difficult, but it was late in the day to be dealing with a rough and bumpy ride. The middle section was quite nice, but very, very dusty.

Rocks on #53

The “cream filling”

Ross enjoying the view

The last part of #53 (or #033 according to one sign) was steep and eroded with loose rocks. I suspect #54 would have been a better choice.

Steep, rocky descent

Jamie staying out of the rut

Great views from an eroded trail

Elk Valley Guard Station

After getting safely off #53 we buzzed along #3 to Hardware Ranch, and then took the Ant Flat Road back to our car.

Beaver dams along the way

Hardware Ranch

Ant Flat Road

We arrived back at the car at about 7:00 PM with just enough daylight left to load the trailer and start for home.

According to my GPS, we rode a total of 133 miles (the GPS is usually a little low), had an average riding speed of 14.8 mph, and a maximum speed of 61 mph. It was a fun trip, but the loose conditions made it more stressful than anticipated, so we were very tired and ready to head home long before we arrived back at the car. Next time we will plan better…

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North Rim of the Grand Canyon – Sept 2015

Sept. 8-10, 2015


Panorama of Bright Angel Point

Kim and I decided to drive down to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We left home the day after Labor Day. It is roughly a six hour drive from SLC to the North Rim, but much of it is fairly scenic.

When you arrive at Jacob Lake, you turn south on Hwy 67 and drive roughly 45 miles to the North Rim. We were surprised at how thick and beautiful the forest was. It was a very pleasant drive and there wasn’t very much traffic.

We arrived mid-afternoon and explored the lookout points around the Grand Canyon Lodge near Bright Angel Point. It had rained earlier in the day, so the skies were fairly clear.

Bright Angel Point

Late afternoon shot from the Lodge

Bright Angel Point

Grand Canyon Lodge

Kim on the balcony of the Lodge

We checked into our cabin and made reservations for dinner. We were surprised to learn that we were now on Pacific Standard Time.

Dinner was quite expensive, and as usual, expensive restaurants don’t really suit. But we had a pleasant evening enjoying the surroundings and the staff was very helpful.

Our cabin was quite a disappointment. It is smaller on the inside than on the outside. The room kind of reminded us of our cabin on the cruise ship – you could pass out in the shower and not fall down.

Our cabin (#17)

Some of the more expensive cabins have a porch with rocking chairs and a view of the canyon. Our cabin was wedged in between several others, with no view at all. The cabin was very dark, making it difficult to read as we passed the evening away. But worst of all was the bed – it was the most uncomfortable motel bed I have every slept on (or tried to sleep on).

We brought our own breakfast so we wouldn’t have to pay expensive restaurant rates again, and checked out as quickly as we could. We took a few morning photographs and then took the scenic drive out to Cape Royal and Point Imperial.

Morning shot from the Lodge

Morning shot

View from Cape Royal

The drive out to Cape Royal was very nice. It might be stressful in a big vehicle or with heavy traffic, but we only had one car that just about side swiped us. This would be a fun ride on a motorcycle.

The views from Cape Royal and Point Imperial were nice, but not as spectacular as Bright Angel Point.  The views might be better in the afternoon when you are not looking towards the sun.

The temperature was absolutely perfect, so we enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch at Point Imperial.

Jacob Lake

After lunch we exited the park and made our way to Jacob Lake. We stopped at the fire lookout tower not far from the junction. Kim didn’t want to climb up due to her failing knees, but I thought I would give it a go. I think I made it about 1/3 of the way up when my fear of heights got the better of me. I wasn’t even to the top of the trees, but it was high enough for me. Going up was actually pretty easy, but those steps seem really narrow when coming back down.

Fire lookout tower near Jacob Lake

We also drove out to see Jacob Lake. It is more of a pond than a lake.

Jacob Lake

We checked into our cabin (#A). This cabin was much less expensive than the one at the North Rim, and it was much, much nicer. It had a lot more room and a much more comfortable bed.

Our cabin (#A) at Jacob Lake

The food at Jacob Lake was about half the price of the Grand Canyon, and twice as good. I think that was the best bacon cheeseburger I have had in a long time.

We spent most of the evening sitting on the porch reading books. After dark we went to a photography workshop put on by Matt Rich, who sells spectacular photos of the Grand Canyon and surrounding area. His family owns and operates Jacob Lake.

Glen Canyon Dam

The next morning we checked out early and drove Hwy 89A along the Vermilion Cliffs. The morning light and haze limited our visibility, but it was a relaxing drive.

Vermilion Cliffs

We stopped at Lee’s Ferry and watched the river guides rig their boats for their upcoming trip down the canyon. The dories were very colorful and the rafts were huge!

Boats at Lee’s Ferry


We then stopped at Navajo Bridge, and then the visitor’s center at Glen Canyon Dam. Kim and I recently read “The Emerald Mile”, so it was interesting to visit the dam that was the focus of much of the book.

Glen Canyon Dam

On our way home, I received a call from my dirt bike mechanic informing me that my bike was fixed and ready to ride. That made my day! It had been in the shop for six weeks – causing me to miss most of the summer mountain riding season. That put a nice highlight on our three-day scenic vacation of the Grand Canyon.


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Fairy Forest – Sept 2015

Sept. 7, 2015

Some time ago Kim learned of a children’s wonderland in the Uinta Mountains. The “Fairy Forest” or “Fairy Land” is 17 miles from Kamas along the Mirror Lake Highway. We arrived shortly after 10:00 AM on Labor Day and were surprised to be the first ones in the parking area. An hour later, the parking area was full and there were cars parked along both sides of the highway.

This is a great place to take your young children or grandchildren. The trail to the fairly land is fairly short and easy, with the exception of one rocky crossing of a dry (usually) stream bed.

An easy walking trail

One rocky dray stream bed crossing

There is a short, steep climb as you approach the welcome sign. From here there are small paths all over through the trees and piles of rocks. There are tiny fairy villages all over the place – many more than we expected.

Welcome to Fairy Land

You can just explore the area, as we did, or you can bring your own paints and decorations and create your own custom village. There are millions of rocks you can paint to build your display. We were surprised at the variety as well as the quality of some of the displays. Here are a few examples.

A world of wonder

Fairy displays come in all forms

The joy of discovery

Fairy lands everywhere

Some are very detailed and colorful

Painted bird houses


Provo River Falls

After we finished exploring the fairy land, we drove a little further up the highway to visit the Provo River Falls. There was not much water in the stream, but the falls were still very beautiful and worth a visit. We took the opportunity to take some family photographs with the lovely backdrop.

Provo River Falls

Kim and Dee

One of the lower falls



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Sawmill Hollow and Packard Canyon – July 2015

July 25, 2015

Now it was Jamie’s turn to enjoy (hopefully) some single track. Out plan was to enjoy a mixture of pavement, easy dirt roads, and easy and intermediate single track. Things don’t always go according to plan.

GPS track

GPS track

We parked at a pull-out part way up Diamond Fork Canyon Road and rode the pavement up to Sawmill Hollow. We stopped briefly at Three Forks to find the trailhead for Cottonwood Creek, which leads up to Second Water. We verified that there is no room for vehicles with a trailer.

Diamond Fork Canyon

The ride up to Sawmill was very pleasant. The road is paved, but it is a small and twisty road. You could definitely smell the sulfur from the nearby hot springs.

Sawmill Hollow trailhead

A few months ago I rode the single track at Sawmill Hollow both directions. I felt that it was easier riding up than down, so we thought we would give it a try. Our goal was to reach Packard Canyon, which is a fun and easy single track that I was sure Jamie would like.

The first part of Sawmill Hollow is very nice as the trail works its way up a small valley. But then you come to the first semi-rocky and steep climb. Jamie almost made it up, but stalled her bike and began rolling backwards down the hill. Luckily she was able to lean the bike into the hill and stop rather than slide to the downhill side.

I parked my bike and helped her walk the bike back down. I asked if she wanted to turn back, but she was willing to press on if I would ride her bike up this section. At my weight it was a challenge to get up the hill on her 250. It doesn’t have nearly the power that my 350 does. I then learned that she had the map switch set to “mild”, which really tames down the bike. I suspect she may have made the climb if she had it set to “wild”, and I think it would have been much easier for me.

The first steep climb

Most of the trail is pretty nice, but it does have a fair number of really steep climbs, exposed tree roots, and gulley crossings. At each obstacle I asked if she wanted to turn back, but she was always game to press on.

Flowing single track

I think she only got stuck on one step-up tree root (in the photo). I coached her a bit on how to rebuild momentum and gain traction. After a few attempts she made it up fine. I think I got stuck twice, so Jamie did really well.

Stuck on a tree root

Some of the climbs are quite long, but for the most part the long ones aren’t very technical. With her map switch set to “wild” she made all of the rest of the climbs without problem.

Another steep climb

More tree roots

Once we got to the top of Sawmill the trail follows the ridgeline towards Hobble Creek Canyon. This section of trail has a mixture of easy flowing single track through the meadows, short rocky stretches, and tight twisting turns through oak brush. There are also a few more steep climbs to make.

Open meadows

And there are a few steep and loose descents.

Steep descents

Great views

In the more open areas there are great views of the mountains and Utah Valley.

Jamie enjoying the view

Packard Canyon has a fork in the trail. On my last visit, I rode up and down the western leg. It was really nice except for one semi-rocky stretch. Ross rode the eastern leg and thought it was a nicer trail.

So, we decided to go down the eastern trail. I think this trail is not ridden as much as the western one. The western one has a trail marker, whereas the eastern trail does not. In fact, if I didn’t have a waypoint in my GPS, we likely would have missed the turnoff to this trail.

The trail starts off with a very steep descent. The dirt was loose and dry, so it was difficult to control our speed and not start into a skid. We both made it down okay and there were no obstacles along the way, so it really wasn’t as bad as we thought it might be.

Starting down Packard Canyon

At the bottom of the steep section the trail goes through an overgrown meadow. It was difficult to see the trail and some of the weeds were over Jamie’s head. The trail was narrow, but we didn’t find any rocks or logs hiding the weeds, so it was a fun ride.

The trail is very overgrown

The trail finally opened up a bit and made for an enjoyable ride.

Some of the weeds were over Jamie’s head

But then the trail vanished in one of those terraced meadows. There were faint tracks going off in different directions, but it was not clear where the real trail went. I went in front to try and find it. I finally found a trail and started following it and called for Jamie to follow. My trail turned out to be a cow trail that led to a water retention pond. Jamie thought she was on the same trail as me, but she actually found the real trail. We eventually joined back up and continued on our way.

Packard Canyon

Beyond this point the Packard Canyon trail was really fun. As hoped, Jamie really enjoyed it. I hope she felt it was worth the dues she paid to get up Sawmill so we could enjoy this ride.

We eventually made it to the Hobble Creek Road and rode up to the east and dropped back over into Diamond Fork Canyon. We stopped for lunch near the Diamond Fork Guard Station. After lunch we rode back down the pavement towards the car.

We also found the staging area for the famous Monk’s Hollow ATV trail. I have wondered about this trail for years, so we decided to check it out. We rode the first few miles of the trail to get the sense of it. It is a nice ATV trail so we want to come back with my wife so she can enjoy the ride.

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Center Trail – July 2015

July 24, 2015

A few years ago Jamie and Jason had a bad experience on some narrow single track trails with a lot of steep side hill exposure. I am trying to help them learn that single track can be fun, so I planned some rides that would hopefully be a good experience for them.

They were not able to go riding the same day, so I planned two outings. I decided to take Jason on some segments of Center Trail (#009) in Diamond Fork Canyon. These are some of my favorite trails. I planned a route that skipped the hardest sections, but included the easy and intermediate sections.

Jason hadn’t ridden single track in over two years, so he was a little rusty. He picked it up quickly and set a pretty quick pace right off the bat. Bob Dawson was able to join us. He elected to ride sweep, so he didn’t get in much of the video.

By skipping the harder sections, we had time to ride the northern most segment of Center Trail, which I had never ridden before. It took longer than expected, so we ended up taking the main roads back to the car to be home for our family 24th of July BBQ.

Here is our GPS track – just over a 50 mile loop, about half of which was single track.

50 mile loop

50 mile loop

We parked at the Unicorn staging area where a dirt road leaves Ray’s Valley Road and heads over to Strawberry Reservoir. Being a holiday, I was surprised that we were the only ones in the staging area. In fact, we saw very few people all day.

The southern end of Center trail starts about 5.5 miles from Unicorn along the dirt road. This is near the crossing of First Water drainage. The following map shows more detail of the southern end of our loop. Purple routes are paved, green are easy, blue intermediate, red advanced, and black is extreme.

The southern half of the loop

The southern half of the loop

The southern leg is by far the easiest segment of Center Trail. We let Jason lead, and he took off at a good clip. It was a bit of a challenge to stay up with him as I was filming. We rode the entire leg non-stop, taking roughly 7 minutes.

The easy part of Center Trail

Fast cruising

In my opinion, the segment between Second Water and Third Water Ridge is the hardest section – especially riding south-to-north. So, we skipped that section and took Strawberry Ridge to a dirt road going down Third Water Ridge.

Third Water Ridge

Most of the trail from Third Water Ridge to Fifth Water is really nice, but there are a few rocky stretches and one pretty long and steep downhill. Jason was riding very cautiously on the downhills, but seemed very comfortable on the flat and uphill sections. He dabbed his feet a few times on the downhills, but he never experienced any significant difficulty.

Center Trail heading north

Beautiful meadows

Many years ago my oldest son and I accidentally discovered the Fifth Water trail (#015) and it has always been one of my favorite trails. I hadn’t ridden up this trail in quite some time, so we decided to ride up to the top of Horse Creek on Strawberry Ridge and enjoy the view overlooking Strawberry Reservoir.

Jason on Strawberry Ridge

After a brief rest, we rode down Fifth Water Ridge (#014) back to Center Trail and continued north to Sixth Water.

The northern half of the loop

The northern half of the loop

More great single track

We decided to ride the northern-most leg of Center Trail which none of us had ridden before. I attempted it once, but was turned back by a beaver pond that flooded the trail.

The entrance to the northern segment

Since this was a new trail to us, Bob took the lead so he could scope it out. Shortly after passing through the entrance gate, you come to the same beaver pond that turned me back years ago, only now there are a couple of sink holes in the trail. Bob thought he could ride through the first one, but sunk in deeper than expected. Jason and I helped him get his bike through, then turned back and took the alternate route.

Rather than follow the main trail straight forward, take a left turn immediately after passing through the gate. This leads to a steep hill climb, and then a descent on the other side, rejoining the main trail after the beaver pond.

Beaver pond

Shortly after passing the beaver pond you come to another rocky hill climb. If either of these first two climbs tests your skill limit, turn back now – the next two hill climbs are even harder, with much larger boulders.

Rocky hill climbs

Once you pay your dues on these rocky sections, the trail is really fun and well worth the effort. Most of it is fairly smooth and flowing through small valleys. There are a few sections with some side hill exposure, but nothing too intimidating.

There are a few sections with some side hill exposure

We stopped for lunch under some large cottonwood trees, and then finished up the single track. It was getting late when we finished, so we took dirt and paved roads back to the car, arriving at the car one minute behind our target time. We loaded up and headed home for a nice BBQ with the family. It was a great day with beautiful weather, great scenery, and really fun trails.

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Snake River – July 2015

July 20-22, 2015

Our family planned a three-day trip to enjoy the rapids on the Snake River through Alpine Canyon in Wyoming. The water was fairly low (~4460 cfs), so there were only a few rapids with large waves, but even a low water rafting trip is better than no rafting trip.

We decided to go mid-week to avoid the weekend crowd. We left home early Monday morning and got chased by a rain storm all the way to Star Valley, Wyoming. The temperature was quite chilly, so we decided to camp at Alpine Campground near the shores of Palisades Reservoir rather than deal with the colder temperatures up in the canyon. This also provided a safer campsite for the grandchildren.

Relaxing around camp

We arrived at camp later than planned and the weather was marginal, so we decided to hang out at camp rather than do a chilly run on the river that evening.

The girls loved playing in Jamie’s hammock

Dinner time

Jamie is becoming an expert at building camp fires

The weather warmed up nicely on Tuesday so we were able to enjoy two runs. We started the first run at the Elbow put-in about 2.5 miles upriver from the more popular West Table put-in. We let Sophie and Aspen float through this mellow 2.5 mile stretch and then the adults continued on for the main run.

Sophie and Aspen are ready to go

Approaching West Table

The best rapids at this flow are Double D, Big Kahuna, and Rope. On our first run we hit all three of the large waves perfectly, but unfortunately I left the helmet camera in the car. I did get video of the afternoon run and our Wednesday morning run, but we didn’t hit any of the waves quite square on.

Double D

Approaching Kahuna


Rope Rapid

After rolling up the raft, we headed for home at about 4:00 PM on Wednesday – just before a big storm front hit. As we drove through Alpine the wind was really blowing hard, with lots of dust in the air. On the drive home we passed through four such storm fronts and had lots of wind, lightning, and pouring rain. We got home fairly late, so we spent much of the day on Thursday drying out the tents and putting all of our gear away. It was a short trip and took a lot of work, but it was fun to spend time with the family and enjoy some time on the river.

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Duchesne Ridge Adventure Ride – July 2015

July 10-11, 2015 Last year, for my first over-night adventure ride, I spent two nights camping in the Uinta Mountains. I wanted Jamie and Jason to enjoy a similar experience, but we only had time for two days of riding and one night of camping. I decided to explore the area around Duchesne Ridge since I have never been in that area before. The scenery turned out to be spectacular!

Beautiful mountain scenery

We spent a few evenings prepping our bikes and loading our luggage. On Friday morning, we were ready to depart.

Ready to ride

The plan was to leave from home (in Sandy), go up American Fork Canyon, take Main Canyon from Wallsburg to Daniel’s Summit and stop for gas and lunch, then on to the West Fork of the Duchesne River. Our original plan was to camp along the North Fork of the Duchesne, but we got behind schedule and didn’t make it that far. That turned out to be a good thing – I doubt we would have found a place to camp along the North Fork on a Friday evening. The plan for Saturday was to cut through Soapstone Basin on our way to Wolf Creek Pass. Because we were behind schedule we decided to skip the Soapstone section and just ride the highway to the pass. From the pass we rode along the Duchesne Ridge, dropped down to Mill Hollow Reservoir, then worked our way to Heber, stopped for lunch in Midway, then returned home via Guardsman’s Pass and Big Cottonwood Canyon. We had a good mixture of paved road, easy dirt road, and somewhat rougher Jeep roads. We even threw in a little bit of single track along the way. We encountered rain and had to take a break for about 45 minutes while a lightning storm passed by. We covered about 235 miles over the course of two days.

Our GPS track

Our GPS track

In general I don’t like riding on pavement on a small dirt bike – especially with heavy traffic. I therefore planned our route to stay off the main roads as much as possible. We worked our way south by taking the Dimple Dell road, then over Traverse Mountain to Highland, and then up American Fork Canyon.

American Fork Canyon

American Fork Canyon is fairly steep with a lot of switchbacks and turns, so it is perfect for a motorcycle. But to add to the excitement, we rode two sections of my favorite single track just to see what it was like with a fully loaded bike. These are some of the easiest single track trails in American Fork Canyon, so we didn’t have any problem, but we found that having a heavier bike certainly took some of the fun out of the ride.

Single track

Weaving through the brush

We then rode down to Cascade Springs and took the dirt road to Charleston. The road was in good repair this year – last time I was here it had severe wash boards. We took a short jaunt down the highway along Deer Creek Reservoir, and then turned east towards the small town of Wallsburg. This is where the rain started.

Rain in Wallsburg

The rain was a little annoying, but the scary thing was all of the lightning in the mountains – right where we were heading. So, we decided to seek shelter and found a bench under an overhang in the Wallsburg LDS Girl’s Camp (which was unoccupied).

Waiting out the storm

We let the storm front – and the lightning – pass us by, and then decided to press on and see how muddy Main Canyon would be. Main Canyon turned out to be quite rocky, with somewhat sandy soil, so the rain didn’t pose a problem.

Still raining in Main Canyon

There is one hill climb with bowling ball sized rocks that were a little slippery due to the rain. Jamie and I made it up fine, but Jason took a spill.

The rockiest section of Main Canyon (and our trip)

We arrived at Daniel’s Summit Lodge at about 3:00 PM. We bought gas (expensive) and had a wonderful, but late, lunch.

A late lunch at Daniel’s Summit

When we came out from lunch, the sun was shining and it looked like we might have some good weather going forward.

Closeup of the mountain trails

Closeup of the mountain trails

A short ways down the highway from the summit is a dirt road (#143) that heads over towards Currant Creek Reservoir. This road is somewhat rocky and the soil isn’t as sandy as Main Canyon. Luckily the mud wasn’t a problem. We continued east on #92, then turned north on #82 and #83, which leads to Mill Hollow.

Beautiful country


Scenic overlook

We turned east on trail #50, which follows the West Fork of the Duchesne River. I was surprised that the trail was rockier and rougher than I expected, since I was under the impression that this was a popular ride for those with large adventure bikes. With our smaller bikes the ride was quite enjoyable, and the scenery was great.

Starting down the West Fork of the Duchesne River

We decided to ride until about 6:00 PM, and then find a place to camp. Most of the good campsites were taken, but we finally found a site with a fire ring that was unoccupied. It turns out that this was probably the very last available campsite within an hour of riding.


The campsite wasn’t the best – but it would do. The only semi-flat ground was on the dead-end road – but that meant you ended up sleeping in the tire trough. We collected a bunch of firewood from downed Aspen trees, and then spent about 45 minutes trying to start a fire so we could warm up our pre-cooked tin foil dinners. Even with two Eagle Scouts in the group we could not get a fire going. We need to add a few essentials to our packing list! I did, however, have a small backpacking stove, so we were able to convert our foil dinners to beef stew, so we didn’t go to bed hungry. We even topped it off with freeze dried Crème Brûlée. It rained again during the night, so our tents were nice and wet in the morning. Rather than wait for them to dry, we packed up and pressed on. Shortly after leaving camp we came to a small reservoir. Beyond that point the road was much smoother and wider and there were far fewer campsites. But the scenery continued to amaze.

West Fork

After passing the Moon Ranch we arrived at Highway 35. We rode east, then north to scope out the North Fork Road. This road was paved about half way, then dirt. It was a very scenic ride.

North Fork Road

We returned to the highway and rode up to Wolf Creek Pass. After a short break at the pass, we took road #91 along the Duchesne Ridge. I planned on stopping for a snack while we enjoyed the view, but there was a cold wind blowing and we wanted to get off the mountain before an afternoon storm hit.

Mud along Duchesne Ridge

This was a fun ride, but there were numerous mud holes along the way. Some of them were much deeper than they looked. Luckily no one had trouble getting through.

Mud and meadows

Great views

The temperature warmed up as we dropped in elevation on our way to Mill Hollow. I hadn’t been there since 7th grade science camp many, many years ago. It didn’t look familiar at all. The parking area was extremely full, so we opted to press on.

Mill Hollow Reservoir

A few miles further down the road is an old guard station that is all boarded up. There was a nice fire pit with log benches, so we enjoyed our snack there.

Snack time at the guard station

After our break we took trail #122 up to trail #60. Trail #122 was somewhat rocky, but not too difficult on small bikes.

Trail #122 is somewhat rocky

Trail #60 was a blast! It was mostly smooth dirt that twisted through the pines. Frequent mud puddles added to the pleasure as we wove past them. This was the most enjoyable dirt road of the trip.

Fast cruising on trail #060

Trail #96 was also really fun. Our plan was to take trail #310 west, and then drop down into Heber. We quickly found that #310 is private property, so we had to take the pavement down to town. But that wasn’t all bad – this road was really fun on a bike. It was very smooth and wove through the trees and various cabin properties.

A fun ride down the pavement

We stopped in Midway for gas and another late lunch. We each got a nice hamburger and milk shake – which really hit the spot.

Lunch in Midway

Just as we were finishing our lunch a gust of wind blew my bike over – and just like dominoes, my bike knocked Jason’s over, which in turn knocked Jamie’s bike over. The bikes didn’t sustain much damage, but all three of our helmets did. The temperature really dropped as we climbed towards Guardsman’s Pass, and it began to rain once again. Luckily it was a small storm and quickly blew over. We arrived at home with just enough time to unload and wash our bikes before dinner. It was a great trip and a great introduction to moto-camping for Jason. We learned a few lesson and will go better prepared next time. Jamie also learned that the KTM 250 lacks the power of the KTM 350. She did fine except on steep climbs on the pavement. The bike just didn’t have the power to maintain speed in 6th gear. That will soon be remedied with a few minor mods. Until next time…

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