May 17, 2014
Bob and I wanted to go riding, but we didn’t know where. The mountain single track trails are still snowed in, and the fun desert trails are getting too hot. I suggested we go ride the Cedar Hollow/Taylor Fork ATV trails near Kamas and Woodland, since it ranges in elevation from about 7000’ to 8500’. I hadn’t been there in over ten years, and Bob had never been.
It was still pretty chilly when we got there (about 47º), so we decided to go try and find the trailhead for the Woodland single track that we recently heard about. Bob did some Internet research and thought he knew where it was. He was right. We drove right to it.
The beginning of the trail looked fun and dry, so we decided to ride it as far as we could, and then head over to Cedar Hollow.
Woodland Single Track
Shortly after starting on the single track (at about 9:00 AM), we came to a junction in the trail. We took the left fork, trail #066. We made it a grand total of 1.2 miles before encountering deep snow. We hit snow at 7700’ elevation, which was much lower than expected.
So, we turned back and took the right fork, trail #067. After almost 2.5 hours of hard manual labor, we were once again blocked by snow, after going only 2 miles.
The trail was really fun, but we came across a lot of downed trees. I had my little folding saw with me, so we began taking turns clearing the trail. My saw works well on trees up to about 6” in diameter, and by working your way around the tree, you can cut branches up to about 10”.
We managed to cut about 10-12 trees, and move at least a dozen others. We eventually came across a tree that was about 18”-20” in diameter lying diagonally across the trail. When I first saw it, I thought our ride was over.
After studying the layout for a while, we figured that by clearing off the side branches and other dead-fall, we could sneak around the root ball and be back on the trail within about 5’.
Once we cleared the area I noticed that if we could pick up the top end of the tree we might be able to swing it completely off the trail – which we did.
So, we were back on the trail – for about 100 feet until we came to the next downed tree.
Our next major obstacle was a very rocky section covered in snow, with ice underneath the snow. He had exactly zero traction. After pushing and pulling to get Bob’s bike through, I was anxious to see if my TUbliss inserts with lower tire pressure would fare any better. Nope. Not a bit better.
The next ¼ mile or so was rockier than the earlier portions of the trail, and then we were stopped by very large banks of snow.
We were able to enjoy the ride back to the truck since this lower portion of the trail is now mostly clear of trees. At least it is clear of trees lying across the trail that you cannot ride over. But it is not clear of trees along the side of the trail.
You have to be careful when riding through tight trees so you don’t clip one with your handlebar. This can cause an immediate and potentially violent crash. Well, it turns out that a loan tree is just as dangerous.
There was a small (about 1.5” diameter) tree branch lying out into the trail. As I rode over it, it must have bounced up and hit my foot peg or something. This pulled me just slightly to the right, where the loan Aspen tree was waiting for me. I clipped my right handlebar on the tree, which slammed me back to the left, crashing in a small pile of rocks just off the trail. Once again, I was very glad to be wearing good knee guards and body armor. Even with the knee guards, I bruised my knee somewhat. But at least I got some more footage for my annual “blooper” video.
We covered a total of about 6.3 miles in about 3 hours. We were both extremely tired, and Bob was just about out of water (50 oz was not enough – even though it was a chilly morning).
We can’t wait for the snow to melt so we can try this trail again. The short section we were able to ride was extremely enjoyable.
After returning to the truck we loaded Bob’s bike in his truck and he followed me down the highway to the Cedar Hollow trailhead.
Cedar Hollow/Taylor Fork
Once Bob unloaded his bike, we headed up trail #301. This trail is really rocky. While riding it I couldn’t help but think that my family must have been really mad at me for taking them on this trail when they were young.
We then explored spurs #203 and #203A and found a nice scenic spot for lunch.
After a good lunch break we started down trail #332 towards Taylor Fork. This trail is quite steep and rocky – and guess what – covered in snow. I told Bob not to go down anything we couldn’t ride back up. After forging our way through several patches of snow, we came to a large patch that was more than we could handle. So, we had to turn around and ride back up through the patches of snow. Or to be more precise, we had to push and pull our bikes back up. Once again the snow had a nice slippery layer of ice underneath. We were totally spent by the time we got back to the top.
Having come this far, I wanted to go ride the loop at the end of trail #178. #178 was rockier and longer than I remembered, but the loop was really fun and helped rejuvenate us. Unfortunately, my helmet camera battery died just as we got to the fun loop.
It was getting late, so we headed back to the truck, taking the easier way down #202. We loaded up the truck and headed for home at about 4:30 PM.
This was perhaps the most strenuous day of riding I have ever experienced. We only covered 37 miles, but we moved and cut a lot of trees and manhandled our bikes multiple times throughout the day. But we both agreed it was a good day and we are anxious to explore more of that single track loop.