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Sheep Valley - a Torrey Tale


Bob Palin

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Following my succesful ankle test to the Bentonite Hills I set out to explore an area of Fish Lake N.F. that I had briefly visited in the Tundra earlier this year.

 

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On the way up to Fish Lake I had to stop and take a picture of this hill.

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Parking, Utah style

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The road up from Johnson Reservoir to the higher country passes through some nice aspen forest before emerging onto the valley floor, clumps of aspen sit around looking pretty.

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Sheep Valley is only a few miles in, strange sheep they have here in Utah! The road leads on to Sheep Valley Reservoir but it turns out that it is privately owned and the owner doesn't want visitors to his mansion out there.

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An ATV trail leads round the private land so I followed it, pretty soon I had no idea where I was but the trail joined another and climbed, joined another, climbed, until suddenly I was looking out over a huge view to the north. Right in the middle of this picture you can just pick out I70, the white on the hills opposite is not snow, that's just how they are.

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A little further on I70 was more obvious, way down there...

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The problem with it being way down there was that I had to go that way (or turn around, shudder), the trails were steep and covered in loose rock.

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Occasionaly there was a welcome break

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but not for long, this was actually quite steep and difficult because it followed the fence line rather than a natural path down the mountain

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eventually I reached the freeway and its frontage road which is old US50, in some spots there was still pavement with a faint yellow line

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the road follows Salina Creek

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ob moto picture - strangely some non-bikers think I have too many bikes in my pictures, I don't get it.

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the old road tunneled through the rock where the freeway makes broad sweeping turns through massive cuts

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the roof of the tunnel looked a bit dodgy

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After about 20 miles on the frontage road I reached Goosebury Road which leads back up into the high country, if I had realised where I was I would have turned the other way and gone to UT72, Goosebury Road is a wide paved monstrosity followed by a wide gravel monstrosity which leads - nowhere.

 

Finally off the "access" part of the road the scenery picks up again

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more "sheep" grazing

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quite a fence, now I know where a lot of the aspen went

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I wonder if it was built as a snow fence since there is another regular fence right next to it

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detail of the corners, whole trees just laid down together

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from here it was a simple ride along the rest of the Goosebury-Seven Mile road back to Fish Lake, I took one side trip to Cold Springs which revealed a lot more side roads that need exploring

 

The route in detail, I started at the bottom and went anti-clockwise. I'm not sure of my exact route down to the freeway, I couldn't find the trails on my topo maps.

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Overview of the route

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now, two days later, it's quite likely that the whole high area I rode on is covered with snow, I wasn't really finished up there for this year!

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As desperately as I want to leave California, permanently, you make the idea of UT so appealing!!!

 

Hmmm, retirement is only 15 years and 350 days away!!!! eek.gifdopeslap.gif

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some of those fence lines were work for people in and shortly after the depression and have been there since the 30's and 40's. my grandfather built some fence like that around the corner from fish lake on boobie hole mountain just off the hancock road. I don't recall the pay for building the fences but I do recall it was dirt cheap for the government to pay the workers. life was hard in those days.

 

nice trip report. makes me want to go down and play in the dirt!

 

Garry

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I enjoy your brief ride tales/pix, Bob. What a great treat to live up that way. I'll be you really miss San Diego.
Thanks David, the only thing I miss about San Diego is the Sunday breakfasts and rides with BMWCOSD, I didn't know Jamie & Leslie very well while I lived there or I would certainly miss visiting them too (and my other new SD based friends of course).

How is it that, in an area with few main roads, you always come up with a new ride? Your exploring seems infinite. And infinitely enjoyable to us!
I'm only just getting started, this area is riddled with great dirt routes in every direction. Before I hurt my ankle I had planned on riding somewhere new every second day and after the Torrey gather I shall do that until the weather turns, if it hasn't already!
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