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Riding the Uintas - Day One


Bob Palin

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Last weekend the forecast for Torrey said highs in the low 90s, about as hot as it gets normally, so I decided to head north in search of cooler weather. I've been eying the Uinta Mountains for a couple of years now so that's where I headed, not wishing to rough it I decided on the KOA in Manila, about a mile from the Wyoming line and, importantly, with WiFi grin.gif

 

The red square is where I planned on riding, Torrey is just below center of the map where the red T is, about 280 miles from Manila

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Not exactly wilderness camp...

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Day 1

 

This map has the rides from Friday (red), Sunday (yellow) and Monday (blue) on it, it is about 15 miles across the width of the map. The mountains are the Uintas and it is the Ashley National Forest, Vernal is just south of the map with Flaming Gorge just to the east, Manila to the north.

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The ride started at the bottom right corner, there is a little hiker there but he's a bit hard to see. My plan was to follow the Outlaw Trail which was set up as a loop for ATVs and motorcycles, I had the brochure for it and was a bit concerned that the loop was marked "more difficult" and "most difficult". This was to be my first real dirt ride of the year, the Torrey XIII ride was really rather easy so didn't count in my book. There were lots of bug-out points if things got too tough so off I went clockwise round the red loop.

 

A trail ride doesn't start much prettier than this, but this wasn't actually my trail...

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The trail was easy to find from the road, it set off over a hill which revealed a nice panorama from the top

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and then descended into the trees

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There were a lot of dead trees, apparently the bark beetle has been busy in the area, fire suppression over the last century has led to lots of old rotting trees that are not resistant to the beetle and it has been able to launch an attack from that base.

 

The first mile and half of the Outlaw Trail were marked as "more difficult" but were really not very difficult at all

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After Big Lake the trail was marked "most difficult" but again it wasn't really that hard, or so I thought. As I made my way down the bottom red spur on the map the trail got narrower and deeper in the ravine until eventually it got wet

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I didn't have to traverse the entire length of this as the ATV riders had made a side trail off to the left, one big splash and I was out of it. The next obstacle was a steep sharp turn on some loose surface, something I'm not very good at. I got into the loose rocks half way up and stopped, then had to bulldog the bike up the rest of the way

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If it hadn't been the first hour I don't think I would have had any trouble with this (usual disclaimer about it not looking as steep in the picture as it actually was, please apply to all future failures!) That effort and some more rocky trail made me quite hot so I decided to stop for lunch - having got my traditional tardy start. Only problem was, lunch was still in the truck, oh well I had plenty of water in the CamelBak. Only a quarter mile on I met some ATV riders who had hiked down to see a large cave with a massive icicle in it, I would have liked to do that too but my motocross boots really don't lend themselves to hiking, next time. The ATV riders had just had lunch and without me even mentioning it offered me a sandwich and candy bar they had left over. I'm ashamed to say that we didn't even exchange names, they were from Vernal, Utah and Bethel, Alaska which is 400 miles west of Anchorage!

We chatted for a while and they told me that I had actually missed a turn for the Outlaw Trail, the trail I should have taken went straight up the side of the hill they said. There was no obvious way on from where we were except for a quite steep slope which some ATVs had obviously used so not wanting to turn back I decided to try that, mistake number one:

 

I went off the side of the slope about half way up and there was no way to get started again (story of my weekend)

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I hiked a ways up the trail but it was steep and loose for a long way so I decided not to try it again and to back track and find the Outlaw Trail

 

It did indeed go straight up the hill

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Given my lack of success and the fact that it appeared to be like this for quite a way I decided not to try it and take the road instead. Pity because from the top of this the trail was again marked just "more difficult" but the little man in my head was quite insistent that I shouldn't try it and I've made a deal with myself that when riding alone I'll listen to him at least some of the time.

 

Rather than heading south at the T in the road and picking up a "most difficult" section of the trail the little man persuaded me to take the road to Oak Park Reservoir (9280 ft) and join the "more difficult" part there.

 

Unfortunately the start of that section was across a spillway from the reservoir, the obvious path across had a huge hole of unknown depth in it with sharp rocks on either side and it didn't take the little man long to dispose of that idea.

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I walked all over the spillway trying to find a route, but in vain, I could have built myself a rocky road in one place but in the end decided to go around the lake and forgo the trail for this time.

 

The spillway from below

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and looking downstream

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the reservoir itself

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Heading further east I got some views of the high peaks in the Uintas, Utah's highest mountain, King's Peak at 13,528 feet is in this range but none of these are King's. I think they are probably Marsh Peak (12,060) on the left and its apparently unnamed sisters but I'm not certain.

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This was the furthest west I got, as you can see from the map I took a number of side trails to see what was up them, something I can never resist. Turning east I rejoined the Outlaw Trail further along, just before the Jeep Trail on the map.

 

The trail on the west side of the Jeep Trail made it's way through some very wet woodland, so wet that logs had been laid down to make a path

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I think I may have been the first person through this section this year as I had to re-build one section of the log road and later on came to a tree across the path that it wasn't possible to get under and there were no tracks round, I was able to easily go round it just to one side but nobody else had as far as I could tell.

 

I "took" several pictures of East Park Reservoir (9019 ft) which was quite scenic but was to discover later that my camera is acting up, on dirt rides I carry my Canon S70 Powershot which has been a great little camera but I think it may have been involved in a few too many "incidents" on the dirt bike (it got knocked into the Fremont River the first day I used it!). It seems to have developed a tendency to not extend the lens and then, though it feels as though it has taken a picture, it actually hasn't. I almost always use the viewfinder not the LCD and rarely check pictures as the LCD is hard to see in the sun so I didn't realize until later that I was missing shots. Of course once I knew I made sure so there are plenty of shots from the remainder of the weekend.

 

From the reservoir I decided against taking the "most difficult" section of the trail directly east from the top of the reservoir, it was getting late, I was tired and the ATV riders had warned me it was very tough. So I headed down the main road towards the truck, this road soon turned into a wide paved road - better than any road here at home in Wayne County! This of course was not a good thing so I had to dive off down a canyon which had a trail marked that came out right by the truck, it was really gorgeous, I wish I had pictures!

 

A great day on the CRF, 52 miles in about 6 hours, on the way back to Kamp I got to see several crummy views like this (Sheep Creek entering Flaming Gorge)

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Sweet, thumbsup.gif

 

We almost rode out flaming gorge last weekend, but dallied around too long to make a go of it. Of course we would have stayed on pavement. thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

 

Too bad about those crummy views.

 

Looking forward to the rest of your tale.

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russell_bynum

Excellent!

 

I'm really enjoying the dirt riding, though I did rather spectacularly join the "I've fallen off my dirt bike" club on Saturday. Twice. A steep hill climb with lots of loose rocks got me. On the way up, I ran out of momentum and traction at the same time, with an entertaining but futile rolling burnout before the bike basically toppled over. The hill was so steep I couldn't get my footing so I went over backwards. Picked the bike up, did a K-turn to get it pointed back down the hill like they taught us in dirt rider class, remounted and started riding back down. That didn't last too long before I lost the front and went flying over the bars and tumbling end-over-end down the hill with the bike right behind.

 

The cool part: No damage to me or the bike. I'm a little sore and the bike's got a few new scuffs, but definitely no big deal.

 

I think Lisa even managed to get a little bit of air under her tires on a short ride we took on Sunday. thumbsup.gif

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Aah, my neck of the woods. If only I knew you were coming here I would have been happy to take you on some "Killer" Uinta roads, but it looks like you had a great time and the pictures were very good.

Bruce

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Loose uphills are my nemesis, as you will see in the Rest Of The Story wink.gif I'm fine as long as they are straight but if I have to turn while going up, especially if I have a single track with rocks on each side, I have trouble. I don't try to ride down generally when I'm by myself in the middle of nowhere, don't want to risk either injury or a broken bike out there. I did actually ride down the one on day one because there was plenty of room, the one on day 4 was a real B&$#^%#d.

 

I need to find a suitable hill near home to practice on...

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Francois_Dumas

Now THAT's a good reason to won a pick-up !!! thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

 

Great tale and wonderful photos Bob. I don't think I would get Nina up there though, unless we walked...... dopeslap.gif

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So sorry you had to deal with such mundane scenery on your first dirt ride of the year. I enjoyed it anyway, though.

 

Oh yeah, for the nominal fee of a round trip ticket, I'll gladly coach you on dirt riding skills.

 

First class preferred, please. grin.gif

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Awesome pics. I keep saying some day I'm going to try this. Until then I'm going to have to keep living vicariously through your ride tales. thumbsup.gif

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Awesome pics. I keep saying some day I'm going to try this. Until then I'm going to have to keep living vicariously through your ride tales. thumbsup.gif

 

I'll +1 that. Always a pleasure to see your pics and read your ride tales!!

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StretchMark

Great stuff!

 

Doesn't it suck how the pictures never convey the true steepness. Maybe a clear protractor over the lens would do the trick.

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Doesn't it suck how the pictures never convey the true steepness. Maybe a clear protractor over the lens would do the trick.
Good idea, but since I didn't have one with me will you accept that all hills I got stuck were this steep:

 

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clap.gif

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Good pictures Bob.....Do not worry how the pictures portray the steepness of the trail....Here in Florida we get the idea considering the steepest thing we encounter is the neighbors garbage can as we back out onto the street dopeslap.gif

 

keep em coming!!!

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Really nice! Thanks for the pics!

 

I couldn't help but think though, what would have happened if you crashed and got hurt really bad? Was there someone with you?

 

 

 

ISYHTRAH

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I couldn't help but think though, what would have happened if you crashed and got hurt really bad? Was there someone with you?
I almost always ride alone, it's a risk I'm willing to take, unlike on the street I do wear ATGATT when riding in the dirt. I also ride more conservatively than the average dirt rider, that little man in my head gets some respect.
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grizzly660fan

Bob,

another nice ride tale and also nice pictures. isn't it amazing how many places there are to explore here in Utah? I LOVE IT!

 

anyway, I came across this picture and info recently, be careful there are bears and snakes where you are exploring.

 

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Utah Rattlesnake:

 

THEY GROW 'EM BIG IN Tooele County UTAH

 

This snake was recently found at the old Wendover Military Base in Wendover, Utah Tooele County.

 

A reminder that these creatures are actually out there and no matter what you believe, sometimes they should get not only prescriptive rights to be there but the full right of way!

 

9 feet, 1 inch - 97 lbs.

 

If you have to kill the snake utilize it!!

 

DEEP-FRIED RATTLESNAKE

 

1 medium-sized rattlesnake (3-4 lbs.), cut into steaks

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup cracker crumbs

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)

1 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

 

Mix dry ingredients. Whisk milk into beaten egg and use to dip snake steaks. Then coat them with dry ingredients. Fry, uncovered, in 400 degree oil until brown.

 

 

have fun on your adventure!

 

Garry

 

PS, I will be in Fish Lake area Friday - Sunday

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I could have gone all day without seeing that ugly

bas%&&^$$#d.

 

As General Custer said....The only good one is a dead one...

 

OK PITA lovers give me a hard time...You have that right...Just remember when you face this thing in the wild give it a kiss from Custer...... thumbsup.gif

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russell_bynum
Awesome pics. I keep saying some day I'm going to try this. Until then I'm going to have to keep living vicariously through your ride tales. thumbsup.gif

 

I'll +1 that. Always a pleasure to see your pics and read your ride tales!!

 

MotoVentures

 

$295 and they provide everything you need. Bike, gear, lunch, water, gatorade, and instruction.

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russell_bynum
Loose uphills are my nemesis, as you will see in the Rest Of The Story wink.gif I'm fine as long as they are straight but if I have to turn while going up, especially if I have a single track with rocks on each side, I have trouble. I don't try to ride down generally when I'm by myself in the middle of nowhere, don't want to risk either injury or a broken bike out there. I did actually ride down the one on day one because there was plenty of room, the one on day 4 was a real B&$#^%#d.

 

I need to find a suitable hill near home to practice on...

 

Same here. With my fall going up the hill on Saturday, if I had a set, I'd probably pin it over the good traction spots and use the momentum to carry me over the loose stuff. Of course, that means I'm going faster, and my brain tells me that means I crash at a higher speed....which would be bad. I really need the practice, too.

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

Nice ride Bob. Looking forward to the rest.

 

I've looked at your pictures of the spillway crossing. I think I found the path you were looking for. I attached a pic below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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lmao.gif

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MotoVentures

 

$295 and they provide everything you need. Bike, gear, lunch, water, gatorade, and instruction.

 

Thanks. I didn't know there was a class where I wouldn't need my own bike or gear. That sounds like a winner. Maybe a group bmwst.com day. grin.gif

 

BTW the Killer Knievel pic is too funny. Makes me think of the illfated leap over the grand canyon.

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russell_bynum
MotoVentures

 

$295 and they provide everything you need. Bike, gear, lunch, water, gatorade, and instruction.

 

Thanks. I didn't know there was a class where I wouldn't need my own bike or gear. That sounds like a winner. Maybe a group bmwst.com day. grin.gif

 

They're about an hour from us out in the hills. You're welcome to stay at our place if you want.

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russell_bynum

Let's not hijack Bob's thread. (I know...do as I say, not as I do. dopeslap.gif )

 

If someone wants to take point on this, go for it. Post something in the Ride Planning forum, and let's get it rolling.

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russell_bynum
I couldn't help but think though, what would have happened if you crashed and got hurt really bad? Was there someone with you?
I almost always ride alone, it's a risk I'm willing to take, unlike on the street I do wear ATGATT when riding in the dirt. I also ride more conservatively than the average dirt rider, that little man in my head gets some respect.

 

I have the same concerns. I'm starting to get Lisa out there with me, but she mostly stays on the easy fire roads so far. If I want to get out and really challenge myself, I go alone. With my bad shoulder, I'm very aware that if I fall and dislocate it again while out there in the boonies, I could be in deep doodoo. That definitely keeps me in check, but there's still the possibility of falling and getting hurt, or breaking the bike.

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Let's not hijack Bob's thread. (I know...do as I say, not as I do. dopeslap.gif )

 

If someone wants to take point on this, go for it. Post something in the Ride Planning forum, and let's get it rolling.

 

thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif Let's set something up!!

 

Great pics, Bob!!! wave.gif

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Now that's what I call a ride. Ever think about hosting others, my 450EXC would love those trails/roads. clap.gifclap.gif

 

Up hills are ??? My nemesis is down hill. Pucker factor has cause me to replace more than one seat cover. grin.gif

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Now that's what I call a ride. Ever think about hosting others, my 450EXC would love those trails/roads. clap.gifclap.gif
The problem with hosting a ride is how to deal with the different ability levels, I'm only just past the beginner stage myself (the CRF is my first dirt bike at age 51). We tried to have an easy dirt ride at the spring Torrey but in the end only the die hards and Jonathan made it all the way, 4 of about 20 that started. It's true that the weather was a factor in that, we had snow, hail, sleet, wind and lightning...
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All of you posting these types of tales and pictures are just torturing me in a good way to get a competent dual sport or a dirt bike. It is just inevitable that I am going to buy one. Every dirt bike guy says that the best views are not seen from paved roads and I fully believe this. Bob thanks for the tale and great pictures as always. Now where are the want ads for dirt bikes?

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Dances_With_Wiener_Dogs
I'm only just past the beginner stage myself (the CRF is my first dirt bike at age 51).
Likewise, my KTM is my first honest dirt bike at the age of 40. Ignoring my RTGS experience, I've never been on knobby tires before now. Come to think of it, the RT didn't really have knobbies. Like the photos Bob. Thanks.
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Bill_Walker
I would come over if we did a class as a group

 

Kaisr thumbsup.gif

 

+1

 

+another1 I've been meaning to take this class and just haven't gotten a round tuit.

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