ATV Adventures: Discovery and memories on the Skyline Trail in Davis County
Lynn Blamires, Special to the Standard-Examiner
With the record snowpack this year and reports of deep snow at the top of Farmington Canyon, I wanted to see for myself what the trail conditions were on this second Saturday in July. I found four friends willing to join me.
This was an exploratory ride, but as we climbed the trail up Farmington Canyon, a few adventurous memories came to mind. For example, as we passed the spot where the Sunset Campground used to be, I remembered a family camping trip.
We took a pop-up camp trailer to this beautiful campground for a night. We found the perfect spot for our camp. To extend the platforms for the beds, I needed to disconnect the trailer and move the truck forward. As soon as the hitch came off the ball, the trailer started to roll downhill. I futilely tried to stop it.
Fortunately, the trailer wedged against a tree and I was able to reconnect it and pull it back up into place. This time I chocked the wheels and settled my nerves as we sat around the campfire.
I came back to the present and we made our way to the top of Farmington Canyon. Turning at the junction to go to Bountiful Peak Campground, I was a little surprised to see a locked gate. The snow was gone, but the campground had not yet been opened.
We continued on the Farmington Flats Trail to make a loop back to the main road to the radar towers. While the trail wasn’t muddy, there were several large water puddles we had to negotiate. The water wasn’t clear enough to see to the bottom so we had to trust that we weren’t going to be swallowed up. There was always a sense of relief as we climbed out on the other end of each one.
The trail was lush, beautiful and abundant with wildflowers. The temperature was just cool enough for a jacket to feel comfortable.
We finished our loop and started our climb to the radar towers. There is always a big snow drift that towers above the road without blocking travel. It was a wall of snow that was always fun to see. This year, it completely blocked the road and we had no hope of reaching the base of the towers.
That snow field popped another memory into my head. I made my way past that wall of snow the year I had my new Polaris Sportsman 700 ATV. Above that spot, there was a flat place that allowed our little group of riders to drive out onto the snowfield.
I was riding down a gentle slope on the snow when all of a sudden, I found myself straddling a chasm that dropped deep into the snow field. I stopped immediately and assessed my situation. Being on a downward slope, I couldn’t back up because the wheels just spun on the snow. The ATV was stable enough to allow me to safely dismount. I hailed my fellow riders who came to my aide. We were able to get straps attached to their machines and mine. I got back on my quad and they were able to pull me back to safety. Now, snow fields hold no appeal to me whatsoever.
We went back down the mountain and made our way past the upper Farmington ponds headed for the Parrish Loop on the west side of the mountain. There is a famous snow drift there that always blocks the trail preventing travel between the Bountiful B and Farmington Canyon. It was there again this year, but bigger because of the winter. I think these obnoxious snow drifts should be given names.
This particular snow field is so consistently late in melting each year that a trail has been cut around it. It is not a sanctioned trail and the Forest Service has tried to block it, but people keep knocking down the barriers.
This was a point covered on the new Adult OHV Education Certificate Program. Riders understand they are not to travel off of designated trails. Unfortunately, these were trucks and not OHVs so they wouldn’t have taken the course to receive a certificate. We turned around and headed back down the mountain.
We finished our ride of about 35 miles and loaded our machines at the bottom of the canyon. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and take an opportunity to enjoy these beautiful trails.
Contact Lynn R. Blamires at email@example.com.