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ATV Adventures: In search of guzzlers on a ride in the Grassy Mountains

By Lynn Blamires - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 18, 2023
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Gathered at the first of four guzzlers we found on Grassy Mountain.
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Riding between the "ears" on the Grassy Mountain ATV trails.

It has been years since I have ridden the ATV trails in the Grassy Mountains. I have not been back on those trails because I heard rumors that access to the trails had been closed. I couldn’t find any reliable source for the current status of the trails, so I decided that I was going to have to go out there and find out for myself.

I sent out an email to a list of riding buddies I have collected from people who have responded to me via email about the articles I have written. I call them riding buddies because when I go out on Utah’s backcountry trails, I won’t go alone. I can always find someone who will go with me from my list of riding buddies.

This time it was Frank and Judith Ipsen of Willard and Brad and Pam Slater of North Ogden. If anyone reading this article would like to be on the list, send me an email. Last year, people from this group joined me in three rides. One of the best parts of riding is the social part.

We met at the Aragonite exit, which is listed as No. 56 on Interstate 80 west of Delle. We staged on the south side of the freeway in perfect weather for a ride — mostly sunny with temperatures in the high 60s.

This was a ride without a plan. It is what I call an exploratory ride. The only semblance of a plan was that we were going to head in a northerly direction and see if we could make a loop around the mountain and come back to the same spot. At least it sounded good on paper.

The trail took us around a gravel pit and across the valley to the left side of the mountain on a fast clip north. We came to a junction that looked like it would take us over the mountain, so we took a turn to the east and started to climb.

At the top, I noticed a trail that went between two short rock stacks. As we passed between these two rocky ears, the trail dropped down onto a flat and a dead end. I don’t like dead ends, but the prospect of climbing back between the ears made it worthwhile.

We were only at 5,000 feet at the top and dropping down on the other side took us down to 4,500 feet. We turned back north and picked up the pace again.

Watching the trail for a chance to climb back on top, I found my chance at Cobble Hill. We turned west back up onto the mountain.

This was less of a road and more of a trail, which suited me just fine. At the top, we took a break. We were at 5,200 feet, which is not very high for a mountain, but we were glad on this day to be on a low mountain with no snow.

It took a minute to realize that we had found our first guzzler. It was right there in front of us.

Guzzlers provide water for wildlife and are usually placed in drier parts of the state. They consist of large sheets of metal that are built in such a way as to drain water to a gutter at one end. The gutter then funnels the water down under and into a tank where it is made available to a target group of animals — a small outlet for birds and other small animals and larger outlets where larger animals are targeted. Regardless of the outlet size, all animals benefit. We found four of these guzzlers on this ride. To learn more about guzzlers, search the word in your browser.

We rode over the top, skirted the base of the mountain and headed back south on the west side. We came near the fence marking the bombing range. We were glad to be on the right side of it.

I got lost a couple of times, but we made it back. The Ipsens who were following me said, “We weren’t lost, we were following you.”

I am happy to report that we didn’t come across any trail closures on the trails we rode. So go ride and enjoy the Grassy Mountain trails and let me know if you find one closed. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and if you find a guzzler, it doesn’t mean that you are not lost.

Contact Lynn R. Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.


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