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ATV Adventures: Pinnacles, hoodoos, arches and storms on the East Clark Bench Trail

By Lynn Blamires - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 2, 2024

Lynn Blamires, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The hoodoos and rock formations make riding at the Red Rock Jamboree worth the trip.

It was the first ride of the 2024 Red Rock Jamboree and I couldn’t be more excited. I wondered how the trails this year could equal the ones I rode at last year’s, but they did.

To begin with, it was April. I should not be surprised by the weather. There was only a 5% chance of rain. That was hardly enough to move the needle, so we didn’t bother with rain gear. This year, I was riding with my brother-in-law Mike.

We had rain gear with us, but not on us. Besides that, this year I had a windshield. We were invincible — sort of.

We got up early to make our rendezvous point 47 miles east of Kanab. Our ride leader was my friend Mike Reed. He lined us up and we headed southeast on a sandy trail.

After 4 miles, we turned west and rode 2 miles to a point where we stopped on a ridge. We abandoned our vehicles. Wait, that sounds awful — we left our beloved machines and hiked across a gulch to another ridge.

Lynn Blamires, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The walls of this canyon reminded me of the famous Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park.

We found ourselves amid an array of pinnacles or spires, and hoodoos. There is a difference; I looked it up. Spires are straight columns and hoodoos vary in shape like those in Bryce Canyon.

The spires stood some 15 to 20 feet high and varied in thickness. It would be an ominous place to be on a night with a full moon. For some reason, the hoodoos were not as remarkable in this spot.

We headed back east and then turned north to the edge of a canyon that was only about a mile from Highway 89. We parked near a large, slick rock apron and walked to the edge of the canyon overlook.

Just below us was an arch called the Birthday Arch, although no one could say why. Several people walked out onto the arch for a Kodak moment. I didn’t and I couldn’t get Mike to do it either. The picture I took was of someone I will probably never see again, but it was an amazing arch.

It had begun to sprinkle a little, so we stopped and put up the fold-down windshield. Five percent chance of rain, my foot.

Lynn Blamires, Special to the Standard-Examiner

This off-camber section of the East Clark Bench Trail felt worse than it looks.

South of this arch, we stopped at a point overlooking the Paria River Gorge. The view was breathtaking where the river had made deep cuts in the rock on a winding course through the canyon. The deep red cliffs contrasted with the fresh green colors of spring.

Continuing our ride, the trail followed the edge of the canyon. It was about lunchtime and Mike wanted to take us to a point with another view of the gorge for our lunch break.

Parking was a little tight, so our leader packed us in and we broke out the vittles. That is cowboy talk for food.

We were parked facing north. That is important to note because of the 5% chance of a storm hit with fierce winds from the west.

Had I not been hemmed in, I would have moved to face west. But no, we dealt with a driving wind that blew rain right through our cab. Mike got his rain pants out, but he was too cold to put them on so he just draped them over his lap. I was too cold to take my gear out of my case strapped on in the back.

Lynn Blamires, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Riding on the East Clark Bench Trail at the Red Rock Jamboree.

Finally, I found our leader and asked if we could move off the ridge and out of the storm. He said, “Sure.”

It was still raining, and now to describe a new problem. The windshield was now up, but Mr. Cheapskate, who would be me, didn’t have a windshield wiper.

The rain made it difficult to see. I could make out the trail only by its green borders.

Then the rain stopped and we started to dry out. We lowered the windshield and things began to look up.

We worked our way through a canyon whose walls had that checkerboard look like the famous Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park. It was a beautiful wash.

Photo supplied

Lynn Blamires

We had one more challenge on the way back to our trucks. It was an off-camber section and I was glad to have Mike as ballast to keep from tipping over.

We made it back, finishing a ride of about 57 miles. When you go, take plenty of water and keep the rubber side down. What a great ride.

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


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