It had been 10 years since I had ridden the Lake Mountain Trails across Utah Lake from Provo. Just how much can a mountain change in 10 years? Well, I think my memory changed more than the mountain.
My friend, Keaton Gerrard of Bountiful, and I decided to explore these trails on a Saturday in October. It was a lazy start, because it was not early when we stopped for breakfast and a good ride always starts with breakfast.
By the time we turned off Pioneer Crossing onto Redwood Road, it was past noon. As we worked our way south, I was watching the mountain trying to remember where the staging area was.
Each time we stopped for a gate with a road leading toward the mountain, it was a dead end. The first time, we unloaded. It was not the right place, so we loaded back up. The second time, it was not the right place again. This time, because our machines are street-legal, we rode further west down the road and tried again.
In this case, the third time was not the charm. So, undaunted, we tried again and the fourth time worked. We were headed north on the Soldier Pass Road, ready to explore.
Just over a mile in, we turned east on a track that looked promising. It wasn’t. After a couple of dead ends, we went back to Soldier Pass Road and headed north.
The next opportunity to explore came about a half-mile later. We turned west on another promising track that only had one dead end. We followed a track that took us on a fun winding path through the junipers on a loop that came out at the summit of Soldier Pass. All summits are not alike, as this one was only 5,300 feet in elevation.
Talking to a motorcycle rider we stopped on the road, I learned that the Soldier Pass Road joins the Lake Mountain Road and will go into Eagle Mountain. As we talked, I learned that he likes the Lake Mountain Trails for the abundance of single-track motorcycle trails that lace the area.
From the summit of Soldier Pass, we went east up Long Canyon and found a challenging trail that headed east up the mountain. It took us up another 1,100 feet. It was rocky and steep in places, but our machines were up to the task.
We climbed to a knoll at the top and as we came over the rise, the vista that we witnessed was breathtaking. We could see across Utah Lake to Provo with the “Y” on the mountain and north to Highland. We could also see south to Santaquin.
The wind on the knoll was more than a stiff breeze. I told Keaton to stand on the edge and open his jacket so the wind would catch it. He said, “No!”
After enjoying the view, we turned around and headed back down. It was no surprise that the trail was just as rocky going down as it was coming up.
Passing Soldier Pass Summit, we turned south on Soldier Pass Road and headed back to the highway and rode east to the truck. Driving up onto the trailer, we positioned the two ATVs and started to secure them.
I choose to secure my machines with ShockStrap brand tie downs. Once tension is put on a ShockStrap, the flexible neoprene bone will keep the strap tight. These tie downs, in my opinion, are some of the best on the market.
The trick, however, is to make sure that the hooks are secured to the ATV and to the trailer before you put tension on the strap. Unbeknownst to me, only the hook on the machine was secure. Grabbing the strap, I gave it the old heave-ho. “Whoa!” I yelled as there was no resistance to my herculean effort. I found myself flat on my back with my legs in the air. Time stood still for a split second while I stared at the deep blue sky between my feet and then they too came crashing down with the rest of me.
Keaton came around the trailer to see what had happened — disappointed that he didn’t get it on his iPhone camera. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and when you explore the Lake Mountain Trails, check your strap connections before you give it the old heave-ho.