I had taken the turn at the sign marking the route the Devil’s Armchair before, but was frustrated in actually finding the geologic structure. This time I was following someone who actually knew what we were supposed to see.
We started from Richfield. Anyone who has ridden west out of town is familiar with the big pink water tank you have to go around to make your way to the top. It is marked as Trail #04 on the Paiute Trail Map and is also called the Civilian Conservation Road.
We started our ride about 3 p.m. so we were well aware of the warm temperatures. As we climbed past Little Valley, we felt the heat dissipating. That alone brought smiles to our faces.
Fred Newton of Holladay and I were riding in my Kawasaki four-place UTV. We were following Mike Brooks and his wife in a Polaris UTV.
We were on what is known as a pre-ride. It is a ride you take to make sure you know where you are going when you take the actual ride. One purpose is so that you don’t look stupid when you are leading a group of people who think you know what you are doing.
Reaching a junction, we joined the main Paiute #01 Trail and headed west. Traveling a short distance, we passed a retention pond and turned onto a trail marked #508. This is not an official Paiute Trail, but it reconnects with the main trail after crossing several ridges.
I like this trail. It is a little more challenging then the main trail and the scenery is worth the ride. It winds through juniper and scrub oak trees hugging the mountain as you go up and down riding the ridges.
Cattle are run in this area so it is important to mind the gates. There are three and if they are closed when you come upon them, they need to be closed after you pass through. They can be left open if they are open when you find them.
Rejoining the main trail above Paul’s Canyon, we noted that the elevation was just below 8,900 feet. We were now really enjoying the cool mountain air.
Climbing another 600 feet, we reached the junction and took the trail to the Devil’s Armchair. This section of the trail is one that makes you feel glad that you are alive. The wet winter gave the foliage a rich green color and the sunlight sparkled through the leaves of the aspen groves as we made our way along the ridge.
Dipping just below the rim on the east side of the crest, we passed below Sunset Peak. Coming to a junction, we turned west and climbed a knoll. While we could see a track continuing in the distance, the trail we were on faded out. To continue would take us over terrain that did not look welcoming.
Turning around, we went back to the junction and took the other choice. This is the reason for doing a pre-ride. If you were leading a group and the trail faded out, you have to turn around and pass a bunch of frowny faces.
The other choice at the junction took us further south along the ridge. We were enjoying the amazing scenery in the mountain country when all of a sudden, we stopped.
“What, did the trail fade out again?” No, I could see a track ahead that climbed a knoll. “No,” Mike said, “This is it!” “What? I don’t see anything.” He pointed west to a jumble of rocks. I looked on the map. He was right. The map was clearly marked – The Devil’s Armchair.
I was dumbfounded. It just looked like a jumble of large boulders. Being an optimist, I went to the best view point I could find. Closing one eye, squinting with the other, and cocking my head to the side, I took another look. Nope! You can call it anything you want. It is just a pile of rocks.
I even took a picture and photo shopped it. Nothing I could do could make it look like an armchair.
With the sun fading in the west, we figured we could make it back to Richfield for a hot meal. When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and trust me – it is just a pile of rocks.