With 331 miles behind us, we were ready to tackle the challenges of day four on the trail to Kamas. We had no idea what those might be, but our trailers were waiting for us in Kamas and we had to figure out how to get there.
Leaving the Willow Creek Inn in Ephraim, we climbed back up to the Skyline Trail. The weather was perfect and we were back up above 10,000 feet on “top of the world looking down on creation.” There is something truly amazing about being that high with nothing above you. On a day like this day, we could see for miles.
Traveling north, we were riding on a ridge that presented one remarkable view after another. Passing Bacon Rind Ridge, we encountered our first problem. I had been worried about snow banks on the trail riding this early in the season, but we hadn’t come up against anything that didn’t have a legitimate solution. This time, the snow bank covered the entire trail and there was no way around it.
I looked at the map and realized that there was a solution. Turning around, we headed east down Potter’s Canyon on a trail by the same name.
Coming down to the Miller’s Flat Road, we turned back north passing many good fishing holes. We finally came out on Highway 31 between Cleveland and Huntington reservoirs. Traveling west on the highway, we passed the entrance to the South Skyline where we would have come out if the trail had been open.
Turning off the highway, we picked up the North Skyline Trail. This took us down along Poison Ridge to Highway 6 where the old Tucker Rest Area used to be. Needing gas, we turned right to go up to the filling station at the top of Soldier Summit.
Here we learned that the Polaris 800 with the belt problem was acting up again. It took a while, but checking the oil level, it was down almost a quart.
That was a simple fix and we were back on the trail. We followed the Left Fork of the White River. After passing Boiler Canyon, we found a shady grove of aspen at about 9,200 feet — a great place to stop for lunch before heading into real trouble.
Coming to the boundary of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, I had been following a GPS track for three and a half days — it was a great plan that was working well. At the edge of the reservation, the road was closed and under construction.
Now what? There were no other trails — this was it. Continuing to follow our track, we went around the barrier. That is when the unthinkable happened. The GPS track turned up Indian Canyon, but there was not even a hint of a trail that way. The only thing that I could figure was that construction on the road obliterated the trail.
We decided to continue on the closed road, hoping to meet anyone who could help. Well, that is exactly what happened. A supervisor stopped us and told us it was illegal to be on the road and that had he been a Forest Service ranger, he would have cited us.
After explaining our dilemma, he proved helpful. Taking his direction to the end of the construction, we joined a blacktop road leading away from Soldier Creek Reservoir.
Traveling northeast, we came to a trail marker with the number 10. It was going the right direction, so we took it. It was the right decision — we were back on the GPS track we were trying to follow.
It was the narrow two-track trail on Strawberry Ridge that I remembered it to be. Some of the climbs were very steep, causing drama at the end of the line. Claudia Thomas was the driver in Fred Newton’s four-place Polaris. She had no experience with climbing steep trails, so Fred was coaching from the passenger seat. It was more like yelling, “Don’t take your foot of the gas. Keep going!” She did and now she thinks she can handle anything.
Dropping down off Strawberry Ridge, the trail took us to the lodge at Daniel’s Summit completing a ride of 149 miles. We had missed dinner at the lodge restaurant by 10 minutes, so we bribed a pizza guy to bring dinner from Heber City. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and if you can’t find any solutions, you have a problem.