Our stay at the Rocky Ridge Resort in Marysvale was restful and pleasant. We had traveled 193 miles in two days, the drive belt was replaced on the Polaris and we were ready to go. There was not a single place to eat that was open this early.
That turned out to be the least of our worries. Six of our seven machines fired up to begin day three and one didn’t. This time it was a 2008 Polaris Sportsman 800, so out comes the tow rope. We were going back to Rose Ranch for more of Joe’s magic.
We were not disappointed. Joe found the problem — a solenoid on the starter was bad. Once again, we called Jorgensen’s in Richfield. They had the right part and Joe gave us a lecture about what our predicament might be if we turned off the machine before we got to Richfield. We adjusted our route to get that fix.
With our fun-o-meters set on anxious, we pulled out of Marysvale to the east and then headed north. This route was not as pretty as our original route, but we were on a mission.
We climbed over the Antelope Range by an old mining operation and followed switchbacks that took us down 2,100 feet through Long Valley into the little town of Joseph — population 344.
We had problems with our leader, who made two wrong turns before someone found the right trail to Elsinore. Unfortunately, I was the leader. Fortunately, everyone was still following me.
We passed through Graveyard Hollow and picked up a trail that followed the Sevier Valley Canal on the way to Elsinore. The lazy flow of the brown canal water was hardly noticed. All eyes were on Allen, who was riding the Sportsman with the bad solenoid. We were all ready to pounce on him if he even touched the ignition switch.
Elsinore is a little pioneer town with a population of 847. We passed through unceremoniously and soon found ourselves in Richfield, population 7,908 — big enough to have a Walmart.
Jorgensen’s was not too hard to find. It was right next to the Jorgensen’s Bowling Center, which was right next to the Jorgensen Ford dealership. We dined on bowling center cuisine while Allen’s machine was being fixed.
Tummies full and all seven machines running, we left Richfield headed for Aurora. Our trail followed the Piute Canal and I-70 ironically on Trail No. 70.
Aurora, population 1,049, got its name from the occasional appearance of the Northern Lights in the night sky. Moving through Salina, population 2,564, we learned that the name comes from the abundant salt deposits nearby. If you have ever used a salt with a pink color called “Real Salt,” it came from Redmond, Utah, just north of town.
Leaving Salina, we were back on the track we had originally planned and headed for high country. The trail followed I-70 on a frontage road that used to carry railroad traffic. We passed through two long railway tunnels before climbing up Salina Canyon to the Skyline Trail.
By the time we reached the head of Salina Creek, we had crossed the 10,000 foot point in elevation. The Skyline Trail goes for some 58 miles without dropping below 10,000 feet and the views are amazing. Needles were starting to bend as they banged against the “Wow” peg on the fun-o-meters.
The Skyline Trail is a part of the Arapeen ATV Trail System. On the Arapeen Trail Map, there are over 50 GPS coordinates for prime fishing spots. We were passing them on the trail — Blue Lake, Henningson Reservoir, Island Lake, and Emerald Lake, but fishing wasn’t on our agenda this trip.
We passed all of these before coming to 12 Mile Campground, a quiet Forest Service campground situated above 10,000 feet. From there, we began our climb to “High Top,” the peak of the Skyline Trail, where we stopped for a Kodak moment. A sign marked the altitude here at 10,897 feet.
We could see another fishing spot to the east, Duck Fork Reservoir, and we had just passed Ferron Reservoir. We were almost giddy being on a trail this high surrounded by such beauty.
We soon made our way to the junction that took us down to Ephraim, finishing the third day of our ride — 140 miles. We stayed at the Willow Creek Inn and dined on Chinese take-out. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and find your high on the Skyline Trail.