Few things are more predictable than the unpredictability of March weather in Utah. We left Layton planning to leave the snow, rain and cold weather behind for the sunshine in Hurricane.
Apparently, the 931 other people who attended the Tri-State ATV Jamboree had the same idea. Coming from all over the country and as far away as Florida and Alaska, it was fun to be with so many like-minded people. The variety of equipment on the machines they drove was amazing.
I haven’t been to a jamboree with that many people, but the only time it felt big was when we gathered for meals in the Grafton Building in Legacy Park. The event was well organized and ran smoothly. I was looking for new trails to write about and I was not disappointed.
Gathering in the huge parking lot at the fairgrounds, we lined up behind a sign for the Dutchman’s Draw ride Thursday morning. After a briefing, we headed out for the trailhead.
Leaving Washington Fields Road, we took Warner Road to the Sunshine Trailhead on the Arizona-Utah border just below Hurricane. I determined that the trail was not named on a day like that day. The sky was cloudy and it was on the cold side of warm.
The trail took us south following a branch of the Fort Pierce Wash. Dutchman’s Wash was to our right. We turned off the Sunshine Trail at Joe Blake Hill. It was interesting to me that we would go into one nameless draw only to climb over a nameless ridge into another nameless draw. It didn’t matter, the country was very colorful. The walls of the draws were black and steep-sided, but not very high in most places.
Turning into Seep Spring Canyon, we climbed another nameless ridge. We had climbed 2,100 feet when we dropped into Quail Draw. At Quail Flat, we began climbing Seegmiller Mountain, where we would top out at just less than 6,000 feet.
Just below the summit we stopped at an overlook of a canyon called The Hole. It only drops about a thousand feet, but the sides are steep and the walls are a bright red and white — a stark contrast to the black walls of the washes and draws we had been riding, and a beautiful vantage point.
It wasn’t a long stop because at the top of Seegmiller Mountain the breeze was stiff and cold. This was the peak of our climb and now we began our descent.
We had come down about a thousand feet when we stopped for lunch. We brought camp chairs to enhance the dining experience, but it wasn’t that kind of day. We stood while feasting on gourmet chicken salad sandwiches and green mint Oreo cookies in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. “It just doesn’t get better than that,” we kidded ourselves.
Passing Clay Spring and coming down another 750 feet, we dropped into Swiss Canyon. The trail also took us by West Mesa on our way back.
Oddly enough, we passed East Mesa on our right. Somebody must have run out of creativity in naming these landmarks. At least Joe Blake thought to name a hill and a pond after himself. We passed his pond as we turned back onto the Sunshine Trail and his hill as we finished the loop of our ride and headed back to the trucks.
The ride was 46 miles long through some rugged and beautiful country. We were a little early in the season, but that is when the jamboree was held this year. The summer time would be too hot. April or May or in the fall would be better.
I know that the jamboree dates are set with the Desert Tortoise in mind. In cooperation with government agencies, the date is set to correspond with the earliest date that the tortoise might come out of hibernation, which is about March 15.
When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and plan on attending one of the many jamborees Utah has to offer. They offer a wealth of information about trails you can ride and they actually take you out on those trails.
You can email Lynn Blamires at firstname.lastname@example.org.