We were looking for something strange on our ride in the desert west of Fillmore. A high wall of lava formations exists on the north side of Pahvant Butte called the Lace Curtain — a curious formation unlike anything I have ever seen before.
My friend Steve Brown, one of the hosts for the radio program “Inside the Outdoors,” wanted to see it. Having been out in the area before and not finding it, he asked me to take him on a ride to this curious phenomenon. As it turned out, we found more than one strange thing on that ride.
With the mild winter we have been having, we found a day in January that looked promising for a pleasant ride and took it. Staging in a large truck parking area on the north side of Fillmore, we went to 200 South and turned west over the freeway and into the desert.
The road went for several miles and then dipped south. Wanting to do a little exploring, we took a trail to the right that brought us around a little nameless knoll. The ride was through lava beds, but it dead-ended and we turned back.
Turning south again, we came to a sign indicating a route to Lava Tube #2. We enjoyed the loop as it took us over Tabernacle Hill and on the west side of White Mountain. There was nothing strange about that except — not paying attention — we missed seeing Lava Tube #2.
Anxious to get to the Lace Curtain, we headed north. Pahvant Butte is easy to pick out in the flatness of the desert so we set our course for it.
The track was mainly road, so we made good time. Coming around the north side of the butte, we could see the panel looming in the distance.
The wall stands at least 600 feet high and displays curls of lava all over the face that appear to have solidified in the middle of being formed. It is a fascinating panel to study. With its many nooks and crannies, it is a favorite place for nesting birds.
We chose it as a good place for lunch. While the day had kept its promise of a reasonable temperature, the wind was compromising our comfort. We sought the protection of a small cove to improve conditions.
As we enjoyed our trail cuisine, we experienced another strange occurrence. In the distance up the slope of the butte, we could see the outline of a man in the shadow of a rock observing our activities. We weren’t nervous or uncomfortable, but it was weird. We found no need to linger longer so finished our lunch and left.
Making our way around the west side of the butte, we followed a winding canyon that took us up to the top of Pahvant Butte to the third strange thing we found in the desert that day.
Riding out on the top of the butte, we found ourselves in the middle of what some call Utah’s Stonehenge — a circle of tall concrete pillars at the center of which is a large cement bunker. This is a strange site in the middle of the desert, but the story behind it is even stranger and something the local people would like to forget.
Almost a hundred years ago in 1923, a man by the name of A. H. Hood convinced a number of investors that this butte would be the perfect location for a wind generator to produce electricity on a grand scale. Local legend suggests that the project went bankrupt and Mr. Hood went to prison for mail fraud. At any rate, there it is — a strange site in the middle of the desert.
Leaving the site, we headed down the south side of the butte and back toward town. This route was on a trail instead of a road that proved to be very enjoyable.
With so much to explore, I look forward to another ride in the desert west of Fillmore. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and be prepared to see strange things in the desert.
You can email Lynn Blamires at email@example.com.