This ATV adventure began when I learned that the trail started near Babylon, Utah. Knowing the biblical significance of the name, I was curious about the reason for the name. The settlers of Babylon ran the Stormont Mill along the Virgin River. It was the only water-driven silver mill in the area. Run by “Gentiles” and surrounded by a sea of Mormons, it was dubbed the Babylon Mill and the residents of Babylon were happy with the distinction.
Our ride began at the Anderson exit north of Leeds on I-15. Having overshot our rendezvous with our ride leader, we rode back to the Babylon Road and headed east to the Babylon hiking trailhead.
Abandoning our machines, we took a short walk to the mouth of a natural cut in the mountain. On the south wall of this cut we viewed a panel of Indian petroglyphs. I have seen many of these around the state and each one is as unique as the daily editions of our newspapers.
We could pick out the tracks of several species of dinosaur. Hiking up an old wagon road to the west of these tracks, we came to the entrance of several silver mines.
Mounting up again, we moved on to Babylon in the Grapevine Wash, where we saw the ruins of the old mill office. However, next to it was the remains of a large, modern home. We learned that a John Vought put $250,000 into the Stormont Mill property and built a retirement home near the birthplace of his wife Geraldine. She died in 1987 before the home could be completed. When fire burned it to the ground, he abandoned the project.
With evidence of the dinosaurs, the early Indians, the mining of the 1800’s, and this modern day structure, we witnessed thousands of years of the past.
Heading northeast, we worked our way through a sandy wash with one challenging section on our way to Toquerville Falls. The trail took us through the beautiful red rock country for which Southern Utah is so famous.
Crossing Ash Creek, we traveled through Toquerville and on to the falls. We were not disappointed. La Verkin Creek cascades over rock steps, across a ledge, and down into a pool about a hundred feet from the top.
This was our lunch stop so I took off my not-inexpensive helmet and set it on the front of my machine. It was quite windy so I moved behind a large rock for a peaceful lunch. Some of our group had climbed down to the ledge above the pool to eat.
Suddenly there was a shout from below. Someone’s helmet had gone over the edge into the pool below. I jumped up and found my helmet gone. I ran to the edge and looked down. Sure enough, my helmet was floating in the water getting pounded by the waterfall. Unfortunately, it was sitting in such a way that a gust of wind had picked it up and dumped it into the pool. Dollar signs rolled through my head as I watched it bobbing in the water. If that was not bad enough, one of the ladies in our group climbed down into the pool and fished it out. Not only did I foolishly lose my helmet, but a girl retrieved it. I am never going to live this down.
On the way back, we stopped at Devil’s Hole. This one-of-a-kind rock structure was difficult to get to, but worth the effort. We climbed upon the pottery-smooth lip of a round, deep hole about fifteen feet across and thirty feet deep. It was like staring into a large ceramic pot.
The ride was 39 miles in some very pretty country. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber-side down, and if you can’t eat with your helmet on, take it with you.
You may contact Lynn Blamires at firstname.lastname@example.org.