Antimony, Utah, is only a speck on the map. A magnifying glass is helpful in finding it. It is, however, the home of the Rockin’ R Ranch; a place to get a real taste of the old west.
The Rockin’ R is a dude ranch running 500 head of cattle on 1,000 acres of land. You can experience an honest-to-goodness cattle drive in the saddle, then cowboy up to a hearty helping of grub and comfortable beds in one of 42 rooms. The breakfast bell will shatter the peace of the morning, then after a substantial meal, it is back on your horse.
Brandon Hanks runs the ranch and is as cowboy as they come. Knowing I have little interest in riding in the saddle on a hay burner, he invited me to come down and explore the ATV trails accessible from the ranch.
After enjoying one of Brandon’s accommodation packages and riding some of these trails, I have to say it is one of Utah’s best kept ATV secrets. The trails are on the Dixie National Forest and they run for miles in several directions.
With my grandson, I took a northeasterly direction from Antimony up Dry Wash. This being the spring of 2011, it was on the wet side of dry. The trail took us near Big Point Spring where a sign pointed out a trail to Pollywog Lake. With a name like that, we could not resist.
We climbed a thousand feet pretty quickly and crossed Death Hollow. I thought it was named appropriately after our steep ascent.
We topped out at above 9,200 feet in a grove of aspen trees and then came to Pollywog Lake. We stopped a minute to view the lake, but only for a minute because mosquitoes made it convenient to keep moving.
As we did, we experienced a mystery of these mountains. We passed Lost Spring, Lost Lake, and Lost Knoll and for some reason we didn’t see even one of them.
Stopping at a stream, we unpacked our well-bounced lunch and sat on some large rocks by the bank to eat. The creek was full but the water was clear. It was a pleasant place for lunch.
Back on the trail, riding at 10,000 feet under an overcast sky, we took a turn north at Clayton Spring and came upon a sign indicating the trailhead for the Poison Creek Trail. Now that is the trail for me. I suppose if I was a mouse, I would be a sucker for the Mouse Trap Trail. We were really enjoying this ride when we were stopped by trees that had fallen across the trail. We could see that getting around one would put us up against another. I learned later that fallen trees were blocking a lot of the trails in the Dixie National Forest. The Forest Service had not had time to clear all the routes. We turned around and made a note to come back.
It was near Trail Lake that we started our descent back into the valley. Near the area of Mud Lake we came through a field of huge, rounded rocks the size of houses. It looked as though a giant had emptied his massive bag of marbles and was ready to play a game.
We made it back to the Antimony Mercantile in time to refuel. The merc is the only other place in town to get gas and a meal but it closes at five o’clock in the afternoon. There is no night life at the merc.
We made it back to the ranch just before the rain broke. When we heard the dinner bell we hit the grub line then went back to our room to relax.
Realizing how many trails there are to ride and how isolated the area is, it will take more than a few days to explore. We definitely plan to come back. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and practice your “Yee-Haw!” You can find the ranch at www.rockinRranch.com.
You may reach Lynn Blamires at email@example.com.