An extreme ATV adventure on the Highline

Lynn Blamires
ATV Adventures
(LYNN BLAMIRES courtesy photo)
Riders come down a rock garden on the Highline Trail.
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It was a Northern Utah ATV Trail Riders club ride starting from the staging area off State Road 283 to Beaver Mountain above Bear Lake. Two rides were offered: an easy and an advanced. My ego wouldn’t let me take the easy ride so I was in for the adventure. The experience reminded me of a song out of the ’50s: I was shaken, rattled, but I did not roll!

It began innocently enough on a trail that followed Beaver Creek north. Traveling up the canyon trail, I noted that the canyon wall looked like the edges of great stacks of sliced lunch meat. It was too early to be hungry, but there it was.

We passed through a 50-inch ATV gate near the Beaver Creek Campground and turned into the deep, dark woods. The trail snaked through the timbers as we squeezed between trees and bounced over rocks. Fallen logs were cut with just enough room to press through.

Coming to one section on Hogsback Ridge, we had two choices to make. We could go over the top and drop off several steep benches or go around. The second option meant a squeeze between two trees whose exposed roots posed a steep off-camber drop. I wished that I had taken the route over the top.

This first loop is called The Ranger Dip Trail. I don’t know about the ranger but I sure learned about the dip. We followed Fish Haven Creek to an ATV bridge where we crossed the creek into French Hollow for a lunch break.

Climbing out of the hollow, we traveled a curious section of trail about 200 yards long. It appeared to be a rock highway. While it was riddled with fractures, it was relatively smooth. I would not have been surprised if I had come across this land feature in Moab.

This brief bit of euphoria was followed by a steep climb up a narrow trail that hugged the side of a mountain which was very steep on both sides. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Bear Lake, but decided to pay attention to the trail and save the vistas for a safer place on the trail. We did come to a place at the top of the ridge with an excellent view of the lake where we stopped for a break.

Finishing the Ranger Dip loop at Red Sinks, we proceeded to the Highline Trail. I thought the other loop was bad. I would come to a smooth part of the trail which gave me hope and then here came the rocks, oh boy. We passed through Egan Basin and turned south at Danish Pass.

We were back to squeezing through trees again when I came upon three aspens providing two choices to pass between. I chose the passage on the left. It was a bad choice. When I thought I had made it through, I heard a loud clunk and stopped to see what happened. Looking back, I saw my rear cargo trunk lying in the middle of the trail. The crook in the tree on the left had whacked it off as I passed through. I retrieved it, secured it, and suddenly noticed that all the ATV tracks passed through the right side. It was just another reminder that I need to pay closer attention to the trail.

Finishing that loop brought us into a boulder garden that stopped my heart. We had spotters to help us through this section, but I will never admit that I needed their help.

We soon found ourselves back in the canyon where we had started the ride. It is odd, but after what I had been through, the canyon wall did not look like slabs of lunch meat after all. It was just plain rocks. What was I thinking?

On trails like these, it doesn’t do any good to cry, it just fogs up your goggles. How did I like the 50-mile ride? It was great! When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and try to think of rocks as our friends.

You may reach Lynn Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.

Lynn Blamires

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