Fall colors on the Gooseberry ATV trail

Lynn Blamires
ATV Adventures
(Photo by LYNN BLAMIRES)
Riding in the fall colors on the Gooseberry.
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I have never seen a gooseberry, but I have seen pictures and I don’t see any connection with geese. Riding in Gooseberry Valley, I didn’t see any berries, but I don’t see a lot of detail when I am scooting down the trail.

The occasion was a ride with the club on the North Gooseberry Trail System just east of Salina, Utah. We took the Gooseberry exit and staged at a trailhead just off the frontage road. I was not leading this ride so I didn’t know where we were going. Actually, when I am leading a ride I don’t always know where I am going.

We crossed the frontage road and headed north through the Fishlake National Forest toward Mud Spring. To my surprise, there was mud at Mud Spring. This is a problem for me because I have an aversion to mud. I don’t mind a clean water crossing, even a little dirty water but not mud. It sticks to my machine and takes an effort to get it clean unlike dust which is easy to remove. I remember one ride over the mountain east into Richfield in a rainstorm. The mud caked in our wheel wells to the point that we couldn’t steer. We had to stop and clear the mud from around the front wheels to be able to continue. It was no small effort to get them clean again.

Well, there I was at Mud Spring with no way around it. Carrying my machine across was not an option so I tried to make the crossing carefully. No such luck, I dropped into a mud hole and my machine was a mess.

We passed to the east of Bull Valley Mountain on the way to Dead Horse Ridge. At this point we were riding above 9,000 feet and the views of the valley were outstanding to say nothing of the gorgeous fall colors. We were passing through stands of aspen and hardwoods. The colors were shades of yellow, green, red, and orange made brighter when the sunlight passed through the leaves.

It was somewhere near this point that we crossed over from the Fishlake National Forest on the Gooseberry Trail to the Manti-La Sal National Forest and onto the Arapeen Trail System. I have wanted to know about this connection because I have ridden on both systems. Knowing where they connect makes it possible to ride from the beginning of the South Skyline Trail above Fairview down to Tropic Reservoir near Bryce Canyon.

Near Woods Lake, the trail took a wide, jagged arc turning us back to the south past Porcupine Knoll to our lunch stop at the Mayfield Cabin. As we ate our lunch, we took in the pristine setting of this rustic log cabin.

We learned that it is one of several cabins built in the early 1900’s on land that was leased from the government for 100 years. When the lease was up, officials came to destroy these structures. The other cabins were burned to the ground but this one was saved when the city of Mayfield stepped in and took responsibility. After renovating it to meet code, it was opened to the public.

The cabin is used year round and scheduling is handled by Mayfield City Hall. Because of what the city does to keep and maintain the cabin, there is a natural bias in favor of the 498 people who live there.

A log is kept by visitors of their experiences during a stay. One entry related a tale of a family held hostage nearly the whole time they were there. It seems that after they settled in, a big black bear took a liking to the cabin setting and took up residence near the front door. Fear of the bear kept them inside most of their stay.

We made our way back through Willow Creek and across Anthony Flat to our staging area, finishing a ride of about 60 miles. When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and don’t feed the bears.

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

Lynn Blamires

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OGDEN NATURE CENTER

The Ogden Nature Center is located at 966 W. 12th St. in Ogden. For more information, visit www.ogdennaturecenter.org or call 801-621-7595.

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