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Old 07-06-2013, 10:12 PM   #1
psmcd OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: foot of Olympus
Oddometer: 819
Wasatch light circuit

Thought I'd chance a ride over the mountain this afternoon. June was dry and now we're getting pounded by thunderstorms. First I skirt Lone Peak over Traverse Mountain and drop down to American Fork Canyon. The North Fork leads to Tibble Reservoir. It's an easy gravel lope for the DR650 up forest road 085 and today it's dust free. Actually, it's freshly guttered from the rains and preferable to the slips hidden in dust pockets.

Road 194 side tracks me on a fork South across the stream. I'm developing plenty of respect for anyone herding a heavy bike through slippery stuff. I see a couple of four wheelers lumbering out of there and figure I can go anywhere they can. Right, it's steep and way rocky with enough tacky dirt to sucker you into the greasy stuff. Why didn't I put on that 14 tooth countershaft sprocket?

I snick, slip and bang my way up through the rocky horrors and encounter one of those razor types creeping down over the boulders like an extreme rock crawler. Where it's wet it just slides to a stop against the next obstacle. Modern machinery is impressive. But the technique doesn't apply on two wheels.

He's a friendly, together type and let's me know the single track up higher is plenty steep and wet. Recommends I check out a fun little spur loop road just above on the left as it's drier. It is, then I lug the rest the way up, skirting some steps with puddles that span the road and look like they might swallow me. Forest Lake sits in a bowl beneath a steeper slope up to the ridge line where the #157 single track runs. #171 is a short connector track that climbs from Forest Lake to the 157. It looked too wet and steep for the DR, especially since I'm now wondering why I haven't put on that front knobby and the new rear.

I ginger down without dropping the DR anvil or cracking any boulders. Squirrel across the stream again and resume the climb to Pole Line Pass. Here one road drops to Cascade Springs and over a little pass then down to Soldier Hollow between Midway and Deer Creek Reservoir. I take the left fork which is more direct but with plenty of dirt/gravel road turns down to Midway.

A bag of nuts and a cool drink in Midway fortify me for the 4,100 foot climb to Guardsman Pass. Ten miles of tacky tarmac snaking through the quakies. So much fun I do it twice, with a stop to take in the view of the Heber Valley. A Monarch butterfly and his bumble bee buddies sip nectar in the explosion of wildflowers. By now the sky is darkening and I see I'm stretching my luck.

Over Guardsman's I drop into Big Cottonwood Canyon and see thunder cells crossing the Salt Lake Valley. The look and smell of rain fills the air but I might just slide under it, out the mouth and North on 215 to home. Not a chance. Halfway down the canyon huge raindrops signal impending downpour. I pull over and don my rain gear as a group of Harleys roll by, hunkering. I resume the descent as it dumps with a vengeance. The Harley boys are off the bikes and running for the trees as lighting strikes Storm mountain. Hope that worked out ok.

I come out from under the cell at the mouth of the canyon and the Salt Lake Valley is black to the North and West. Out Southwest, Herriman and Butterfield Canyon way, light blasts through the edge of the thunderstorm stretching across the valley. Jesus light. This ain't religion, it's just the best I can do to describe it. Beams of light illuminating segments of landscape while the rest is obscure and dark. It's a beacon. The day's not over. The rain gear is on so I streak West and South across the valley, through the edge of heavy rain and toward the light.

VFR, or better said, VBR. Visual bike rules? Yea! I'm headed for the light. Over Butterfield Canyon, another twisty climb on tarmac. I can see lighter skies on the other side of the Oquirrhs through the saddle above the copper pit. It's a bright palette of pastels, beige to orange with a hint of blue sky behind to the left and ominous, savage black to the right.

I'm headed for another pass. Butterfield is tight. Up higher it's all gully washed. Not just gravel, the road's covered inches deep with sharp rock and miniature ravines. I dosey doe up and over hoping I don't get a flat. Down the other side Middle Canyon is mud and gravel with huge run-off ruts. I'm picking my way down and up comes a 2-wheel drive pick-up skating from one side to the other. Synchronicity, he slips left and I roll right.

Campers huddle in the trees under kitchen rainflies. Where I hit the pavement steam roils like primordial mist. A lone white Dodge paces out the bottom trailing tire spray and smoking brakes. I follow him down to Tooele and turn North toward the Great Salt Lake. Out West the next thunder cell is pouring over the Stansburys. To the North, more Jesus light making Stansbury and Antelope islands stand out like a fantasy.

I'm on the highway now and rolling at a rate. Not much gap between these storms and I'm thinking I'll squirt from jaws clamping shut. I begin to round the North side of the Oquirrhs and opt for gas. Chevron, Flying-J, or Texaco? Trust the man with the star. I fill up and Ricky Lee fills my brain.

Brain changes channel to "Riders on the Storm" I'm headed East on I-80 thinking tail wind. Speedo's reading over 80 and suddenly it's 70 with the throttle pegged. This is Tooele Twister country. Sail boats on the lake get caught in surprise winds here, pitchpole and flounder. I can't look for boats, the wind's tossing me about. I peel off on the 21st South junction, flying between the towering Kennecott smoke stack and a huge processing building with the entire side painted "Think Safety, Work Safely." Ride Safely, I like it. The DR is working, chugging like a tractor.

No cops, not much traffic, not much rain. I'm gonna make it without getting caught in another downpour. What always amazes me is how there can be a headwind no matter which way I turn. I've crossed the Salt Lake Valley and turn South on 215 and there it is, blowing North along the Wasatch Front. I'm home. Mt. Olympus lights up in the alpenglow. Raindrops hiss and cool my bike as I disrobe.

psmcd screwed with this post 07-07-2013 at 08:32 AM
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:27 PM   #2
pcwirepro
Aspiring Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: State of confusion
Oddometer: 282
We need pics man!

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Old 07-09-2013, 08:04 PM   #3
psmcd OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: foot of Olympus
Oddometer: 819
little to show

Guess I'll have to do it again, it's a heavy burden. Here's my meager attempt at photos.


Maybe the 085 road shows down below from this shot looking West from the 157 at about 9,000', Pole Line Pass about a 1/2 mile North (to the right).

A child's play stream crossing (085 to 194 forest road) that made me think the DR might dunk me like a bully at the pool. But it was kind, allowing me to continue into the steep boulder fest above where I was too challenged to even think of taking pictures.


Sections of the 157 might seem like a playground but steepness abounds. Sunset Peak lies beyond the point on the horizon. View is Northeast with Alta and Brighton just left of the horizon point.


This view is toward Mineral Basin, on the South side of Snowbird and Alta.


A more Western view.


Over to Guardsman Pass, I lollygagged with the butterflies while the storm approached.

After Guardsman Pass, I only stopped to put on my rain gear, make an "I'm safe and not coming home yet" call, and gas up two basins to the West. The scenery was intense but I don't know how to upload from the neurons. I'll get more photos next time. Circuit total was 8 hours, 250 miles and about 35,000' ascent/descent. I love this place.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:00 AM   #4
pcwirepro
Aspiring Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: State of confusion
Oddometer: 282
Fancy yourself a writer?

"If you're a singer you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes."

Mickey Spillane


All good stuff man. Keep it coming.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:58 AM   #5
psmcd OP
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: foot of Olympus
Oddometer: 819
rocky horror

MaverickChick has a video
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=902311
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