All the way through

Adventure often calls for us to exercise a bit of courage and to step into the unknown. Actually, that kind of adventure is my absolute favorite because it removes the comfort zone and often pushes boundaries and challenges skill. This was not the extreme adventures that I value so much, but it was a challenge and sometimes that’s enough.

The day began with the question which went something like: “Hum, what should we do today?” The answer soon came and it was let’s explore the desert on our ATV but then the ultimate detail was, “Where?” That’s where a dear relative comes into this tale. We were advised of a beautiful area with red rock, stream crossings, quiet meadows, and wildlife. I had heard of this area previously and it was on my bucket list to see and determine if I could get from here to there yet once again. The clincher this day was that we were told; “You can go all the way through!”

So, off we went with this description in mind. The trail along La Verkin Creek starts off of SR 9 East of the small town of La Verkin near a gun range. It travels through an area of desert where dirt bike riders love to play on the desert terrain making loops up and over mounds and hillsides. The main trail weaves it’s way through and we passed numerous dirt bikes and riders.

At the far end of this area there is a steep down slope which covers a couple hundred yards and is covered in rock, sand and loose material of every kind. Well, if you have ever felt the times on an OHV when weight, gravitational pull and steepness of grade combine then add in the disengagement of tires with terra-firm and you will know why the thought, “Oh, sh17” ran through my mind.

It was at about this time the rear wheels began to slide which for some reason always allows them to travel faster than the front. If left unchecked the back of the OHV will pass the front on one side or the other and the rider can feel this occurring as the vehicle begins to tilt and rotate. If left unchecked the riders will soon find themselves sliding down hill sideways or backward. This usually precedes the worst case scenario where spectators might report seeing an anomaly well described and follows of the theme of; “Well we saw, the shiny side and then the wheels and then the shiny side again in an alternating fashion until it came to a bloody rest down there!”

Fortunately, there is a technique to employ which will correct this motion if applied soon enough. Against every human instinct the required action is to release brake and accelerate while turning ever slightly into the direction that the rear tires are traveling. This acceleration is often called “goosing it” so to speak. I employed this technique which worked perfectly.

So picture in your mind if you can Kevin (My Dog) in front ears flapping in the wind and a big panting grin on his face, me in the middle, and Kathy behind hanging on with surprising strength and eyes closed. The ATV itself rocketing down a loose material covered steep roadway at break neck speed seemingly like a blue meteor and me with a hand full of throttle accelerating.

Ok, I must admit at being a bit of an adrenaline junkie and as we exited the slope near the bottom and began to slow, the force of gravity no longer being applied. I thought; “Well then, that was exciting” and with that my junkie fix for the day has been achieved. As I looked back up the slope which seemed to be the only way back to the truck, I had the clear thought; “We are committed now!!!”

With the back door seemingly closed the ATV odyssey of La Verkin Creek to Toquerville Falls began. For the next few hours we encountered obstacle, challenges, and difficulties that required strategy and pathfinding which made for an adventure in every possible way. Countless stream crossings, opportunities to skin up creek in water over the footboards with steep rock walls on both sides, over and around downed timbers, slight delays where other 4×4 units had chickened out but were now stuck blocking path and needing 9000 pound winches on a buddies jeep for extraction, bumps, boulders, sand washes, stair step flat rock, deep cut solid rock ravines.

Eventually, the canyon walls widened and the spaces between water and rock expanded. The trail that was almost unidentifiable in places became once again a road. We did in fact see red rock, beautiful meadows, multiple stream crossing and wildlife. As we went the 4 wheel drive was changed to 2 wheel and our speed increased.

We encountered others on side by side OHV’s along the way who stopped to chat. I began to hear a now common theme. I asked if others had gone or were going, “All the way through?” I have been told time and again now; “No way, we always turn around.”

With a smile of accomplishment on display we pressed on. The cool wind blew on our faces as we rounded a curve in road holding tight to the mountainside when suddenly it appeared before us; Toquerville Falls. I exclaimed to my beautiful, although now completely stressed out little bride, “Well look there, you can go all the way through!!!” I continued; “Should we stop for a picture?”

Ignoring my question, Kathy asked with a little shake of concern in her voice: “Do we have to go back through that to get to the truck?” I replied; “Naw, there is another way.”

But that my friends is another tale involving two Sheriffs, an OHV on a State Road, and a stolen car.

Life, you just gotta live it!!!

One thought on “All the way through

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