Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A couple of good rides

Whoa, I just realized that I almost forgot about my obligatory monthly post. I'd hate to disappoint my loyal readers (are the 2 of you still out there after all this time?) These past couple of weekends I hit some great trails. Two weekends ago, I was staying at Panguitch Lake with the family and was able to sneak away to ride Bunker Creek up toward the Sydney Peaks area. On the way up, there were quite a few nice, lonely roads that reminded me of stage 2 of the AMC a couple years ago:

I got to the singletrack and climbed up the right fork of Bunker Creek. The trail is amazing, with only one drawback: I may have been the first person to ride the trail since the snow melted. This left more downfall than I could count, and not the small kind that you can easily jump or ride over. This one required some serious bunny-hopping skills:

I headed up and eventually crossed Sydney Peak Road and started up the Sydney Peak Trail - the same brutal trail that I climbed twice on Stage 4 of the AMC (and once on stage 3). There were some nice views of Brian Head Peak above and the valley far far below:

I was hoping to reach the junction of the Dark Hollow and Lowder Ponds trails so that I I could complete a loop, but eventually got tired of hiking through and around snowbanks, that kept getting bigger as I climbed higher. At around 10,000 feet, I turned around.
The descent down the left fork of Bunker Creek would have been amazing if not for the downfall. These pics give you an idea of its potential:

This past weekend, I read about Brannen's Pole Line Pass loop and decide I needed to get me some of that. I started at the Tibble Fork parking lot and road up North Fork road. I took a right at Baker Fork and road up to Pole Line Pass. I then headed north for an out-and-back on the Ant Knolls trail. I suppose I could have climbed Dry Fork instead of Baker so I could do a loop rather than an out-and-back, but Ant Knolls is worth doing twice. Or four times.
Ant Knolls, I decided, is not only my favorite name for a trail, it's may favoite section of trail anywhere. I'm not sure if I can put a finger on exactly what it is that makes me love it so much. Probably a combination of its remoteness, its perfect mix of pine and aspens, its flow, and its amazing views. At one point along the route, the trail opens up to the west for an unparalleled view of the Wasatch Back. I can't ride by it without stopping. This time, I sat there for a nice long while taking it all in, not wanting to leave. Then I realized that there were other obligations to attend to, besides the view itself. Dinner, family, kids, oh yeah, and my youngest's birthday party. Better get moving, because if I'm late for that, I'm really screwed. But not before snapping 4-5 photos that Autostitch did a nice job of piecing together for me. This one may be worth clicking on for a better view: