Saturday, October 30, 2010

NEW: Lake Canyon Recreation Area - Utah

Quite some time ago a reader emailed that he was going to go ride in the Lake Canyon Recreation Area and wondered if I had any trails or advice. I didn't have the system digitized into a map at the time, but now do.   [For now a free Google Earth file of this route is available here Lake Canyon Recreation Area but it will probably be moved to the Utah Trails Master Map in the future.]

The whole area is at the north end of the Arapeen Trail System just east of the Skyline Drive trailhead on UT-31 between Huntington and Cleveland resevoirs.   As you already know the Arapeen Trail System is such an extensive riding area that it grew to demand its own map: Utah Arapeen Trails available over on the Offroading Home web site under the Utah tab.  And, the Utah Trails master map has a few tracks through the area as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

GEO-tography: Halloween Edition

In spite of the fact that Sam's club has had scary paraphenalia out for over two months, and Home Depot has a whole fleet of snow-throwers chained to their front door ready to go, the most sure sign that Halloween's near is the snow falling on the tomato plants at snowbird headquarters and smashing those suckers flat, freezing them harder'n a rock!

If it weren't for the smoke/carbon monoxide detector-alarm calling out the fire department just to remind us that its shelf-life was only 5 years and needed to be replaced, we'd be hibernating by now – but it does and we aren't. I've always thought that bears had it figured out – just go to bed, pull the covers over your head and sleep 'till it's over!

However, the horses are all sprouting winter coats, you get sugar-intoxication diabetes just walking in the door of most supermarkets, the garden has freezer burn and we've run out of neighbors to strong-arm into taking a basket of squash; so, I guess we pretty much have to resign ourselves that:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NEW: "Death Valley SUV Trails" Master Map

Another major Google Earth trail system map has been created as a companion to the book "Death Valley SUV Trails" by Roger Mitchell a Death Valley native and geologist.

Some time ago Offroading Home produced two other "companion-maps" maps to the trails listed in his books: Great Basin SUV Trails – Southern and Southwest.   All of them provide an off-roader valuable GPS data corrections and clarifications which are largely absent from the books; however, unlike the trails in his other books which can often be taken by ATVs and side-by-sides alike, the Death Valley trails are governed by National Park rules which prohibit non-street-legal vehicles.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lake Bonneville and the Great Salt Lake

A Google Earth Map of Lake Bonneville is Available
Since the advent of computers I must admit that one of my former favorite hobbies (reading books) has gotten the short end of the stick. I mean, once Wozniak came of age I began finding myself more and more often startled by the 2 am hour while sitting at the keyboard than in the recliner with books like "Hawaii," "Space," "Alaska" and "Mexico."

Ahhh… Michner…   now there was an obsessive/compulsive after my own heart.  When he would write a book about an area he would begin with one asteroid hitting another and forming, what else… the earth.   Then, he would touch on nearly everything in-between like a part of that collision eventually making its way to the gaping maw of a super-giant black hole and succumbing to its gravity; but, not before giving up a tiny gamma ray particle, blasting back in the direction it had come at the moment it was being torn asunder.   Me… I just want to tell you about a female trout in labor far up an isolated arm of a world which seemed to consist mostly of water.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NEW: Silver State Trails

The Silver State Trails in Nevada was posted about over on the Offroading Home Forum a few days ago. I'd never heard of them before, so did a bit of research and found that the trails were just a bit north of our old stopping grounds in Mesquite, up by Pioche and Pananca.

The person who posted about them left some links to pages that he had found, so I followed them.   As usual, there were no REAL, usable maps or files available; so, no-one could actually download anything but PR hype.

I found the BLM web site for the area, and one additional site which had the area split up into five of those proprietary, and nearly unusable, Adobe PDF maps.   As you know some BLM field offices are still using this "protectionist" type of format – probably thinking that what they are doing is somehow useful to people.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Autumn Leaf Loop - East Canyon

Our "Autumn Leaf" tour around the Wasatch Range concludes this post as we reach East Canyon after having traveled from I-215 in Immigration Canyon, around through Mirror Lake in the High Uintas and out through Evanston Wyoming before going over Monte Cristo past Causey Reservoir. Backroads all the way, it none-the-less is easy for our offroad-challenged street vehicle and covers nine counties in Utah and Wyoming.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Autumn Leaf Loop]

We're now looking at the leaves going out of Huntsville over Trappers Loop on our way to Weber Canyon where we'll head to the Morgan exit.   It's been a slightly grander "Sunday Drive" to see the leaves than we originally bargained for; but, hey, these are the the autumn colors we're seeing and this is the mountains!   And besides, we remember all these places back from the time when we were less chronologically challenged (or at least tell ourselves we do) and the government was less extensively exclusionary of seniors.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn Leaf Loop - Mirror Lake

Recently, we took a grand-loop tour up Immigration canyon, through the Uinta Mountains by Mirror Lake, around through Woodruff and down Monte Cristo, by Causey Dam, into Huntsville and over Trappers Loop, up Weber Canyon to Morgan then over East Canyon until… finally, reaching Immigration Canyon again.   [Those of you who have never heard of these places, trust me, it's a long way for a day-trip.]

A bit more than one deliberately sets out to take in one fell-swoop; but, once you get going, it's hard to stop… until you can't, and it's just plain "shorter" to go around than go back.   Especially when you think you remember all the places you're seeing – and even more especially when you're talking about the Uinta Mountains where most of us had spent many a summer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Autumn Leaf Loop - Causey

If you live in Utah between Ogden, Salt Lake City and Provo [and almost who doesn't in Utah] then you may be one of the thousands who are looking for a good "Sunday Drive" to see the leaves. Most likely, the rest of you can see the leaves out your window.

The Rocky Mountains, specifically the Wasatch Range, being full of maples and deciduous trees of all kinds, as well as heavy amounts of conifers which act as 'foils,' sports the most grand fall color display of anywhere west of the Appalachian Trail.  [I say that because having lived in New York I remember the blaze the sugar maples make each year.]

They are beginning to turn now that we've had a few cool days to accompany the cooling nights of fall.   Just like in Vermont, however, they don't turn all at once or in all places at once; so, if you make your drive long enough you can avoid being disappointed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

GEO-tography: Wet Summer

Offroad Summer
There is a huge difference between "Offroaders" and ATV (or motorbike, or jeep) "riders"! One is very focused on the sport and thrill and accomplishment — the other, on the destination or the locale.

The BLM and other regulatory bodies should no more lump the two together than we should lovers of the outdoors and rabid "tree huggers." While some of the accouterments may be the same the approach and outcome is totally different.

So, the photographs I post aren't so much about the "whiz bang" stuff; but rather, more about the destinations and views and outcomes. Such, is the case with this post: Summer riding is nearly always TOWARD something cool – and that's pretty much: water!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Enough Said

In addition to not being much of a motorcycle enthusiast, I have never once felt that merely posting one photo of someone else's work is an adequate post… until now… and then some!   [ED Note: Hold onto something bolted to the floor while you watch this]

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Utah Trails Master Map - North and Southwest

The Utah Trails Master Map has undergone a substantial re-do for the complete northern and southwest regions. It was the first master map that I ever made and a whole lot of enhancements have taken place since then.  [For this free Google Earth map see: "Utah Trails"]

You may recall that about a month ago I discovered that this flagmark map had been sorely neglected and gave it a complete new face lift – visually – which gave it a look like the newer maps.

While working on it I found that, because hand constructing trails and extracting data was so cumbersome back then, I had elected to only display selected trails – therefore many of the books trail contents were left out, fully intending to complete the task some day, but forgot.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NEW: Black Joe Mine-Horse Thief Canyon-Keyhole Canyon Trails

In his nearly tireless efforts to GPS track every offroad trail in southern Nevada before he turns 30, Mike took his jeep across "the dam" (or possibly we should call it "THE Dam") the other day with his son and captured two more trails: Black Joe Mine and Horse Thief Canyon.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: and is called the "Great Basin SUV Trails: Southern Nevada" map.]

He says his son loves to hike, which is a good thing because both of these trails end in a short hike to mines or the mountains, although at least one requires climbing gear.

As you can see from opening the map in Google Earth, both trail-heads are just a hop-skip-and-a-jump east of Boulder Dam on the Arizona side. ATVs or high-clearance 4WDs are a must on these trails due to rugged terrain and pinch points, and both have primitive camping opportunities.

Friday, October 1, 2010

USGS Map Waypoints: Colorado

Well, what was started over 5 months ago is finally done: the Colorado USGS Features file.   I had a request from a reader to do the same thing for Colorado that I did for Utah, Nevada, Montana and elsewhere and did start it but just too many things got in the way.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Colorado USGS Features (2.6 mb)]

All that's over now and it's finally completed… all 64 counties of 'em! It does go a bit faster now that I'm used to the grind; but, it's still a fair amount of tedium which is why it probably gets relegated to the back burner so easily.

It has turned out that these USGS Features files are quite a bit more useful than I had anticipated which is why I've had so many requests for them. You may have noticed that Google Earth has changed perceptibly over the past couple of so-called "updates."