Sunday, June 17, 2012

Utah Arapeen Tail System Map Update

It's one of the reasons that the economies of the small central Utah towns are still solvent – the extensive offroad trail system that they have learned to promote.

The Utah Arapeen Trail System is in the Manti-LaSal forest and the city fathers of the many little towns (with a bunch of coaxing from both local businesses as well as offroaders) have come to learn just what a valuable asset the trails in the surrounding hills are to their local economy.

Anyone traveling in central and southern Utah will quickly come to realize that the towns are all spaced a day's journey by horse and wagon apart, a legacy of simpler times.

All of the towns have local ordinances which welcome offroad vehicles to traverse their roads with almost none of the hysteria or inordinate rules that accompanied similar considerations in Mesquite a couple of years ago.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

GEO-tography: Oceans

There is nothing quite like living next to, or near, an ocean. From the temperate temperatures, to the wild weather; from the (mostly) free swimming to the "magnetic" sand; from the great growing-seasons to the constantly limp and damp bed-sheets; from the… well, you get the picture.

The one thing they all have in common however, is: Grandeur – and terrific places to take pictures because of it; especially if you go a little off-road.

Just about every category of photo we've highlighted here in GEO-tography is amplified at least double near the ocean. The crags are craggier; the colors more vibrant, and more subdued; the clouds more widely varied; water more in-your-face; and the sunsets, well, let's just say that you've never seen one until you've seen one across the watery horizon.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Offroad: Mormon Mesa-St. Thomas

This ride was a good days outing from Mesquite Nevada in a mini-van around the historic Mormon Mesa and St. Thomas overlook. The ride was 125 miles around some breath-taking overlooks and red rocks with a thousand feet change in altitude. At the time of the ride the dirt roads were dry and fairly well maintained. Lake Mead was still below the historic town of St. Thomas and hiking trails were being well used.

Seeing the Virgin River Valley from the top of Mormon Mesa with Gordon and Hugh wasn't enough for me. Even though they were dirt, the roads seem to look like they'd been scraped in the not to distant past so we decided to try to get the family van up the mesa from the Overton side so Mom and Dad could see it too.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Google Earth Trail FileOffroading Home.]

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Utah Wins Best State Website

Hey… I've got some news for you. As part of running a blog for the past five years, I've had to become fairly acquainted with the issues and techniques of web development. And, as such, find myself frequenting the blogs of "opinion leaders" in the area of web design and development.

One site that I visit fairly regularly is: Design Shack run by Josh Johnson, Joel Bankhead and David Appleyard. In addition to writing articles about how to blog effectively, they occasionally scour the web themselves and give ratings and rankings to sites they find in some particular category – and they are very well thought of.

One of their recent articles was a ranking of the websites run by each of the 50 U.S. states. Now these sites are government web sites, published by the state as their "official" presence on the web – not only to represent the state but to be the "gateway" for it's citizens to contact and obtain services from the state. Just take a guess which state won the very top honor.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Offroad: Five Canyons Trail

Forty-three miles and a full day will get you out of Mesquite and into the mountains for a great loop around the five major canyons in the Bunkerville Range of the Virgin Mountains; plus a picturesque valley thrown in for good measure.

This is a ride which can easily be done without trailering from Mesquite. It loops from Water Tower Lane in Bunkerville to North Valley before running into the Parashant via the 4,900 ft Lime Kiln Canyon and returning via White Rock Road. It also happens to be what we think is the very best get-acquainted "sampler" ride one can your visitors on.

Although there are roads and trails going up all the canyons which can be navigated by 4-WD vehicles, the trail as shown in the free map accompanying this post is best taken on ATVs, side-by-sides and single tracks due to width, camber and turns. None-the-less, it really is considered beginner level (well, one part is a "strong" beginner level due to incline). [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Google Earth Trail File Offroading Home.]