Monticello UT - Saturday - 108+ miles

We had a route well planned, but we ran into a bit of a snag. To begin with the attached kml file is only our way back to Monticello starting at the very northern tip of the red line. As it turned out we did a fair amount of backtracking. I can say this, even with significant amounts of preparation and a gps unit this is a particularly easy area to get lost in. Our issue came as we reached the Elephant Hill trail. We had started from Monticello in the morning and we ran down Johnson Creek Rd to Gooseberry Rd turning west. We rode Gooseberry for a time before turning north on FR192. This Road basically parallels Beef Basin Rd which was our return route. We rode up to UT211 in the Needles area and refueled with our gas can we had placed the night before. We then continued on towards Elephant Hill Trail. We found the trailhead with no problem but in surveying the first hill we thought it looked very challenging. This was our first day on bikes that were still very new to us, and we had second thoughts. I knew from surveying the area on Google Earth that there were many difficult areas around this trail system and we thought if we got up the first hill maybe there was something even more challenging. I’m not saying we could have made the first one, but we simply didn’t know what was in store for us beyond that. So, we decided to take a pass and we thought for certain we could find an alternate route. We searched and searched but couldn’t find anything. So, we decided to run back to FR192 and backtrack but we we ended finding Beef Basin Rd and took that south. Beef Basin Rd is basically a fire road at this point and we were running at 40 mph. The scenery was nice as we rode at the base of Bridger Jack Mesa nearly 1,000 feet above the road. We rode around Cathedral Butte and alongside Boundary Butte before the road turned into FR088 also known as Sweet Alice Road. We continued south along the West side of Horse Mountain and rode past Gooseberry Road. We went about half a mile before we thought we should go back on Gooseberry. We circled back and headed east on Gooseberry. Here the road goes through a valley with Seven Sisters Butte, Mormon Pasture Mountain, and Round Mountain providing the boundaries. Soon we were riding up on a mesa and there was Chippewa Rocks East in full view. The landscape had changed from what I would call desert to lush pine trees everywhere. Not long after passing Chippewa Rocks a severe looking front started to move in and we thought for sure we about to get soaked. We picked up the pace dramatically as we motored towards Blanding. Once we reconnected with Johnson Creek Road we picked up the pace yet again. By the time we reached Blanding the storm looked like it had moved east and north, and we seemed to be out of risk. We went into Blanding thinking we would grab a bite to eat but there is not much at all to choose from, so we headed back to Monticello on US 191.

Day Three Saturday July 24th