Torrey Fall Foliage Trip 2015 - Day 1

St. George Jeepers Trail Report - Sept. 28, 2015

Torrey Fall Foliage Trip - Day 1

On a gorgeous fall Monday morning 10 Jeeps met at Costco in St. George to start what was to become an (almost) flawless three night, four day Jeeping outing. This was the start of our annual Torrey area fall foliage trip. Vehicles that met at Costco were Paul Furr, Ron and Ellie Motter, Bill Draney, Bruce and Ruth Furr, Bud Sanders, Joan and Phil Hayes, Steve and Claetra Howcroft, Carl and Caroline Kulyk, Leo and Dee Wingrove and Dan and Carol Gastineau. Upon departing Costco we drove up I-15 to Beaver where we picked up Ron and Joan Bryce, Jim and Carolyn Ward, and Steve and Sue Holt.

Phil and Joan Hayes led trips on all four days. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Rick Draney from Loa led alternating trips. I followed Joan and Phil on their trips, so I will describe some of what we saw and where we went on their trips. This will be the trip report of day one, Monday.

After departing Beaver we headed east up Rt. 153 toward the dramatic Tushar Mountains. We left the pavement, aired down and proceeded on toward Big John Flats.

Big John Flat is located 19 miles east of Beaver off State Road #153. From Beaver we traveled 16 miles east on State Road #153. We turned onto the graveled Forest Road #123 and traveled another three miles north to Big John Flat. Just south of the Tushar Mountain Peaks, Big John Flat area is a favorite recreational spot because of its large meadows that have spectacular scenery. This area also offers opportunities for winter sport enthusiasts such as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Common vegetation includes Engelmann spruce, aspen and fir stands with large meadows. The general terrain is a large meadow encompassed by trees. This area is also open to ATV use on designated roads and trails.

By the time we had arrived at Big John Flat, we had gained considerable elevation. The below photo shows how close we were to the timberline.

Traveling on beyond Big John Flat, we were treated to many breathtaking vistas.

The Tushar Mountains have been the site of a successful mountain goat introduction program. The below photo of an exhibit sign explains the history of the program. We were not fortunate enough to see any on this trip through the area.

Soon we arrived at the Tushar Peaks, possibly one of the better high mountain panoramas in Utah. The peaks in the below photo are part of the Big Rock Candy Mountain that one drives by on Rt. 93.

Leaving the Tushar Peaks and heading east, ultimately to travel under and along I-70 and pass through Richfield.

Proceeding on down off the mountain we passed considerable evidence of old mining activity. Mining roads are still visible traversing the mountainsides.

Since this was our fall foliage trip, we were not to be disappointed. In some areas peak had just gone by, some areas still some green, but in general the foliage was wonderful, usually about full peak.

A historic site that we visited and where we had lunch was the old Silver King Mine where gold and silver were mined. The below photo explains the interesting history of the area. Below that is a photo of the two-story cabin illustrated on the sign. This is also the current location of the bucking lawn chairs.

Another old mine encountered on the way.

Below is some interesting fin-like geology that we passed on our way down off the mountain.

Traveling to lower elevations, we left the radiant yellows and golds of the quaking aspens and began encountering the reds of oaks and maples.

In the first sentence of this trail report I mentioned that the trip was almost flawless. On this first day the only problem encountered was a flat tire on Leo and Dee Wingrove’s Jeep, pictured below. Somewhere along the trail they picked up a piece of sharp metal. Fortunately, by the time it was low enough to become a problem we were to Richfield where they were able to get a repair and continue on to Torrey. For some 13 total Jeeps being out there, that wasn’t bad.

After arriving in Torrey, checking into the motel and joining members of our group already in Torrey, we were treated by the staff of the Broken Spur Motel to a delicious Dutch oven supper of mutton, chicken, potatoes, vegetables and dessert. It was a great ending for the first of four grand days. The travels of day two, three and four will follow.

Submitted by Bud Sanders