Fall Foliage Outing to Torrey

St. George Jeepers Fall Foliage Outing

September 26, 2016 – Torrey, Utah

On a beautiful, sunny fall day fourteen vehicles departed the Maverick station in Cedar City for a ride to Torrey, Utah. We were led by Joan Hayes. Unfortunately, Phil Hayes was home convalescing and couldn’t make this Torrey trip. Our trip to Torrey included the drive up I-15 to US Rt. 20 and then easterly on Rt. 20 to Rt. 89.

We then drove north up 89 and did a brief stop in Circleville, Utah. Circleville was originally settled in 1864. The town was named for the shape of the valley in which it is located, Circle Valley. The valley is completely circled by mountains except where the north flowing Sevier River goes in and out of the valley on the north and south. On Jun 28th, 1866, the town was abandoned by the original settlers. A few settlers began to trickle back into the area in 1873 and the town was re-established in 1874 when Charles Wakeman Dalton crossed the mountain from Beaver with two of his wives and family.

Utah’s most notorious native son, the elusive international cowboy outlaw Robert Leroy Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy, grew up in Circle Valley just a mile from Circleville. He was born further to the west, across the Tushar Mountains, in the town of Beaver, Utah. His family’s small cabin, on the outskirts of town, is still standing on the land they homesteaded. It can be seen on the west side of the road almost exactly one mile to the south of Circleville on US Highway 89.

Parker (Butch Cassidy) family cabin

After departing Circleville we traveled up 89 to Rt. 62, passed through the village of Kingston and entered the scenic Kingston Canyon Road. Below, air down at a rest center on Rt. 62, shortly before we left the highway and turned north onto Monroe Mountain Road.

Fish Lake Cut-off of the Old Spanish Trail

An Historic Trade Route Passed This Way

In the early 1800s, thousands of men, mules, and horses plodded along a well-travelled trail that paralleled Fish Lake.

Why Did Traders Come This Way?

The cutoff was a 72-mile shortcut that skirted the western shores of Wahsatch Lake (Fish Lake). Reaching elevations near 9,000 feet, the trail crossed mountain valleys that provided abundant quantities of fish, grass, water, and cool summer temperatures for travelers using this alternate route. This “southern branch” rejoined the main Old Spanish Trail near here at Kingston, Utah.

The Old Spanish Trail

This pack trail, known as the Old Spanish Trail, stretched 1,200 miles and linked Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Pueblo de Los Angeles (L.A.) in the Mexican Territory of California. Between 1829 and 1848, traders used the trail to carry New Mexican woolen goods; rugs, blankets and serapes, that were traded for California mules and horses.

Snow was evident from a recent storm on the high reaches of the Tushar Mountains. Throughout this fall trip, this snowstorm with the accompanying high winds had a big impact on the amount of foliage remaining as will be apparent in some of the following photographs.

Monroe Canyon Road (FR 078)

A small, yet valuable livestock and wildlife watering pond.

Getting into some nice color.

We were fortunate to see several golden eagles hunting in this high mountain valley.

A time everybody looks forward to: lunchtime on the trail.

An old wooden rail fence protects a small riparian spring area.

The contrast between the evergreen spruce and fir and the aspens adds to the visual appeal of  fall foliage experience.

Aspens regenerate by spreading underground. In this photo, all these stems are part of the same plant.

Scientists calculate that aspens have the most biomass of any individual organism on earth.

Below, Joan Hayes and Debbie Andrews take a photography break.

Traveling on toward Koosharem.

The old Virginia rail style fence adds to the aesthetic appeal of the adventure.

Worm’s eye view of the apen canopy.

Grass Valley Mercantile, the famous Koosharem store.

After arriving in Koosharem we aired up our tires and took Rt. 24 to Torrey for check-in at the Broken Spur Motel and Restaurant and an excellent supper provided by the Broken Spur.

Submitted by Bud Sanders

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