Spring Torrey Trip Day 3 – Eva Conover Trail

St. George Jeepers Trail Report – May 10, 2017

Spring Torrey Trip Day 2 – Eva Conover Trail

The ride today demonstrated how important it is to be flexible and have options to any of the most careful planning.

The day dawned to pouring rain, which was in definite conflict with the plans for the day. The original plans included some trails that likely would have been muddy with risk of damaging the trails and worse. However, our trip planners for the day, Joan and Phil Hayes always seem to have alternatives to even their best laid plans.

After group consultation, the decision was made to travel from the Silver Spur travel center in Hanksville where we congregated up UT-24 to US I-70, head west to exit 116 and then run the somewhat challenging, fun and scenic Eva Conover trail. This trail is mostly sand or rocks and was anticipated to be a fine run to do in the rain. Thirteen Jeeps and one Jeep/Toyota FJ hybrid made this remarkable trail ride.

After leaving the interstate at exit 116, the route included going through two very narrow tunnels under the interstate. The Eva Conover Trail is one that is often run on the Torrey outing. Usually it is a trip that includes the very challenging Devil’s Raceway. However, due to time constraints, Joan, and our trail leader of the day, Steve Friend, decided to do an out and back trip. This certainly was not unfortunate, as the scenery looks completely different on the return trip and the obstacles are also completely different.

Despite skies that threatened rain at any time, after starting our trail ride the rains didn’t continue throughout the day, in fact by lunch time they opened up to some beautiful skies and perfect temperatures. As on Monday, Rick Draney led an alternate trail ride.

The first of two tunnels under the interstate.

Ron Bryce, and his now trailworthy Toyota/Jeep enters the first tunnel. 

Carol Steck prepares to bring her Jeep through the tunnels. 

No paint was added to the tunnel walls. 

After accessing the trail, a look back at I-70 in the distance, upper right. 

Negotiating the start of some moderately challenging sections of the trail. 

Some scenery along the trail. 

Pit stop. The skies cleared to the northwest. 

Back on the trail. 

Desert Holly, Mahonia fremontii, barberry family 

Trail scenery, opening skies to the north! 

A small, slightly off-camber step. 

(Most likely) Desert Paintbrush, Castilleja chromosa 

The flowers of the paintbrush are edible, and were consumed in moderation by various Native American tribes as a condiment with other fresh greens. These plants have a tendency to absorb and concentrate selenium in their tissues from the soils in which they grow, and can be potentially very toxic if the roots or green parts of the plant are consumed. Highly alkaline soils increase the selenium levels in the plants. Indian paintbrush has similar health benefits to consuming garlic if only the flowers are eaten in small amounts and in moderation.

The Ojibwe used a hair wash made from Indian paintbrush to make their hair glossy and full bodied, and as a treatment for rheumatism. The high selenium content of this plant has been cited as the reason for its effectiveness for these purposes. Nevada Indian tribes used the plant to treat sexually transmitted diseases and to enhance the immune system. (Source: Wikipedia) 

Thread-stalk locoweed (A. filipes) 

Penstemon, or beardstongue spp. 

Yellow catspaw, Crypthantha flava 

Lunch stop on the edge of a scenic ravine. 

Larry displays an expression that represents the feelings of all the Jeepers on this day. 

At the junction of Eva Conover and Coal Wash trails we reversed direction and retraced our tracks. 

Echinocereus triglochidiatus, also sometimes known as E. “joanhayesiensis”, Claret Cup Cactus 

A little excitement just before a tight, tricky spot. Didn’t bother the driver at all. Don’t know about the passenger. 

Chimney Rock 

Air-up and back to Torrey. 

For a “default” trail, this trail would be hard to beat. Our appreciation to Steve Friend for leading and Joan and Phil Hayes for arranging the event. 

Submitted by Bud Sanders 

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