Arapeen Trail System offers great riding and fishing

Friday , September 29, 2017 - 5:00 AM

LYNN R. BLAMIRES, special to the Standard-Examiner

If you don’t know whether to fish or ride ATVs, the Arapeen Trail System is where you want to be. You can do both! Located between Manti on the west and Ferron on the east, the Arapeen features 53 fishing spots on the Arapeen Trail Map listed by name and GPS location.

I was on the Arapeen earlier this year on a three-day ride we called “The Iron Man.” There was no time for fishing on that ride, but this time I was with family who like to do both.

It was almost a guy trip, but my brother-in-law, Bob Smith, brought his 11-year-old daughter, Elsie. Last year he brought an older daughter to this annual event. He is supposed to be an accountant, but I am here to tell you that he can’t count fish! I know I was outfishing Hannah then, but I couldn’t prove it by Bob.

This year even I could not count enough fish to come close to Elsie’s 27. We were at Yearns Reservoir, which was the closest fishing spot up the canyon from Manti. The fishing was great and everyone caught some fish, but nobody caught fish like Elsie. Her whooping and hollering every time she had a fish on the line got old. Soon we decided to ride to another fishing spot.

Yearns Reservoir is situated at about 6,500 feet in elevation. While it was only overcast there, storms were in the forecast. Looking at the map, we would have to climb to the Skyline Trail and then drop down to other fishing spots.

We made our way up an additional 4,000 feet on the Manti Canyon Road to the Skyline and changed our minds about other fishing spots. The clouds had descended and we were getting pounded with sleet. We took some pictures at the top, but when I got home and began editing them I noticed that the smiles were more like grimaces.

Turning around, we headed back down to warmer temperatures. As we descended, the sleet stung any exposed skin and we were glad to get below the clouds.

We turned off on the Burnt-Hill Trail (No. 32). Immediately the track narrowed and the beauty of fall colors closed in around us. Dulled somewhat by the lack of sunshine the yellows, reds, and shades of green were still remarkable.

Our descent was quite rapid. The trail took some steep drops as it wound through the forest glade. I love riding the Arapeen Trails – they are challenging and they take you through some amazing country. Recent rains had knocked the dust down, but also made for some challenging mud holes.

Passing junctions for trails 31 and 34, we picked up the Patton Trail (No. 3). This used to have a 50-inch restriction, but as I learned from my experience on the Black Dragon Trail earlier this year, this trail had been widened to 66 inches.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered a bog on this trail that was a nightmare. Well, reality hit when we came upon it. The mud holes were big and ominous and they looked like they would swallow us whole. Since nobody felt brave enough to be sacrificed we looked for a track that would take us through.

We found one with a log at the end of the track to be negotiated. Everyone did well except Bob and Elsie. They got high-centered on the log. Fortunately, his machine had a winch, which we used to get him over.

The last challenge on the Patton Trail was crossing the stream at the bottom of Manti Canyon. There was a track through the water or we could take the bridge. I chose the bridge, but my cousin Shawn Harrop and his son Cael said later that the route through the stream looked safer. They watched as loose boards popped up under me as I crossed the bridge.

Finishing a great day on the trail and for at least one of us, a good fishing day, we rode into Manti. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and don’t get sucked into family fishing contests.

You can email Lynn Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.

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