More On The Wild Life
Skunks and rattlesnakes are also present in the area. If you encounter one in the middle of the trail, common sense should tell you to stay your distance until it decides to leave or you can find a safe route around. Then you can use the encounter to spice up the description of the trip to the folks back home.
Some wildlife is only wild to those unfamiliar with the area. One group of ATVers was stopped by a herd of cows on the trail; they turned around and returned to town. Trail riders must realize that most of the trail system is on public lands where ranchers have permits to graze their cattle. Consequently, you may see cattle on practically any part of the trail. They are completely harmless. When encountering cows on the trail, simply reduce your speed and continue driving. They will get out of your way. Some cows may even think you are there to herd them and stay on the trail ahead of you for some time. Be patient, they will eventually get out of your way. On the other hand, remember that these cows are someone's property, so do not harass then unnecessarily.
Because there is grazing, there are gates along the trail separating pastures or land ownerships. Always leave these gates as you find them; open if you find them so, or closed if they were closed when you arrived. On many parts of the trail gates are being replaced by cattle guards, some especially designed for ATV's, to make your trip easier.
At places the Paiute Trail passes through private land. All of the main loop and some of the side loops follow legal rights-of-way across these parcels of private land. The travel management map for the Fishlake National Forest shows the location of these rights-of-way. It also shows areas of the Forest that are closed or restricted to motorized travel to protect wildlife habitat, watershed condition, or recreation opportunities. When crossing private land on a right-of-way, remember not to trespass on someone else's property.
There are several factors that should be considered that are due to the high elevation of the trail. As pointed out above, elevations along the trail range from 5,000 to 11,500 feet above sea level. The factor of the late summer riding season has been discussed above. A second factor caused by the elevation is the rare atmosphere and low oxygen levels. People with respiratory problems or a heart condition should consult a doctor before leaving home. Also people coming directly from near sea level must be aware that their physical stamina will be limited until they become acclimatized.
A third factor caused by the rare atmosphere at the trail's high elevations is temperature fluctuations. First, with over a mile of relief between high and low points of the trail, there can be a 20 to 30 degree temperature difference along the trail. Second, it is common to have a 40 degree temperature change from morning to night. This diurnal fluctuation especially must be considered by those planning to camp along the trail. Along with these temperature fluctuations is the fact that it never really gets too warm at 11,000 feet. As a result you should always carry warm clothing even if the weather appears mild at the start of a ride.
Pre planning is the key to a successful trip. Once you embark on the trail, you are in a different world with few support services. It is important that you have everything that you might need. This includes having enough fuel to get from one filling station to the next. The trail system is so extensive that even though there may be hundreds of people riding the trail at the same time, you may go for hours or even all day without meeting anyone.
If you are planning to camp, you will need tents, stoves, sleeping bags, lanterns, food, etc. There are plenty of camping spots along the trail. Campfires are permitted except during periods of extreme fire danger. Burn only dead and down wood, make sure the fire is completely out before you leave, and clean the campsite so it looks as if no one has been there.
If you are planning to stay in motels, plan how far you in tend to travel each day and then make reservations. Most of the towns along the trail are small and motel accommodations are extremely limited. Eating establishments are also limited in the smaller towns. Learn the hours of operation of local cafes ahead of time. You also might want to learn ahead of time where ATV's can be repaired should you have trouble.
If this booklet does not answer all of your questions you should contact the Fishlake National Forest, the Richfield office of the BLM, a local chamber of commerce, or travel council. They will be able to give you additional information, answer specific questions, or direct you to the pro per source. Government agencies, such as the Forest Service or the BLM, cannot recommend individual private businesses. To get advice on motels, ATV rentals, etc., you should contact a local chamber of commerce or travel council.
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