A trail guide to 42 destinations in the San Rafael Swell

Ed Helmick literally brought his new bride on board when they were married in 2007. “I do” for Janice meant four-wheeling in a bright yellow Jeep and helping Ed publish a book about their adventures for other off-road enthusiasts.
At almost 300 pages, “San Rafael Swell Off Road: A Trail Guide to 42 Destinations for Automobiles, 4WD Trucks & ATVs” is the result of their desire to share their photos, maps and years of experience so readers will have a guide to the sights found in the San Rafael Swell area of Emery County. The desert area, ringed by small towns like Price, Green River and Castle Dale, is best visited in the milder fall and spring, according to the Helmicks.
Every chapter includes helpful advice for novice or experienced explorers of the area, such as, “Easy dirt road for high clearance automobile, although four-wheel drive is recommended to several sandy sections along the road.”
I enjoyed the trivia included for each destination. “Temple Mountain received its name because early visitors thought the twin summits looked like the Mormon Temple in Manti, Utah. Uranium and vanadium were discovered on the mountain, and claims were recorded in 1898. Legend has it that Madam Curie used ore from Temple Mountain during her initial research into the nature of radium at the turn of the century.”
A group of fifth-grade students at Maple Ridge Elementary School recently enjoyed looking through the book during a writing lesson I was teaching. I asked these 10-year-olds for their thoughts and here are a few of their comments – not following the rules of quoting someone in an article like I just taught them.
“Me and my dad love to go riding on our four wheeler so this place would be perfect for us.” – Abbigale
“This is a good book because it has routes where you can explore and no one lives there.” – Amelia
“Our family usually goes off road in the mountains but now we would want to go in the dessert.” – Bree
“I am very interested in learning about the past and looking at pictographs is one way to learn about our country’s past.” (Future history professor?) – Carter.
“This book has great pictures of nature. If you are interested in off-roading this might just be your dream book!” (Future head of sales?) – Anna
And to sum up the book we go to Porter: “I think that this is a good book because it shows what each place looks like and where it is.”
This is more than a trail guide book. It even has a place to record your own experiences on the blank pages included in each chapter. With the Helmicks’ book along, you are sure to have some “swell” off-road adventures.
The book is available for purchase at Dickerson Automotive, 34 W. 1900 North, Spanish Fork, or from the authors at ed.helmick@gmail.com.