Ride to Speculator and Wells: Update 1/19/17

The inch and a half of snow/sleet mash we picked up earlier this week sprung me loose for “Ride Day Thursday!”

C8/Sabael trail down to Indian Lake was in pretty good shape as I left town this morning, aside from a few persistent water hazards.

Indian Lake was a pretty smooth and flat crossing. The campsites were still holding out decent. Lewey Lake didn’t have quite as much fresh material on it as Indian Lake did, but it was good enough to make it across.

Two Miles from Hell along Route 30 was decent, but was pretty thin in spots with a few water hazards/stream crossings. There was one nasty hazard that I had to cut a bit off trail to get around it. A bit of caution will go a long way on that trail.

Perkins Clearing was simply outstanding as the Lake Pleasant groomers were working their magic. I took Perkins Clearing Road down to the T-intersection, took a right on to Military Road. All of that was AWESOME!!

Just when you think that Lake Pleasant outdoes itself in Perkins Clearing, they do this:

Perkins Clearing

Looped around to Nichol Vly to hit LP9.  That trail did suffer a bit of water damage from last week’s thaw, but was still in good riding shape overall. I was the first tracks on it this morning.

After I got back onto Perkins Clearing Road, I took a left at HM111 (just north of Mud Lake Road intersection) to hit the S41C/Whitaker Lake trail and somehow connected to S41/Silver Hill trail via Wolf Hill Road. For the most part, that trail was pretty flat…but thin in places with some stream crossings and water hazards.

S41 itself had better snow cover and was a decent pathway down to C4/Cave Hill Road. As always, Cave Hill Road was a nice ride. Old Route 30 was a bit rough, but still a swift passageway down to HM700.

Down to Wells…

At this point I decided to try a run down to Wells. Trail S42 was a decent and relatively flat ride most of the way down with some stretches of loose granular snirt. The chief hazards were culverts near Route 8 & 30. The stretch past Auger Falls down into the gorge was a solidly nice ride. The only really lousy spots (beside the water hazards) were the two or three spots I had to ride along the shoulder of Route 30 next to guardrails.

Here, parked at the iconic Wells sign:


With the lower elevations and subsequent warming, the trails were getting pretty mushy down in Wells. But I did make it down to Lake Algonquin, which was a fast crossing with a thin layer of slush. I actually saw a car parked on the ice, so I’m guessing the ice is safe. Wish I had taken a picture of that! Read More…

Standing Eight Count: Holiday Weekend Update 1/13/17

Update 1/18/17: Indian Lake to Speculator/Wells area along the Route 30 corridor and points east picked up one to one-and-a-half inches of snow, sleet and freezing rain mix.

Back into the western Adirondacks, like Inlet, Old Forge, etc there was much more freezing rain with little snow to show for it.

At least for my neck of the woods, we have a layer of mash for traction and to keep the heat exchangers happy. Just some recon, in-case you’re looking to sneak in a mid-weeker.

Report 1/13/17

Well, the thaw did what it was supposed to do: melt some snow and turn everything to hard pack or ice once the cold rolled back into town for Friday.

Temperatures got well into the 40s on Thursday, which was bad enough. But at least we scored less than a half-inch of rain out of the whole ordeal, which minimized damage somewhat.

Leftover snow pack around Indian Lake is upwards a foot-plus in protected areas. The exposed spots hold 6 inches or less with a few bald spots.

Here is a “big picture look” at the remnant snow pack:

Adirondack snow pack

It’s not pretty, but at least we’re still standing for now.

Weekend Outlook:

Lakes are glare ice now.

Snowmobile trails are very hard-packed and/or icy and that’s not going to change much this weekend. Perhaps the weekend traffic could churn the trail surface into a thin layer of loose granular in places, but turns would remain extremely icy.

There are some indications for light snow later Saturday night into Sunday morning, but I wouldn’t expect much help from that.

Bottom line:

I’m not going to tell you that snowmobile riding is impossible. In fact, I did see a snowmobile heading to the Route 30 One Stop on my way to work Friday morning.

But I can tell you that studded tracks and ice scratchers would be your best friend this weekend with no meaningful snow in sight. If you’re really careful and set reasonable expectations based on marginal/icy conditions, you can do OK. If you expect to rip off a 150-200 miler like you did last weekend without studs and/or ice scratchers, you’ll end up overheating your snowmobile, smoking your slides and perhaps smack into a tree.

I’ll let you decide on what you’d like to do. I got my kicks on Wednesday and will probably sit on the pine until we get the next snow or get desperate. Hopefully, the former rather than the later. :)

Extended Outlook

Despite the hard blow we took on Thursday that knocked winter to the canvas for a standing-eight count and little to be excited about for the next 1-2 weeks, I’m not punking out yet. There is good reason to believe that late January into February could bring us back to good for the second stanza of winter.

You can check out my Youtube video here:

Down but not out! ilsnow.com storm center 1/12/17

Purple Ribbon Ride

If you live in Progressive Motorsports Country, place the 9th Annual Purple Ribbon Cancer Ride on your schedule for February 11, 2017. It’s for a great cause and on a personal level, my mother is a 30+ year survivor of breast cancer. And she dealt with that while being a single mom providing for her three children.

So check out the flyer below for all of the appropriate details and go to purpleribboncancerride.com


For the ilsnow nation,


This report is brought to you by Pilot Knob Marina in Lake George. Just get off Northway I-87 Exit 20, then follow NY Route 149 East until you hit the junction of NY Route 149 and Bay Road. Pilot Knob Marina features a wide selection of new and pre-owned Arctic Cat snowmobiles & ATVs. If you see Nick Barber, tell him that Darrin @ ilsnow.com sent ya!

Yes! Snowmobile ride to Speculator 1/11/17

My ride to Speculator happened Wednesday. I know that today’s thaw will change the conditions, but the snowmobile ride has a story worth telling and might provide a sort of “base line” for what conditions could be like over the holiday weekend.

So, here it goes!

We got 3 almost inches of snow/sleet mash Tuesday night, which included a half-inch crust. That coated the trails nicely provided some much needed traction.

When I set sail just after 8AM, I was the first one out, making new tracks all the way down Indian Lake:

Indian Lake

Indian Lake

By that time, temperatures were already in the middle-30s, making it feel very much like a mid-March ride. Must say that it felt better than starting at -20*F or -30*F like I have done before.

Trails were in good shape around Indian Lake and down through the Indian Lake Campsites. Two-Miles-Of-Hell on Trail C8 along Route 30 was a bit lumpy, but was a suitable passageway and only had one stream through it.

Lewey Lake yielded a spectacular view of the snow and ice encrusted Snowy Mountain:

Snowy Mountain

Snowy Mountain from Lewey Lake

Perkins Clearing Road was superb and the 3 inches of new material made it a magic carpet ride. As well-advertised by now, the south end of Perkins Clearing into Mud Lake Road is closed for logging until the end of January. So, I took the infamous “southern bypass” to get down to Speculator.

The “bypass” had a lot of terrain and water-induced divots. But the new snow served to cushion the ride as I was the first tracks through there. Not knowing the trail, I took it rather conservatively…and that was the right call! There was one large stream crossing that I didn’t want to mess with, so I elected to hop up onto the frozen pond to evade the stream. Worked out OK for me, but I’ll be happy when the southern Perkins logging is finally done! Read More…


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