Spring Fling III: Ride 3/23/17

Temperatures barely reaching above 10*F on Wednesday made it tough for even the March sun to soften the trails up, so I sat home.

On Thursday,  with temperatures on their way to around 30*F, I let the sun be my friend to loosen things up a bit before hitting the trail Thursday afternoon.

Indian Lake village trails were freshly groomed. C8/Sabael out of town was in great spring riding shape! Aside from some bald spots, the base was nearly 100 percent intact and about as flat as can be. There was just enough loose material in the surface to keep the slides and heat exchangers happy.

Furnell’s Field was starting to get cooked down to ice and grass tufts in places, but the trail through the field was still intact. The section from Route 30 crossing down to Indian Lake had some bald stretches, but remained over two-thirds intact.

The main drag down Indian Lake was uneven and rough. But off the beaten path was about a fun as could be! Hardly any slush and just a real plush ride. So much of Indian Lake gets un-tracked, you could easily do this for an hour or more:

Indian Lake

Indian Lake

The campsites were the usual washboard junk. There was a large fallen tree in the way, but people make their way around it.

Lewey Lake was another velvety crossing away from the beaten path. 2-Miles-of-Hell was some bump and grind with several dirt spots along the way. But for now, it remains a serviceable passageway.

Perkins Clearing Road was in good riding shape from the north end down to the Perkins-T intersection. Old Military Road was fantastic all the way to the back side of Perkins Clearing. Carpenter Hill Road was its usual mind-blowing awesomeness. There were maybe one or two dirt spots, the rest looked like this:

Carpenter Hill Road in Perkins Clearing

Carpenter Hill Road in Perkins Clearing

LP9/Nichol Vly trail was ground down to dirt in some of the exposed hillsides, but a lot of it was as good as Carpenter Hill Road.

Perkins Clearing Road from Mud Lake Road intersection, southward to Route 30 was in amazingly good shape, considering it was plowed for the first half of winter due to logging. But there were corners and exposed hills that were burnt down to dirt. And those areas will only grow as we press into spring.

The north end of C4/Melody Lodge trail and S41C/Hatchery Brook trail were closed due to logging operations near Route 30. This was the case last week as well, but I did hear the trail was open last weekend. Not sure what the snow conditions are like in there, but I’m sure the southerly exposures and whatever is plowed for logging is getting baked.

I doubled back up Perkins Clearing Road to hit LP10/Whittaker Lake trail to Wolf Hill Road. For the most part, that was half-way decent. But the exposed sections are getting burnt down to dirt.

S41/Silver Hill trail had large swaths of dirt heading down to Elm Lake Road. The snow coverage was much better once I got back into the shade, but the trail was bumps all the way down.

Once I got down into the Speculator Tree Farm, I ventured down C4/Cave Hill Road which was frozen hard bumps and some dirt spots. I only stuck with it about a mile before I decided not to waste any more time on it.

I did not want to run Silver Hill back up to Perkins Clearing and I knew that Fawn Lake/Big Brook would be in good riding shape based on Tuesday’s ride, so I plotted a course that way to make my return trip home. C4 from Tree Farm to the River trail was a sea of hard rollers, which made the riding more like work than fun.

My 4-TEC ended up working a bit too hard and tripped the overheat lamp. So, I just shut her down for 20 minutes and stuffed as much snow as I could into the skid and tunnel so the heat exchangers would have ample cooling upon take off.

Upon my passage through Speculator village, the 4-TEC didn’t overheat again, but it was pretty skanky through the Ball Field Parking lot and LP1/Page Street trail. Fortunately, Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake offered more ample material for cooling, even though the drag strips were fairly rough and uneven.

Thankfully, Fawn Lake and Big Brook trails had not degraded much since my Tuesday ride through there. Next thing I know, I was back up into Perkins Clearing! I was sure to repeat my earlier jaunt through Carpenter Hill Road and LP9/Nichol Vly trail.

Then it was back home via Perkins Clearing, 2-Miles-of-Hell and Lewey/Indian Lakes. Once I got back home, I spun around the Indian Lake village trails, which were in pretty darn good riding shape for late March! The Crow Hill Road shelf was still intact. Even though S86 going into town was getting burned bald by Crow Hill Road, the other side across the highway from Route 30 One Stop was still nearly 100% covered:

Trail S86 by One Stop

For giggles, I tried C8 out to Cedar River Headquarters for a few miles. I gotta say that it was actually in shockingly good shape! Nearly 100 percent coverage and mainly flat. It was probably like that most of the way out to Headquarters. I didn’t press much further because I could tell the trail surface was getting hard again with the setting sun. So, I turned back and made it back to the compound with 103 miles on the afternoon.

All in all, a great day of spring riding under a cobalt blue sky. Doesn’t get much better for March 23rd, unless we get a fresh half-foot of snow on top. Of course, roads are bare. But for now, you can make the connections into Indian Lake for food and gas.

Is it worth coming up this weekend?

I guess that depends on you’re definition of worthwhile riding. If you’ve been riding the couch all winter when conditions were better, then you might as well keep your sleds in storage and pine for next winter.

If you don’t live terribly far from here and want that “last ride”, we have it here for you! For some reason, the trail conditions around Indian Lake are light years better than the immediate Speculator area (excluding Perkins Clearing and Fawn Lake/Big Brook).

Unless they took a bulldozer to Moose River Plains, I would expect those hideous rollers from Cedar River Headquarters to Silver Run. But I’m sure it’s all ride-able.

After getting some snow Friday morning and mixed precipitation Friday afternoon, the weekend is not expected to get that warm. So if you’re willing to ride in whatever rain or mixed precipitation we get over the weekend, I think you’ll do OK. It’s all about picking your spots.

For the ilsnow nation,


This report is brought to you by Steet Ponte Auto Group. Many of the vehicles here in Indian Lake are bought from the Steet Ponte. Co-owner Joe Steet is a huge fan and booster of ilsnow.com. If you’re looking for a new truck, give Steet Ponte a good look.

Spring Fling II, Getting worse: Update 3/21/17

Darrin Jr and I launched in Speculator today. Snow conditions started soft, which eased any bumps.

Here is a summary of the conditions encountered:

Perkins Clearing: Great riding for the most part. Southerly exposures on Mud Lake Road showing some dirt. Carpenter Hill Road was mind blowing!

Big Brook: Pretty good ride, just a few bald spots. No significant water holes.

Fawn Lake: Very good ride.

LP 1/Page Street, Speculator interior trails: Passable, but getting skanky. Anything near a parking lot or road was dirt and water.

Speculator “River” Trail: Passable, but will be done if the river goes up another 6-12 inches.

Lake Pleasant – Sacandaga Lake – Oxbow Lake: Well traveled. Increasingly slushy as day went on, but no deep slush on the main drags.

Fish Mountain Trail: Groomed flat, but rocks starting to poke through in the woods. Several skanky stretches.

Spy Lake Trail: Flat, but rocks poking through in places. Getting skanky on exposed hills and tight turns. Jack’s Hill going bald. Trail won’t be passable much longer without incurring considerable sled abuse.

Powley Road: Great ride from top to bottom! Only one thin spot, no bald spots yet. Snow is really deep off trail.

S88/Piseco Lodge trail: Passable, but lumpy. Some large rocks poking through.

C4/Sheriff Lake: Fairly rough first couple miles, then improved toward Route 8.

C4A toward Evergreen Lake: CLOSED!

C4 though Morehouse: Good snow coverage, a few rocks poking through. Fairly lumpy until Rec Hall. Then pretty good riding after Rec Hall to Erb Road. Some rollers from Erb Road to Harryville, then pretty good again to Herkimer County Line.

C4C/Mosquito Hill: CLOSED! No tracks.

C4/Jones Road: Ungroomed. Had to skirt around several fallen trees. Did not press on to Gray-Wilmurt Road, which was nothing but dirt.

Oxbow Inn: Great lunch! :)

Bottom line:

We continue in slow-death mode here in ilsnow land. We’re inching to the point where you’ll need to dump directly onto Perkins Clearing, Old Route 30 or Powley Road for any appreciable riding in the Speculator area. Cold weather will staunch the daytime bleeding on Wednesday, but that could also make it difficult for enough loose material to work into the tunnel for cooling (and make the bumps hard!), until temperatures moderate somewhat by Thursday afternoon.

Weekend weather looks pretty miserable at this point…

I’ve got another ride or two left, but I’ll be phoning it in for winter pretty soon:


For the ilsnow nation,


This report is brought to you by Adirondacks Speculator Region Chamber of Commerce. Speculator has long been one of my favorite places to ride! There are lots of options, whether you want to ride around Speculator for the day, or launch a 250 mile mega-miler. Speculator is loaded with businesses eager to cater to snowmobilers. Look them up at the Speculator Chamber and grab a copy of their snowmobile trail map. Be sure to tell them that Darrin @ ilsnow.com sent you.

Spring fling! Update 3/20/17

After Thursday’s deep powder fest, I was on the shelf last weekend. So, I took an after-work spin up to Newcomb.

The local Indian Lake village trails were groomed today. Most of the trails weren’t perfectly flat, but the weekend bumps were sufficiently ironed out for enjoyable riding. The exposed areas and heavily worn corners were starting to get bare spots again, but the Crow Hill Road shelf was still intact to make the connection into town. The best trail in town was S85/Ski Hut trail, which was nearly mint.

S84 out toward Blue Mountain Lake had the usual spring time bare spots on the exposed hills and corners. Then it was a pretty good ride once I got over the top. The Old Stage trail hadn’t been tracked much, so it was a pretty plush ride. My sled had to work a bit to cross Lake Durant, but there wasn’t any slush and I was able to stay on top of the snow pack.

538/Newcomb trail was groomed on both sides today and was a nice ride from bottom to top. There were several thin spots on exposed hillsides and tight corners, but the base was solid in most places.

I snapped a picture at the Newcomb-T, just to let you know I made it there. 😉


Then I doubled back to town and called it an evening with about 65 miles for the ride.

It seems strange to talk about bare/thin spots the week after a 2 foot thump of snow. But that’s what the strong March sun and heavy weekend traffic does, even when we have seasonal temperatures and no rain.

Snow pack around Indian Lake ranges from less than a foot in southerly exposures to 2-3 feet in the shady deep woods. I’m sure someone can find snow pack thicker than a yard in their favorite snow bowl in the southwestern Adirondacks.

At any rate, Monday’s ride was light-years better than my previous trip up to Newcomb three weeks ago.

I heard that Moose River Plains was a brutal ride between Cedar River Headquarters to Silver Run last weekend. One can only hope they took a dozer to those awful rollers that seem frozen in time…

Midweek Outlook

With the daily thaw/freeze cycles we’ve had the past several days, the trail surface gets hard at night and softens during the day under the March sun. Ole’ Man Winter will give us yet another parting shot with a deep freeze for Wednesday, which will stop the slow bleeding. But I wouldn’t expect much fresh snow. If you’re looking for that “last ride,” we’re definitely as good a place as any to get it.

Weekend Outlook

To be honest, I’ve seen so many possible outcomes with the Friday, Saturday and Sunday time frame that I don’t have much forecast confidence for the weekend. We could end up with dose of temporary, base-boosting snow…or…we get warm and wet. At any rate, I do believe that most trails will hold ride-able snow as we head into the weekend.

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!


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