Indian Lake to Speculator: Snowmobiling Ride Report 2/9/13

After looking like a frozen desert for the past week and a half, the fresh 8 inches of new snow brought snowmobiling back to life! The village trails benefited greatly from the new snow and the groomers had been out on the morning. Trail base is sufficient but not thick. Every once in a while, I’d clip a rock or scrape carbide. Sabael trail was in pretty good shape, but Furnell’s field leading up to Route 30 was a sheet of ice where the wind blew the snow off.

Indian Lake had plenty of snow. But the wind had blown it into dunes, which made going down the lake a little bumpy. The Campsites were typical bumpy. Then I partially blew my drive belt on Lewey Lake and had to install my spare. I hadn’t planned on going all the way down to Speculator. But my spare wasn’t in much better shape than my blown belt. I figured my odds of making it to the Lemon Tree to get a new belt would be better than running the lakes back home.

The 2 Miles from Hell between Lewey Lake and Perkins Clearing Road had plenty of snow, but needed grooming badly. It was rough! Perking Clearing Road was a nice ride from top to bottom. The sharper corners were worn down to snirt and ice. C4 and LP3 down to Speculator village was in decent shape: enough snow to ride it, but snirty and thin in places. The hill past Melody Lodge was particularly icy, thin and snirty. The Speculator village trails were getting bumped up from the weekend traffic. Sidewalk trail to Ballfield parking lot was nice and flat. After I installed the new belt from the Lemon Tree, I headed back up to Route 30.

Note: C4/LP4 (River Trail) is closed. DRAG of Speculator and Town of Lake Pleasant will be working with DEC on a long term solution. Use the sidewalk trail instead.

Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to run C4 out of the village via HM103 and HM104. That was in halfway decent shape and recently groomed. The swamps have frozen. As expected, some places were pretty thin, especially under the tall evergreens and that twisty part with the sharp corners. Good enough to get the job done.

Once I got back up to Route 30, I hit the S41/Hatchery Brook trail to make a run into the Speculator Tree Farm. S41 was a great ride all the way down to Elm Lake Road. The biggest surprise was finding Wolf Hill Road with 8-10 inches of UNBROKEN snow! On a Saturday afternoon? You’ve got to be kidding me! That was a ton of fun. After the small clearing, it became a skidder road with lots of small trees and branches under the snow. I negotiated my way through the various hazards to make it down to Elm Lake Road, but I won’t do that again. You could easily mess your sled up on that skidder road.

After I doubled back to S41 and crossed Elm Lake Road, I hit the Silver Hill trail. That was a bit thin and scratchy, then it became a plowed road for shared logging truck and snowmobile use for about a mile at the bottom of the hill. It was pretty rough and icy, but had enough snow to get by. Cave Hill Road and Old Route 30 were nice riding. A comb over with the groomer would probably make it perfect.

Note: Elm Lake Road, Long Level Road and Fly Creek Road are closed to snowmobiling this winter for logging. I really hope that gets re-opened for next winter because that makes a GREAT loop in the Tree Farm.

At HM700 by the steel bridge, I yielded to temptation and continued on C4 down to Griffin Gorge. After I negotiated the boulder field about 1/2 to 1 mile in, it was a gorgeous ride down through the gorge on fresh untouched snow. WOW!! A couple of passes with the groomer would be able to fill in the depressions caused by previous washouts. I made it down to Route 8, but didn’t continue on to Pine Orchard because I was alone and started to get low on daylight. I stopped the snowmobile down there for about 15 minutes and just listed to the wind blow through the evergreens. For that time, it was just me, God and His creation while time stood still. It can’t get any better than that. 🙂

Then I doubled back to Route 30. Perkins Clearing Road was starting to show some bumps from the weekend traffic. For something different, I hit s82C/Old Indian Lake Road back up to Mason Lake. That was a decent ride, but the end toward Route 30 had its typical tricky riding, negotiating some washouts.

By late afternoon, the 2 Miles from Hell was rougher than Lindsay Lohan after a 3 day coke binge. I just stood up the runner boards and surfed the bumps at 20MPH most of the way through. On my trek through there, I encountered at least a dozen sleds. Lewey Lake and Indian Lake have started to get the “drag strips” on the way back home from the Saturday afternoon traffic which made for a smoother and more “belt-friendly” ride back home.

By the end of the day, the Indian Lake village trails were getting pretty icy in spots. One of the consequences of getting a dry snow on Friday is that the weekend traffic beats some of it off the trails before it can become assimilated into the base. I ran into Matt and Cal, who had started in Long Lake and worked their way back to Indian Lake. They told me that C7/Railroad from Sabattis to Big Moose were showing a lot of rail and heard that someone basically ripped the track off their sled on the rail. Moose River Plains was pretty good for a Saturday afternoon, but the Indian Lake side had some rollers. C4 from Headquarters to Indian Lake village was decent but the corners were getting pretty worn. Sounds like pretty typical weekend fare.

I spun around the village loop to finish my day. 42nd & Broadway could use a comb over with the groomer. Little Canada between Lone Birch and Route 30 One Stop was great. Ski Hut trail was great. I rolled back to the compound just after dark with 100 miles of the day. What more can I ask for on a Saturday? I’ll be back out tomorrow with the kids for a Sunday afternoon stroll. That’s starting to be a tradition. 🙂

I got some nice GO-PRO footage today and will probably combine with Sunday footage to make a weekend video. I hope to have that uploaded by Monday morning, but I can’t make any promises with my turtle slow upload speeds.

Bottom line: The new snow did a lot of good, but we need a nice “wet” snowstorm to hit us midweek to completely rebuild the base on the heavily traveled trails. Winter is more than half over, so you have the green light to come up here and have some snowmobiling fun.


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