Indian Lake to Brantingham via Old Forge: Ride Report 2/13/13

I blew off work and headed to Old Forge this morning. The Indian Lake village trails were in really nice shape with the inch of fresh snow. C8 out to Cedar River Headquarters was a pretty nice ride most of the way out. There were a couple of icy spots that surprised me since I was the first tracks on the new snow. Thankfully, there wasn’t a tree or oncoming sled on the other side! As I got further out, the rollers become more noticeable, but it still was a pretty nice ride to Cedar River. However, once I climbed the icy hill past the river, the trail became a sno-cross mogul course for the remaining 2 miles out to Headquarters.

I followed fresh groomer ribbon past Cedar River Headquarters into Moose River Plains, but I could tell the fun was going to end once I overcame the groomer. Sure enough, that happened a couple miles in. Then it was rollers and whoppers all the way over to Silver Run with the corners worn down to snirt and pebbles.

After Silver Run, the Plains were flatter with just some occasional chatter bumps. The base was not incredibly thick as I was occasionally clanking carbide. The Big-T flats were their usual adrenaline rush….WHOOOSH!! Big T to Red River T was also pretty flat, but the corners were worn down to snirt and pebbles. Red River T flats were great. After I encountered the Inlet groomer making its way into the Plains, the conditions were really fast and flat. But the base got thinner and thinner the closer I got to Inlet. I was clanking carbide nearly continuously the final couple of miles to the Limekiln Gate.

Limekiln Road had a nice shelved snowbank to ride on. Ole Barn to Gilbert Road/Inlet village was the usual snirtsville, but the Inlet groomers were out in force keeping it all flat. I jumped on 4th Lake, which had enough fresh snow to hide the drag strip. But there was enough new tracks to show me the way to Daikers. That was nice lake riding!

From Daikers, I jumped onto Trail 5. That was “cinders and ashes” through Rondaxe Road, but it was flat and I banged carbide only a few times. From there, I ran Trail 9 over to Trail 1.

Brantingham has long been on my secret “bucket list” of places to try. Since I had made really good time to Old Forge, I went for it! :)

Trail 1 was pretty scuffed up in places, but certainly flat enough to continue. C8A heading out toward Brantingham was loose and snirty in places, fast and flat on others. Overall, it was a decent fun ride. C7B was snirty but groomed flat as a board. The last several miles until the Partridgeville Road crossing was an absolute snowmobile highway in places. WOW! That was incredible. After the road crossing, the trail was narrow but almost as flat. I felt like I was whizzing through the woods of Endor. I saw quite a few debarked trees so I’m sure there has been some decent sled carnage on that stretch.

After meandering through a used boat graveyard, I ended up at the legendary Kovach Repair & Rentals and waved at the Sledfreak webcam. Partridgeville Road had enough snow to make it down to the Pine Tree Restaurant for lunch. Good food and nice atmosphere! After lunch, I crossed the street to say “Hi” to the Sledfreak folks, but their store is only open Thursday thru Sunday. After I got gas at the Brantingham General Store, I started to head back toward home.

On Partridgeville Road I saw fresh groomer tracks going into C8G so I hit it. That was great wooded trail riding! I hit S79 which was absolutely amazing riding, then I just got “lost” in somewhat of a maze of seasonal roads and wooded trails, most of which was awesome riding! I didn’t know where I was going, but every once I would find a sign pointing to Old Forge and follow it. Eventually, I found myself on C8A. The trail was a bit scuffed up and bumpy the closer I was getting back to the main drag. The stretch from Stony Lake back to the Herkimer County line was a twisty snake and a bit rough at times with a couple of small water hazards about a mile before Intersection 52.

Ride Video:

The main drag of C8A heading back to Old Forge was getting more loose and scuffed up with the afternoon traffic, but the flats were still fast. The connector trail between C8A and Old Forge/Trail 1 had taken a Rocky Balboa beating. That got rough!

Trail 1 was snirty and scuffed, so I branched off to Pipeline/8 which was a nice ride from end to end. After crossing the Rail Road tracks, I ran Trail 3 and the loops, all very nice riding (especially the freshly groomed loops). Then I arched on Trail 9 to make my “escape” from Old Forge, which was pretty good as well.

I backtracked to Inlet/Ole Barn via 4th Lake, then decided to run the Inlet loop trails back to Moose River Plains. I was surprised to see the snirt extend so far back into the woods. The riding was still pretty good, but it does need more snow. 7th Lake Mountain was thin and I was clanking rocks, but it was pretty flat.

Note: The trail to 7th Lake is being logged. I saw a bulldozer back there. From what I’ve heard, you can still snowmobile down to 7th Lake but you need to be careful!

On the way back through the Plains, I decided to try the new Moose River Plains to Raquette Lake trail when I saw nearly fresh groomer tracks coming out of it. The sign says that snowmobilers are welcome to use the trail although bridge construction won’t be complete until Summer 2013. The two mile I rode in was an absolute goat path. The tree huggers should be proud of themselves. It was narrow (not much wider than Willis Mountain trail/Arietta), twisty, and winding up a hill. I was clanking stump tops and rocks often, so it needs more snow. I must say that it was a pretty fun ride. But if a lot of people end up riding this trail, it may be an absolute nightmare to keep groomed. I’ll probably wait until next winter to ride it all the way to Raquette, so I won’t say anything more about it for now.

From Silver Run back to Cedar River Headquarters, it was a better ride than it was this morning. But it will take more than one pass of the groomer to iron out the stubborn leftover rollers. That awful sno-cross section of C8 from Headquarters back down to the river was in much better shape by late afternoon, but will need another pass of the groomer before the weekend. Remainder of C8 back to Indian Lake village was a decent ride at best with chatterbumps and places scuffed down to dirt. I encountered 2 dozen sleds leaving Indian Lake on that trail when I was coming home. It will definitely need another comb over with the groomer before the weekend. The heavily traveled inner village trails had lost their shine from this morning, but were still decent riding. It looked like a lot of people were riding them today.

When I got back into town, I had saved the best for last: 42nd&Broadway and Little Canada between Lone Birch and One Stop were freshly groomed and incredible! I rolled back to the compound just after dark with 193 miles for the day. Believe it or not, I was in no state to find the 7 extra miles to make it an even 200. I was DONE, FINISHED, NO MAS!! It was a full day of riding and I was happy to make it back home.

Later in the evening Andy Meyers @ Indian Lake Snowarriors told me that he will be out grooming S84/Blue Mountain trail tonight. Just a piece of news to pass on if you’re looking to ride over to Newcomb. :)

Bottom Line:

The groomers were out in force today, but riding will continue to be a mixed bag of treats until we can get a big dump of snow with higher moisture content. That’s probably NOT going to happen this week. It wasn’t always pretty, but I had a fun ride today. There was enough good to overcome the not-so-good AND I get to cross Brantingham off my bucket list. :)

Darrin @ ilsnow.com

Comments welcomed!

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