Another big loop! Indian Lake, Newcomb, Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Moose River Plains 3/23/13

Cal emailed me last night, wanting to do the big loop via Newcomb, Long Lake and the new Raquette Lake to Moose River trail. The very thought of riding that goat path between Raquette Lake and Moose River Plains about sent me into anaphylactic shock, but I’ve been wanting to do that loop for a long time so I consented.

I met Cal at his house by 9:30am. Indian Lake inner village trails were smooth and sweet! After gassing up at the One Stop, we hit Little Canada, Lake Adirondack and 42nd and Broadway on the way out of town. All of that was super awesome!

S84/Blue Mountain trail was actually quarter-way decent through Rock Lake marsh. But after that, all the way up to the Newcomb trail junction was an endless string of ball-bashing rollers and studders.

The Newcomb trail was simply AWESOME all the way until Joseph Mountain: WOW, TONS OF SNOW THROUGH THERE! Joseph Mountain itself was thin in spots and we were kicking some pebbles around. The rest of the way until the junction with C8B was most flat, but the base was much thinner and some of the corners were worn to ice and pebbles.

We turned right and took C8B to Newcomb for lunch at the diner. Trail was flat, but the base was very thin and we were regularly scraping carbides. Many of the corners had been worn down to ice and pebbles by the heavy weekend traffic. After lunch, we doubled back C8B to make the run over to Long Lake. After the Route 28N crossing, C8B had lots of high traffic chatter bumps and some rollers. Base was pretty thin through there too. The final half mile to Tarbell Road was very studdery.

The shelf along Tarbell Road down to Long Lake was pretty choppy, but it kept us off the bare road. Long Lake had tons of powder and only had a bit of slush in front of Helm’s. We saw several dozen snowmobiles parked on the ice by Adirondack Hotel. After hitting Stewarts via Jenning’s Pond for a quick refuel, we pressed down Long Lake in the glorious powder. After getting off the lake by Quackenbush’s, we crossed Route 28N/30 and continued on C8B via the powerlines which had some soft bumps, but was a fun ride overall.

North Point Road had enough snow along the margins to make it through, but was slushy and sloppy at times. Forked Lake Campsite Road has some longwave rollers that were pretty fun. Forked Lake was a journey through a wicked, windy snow squall. The pockets of slush made me feel a bit uneasy. I felt like we were on the ice planet Hoth. We were reunited with North Point Road which had scant snow cover at this point, but was enough to get us to C8B which was a half mile goat patch down to Raquette Lake.

The Raquette Lake crossing was another excursion through ice planet Hoth: very windy with squalls and blowing snow. Being completely unfamiliar with Raquette Lake snowmobiling, we couldn’t find the northern entrance to the Raquette Lake-MRP trail, much to my utter joy! We did follow a pack of snowmobilers to the Brown’s Tract trail, which had tons of uneven bumps from heavy traffic.

Then we took a left onto S81C to hit Eight Lake. That trail was HELL ON EARTH! It was worse than anything I’ve seen on the 2 Miles from Hell: high washboard moguls stacked on top of each other. It reminded me of what the Indian Lake trails were like 25 years ago. Thankfully, this trail was short. But if Cal and I didn’t have the ape-hanger, handlebar risers on our sleds so we could stand up and surf, we would have been pissing blood before we got to the end of that medieval torture chamber. I was never so happy to see a lake at the end of a trail.

8th Lake had some decent slush on it. Eight Lake Campsite Road was a roller-rama, but relative heaven compared to the hell that was S81C. 7th Lake had the usual stumps and streams on the back part, but got nice once we got to the main body. We swung through the Inlet trail over 7th Lake Mountain, which was pretty flat but thin from previous logging/plowing.

We got onto Moose River Plains and that was really thin on the Inlet end with lots of snirty shredder bumps. Cal wanted to try some of the new Raquette Lake-MRP trail, so I showed him where it was. I thought we were just going to run that thing up a mile or two, then just give up and go back to Moose River Plains. It turns out that Cal had a death wish and wanted to ride that bad boy all the way back up to Raquette! It was an ungroomed goat path and the riding just totally sucked. We stopped a couple of times, but Cal wanted to run this thing all the way through. After the last stop, Cal took his jacket off and put it in the rear saddle bag because he was getting hot from churning through that trail. But Cal forgot the most important part: ZIPPING THE BAG. After he took off like a cannon shot, I ran over what appeared to be a camera. I picked it up and it was Cal’s GPS. Then I started to see more contents of his bag spilled out on the trail: wires, gloves, food, flavored water bottles, spare belt, gloves, jacket, fleece, first-aid kit. My goodness, the only thing missing was a change of underwear. I had no idea how much one could stuff in a saddlebag!

So, I picked up all of his litter and waited for him to come back. No way I could carry that stuff with me and still ride! After all of that Cal still wanted to run that wretched trail all the way back up to Raquette Lake. I said, “Fine, you can do that. But I’m going to find where I can get off this thing and cut over to 7th Lake and get back through Inlet.” The smarter person prevailed and we got off that trail. After crossing Route 28, we got dumped back onto the Eight Lake Campsite Road.

So, we doubled back back to Inlet, Moose River Plains via 7th Lake. On our way back through Moose River Plains, the base was really thin and scratchy back to the Big-T with lots of snirty brown shredder bumps. Big-T to Silver Run had better base with somewhat smaller shredder bumps.

Silver Run to Cedar River Headquarters had the rollers, but for the most part they were spaced far enough apart to maintain a brisk pace. The only real “whoppers” were on the big hill. With the exception of the S-Turns and a few other spots, there was a great base through most of it.

C8 back to Indian Lake village had studders and occasional rollers throughout, but was not a bad ride for a late Saturday afternoon. Snow cover was great, until we got past the Sprague Brook bridge, then we encountered thin areas back to town. The final mile or two to Adirondack Mountain Sport was choppy, but manageable. After the highway crossing, C8 going back into town was snirty and somewhat choppy under the tall evergreens with icy turns. We rolled back to the compound with almost 150 miles for the day. Cal got a few bonus miles for continuing 5 minutes before realizing he had strewn half of his life’s possessions on the wretched Raquette Lake-MRP trail.

Bottom Line:

I’m glad I did this loop. But the next time I do this ride will be mid-week with NO Raquette Lake/MRP trail. I have no use for that trail when all I need to do is have the Inlet permit, then ride 7th/8th Lakes over to Raquette Lake. It was so cold and snowy today, it felt like mid-January out there. Of course, when it doesn’t get pitch dark until after 8PM, you know we’re into spring, no matter what the thermometer is telling us.

Next Week Snowmobiling Outlook:

This winter-like blast will gradually weaken through next week. But there are no major thaws or rain in sight for the next 7-10 days. There should be enough material for the groomers to piece it all back together and give us another week of riding. Keep in mind the areas with a southern exposure will begin to get cooked as the sun comes back out. But it should stay good in the shady woods.

Comments welcomed!

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