ilsnow invades Washington County & South Warren 2/17/14

I’ve been wanting to ride the Washington County trails FOR YEARS! Damion has invited me to ride from his house in Ft. Edward on several occasions, but it never came to pass until today. We loaded my sled on Damion’s trailer Sunday night and set sail for his house first thing in the morning.

I must say it seemed strange for me to head down to Glens Falls area to ride, especially because my job is down that way. Several people I talked to later in the day remarked on how unusual it was for someone from Indian Lake to ride their trails. 🙂

The sky was blue and the temperature was near zero when we started southward on C4B from the Town Line Road. Conditions were pretty good; not perfectly flat, but no bad bumps either. From WS1 we merged with C4A and cruised southward toward Greenwich. More solidly good riding through the open fields.

At WS4 we saw fresh groomer tracks down C8F, so we hit that for a ways. Seeing my Adirondack homeland in the distance was pretty cool! We doubled back to C4A. Damion decided to do a loop via C9 up to Salem thence over to Argyle that he hadn’t done before.

That was our only major mistake of the day. From WS6 to WS40, it was rough riding through C9. The woods were especially rugged.  There were some cool views of the Green Mountains off to the east. After WS40 up to WS2, the riding on C9 improved dramatically! The open fields were especially sweet through there.

We turned left onto C9A and that was yet another brutal stretch, especially in the woods with lots of whoppers. The scenery was nice through the open field and there was a pretty cool hillside we descended with hairpin turns.

At WS10, we hit the Hartford Ridge Riders trails and it was like someone had flipped a switch. The bumps were eradicated and we embarked on some of best open field riding I’ve seen in my life all the way to Champlain Canal Lock 9. Board flat with a blue sky above us, couldn’t get any better than that.

The Canal was a bit rough below Lock 9 where it has been drained. We picked up the Kingsbury Barnstormers trails and had seemingly endless miles of AWESOME open field riding. The woods trails were in great shape too. Seeing West Mountain in the background was really neat. Damion took me on a loop and we ended up at Sally’s Hen House on Route 4 for lunch early afternoon.

Damion highly recommends Sally’s Hen House. After eating lunch there today, so do I. Their beef and barley soup is a meal unto itself and their Monte Christo sandwich is out of this world! The service is friendly, the food is good, they get it out to you quick and the prices are highly reasonable. Can’t ask for any better than that when your riding. 🙂

After lunch, we found C4 and decided to make the run over to South Warren trails in Lake George. The trail base got somewhat thinner. There was a decent amount of snirt and shredder chop passing by the Boar’s Nest. Then we encountered a groomer and that made the rest of the trip over the top of the mountain and down into Magic Forest quite a bit smoother. This marked the first time I’ve ridden South Warren in several years.

The bike path trail down into Lake George was in pretty good shape. We dropped onto Lake George and ran it several miles. It was especially rough at the south end where the Winter Festival Activities have been with the new snow trampled into wavy bumps. We saw several cars and trucks out on the plowed strips on the lake. As we got further out, the lake wasn’t quite as rough. After Damion showed me some of the spots he likes to boat in the summer, we doubled back to the village.

We got onto the South Warren trails and headed up Prospect Mountain. There were a good amount of long wave-low amplitude rollers, although it did get much smoother as we approached the top. The view, as always on a blue sunny day, is worth any lumps you take to get up there…WOW!

Then it was back down Prospect Mountain. We decided to hit C4A for a while. It was snirty with icy corners through the transfer station. But it was groomed flat and because a really great ride through the woods the further in we got. After several miles, Damion decided that he wanted to be heading back to his turf before it got dark.

On the way back through, we did a nice loop with S41. After stopping at Route 9 Stewarts for gas and to grab a quick bite to eat, we headed back on C4 over the mountain and back into Washington County. After dark, Damion led me on S47 on the Barnstormer trails over to the Champlain Canal in Fort Anne, where we encountered a groomer along the way. The ride down the canal wasn’t perfectly flat, but was a pretty nice run back down the Hartford Ridge Runner trails.

C9A was getting quite bumpy on the way back to home base, but we encountered the groomer somewhere on C4A or C4B and had a great run back to Damion’s home base. It was getting colder by the minute and we were glad to be done after 185 miles! Usually Damion is the guy who has to endure the long ride back home after a full day of riding. Today it was my turn, loading the XP onto Damion’s truck and embarking on the long ride back to the ilsnow storm center. Got home just after 10PM.

Whew! What a day… Snow cover was deep, in the order of 18 inches to 2+ feet in many places. Their season is short, and in lousy winters there can be next to NO riding. But when they’ve got the snow, they’ve got some of the best riding you’ll find in New York state. To think I hit these trails on Presidents’ Day, I might not have hit these trails in their finest hour. There were many road crossings and a few roads I had to ride alongside for a short distance. The really hairy road crossing was near the Junction of Route 4 and 32 to hit the Hudson Falls Stewarts for gas. Think FROGGER, if you’re old enough to remember that Atari classic.

A really cool thing was to see the usual Glens Falls area landmarks from another perspective: West Mountain, Prospect Mountain, the perpetual smoke plume from Finch & Pruyn, etc. Looking at illuminated West Mountain from the distance at night on the way home was neat. I can see why the locals stay here when they have snow, the riding is that good with a lot of variety. There was so many trails we didn’t get to hit, even after being out all day into the night! The groomers were out in force. We saw them at least 3 or 4 times yesterday on our travels. Try something different once in a while because variety is the spice of snowmobiling. I know I’ll be riding there again.

Darrin @ ilsnow.com

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