ilsnow, Upstate Snow and Ride Clean NY invade Wells 3/15/14

I’ve been wanting to try the new Gilmantown trail to Wells (C4B), but never had been down that way this winter. Today, I finally got the opportunity.

I left Indian Lake this morning, via C8/Sabael Trail and it was freshly groomed all the way out. Along the way, I met Matty and Cal who were on there way down to Speculator to meet someone for a ride of their own. So they accompanied me down to Speculator.

Indian Lake had thick snow cover that was not smooth by any means on the beaten path but we did not encounter any real slush. We encountered light rain toward the end of the lake.

Lewey Lake/Indian Lake campsites were a rough roller-rama. Lewey Lake was a smoother crossing than Indian Lake. 2 Miles from Hell was freshly groomed and a pretty good ride up to Perkins Clearing Road. As we gained elevation, the rain turned to wet snow and it came down hard at times. Visibility became a problem.

Perkins Clearing Road was good from end to end. C4/Melody Lodge was a rough roller-ama all the way down to Speculator. It was pretty brutal, but at least the bumps were soft mashed potatoes.

LP3/Speculator village trails were a much better ride. After I parted ways with Cal and Matty at the Ballfield parking lot, I pressed on to meet Rich @ Upstate Snow and Paul & Amy @ Ride Clean NY at Moffitt Beach.

Lake Pleasant had tons of wet snow but no real slush yet. LP1/Page Street was being groomed by D.R.A.G of Speculator and was a nice ride down to Moffitt Beach where I met my riding crew for the day.

We doubled back into Speculator amid a heavy wet snow that was soaking our clothes and wreaking havoc with visibility. LP4A was really wet and sloppy leaving Speculator along the roadsides. But at least there was plenty of wet, sloppy material to keep the slides and heat exchangers happily cool! LP4A was a smooth mashed potato ride through the woods.

We hit the C4B/Gilmantown trail and that was a lot of fun! I wished I would have stopped to take some pics along the way through there. It was a very interesting combination of woods and steep hill riding along the power lines. There was one stretch of road riding, but there was enough slush to move along without hurting the sleds. You really need to keep your wits on the power lines. Because, if you don’t pay attention, you could easily get stuck 10-20 feet off the trail in 2-3 feet of wet gack. In other words, you ain’t getting unstuck without LOTS of help. The views of the mountains on the other side of the valley were really cool.

As we descended down into Wells, we lost the blinding snowfall and the sun peeked out. It got really warm down there. Temperatures were easily above 40*F. We continued down to Lake Algonquin via S42, which was in pretty good shape. After some trial and error, we found S42 from the south end of Lake Algonquin. After some slushy road riding, we made our way down to Sacandaga Campsites, which was pretty neat riding.

After crossing Route 30, we continued on S42 until we saw that the trail ran along the bare paved Pumpkin Hollow Road. After a conversation with a local who was driving by, we found it best to double back to Wells, thence Speculator the way we came. We did hear that the trail from the end of Old Route 30 down to Wells along the highway was groomed and in good shape, but we decided to ride the Gilmantown trail because that was so much fun.

Once back up to Speculator, we got gas at the Mountain Market, then pressed on to Oxbow Inn for lunch. The lakes were wet and sloppy crossings, with tons of wet snow. But we didn’t encounter much true slush. Fish Mountain/Oxbow trail was in surprisingly good shape for a Saturday afternoon. After a great lunch at the Oxbow Inn, we doubled back to Speculator to hit the Tree Farm via LP4A.

Old Route 30 had enough greasy slush on it to make the way back to Cave Hill Road. The Tree Farm from Cave Hill Road, Silver Hill and Hatchery Brook trails was a bit disappointing. Not nasty and rough by any means, but not the silky smoothness I usually experience. But then again, it was mid-late Saturday afternoon so I can’t grade it too harshly.

On the way to Perkins Clearing, we did our good deed for the day and pulled out someone whose sled was stuck in 3 feet of wet gack off-trail. Perkins Clearing Road was in the process of being groomed. I diverted the crew onto S82C/Old Indian Lake Road which was freshly groomed and a magnificent ride back up to the Mason Lake parking lot.

2 Miles from Hell was also freshly groomed, so I took the crew to the south shore of Indian Lake. After that, I lead the crew back down to Perkins Clearing where they left me to go back to Moffitt Beach. I took the nice loop around Mud Lake Road and Jessup River Road, which where both aces at the end of Saturday!

Once I got back up to Indian Lake village , I found that the trails that were so nicely groomed this morning were shredded into mashed potato bumps. I was sure to hit the safe havens of Ski Hut trail, 42nd&Broadway and Little Canada to round out my ride. I rolled back to the compound just after dark with almost 170 miles spun off for the day. Great ride with a great crew and it was snowing most of the day. We ran into Dick Eliazer and his crew of Pleasant Riders in Wells. Doesn’t get much better than that for mid-March, or any time in the winter. :)

Outlook:

Today was mashed potatoes and gravy. Sunday will be right back into the freezer. Assuming that the groomers work the magic overnight Saturday night into Sunday morning, the trails will hold up much better for the rest of the weekend. The strong late winter/early spring sun and the weekend traffic should churn the hard pack into enough granular to keep the slides and carbides cool, in conjunction with the minor snows we pick up tonight.

Once the groomers piece the trails back together from the weekend carnage, midweek riding by Tuesday could be really good. Will have to hope the next warmup Wednesday/Thursday doesn’t do too much damage before the following weekend.

 

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