Diehard ride to S84/Lake Durant 4/2/14

Drive-by update 4/4/14 PM: The Town of Indian Lake has NOT plowed S88 from the end of Cedar River Road to Headquarters. Brown’s Farm parking lot still has a decent mushy ice base; not close to being a mud pit yet. But you will have a painful 0.7 miles from Brown’s Farm parking lot to the S88 trail head.

Back in town, the Crow Hill Road shelf is on death’s doorstep and the connecting trail into the village is nearly shot. Right now, it’s a 35*F heavy rain…just about the worst weather you can have here.

Best bets this weekend: Perkins Clearing (from Mason Lake Parking lot), Moose River Plains (if you can reach it), and Powley Road. Diehard season in full swing!!

Trail report 4/2/14: It’s that time of the season (although delayed by a week or so) that I start taking any ride I can after work before the trails completely go to pot and I’m done until next winter.

Today, I took the kids out after dinner for their last ride of the season. After I dumped some Marine fuel stabilizer into both gas tanks, off we went! The Indian Lake inner village trails were all passable, but the base is starting to fade fast on the heavily traveled trails and exposed areas. The trails have degraded markedly since my last ride only 2 days ago, with skank like this showing up in places, even through there is still a solid 1-2+ feet of leftover snow pack in the woods:

Indian Lake skank

Heading out to S84 was slushy and wet with some good sized puddles, but all in all…pretty fun! Even the back end of Benton Road is starting to get down to dirt in spots. The hill climb past the Cedar River Bridge and the first several corners before I got over the top were showing some serious skank, but we make it through without much problem.

Once over the top, the snow was much better although it had deteriorated in quality since a couple of days ago. The riding ranged from pretty smooth to small studders with a few large puddles along the way. The trail deteriorated to wet ice under the tall pines past Rock Lake. After the Newcomb trail crossing, S84 was a beautiful ride to the Lake Durant Campsite.

The Old Stage trail was a pretty nice. I didn’t entertain any notion of riding the lakes because they had that deep slushy blue look to them. We didn’t ride the Newcomb trail because I knew it would be really rough from my last few rides out there. But I did hear the Newcomb trail becomes a nicer ride past the Essex County Line.

Then it was back to town in the dark and we made it back to the compound before 9PM. Here are some pics from along the way:

Weekend Outlook:

At the rate we are losing our snow pack and Friday’s expected rain, it would probably be best to hit the diehard hangouts like Perkins Clearing, Moose River Plains or the Powley Road by this weekend. I’ll try to find out when/if the Town of Indian Lake plans to plow from the Cedar River Road to Headquarters in preparation for fishing season. You’ll still need to “sidehill” the snowbank for a half mile from the Brown’s lot to reach the trail head.

I would highly recommend staying off the lakes. Even though it gets cold at night, it’s not enough to fully button the slush up. We’re at the time of year where the sun weakens the ice dramatically. The 2 foot of ice we still have on the lakes is NOT the same good ice we had just a week or two ago. Inlets and outlets will have thin ice and open water.

As for me, I think I have another small ride or two in my sleeve before the season is out. I would like to empty the tank more so I have more room for fresh gas when we start next winter. So far, I’ve been pleased as punch over the 1200 4-TEC. I’m looking forward to years of fun with it!

Parting Words:

Even if I don’t make it out again, it was a great winter once it got off the ground for good. A snowy February and a historically cold March with a well-timed major snowstorm mid-March made the Back 9 of this winter one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. Hopefully, we can get a half-way decent January to match February and March next winter!

A few people might not like what we’ve got going on with ilsnow.com, but don’t let that get you down. My mission year after year remains unchanged and steadfast: to provide my fellow snowmobilers with the most accurate weather information and trail conditions so you can make smart decisions on how to spend your money and maximize your riding time. The end game is to share what I have with you and have a whole lot of fun while doing it. Some will never understand that. So I’ll just live, let live and let everything else take care of itself.

As always, it’s been a privilege and honor to serve the ilsnow nation. :)

Thank you!

Darrin @ ilsnow.com

 

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