Ride to Speculator/Wells: Update 2/11/15

Ahhh…the joys of mid-week riding! I knew it was going to be a good one today.

Temperature started at -12*F this morning. I waited a bit until the temperature poked above zero, so I headed out around 9:30AM.

The sun was out, I was warming up a bit and loving life. It was already a good day.

Then I hit this:

C8 in Indian Lake

C8 in Indian Lake

It’s getting to the point when I can no longer simply tell people how the Indian Lake area trails are mid-week because nobody believes me. It’s simply incredible! All I can do is post pictures and show everyone.

After I jetted over to One Stop to fuel up, it was time to embark on today’s fun. C8/Sabael trail was a very nice ride out of town. I saw a rock that someone had hit, perhaps trying to snag some extra powder on the margins. Gotta be careful because the deep snow hides the hazards we usually see lurking just off the beaten path.

Indian Lake was a fun romp down the lake. The small drag strips were roller-ramas but the powder offered very nice riding to those willing to torpedo their fuel economy and shave off a few extra hours of belt life. The rough cheese grater mini ice heaves are finally buried in the deep snow! Much better for sure. The large ice heave by Watch Hill is still there, but it’s buried and concealed by the snow.

Indian Lake/Lewey Lake camp grounds had studders and whopping moguls, but not the true hell I’ve seen it. Lewey Lake was a powder haven.

2 Miles from Hell was recently groomed and a pretty good ride up to Mason Lake. S82C/Old Indian Lake Road was also recently groomed, but some stubborn chatter and divots remained. Make sure you stay off the Route 30 snowbank because it conceals lots of guardrail.

Jessup River Road going back to HM116 was its usual beauty! Big Brook trail could use a hard comb over with the groomer, but really was not a bad ride down to HM7/Outhouse.

Normally, I avoid C4-C8/Willis Mountain trail because it’s an absolute goat path with nearly no visibility for oncoming sleds. I will not ride that trail on weekends. But I saw recent groom marks on it and took the chance because I wanted to hit Fall Lake. It was a decent ride down to HM8: The usual terrain divots, but otherwise a soft ride.

C4/Fall Lake trail was a nice little side step from the beaten path. Look how steep and deep the snow was off to the side: SWEET!

Fall Lake trail

Oxbow Lake had TONS of belt-smokin’ pow-pow! C4/Fish Mountain trail was amazing: no rocks, no snirt and flat as that trail can be. Perhaps the best ride I’ve had through there.

Sacandaga Lake had tons of powder. The snow-crusted mountains in the distance were stunning. Taking a picture wouldn’t do it justice, so I didn’t even take one. You’ll just have to experience that for yourself.

LP1/Page Street trail had lots of whoopers on it. The old “Tucker Cat” at the Page Street corner had a lot of snow on it, so I’m guessing there’s a mechanical problem with it.

Lake Pleasant was a somewhat of a roller-rama along the drag strip. The large ice heave is still there, but buried under the snow.

Once in Speculator Village, I ran C4/River trail into the village then hit LP4 over to Charlie Johns. The main drag had some leftover roller bumps, but LP4 was a nice powder fest.

I stopped at the Adirondacks Speculator Region Chamber of Commerce and chatted with Sarah for a bit. Then I hit C4/LP3 over to Oak Mountain.

Decided to hit LP4A to make a run to C4B/Gilmantown trail. LP4A needed help badly. There were sections near the highway that were completely inundated by plowbanks. I had to run the shoulder of Route 30/8 for a short while. It will require a bucket loader to reclaim some of that. The rest of LP4A was lumpy all the way down, to be expected with the trouble up by the village preventing any kind of grooming.

C4B/Gilmantown trail was not perfectly flat, but was a fun, soft ride down to Wells. The powerlines were especially fun. There was a section of the trail by the road that got inundated by a winged back plow bank, but it was easy enough to get around.

Once I got into Wells, I saw fresh groom marks in both directions so I decided to make a little run down to Lake Algonquin. The signage could be better at the road crossings, but I made my way down there. For giggles, I picked my way over to S47, busted over a snowbank and was treated to a few miles of powder chowder before I got to the road. I didn’t want to ride the road and I wasn’t trying to make it to Pine Orchard anyway, so I turned around and headed back.

But you can see some of the fun I had on S47:

S47 Powder Chowder

S47 Powder Chowder

If there is any place you need GPS, it’s Wells. There is much road riding to reach trails and the signage isn’t the best. But with the Gilmantown trail and the effort put into grooming the trails around the village, it’s definitely has become a destination I like to hit at least a time or two a winter.

From Wells, I ran S42 along Route 30, which was freshly groomed. Unfortunately, NY DOT winged back the snowbanks after the groomer went through. With the numerous road crossings, this was a significant issue. Some sections of the trail close to the highway were essentially inundated with icy chunks from the winged back plow banks. Unfortunate, because otherwise, it was a nicely groomed run back up to Old Route 30.

C4/Old Route 30 was a nice run up to the Tree Farm. Fly Creek Road and Long Level Road were terrific. Elm Lake Road had some chatter bumps under the pow-pow. Cave Hill Road was in nice shape.

C4 between Cave Hill Road and the River was amazing: Groomed flat and wide. That trail has been a notorious cheese grater in the past, but was all smiles today!

Speculator village trails had appeared groomed since I had passed through earlier in the afternoon. After a stop at Mountain Market to fuel up, I headed for home. From its junction with LP3, the C4/Melody Lodge trail was in great shape from bottom to top.

The south end of Perkins Clearing Road has a surprising amount of small bumps. Noteworthy only because it’s usually smooth as a board. Mud Lake Road was great, no thin spots at all! The portion past Mossy Vly to HM115 was freshly groomed and simply magic. Jessup River Road was more late day magic.

Then it was time to bang my way a bit up S82C/Old Indian Lake Road and 2 Miles from Hell which suffered a touch from the day’s traffic.

Got back up to Indian Lake and was greeted by freshly groomed trails all the way back home. I had a lot of great riding today up to that point, but the best was saved for last. The victory lap around town was simply roses. S85/Ski Hut trail was sinfully good:

S85/Ski Hut trail

S85/Ski Hut trail

Got back to the compound at dusk with 135 miles spun off. Just an awesome day to be out and I only saw a handful of people out. WOW! To be able to do a run like this on my day off is why I’m here. Yes, there are lots of places to ride now with the deep snow. But after you run out, we’ll still have ours. Sooner or later, you’ll have to come back here. 😉

You can see some other pics from today:

Bottom line:

We’re in classic mid-winter prime right now and setting up for one heck of a President’s Week! Snow cover is generally 18-30 inches in town. But I can tell you some some of the back woods hold over 3 feet of snow!

If you blow off work to come ride up there this week before the hoards hit, I promise you won’t be sorry! But make sure you dress for survival, especially by Friday and the weekend because it’s going to be NASTY COLD!

Check out Snocade 2015. We’ve got guided rides planned to Speculator and Newcomb. Great opportunities to learn new trails and meet new riders if you’ve never done these rides before.

Lovin’ life in the ilsnow nation,


Comments welcomed!


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