Feeling Long Lakey today! Update 2/9/18

Update 2/10/18

Indian Lake picked up 3 inches of new snow last night. Keep asking me if the trails will hold for next weekend while you miss out on what we’ve got right now. 

Answer: Trails will probably hold up. I don’t think it will get warm enough or rain hard enough to ruin the trails before next weekend. But as you well know, we’re seldom promised NEXT weekend. 😉

Report 2/9/18

To be honest, Long Lake is somewhat of a black box to me. The only time I snowmobile there is when I run the Indian Lake, Newcomb, Long Lake, Forked Lake, Raquette Lake, Inlet, Moose River Plains back to Indian Lake loop. And I’ve only done that loop a handful of times.

So I wanted to explore around a bit whilst I was in Long Lake today. But I also wanted to run over to Newcomb to find the new High Peaks Overlook trail that I’ve been hearing about.

And away we go!

My experience with Trail S84 heading out of Indian Lake illustrated the problem we’re having with this new powder. All the way up, I encountered studders, corner scuff and some icy turns. But when I reached where the trail was freshly groomed by the junction with the Newcomb trail, it was a perfect looking white ribbon through the woods. It didn’t take a lot of sleds to churn up the trail.

538/Newcomb trail was a decent ride up to the Essex County Line. Then from County Line to the Newcomb-T and Newcomb House, it was an absolutely beautiful ride (aside from the short stretch plowed for logging)

How can you not like this?

Finding the High Peaks Overlook

After Newcomb House, I crossed the state highway and proceeded like I was going to the former gas station (which is closed). Along the way, I followed the left-pointing arrow. Then, at a T-intersection by a green camp, I took another left and dumped down onto Lake Harris.

Veering right, I headed eastward on the lake. At mid-crossing, there was a bunch of slush at the neck, just before the lake got wider. It was a bit disturbing. Then I saw someone driving his large pick-up truck to an ice-shanty, so I figured the ice was going to hold me after all.

At the end of the lake, I went through the State campground onto an unplowed road for a short distance. Once I encountered the plowed road, I rode the bank until I crossed a bridge. Immediately thereafter, I saw the “Overlook” sign on the left hand side of the road.

The first section of the “Overlook” trail ran along the Hudson River, which was really neat! Then signs direct you through a goat-path through the woods until you reach the golf course. The trail through the golf course is clearly staked and roped off. If you go off-trail here, you are a complete goober who doesn’t deserve the privilege of riding a snowmobile.

After crossing through the golf course, you pop up to the “Overlook” like so:

High Peaks Overlook

There wasn’t much of a view because distant snow mist partially obscured the summits. But I bet the view would be STUNNING under one of those cold, cobalt-blue sky days!

On to Long Lake

C8B over to Long Lake was a good 13 mile test of my snowmobile’s suspension. But it was a serviceable ride the entire way. The road going toward Long Lake had sufficient snow cover to move along.

I dumped onto Long Lake and went straight across to find C7B. Following the snowmobile tracks across the lake and using the GPS were helpful in finding my way over.

Anyway, after a short stint of road riding, I hit some awesome riding on C7B heading northward out of town toward Grampus Lake. Eventually I hit an untouched groomer ribbon that went on for MILES!

The endorphine cascade was nearly mind-blowing! It was one of those very few times in the winter when you find utter perfection. I was feeling such electricity through my back, shoulders and arms. Incredible!! Pictures fail, but I’ll attempt it:

Just perfect white ribbon along Route 30, then into the woods past John Dillon Park and well past Grampus Lake! It was like someone rolled out this carpet just for me, for that moment in time.

Even better than sex! Let’s face it, what I experienced on that trail lasted much longer than any orgasm would. 😉 I’m sure I’ll get in some trouble over saying that. But hey, it was what it was and I lacked a better description for what happened to me. 🙂

I eventually overtook the groomer a mile or so before the highway crossing and the magic disappeared. I wasn’t planning on going up to Sabattis Road anyway, so I turned tail to double dip in the awesome sauce. By then at least several sleds had tracked it and the spine-tingling magic was gone. But it was still a great ride back down to Long Lake.

After a short loop near Lake Eaton, which was a nice ride, I doubled back C7B down onto Long Lake and ran down to Stewarts via Jennings Pond for gas.

Then I ran Long Lake down to Long View Lodge. It was white velvet the entire way with just a couple of slush spots. The power lines trail from Long View Lodge to North Point Road was so brutal, I wished I had ran all the way down to Steamboat Lane to get off Long Lake, despite whatever sketchy ice may have been down there.

On to Raquette Lake

The trails between Long Lake and Raquette Lake were brutally rough, with the lakes and North Point Road being by far the best riding with good snow coverage. Forked Lake had some disturbing frozen slush at mid-crossing, but I made it across without incident.

Of course, I had to stop at Buttermilk Falls a couple of miles down North Point Road:

It’s such a short distance from the road, you’ll hear the falls once you take your helmet off. Just walk down the well-packed path and enjoy!

After I made it down to Raquette Lake, I stopped for a couple of chili dogs and a soft pretzel at the WW Durant. It was enough to hit the spot and I was happy to take a break from the cold outside and lumpy trails for a bit.

On to Inlet

Uncas Road was a pretty nice ride over to Eagle Bay. The plowed road had a perfect icy base with good packed snow on top. I don’t think I lost any carbide on that road. It was the way a snowmobiling road should be. 🙂

Eagle Bay to Inlet was snirt city, but was groomed and a very comfortable ride. Gilbert Road to the Ole Barn was snirty with soft chop, good enough to get you through. Inlet loop trails were great riding!

Moose River Plains

I encountered fresh groomer ribbon from where the Inlet groomer was heading back to Limekiln Road. But that quickly disintegrated into plush soft bumps with the heavy snowmobile traffic.

A few miles in, I encountered a bit of a traffic jam with the Inlet Barnstormers getting a drag unstuck that had veered off into the ditch:

Just before the traffic jam cleared, Inlet snowmobiling legend Dennis Hudson told me the Barnstormers had just groomed the Mitchell Ponds loop. So I hit it for a nice, twisty ride through the woods. It was the first time I had hit it in several years.

When I emerged near the Big-T, Moose River Plains was fairly bumped up from the day’s traffic. I was imagining how rough Silver Run to Headquarters would be. Well, it certainly didn’t “disappoint” with a near-constant drone of mid-amplitude rollers with a few whoppers mixed in.

The home stretch

For kicks, I decided to run the trail from Cedar River Headquarters down to Cedar River Road and back to pad the miles. It was a really nice ride, so much so that I couldn’t stomach the thought of going back up to Headquarters and risking a 16 mile ball-bashing, bump-and-grind back to Indian Lake.

It was snowing steady just before dusk and Cedar River Road had rare good snow cover on the margins, so I run the road back to town. On the way, I did stop and my sister’s house and ended up having dinner there. 🙂 My brother-in-law told me that he saw at least 30 snowmobiles parked at the Indian Lake Restaurant this afternoon. So that made my decision more than justifiable!

Of course, I victory-lapped around town to finish off the ride. 42nd and Broadway between Benton Road and the old landfill was especially awesome, so I thrashed it thrice before completing the victory lap:

It was snowing lightly, which is perfect for night riding and I was feeling the electricity once again when running 42nd and Broadway. 🙂

Rolled into the compound with 175 miles. Wasn’t going to try to find the other 25 miles to hit 200. I had enough at that point. Besides, I’ve done 200 milers 4 times this winter, so it’s getting to be old-hat for me. 😉

Bottom Line

It was as close to weekend riding as I care to get, but I’m glad I did take Friday off-work after getting skunked the final two weeks of January. And getting to know Long Lake a little better has given me some ideas for future rides.

I’ve ridden about 380 miles the past two days. That’s gotta tell you that you have options this weekend, right?

If you’re a mid-week snooty riding snob like me, yeah…wait until mid-week because you’ll do that anyway. If weekends are all you got, then come up here and ride! You’ll find great riding where the groomers have just passed through. And you’ll find some brutally rough stuff after 100 snowmobiles go through there. But we certainly don’t lack snow this time around.

For the ilsnow nation,

Darrin

This report is brought to you by Prospect Point Cottages on Blue Mountain Lake. If you are looking for a quiet and scenic winter getaway, this place is for you with fireplaces, free hot brunch and snowshoes provided. The wintry view of Blue Mountain from across the lake is nothing short of amazing with a fresh mantle of snow!

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