Wednesday Afternoon Stroll: Update 2/14/18

I couldn’t get out to ride until mid-Wednesday afternoon. But that certainly was not the end of the world for me.

It gave the February sun a chance to soften up the trail surface to keep the slides and heat-exchangers happy. And it doesn’t get really dark until after 6pm now.

First order of business was to take a stroll around Indian Lake village. In this video, I ran C8 down through Bear Trap Swamp, crossed Route 28/30, went by Mountain Fitness Gym, split right onto S84, then another right onto Benton Road, then S87/42nd and Broadway, Adirondack Lake, S86/Little Canada to Lone Birch, then back to One Stop, to Crow Hill Road, then down to C8/Sabael trail.

You can see some thin spots and a few corners scuffed to dirt, but the trails are entirely ride-able and enjoyable to ride:

Onto Perkins Clearing

I thought the easiest way to get some nice miles in would be to run the lakes and do a Perkins Clearing/Speculator run.

There was a fairly big ice heave, just where the C8/Sabael trail dumps onto the lake. Indian Lake and Lewey Lake were a bit rough, but had perfectly good snow coverage. The campgrounds were a particularly brutal mixture of washboard bumps and sno-cross moguls, yuk!

2 Miles from Hell was a nice ride. Perkins Clearing had been heavily groomed, but faint low studders were still embedded through the majority of it, as a reminder of how rough things got last weekend. But Carpenter Hill Road through LP9/Nichol Vly Road was excellent riding!

Here is my favorite spot on LP9 with a scenic view of the mountains through the logged woods. When I ride solo, I stop here almost every single time:

Down to Speculator

“Whittaker Lake” trail down to Wolf Hill Road was a good ride. S41C/Hatchery Brook was simply AWESOME: Freshly groomed, flat as a board and almost nobody touched it today.

C4/LP3 down to Speculator was a pretty good ride with some snirt on the corners. LP4 to Mountain Market and Business-Access-Trail were good rides.

River Trail was in decent shape. C4 from the River into the Tree Farm was a pretty good ride. Cave Hill Road had been groomed, but still retained near constant studder-rollers. That wasn’t much fun so I turned tail only a mile or so past the bridge.

S41/Silver Hill was a really nice ride back up to….

S41C/Hatchery Brook which I was sure to run again! Read More…

Read ’em and Weep: Update 2/12/18

Damage Assessment

Afternoon temperatures were in the 30s over the weekend, but temperatures did spike to 40*F Sunday Night before falling below freezing.

As annoying as the rain and freezing drizzle was to ride in, it didn’t cause much more damage than heavy weekend traffic and mild temperatures did by themselves.

As you can see, we still have significant snow pack in ilsnow land with the green-shaded areas holding over 2 feet of snow:

I walked some of the snowmobile trails on Monday. They were hard-pack with stretches of loose frozen granular snow and I did see some snowmobiles out Monday afternoon.

For now, the lakes still hold a good snow pack.

Weather Outlook

First, I’m going to throw this out there: The notion of near-bottomless cold for the second half of February that I had laid out in my 1/21/18 report is pure rubbish.

I probably could have said this over a week ago. But I was tracking snowstorms and snowmobile riding when we got the snow, thus didn’t get around to doing the write-up.

So, I’m not running away and hiding from what I said. In fact, I’m waving my dirty laundry in your face. But I gotta say that I was right about the possibility for significant snows in early February. 😉

What went wrong?

Instead of the anticipated PNA+/EPO- ridging over western North America, the mean ridge axis will be located through the Gulf of Alaska this week. This configuration does not allow the arctic cold to drop-and-drive into the eastern United States. The resulting zonal flow under the Polar Vortex causes alternating warm ups and freezes, although not quite as dramatic with the temperature swings that we had for mid and late January.

But wait, it gets WORSE!

I’ll be very blunt here: An outright AWFUL pattern will set up for Presidents’ Week Vacation as a PNA- troughing sets up over the western United States:

Temperatures will run well above normal with any significant storms tracking to our west, making rain the most likely form of precipitation.

Bottom line

Sooner you can get up here, the better. If we get blessed with some snow Friday, you better ride it like you robbed it. You should be able to ride this weekend. After that? You’re rolling the dice with up-and-down temperatures at best, or full meltdown mode at worst… Read More…

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. Read More…