FRED’s Dec 18 2010 Easton to W/J Ride
Although I only received two calls regarding this ride, five riders left the reload snow park at 8:18 am. The temperature was 26 degrees, the sky was overcast, and the light was flat, but visibility was OK. The trail was groomed out of the snow park, but when we reached the Cole Creek Connector, the groomer must have had a problem because what we encountered was worse than none. There were large clumps of ice/snow from soft ball to basketball size and larger all the way to the 4110 Road. The ride to Anderson Camp was OK, but from there to the “Blowout Mt. Trail” it was new snow and smooth. We had to go over a few downed trees and saw out one 6” one, but it was as quick a traverse as I’ve done. Bob honed his side hilling skills. Once out on the road it was easy, but the light was still flat even though the sun was shining thru. Once we got on the Naches Road a couple of the sleds tested the upper limit of their speedometer. Bob’s four- stroke took the honors.
Given the choice of going up the adventuresome motorcycle trail or the road to the Lilly Pond, we took the road. The trail was not broken thru, and we wanted to avoid a lengthy turn around. The trail from the Lilly Pond to the 1708 had fresh snow and was smooth. I took an early turn that cost us 12 minutes, but we arrived at Whistlin’ Jack’s a 12:30pm. We had a good lunch and gassed our sleds. With 59 miles, my sled only took 2.72 gallons; the Yamaha four stroke took 5 gallons, and the other 2-strokes even more. After pictures, we were back on the trail at 1:34pm. We reached the climb to the Bald Mt play area and decided to go the adventuresome route. All made it, since the snow was a go anywhere type. After more pictures in the sun at the Devils Slide, we went to play in the bowls. The first bowl we attempted to play in fogged in as we got there, but the second ones gave ample fresh snow to show what skills some had and for others to practice new ones without getting in trouble. Kurt was especially impressive in his meadow play and his 19 year old daughter did well also. We crossed the wind blows at the Devils Slide and went thru Tripod, down the beaver slide to Buck Meadows. Then took Lee’s cutoff to the 3300 Road and reached Five Corners about dusk. The 119 Road was smooth, but the 111 Road on the Cle Elum Ridge was moguled. We encountered the groomer going east, and when we past him the freshly groomed section still had the same washboard contour, but it was good compared to the trail to Granite Creek. At the intersection of the 119 and W&S, we came across a couple winching a sled up the bank and had the trail blocked. They were making progress and said they didn’t need help.
I made a wrong turn in the dark near Granite Creek that cost us 42 minutes, but after reviewing our GPS,’I was able to find the correct route. We located the new bridge across Big Creek much to Bob’s relief, took the Tucker Creek connector and were back at the rigs at 6:37pm with 125 miles. We all stopped at the Mountain High for Burgers and ride recap. We had a compatible group who were always close at rest stops, had no mechanical problems, and everyone returned dry. All had a good time and, I think, created a pleasant memory. I want to thank. Jim Franklin of the Snow Jammers and Glenn and Kelly for their help in pre ride scouting and preparing the trail that made this ride such a success. It is rare that we have all the elements in place to have such a great trip.