Six riders, Two present and four past CDS members, met in CleElum for a planned 9 am checkout ride to Mineral Springs. The sky had a low ceiling with flat light but good visibility. Temperature was 33 degrees. We left at 9:18 with DeAnn leading the West half of ride on trails that had about 4” of new snow over compacted snow. The trail had not been groomed for a while but was relatively smooth. There was a tree down on the main trail, and DeAnn took us on a new off road route to the ridge. After some looking for the trail at the top, we followed our planed route. At one point DeAnn was sucked into a tree well and was caught under the sled with her foot still in the foot wells. Only a window washing contortionist could survive it intact.
After crossing a swampy creek where Fred got stuck and needed help, we traversed a ridge trail and Pat’s crossing without further incident. We continued in mostly filtered sun on the road to the bridge on the Teanaway where Fred took over. The snow was new without obvious trail marks, and we tried some new cross country sections. At one of these, Fred, in negotiating a tank trap, came out and his handle bar hit a limb on a sizeable tree removing a substantial load of snow on him and bent one side of his handle bar into an antenna. At the advice of our resident Boeing metallurgist, Wiff, we left it bent so as to not break it attempting to bend it back. Taking advantage of the lull in time and an additional 15 minutes, Wiff ordered $200 plus in snowmobile parts by phone for pickup that evening at the local shop. We did our usual off road sections, and it seemed to some that the pucker bushes had taken on a more than usual magnetic effect. However, nothing but pride was affected. The trail to Red Top through the trees had great traction, and we went about anywhere we wanted. The lead changed riders several times as we searched for a way to the top in the trees. After checking the underside of DeAnn’s track one more time, we headed for lunch, arriving at Mineral Springs at 1:45.with 34 or so miles.
We warmed up and had a nice lunch with the appropriate drinks. Everyone felt they had adequate fuel, Fuel was $4.00 per Gallon at Mineral Springs. We left at 2:48 under heavy fall of large snowflakes. The snow lasted for less than 10 miles. We travelled the groomed trail to 29 Pines in 35 minutes. After relieving the appropriate, drink, we were back on the trail. We took a side trip to Teanaway Butte to the concern of DeAnn that we would put her in the dark trying to find the short cut back to the Cle Elum Ridge. Coming off road from the Butte, one of the Ski Doo’s decided it needed a drink. After adding the fuel, we discovered it also had a starting cord problem. As a result we finished the rest of the trip without turning off the engine. This helped DeAnn to use the available remaining light to do an amazing job of locating the trail. We arrived back at the rigs at 4:50 with enough light to start loading sleds without flash lights.
Thanks to Russ for using my lug nut cheater to reshape my handle bar. My sled is back in close to original shape. Although I led a significant amount of the 74 miles, I traveled, my E-tek only got 12.5 MPG, a big change from my 21.5 MPG on Saturday, showing that conditions make a difference.