Lee’s W/J checkout ride 1-22-11
Lee led a ride out of Gardener’s on Saturday 1-22-11 with the purpose to find interesting and safe routes for the diversified skill level of those signed up for next week’s W/J overnight ride. Ten riders, of widely diversified skill level but quite compatible in ability to stay together, riding on 5 Polaris, 4 Arctic Cats, and a Ski Doo left Gardener’s at 9:22. The temperature was 37degrees and got warmer during the day, the sky was clear, and the sun bright, but the driveway at gardeners was a sheet of ice, making it difficult to stay upright. Just getting out of the driveway, required assistance to get moving. The trail appeared to have just been groomed, but after ten sleds passed over it, there was no discernable difference. It took over 45 minutes to do the 5.5 miles to Five Corners. Most sleds overheated multiple times requiring packing snow on the engine or tunnel when it could be harvested from the ice along the road. However, after leaving Five Corners, we had no more stops for overheating. Lee had intended to go through Tripod but after our early experience with the ice decided to go the scenic 3100 road to the Manastash. At the 1701, where Sheri did her usual attempt to make sure everyone was properly snacked, Fred led to the trail along the ridge overlooking Manastash Lake. It was hoped it would be an easier way to get over the ridge without having to go all the way to Rock Creek. With a few modifications, it appears to be a viable route with scenic appeal with even a little adventure. We stopped frequently for photo opportunities. It was a go anywhere type snow day, but the trail was not always obvious. Above 4000’ there was good snow to play in. We met another group over looking Manastash Lake and were able to direct them to their desired destination.
After playing in the bowls near Bald Mountain, Ken Bowen led us to another shortcut that may offer another potential way to get to the 1722 from the 1701. It is a little more adventuresome, but with caution and some modification has good potential. Since three of the expected ride leaders were on this ride, I’m sure they were scoping out the best route. After waiting for Mark and Mario to scope out an alternate route and listening to the story of Mario’s off sled adventure, we took the trail to the Devil’s Slide overlook where more pictures were taken. Fred led those who wanted an adventure climb to the play area we were at earlier while Lee scoped out the easier route with those not interested in climbing.
To partially avoid the bumpy trail to Tripod, Fred led the group through the alternate bowls and climbs .At the trail to Milk Lake, Mark led five to another route to Tripod but decided it was too risky for our pocket books, and we retraced and met up with the rest of the group at Tripod. Since it was getting late, we headed for Buck Meadows. After some of us took the off road climb on the 3111 road and were waiting to regroup, we were passed by large group of riders who preceded us to the Tanem. Not having experienced riding behind twenty plus sleds, I gained an appreciation for four strokes and e-tek machines, especially if I am not leading.
We arrived back at the rigs a little before 6 pm with 86 +/- miles to the same sheet of ice we left in the morning. After some frustrating attempts, we eventually got the sleds loaded and went to the Caboose to fuel our bodies and relive the day. As viewed by Fred from the middle of the pack.
Lee, Mark, Mario, Kurt, Ken V, Ken & Linda B, Mike & Sheri H, Fred