Wednesday, February 02, 2011
It has been an odd year weather wise. Winter was, in my opinion, late in coming to New England this year. We didn't get our first taste of snow locally until just before Christmas. Up north, the snow has been reluctant to poke it's head out at all. While the snow kicked into high gear south, the north country has received barely enough for the winter businesses to survive. What this translated to for us was a total lack of snowmobiling, especially in the weeks leading to Christmas, which for me, is the best time of the season to be out on the sled, enjoying the snow.
As of this past week though, there was finally enough for the local trails to officially open and for grooming of what snow there was to begin. Cathy and I decided to give it a go on Saturday and spend a couple of hours out on the trails. After registering the two machines and $178 later we backed up to the trailer, got the miserable corroded trailer light connections working and headed to the head of Grafton Notch. Although this was only a few miles from home, and we could have ridden there, it allowed us to avoid the dreaded Mount Will trail that is a sustained like 60% grade which with low snow base is ice and can be a bit difficult to climb. Worse yet, if you don't make it, you get to go back down the hill backwards. That almost never works out well.
A little gas to the tune of another $50 and we were off, headed toward Andover from Newry. We made the trip out along the ITS trail, which was a mix of good and bad. Simply not enough snow, but it was what it was. From Andover we attempted a loop through Byron and over to Upton through Sawyer Notch, then back through Grafton Notch. This landed us on some extreme single-track trail that wasn't really ready for prime-time. We eventually made it past Lake Richardson via miles of plowed truck roads, which fortunately had a little bit of snow still on them.
A bit past Richardson we hit a parking lot and were flagged down by other riders, asking for reports. We told them where we'd come from and gave them the truth about conditions. They pointed us in the direction to head and told us to make sure and turn left. We questioned this but the alternatives were wide, really well groomed trail or more plowed road so we opted for the left. This netted us about 5 miles of excellent trail, and put us back in Sawyer Notch. Ugh, that meant back the way we came, minus the really bad trail. Oh well. Our two hour ride turned into a four plus hour ride, but it was still good to be out on the trails.