Last year we rode the Gaff on My 4th and was a great day but getting there was difficult. Friends rode the Gaff last Sunday leaving from Badger Lake area and said it was awesome going and never touched a bit a dirt! Much better than last year. I saw pictures on FB of people off loading at the Buchan’s Plataea too. Other friends rode the Gaff from the Deer Lake side and also reported awesome riding conditions. On the West coast, where I rode this weekend, conditions are phenomenal! We were all over the Lewis Hills on Monday, which I had never done before, but the weather was so beautiful we decided to do a touring/playday. Usually when I ride Lewis I usually travel as little as possible and play more. You know what they say, “more smiles, fewer miles!” I will be posting some pics and a short video of that trip on my personal FB page over the next couple days if you would like to check that out. Tom Caines has also been posting pics of that trip.
Its been a long time since I posted but it has not stopped raining in over a week…not much anyways. I went in to check out Hodges yesterday. I didn’t go all the way because the snow was just too soft. I was on quad actually because Cornfield Road is very soupy in places. I suspect there is still a fair bit of snow judging by what’s on the road but unless it gets cold again I wouldn’t be bothered. Now I had friends riding today on the Gaff from Dawes to Howley and said it was really good going and tons of snow. I may head in tomorrow now that I know but not sure. I also know Lewis Hills is really good and you can still leave from Corner Brook. I plan to ride there early this week so looking forward to that. Last weekend I rode to Harbor Deep for the weekend. Always fun to be on sled but rain and fog with heavy rain on Saturday was what was dealt to us. About half of us never went out the door on Saturday. Conditions were rapidly falling apart there and unless it cooled after I suspect a lot of damage. However there was lots of snow for the most part so maybe that area might be still good. I am starting to shift to bike / boat mode now!
Finally….FINALLY got in there! I have been looking at a tree zone just below the ice waterfall on Hodges for a few years now and today we got the sleds up there. I also managed to climb up to the public trail on Hodges from the steep side….I am positive that’s a first as well. If you want steep…this is it! If you drop your lid its going to play plinko for about a 1/2 of a km before its stops in this spot. If it were Feb or March powder we would not have a prayer of slaying this area. But today the temps were warm after a cold night and you could side hill the steepest of the steep all day long. There is a chain saw coming out next fall….so my customers, or at least those who are into it, will get to enjoy the extreme route to Hodges. Conditions are holding on. 9 mile bog was perfect riding. We tracked a huge herd of caribou off 9 Mile towards Grand Falls Windsor and the open country in that direction are loosing snow fast. All the trails and roads are the best kind although closer to the highway it wont be long before stretches of dirt will soon appear. In the woods….bottomless so good for a while yet. By this time of year I usually move to the Gaff but with all this snow down here I have not been there in over a week. Reports are though that the Gaff is absolutely awesome riding right now.
Well this is going to be a winter I will remember for a while. The riding in Central is still awesome. Now I would have expected there to be still enough snow into Hodges and tons up to the Gaff by this time as there always is. But still leaving the chalets on sleds with no trucking required? I am loving this! I did a fair bit of riding this past few days but today was a day to recover. I have a big ride planned for Tuesday….with these conditions I was able to get to a level on the backside of Hodges I have been looking at from both Peace Valley and the top of Hodges for a few years now. If I can link up a very steep treed valley with the newly discovered plateau it gives me another choice for the rippers that come looking for some challenging lines. Not sure if it is even possible yet as even getting to the scree base is challenging enough but now throw in a side hill to get from across to the only way up and a steep tree climb may only be possible with prime conditions as they are now. We will see on Tuesday!
It’s the 13th of April and you would never say it. Usually by this time of year we are trailering in 3km in order to ride…not so this year! I had a group yesterday who were a little let down first when they drove through Central but it didn’t take long to uplift their spirits once we started riding. We chose to combine two trips into one yesterday by covering the Gaff and Kippen’s Ridge and what a day it was. We saw moose, caribou and arctic hare. To the dismay of a couple the only water we found to skip was the puddles in the highway ditches in South Brook…everything else is solid. I had a mishap later in the day when I struck a rock and drove my A arm back…the worst damage I have ever seen in an A arm! Id say it was not far off 45 degrees! With the use of a log and an axe working in tandem we managed to bend it back enough so it wasn’t rubbing on the shock. I wished then that I had installed carbon fiber A arm plates along with my skid plate. The snow was very soft later in the day. I was turned around to make sure everyone was behind when I slipped off the beaten path and wacked a concealed rock…..I should have know better being on a pole line. But that’s the key to spring riding….you have to ride at the right time windows to avoid the very soft conditions. In any case, we were on the go again in 20 minutes and finished the trip. I didn’t clock it but Id say we did about 260km….at least. This is about 3 times what I normally do in a tour as I am a “more smiles, fewer miles” kind of rider. This time of year though I ride everyday like it might be nearing to the end of the season. You never know when the forecast might swing to 5 or 6 days of rain and wash it all away.
What awesome conditions for the middle of April. Spring is here according to the calendar but not apparent in the backcountry of Central. Although I have a fair size group tomorrow for the Kippens Ridge loop, the tours, as always once March ends have been few. But that’s OK because April is my favorite month to ride. Lots of family sledding up to the Monica camp….from Tuesday until Friday last week. Spent time in the hills as well as touring around including a trip to the Point Leamington area, Seal Bay and Kippen’s Ridge. Awesome times! Jack is really coming along with his side-hilling (he is on the yellow and black Freestyle). His buddy Evan DeAngelo was out from St. Johns with us for three days as well. Today I showed Steve Furlong in around one of the play spots in Hodges…..great day today as well. Steve periodically writes for Sledworthy magazine. Tomorrow tour is a trip from the chalets around the Kippens Ridge loop via South Brook….its going to be an awesome day!I cannot understand why so many people store their machines away when March is over….you guys are losing out!
Me n Jack were out for a rip this afternoon and conditions were superb! Tons of snow and no sign of spring yet. We saw what I can only assume was a snowy owl…it had a wing span of about 6 feet. He was watching over a herd of caribou on 9 mile bog. After I took a couple snaps of the owl Jack ripped around me on edge so I grabbed a few snaps of that as well. For a kid that just turned 9 he can handle sled better than many adults I know. Way to go Jack! I fluked a snap of a face plant too when he fell off. Its going to be winter here for a long time yet. We are nearly booked up until middle of April but we do have a few weekdays here and there. Please don’t put your sleds away on March 31st as most people do. April is always the best month to ride….both here and on the West Coast. I will hardly see anyone once April hits. You guys are missing out big time!
It is absolutely perfect riding now….both for trail riding and boondocking in the hills. The kind of conditions where you can do a diving carve off the side of the trail, bury to the windshield and with a fist full of throttle literaly jump out of the hole. All repeat customers today…..a couples day. They had a ball. A few caribou…maybe a dozen of 15. Best of all though was the weather. Even though the sun had the power to stip down to a riding jersey the snow did not get heavy but stayed soft and very dry. Its going to be an awesome April for riding I think. The snow is very deep now and the base is more solid than I have ever seen it.
Been snowing here for a couple days now and we are buried. Just went for a quick ride just 4 km in the road and the amount of snow is awesome! You cant get off your sled without going to your waist. Best of all its fairly dense so not just light powder. Stuck many times tonight on the trails. Flurries all day tomorrow but Friday is the day so get the sleds out for then because there is warmer weather on the way for Sat. Sunday looks like its going to be an awesome day as well. We are full here at the chalets on the weekend but we still have some openings on weekdays. Its going to be a good long winter!
I apologize for not updating the blog in a while. I have been posting on FB but neglected my blog. Its been snowing for two days now and we are buried in Central. About time! Now we need it to settle so we can get around the hills without so many stucks. Its been a busy past couple weeks at the chalets with snowmobilers and people are loving all this snow. Load em up and come on in!