Just returned from the Gaff via Millertown Junction Road. It looked very dismal at first. All the way in there was almost no snow. But there WAS snow at the end of the plowed road about 5 km in. We unloaded and it wasn’t too far before we got a glimpse of the Gaff. It was obviously going to be a good day if we could get there. Well getting there was no problem and if you add all the dirt we crossed on the road and tracks it wouldn’t add up to a hundred feet! The woods along Mary March Brook has tons of snow and big drifts if it warmed up enough to soften them and you can spend a day along that river alone. However, once you pass the Quarry and reach the open country you can go anywhere you want. Just point the skis and go! We went to Hinds hill and back in short order. Now as with all spring riding, if it is cold it is going to be a ski-chattering day. If it is very warm its going to be very soft and choices are fewer. But the temps are right you cant get much better conditions up there right now! The tricky part is that the forecast means nothing. We had a relatively warm and calm day down here but at the Gaff it was very cold and windy. In fact we couldn’t remove our helmets once we reached the open country. Most days now you would be best to leave early and return early. For those of you who are familiar with the Gaff, who can tell me where that gigantic boulder is in the two pictures. Its about 20 feet high, 30 feet thick and stands alone. I always stop there when in the area because it is so interesting as it never has snow around its base and usually the machine would be 10 feet up rather than the 6 feet as shown. The first person to get it right on FB gets a rafting pass. The hint is in the above write-up.
Archive for the ‘Winter Trip Reports’ Category
We lost so much snow last week on that warm windy day I am amazed! Took a ride into Hodges today expecting not too much change but anywhere that was exposed to the wind on the higher areas of Hodges week are wiped out. All the way in was good riding but after we left Cornfield Road the snow loss became evident. The higher we got the more snow loss in the open areas. Some parts of the road were bare for good stretches and I had to pick my way along the sides. There is still lots of good riding to be had but you have to stick to main roads and groomed trails. I was on a fair few ponds and lakes today which were all solid but you have to be careful of inlets and outlets of brooks as they are all running. I did get into the tower hill which still has tons of snow but it was a bit of a task to get there with some bare spots on the bogs and cutovers. On the brighter side I hear the Gaff and Buchan’s Plateau are still good to go. The Gaff was my intention today but my riding buddy had to cancel last minute but I am hoping to get up there this week. Also on the bright side I put in for a 2015 154 Freeride pre-season today, probably the best sled on the snow, for next season. Tomorrow is the last day for pre-season orders with BRP. The Summit and Freeride have a bumper to bumper 4 year warranty! Who can resist that?
The Gaff was excellent riding on Saturday. Tons of snow as you can see from the pics. South Brook is still solid but many other brooks starting to break out. Mary March was soft by the time we got there later in the day. If it had of been colder it would have been awesome! We went down almost to the falls but with the company I had that day we decided to head back to the beaten path after a boil-up. By later in the day you had to stick to the beaten path or you were sinking far too much. As usual this time of year I am introducing people to skipping water as with Sonja on the Cat 1100. I think she would have been content to stay there for longer if we had the time. Yesterday, my son Jack and I went to Hodges and Monica for the night. Still tons of snow in there as well. However, the brooks are breaking out fast and on warm days there is going to be lots of water on 9 Mile bog. Just don’t have a heavy sleigh in tow like we did. Down we went in about two feet of slush! Thank God for my snow bungee again yesterday. With only Jack with me I would have had to abandon machine and sled! Saw about 60 caribou in one herd. They were separated by a short distance though so you cannot see them all in the pic but I wanted Hodges centered in the back round. Two staggs had opposite sides of their racks missing…..hmmmm. I threw in a shot of jack skipping water on his Freestyle too. He is only 8 and has ample experience at this already LOL! Spring riding…gotta love it! People around here are starting to figure that out now….I am seeing more sleds out since April than I have been seeing all winter! Ride on!
Well the phone calls are coming in lately and the rumors are flying! No snow in Central! Well we have tons of snow and unless we get drastic weather, we will be riding until May. Now when spring riding you must realize that in the mornings, the snow is hard and you may need scratchers. Then, assuming the sun is out, riding is superb from late morning until maybe 4 o’clock. After that, you must stick to the beaten paths as the snow gets too soft. This is the average day here in Central and West. If it remains cold and the sun does not shine, conditions will be hard. If the night does not cool down you may be confined to the beaten paths. That is spring riding. The smaller brooks are starting to bust out now which, in my opinion makes backcountry riding a bit more fun. The larger brooks and rivers, are still solid but wont be to long before they start busting out. A client was trying my machine and struck a rock, did quite a bit of damage but fortunately replaceable parts. She will be back on the snow on Tuesday morning after 12 hours labor and $500 in parts. Thanks to Marsh Motor Sports who is footing the bill for some of the labor to get me on the snow again! For now though, I am riding a 600 Grand Touring! Nice comfy sled but not what I am used too. If the tour on the Gaff this weekend is hard conditions I will be glad to be sittin on the GT though. Either way, the Gaff is God’s country! My little fella Jack and I went in this eve for ride to check out the brooks ect. These are a few snaps from a few hours ago.
We had a few trips since my last post since conditions have remained much the same. We have had a few warm days since though and the snow has depleted some but nothing worth talking about. Trails are pretty hard now unless it warms up…but when the temp rises and the snow softens its is awesome riding. The brooks are all pretty good but wont be long and they will go out. Tis the season to skip! Had a great trip today with 8 people from St. John’s to Port Aux Basque. They all loved it! On another note, I just returned from a trip to Harbor Deep with Keith Peyton and Jerry Rose (me brother). Awesome trip and would recommend it to anyone who is comfortable enough to do the trip. Although the trails was obvious with so much use, if there was snow, the signage is not sufficient. You need two GPS’s with the track….at least. The trail in is very scenic especially the first and last parts. Lots of play on the way in if it had of been warmer but the snow was hard. We need scratchers most of the way. But the potential play if it had of been warmer was fantastic! I believe one area in particular is called Snowy Valley. We stayed two nights so the second day we rode Souflette’s River up to the open county. En route we followed a steep creek of the Souflette’s up to the open country….and I mean steep….a lotta fun! By early afternoon the snow started to soften so we were able to take in the many jumps that the snow covered boulders, drifts and ledges offered. The open country, like Hodges and the Gaff are like the flint if the sun doesn’t soften. We got off it as quickly as we could but found a nice creek to the South that eventually wound back to the original trail leading to the Lodge. It’s a simple and comfortable accommodation with good food and very friendly owners and help. You can buy gas there too so you don’t have to lug it all in. Great trip for sure! Have a look at the lower pics of the Harbor Deep excursion.
You just cant get any better than a ride on a day like today. Its personal riding time now, tours are slowed to a trickle albeit I have no idea why. April is my favorite month and hardly a machine to be seen! We have more snow than we have had all winter…by far! We did have an excellent tour on Saturday with two families (one group). What a great day to be out and conditions could not be better! Right after the tour Jack (my son who just turned 8 on the BRP Freestyle ) turned around and headed back to the Monica cabin for the night…so on this post there are pictures from two trips. Over the weekend we saw many caribou. They are spread all around now from 9-mile right on down through Peace Valley. Jack and I spent the day winding around the hills between the trees and looking for jumps. Its not like you would expect riding with an 8 year old would be though. I did not have to look back often as he rarely got stuck….always behind me, and I never held back too much with choosing difficult lines. He rolled once, caught a tree on a side hill and fell into a brook after hitting a jump (which took well over an hour to get out). Riding this past few days has been such a pleasure with the warm sun and not being stuck every 15 minutes in deep powder. The snow in the trees, as always, is still soft and deep so when you do get stuck….well, you are good and stuck! For all of you who have grass on your lawn and sleds put away, not only on the East Coast but closer to central, I feel for you. I don’t know if it is that you don’t know what you are missing with spring riding, that you don’t realize winter Central and West lasts til the end of April and beyond, or the grass showing has you thinking about golfing instead of riding but you are missing the best time of year. Winter here in Newfoundland is 4 months not 3. I’d say I will burn two more drums of gas yet. Make no wonder I get two years max out of a sled! I am really enjoying this old time winter!
Hello all. Just a note to let everyone know we are still locked in winter wonderland here at Riverfront Chalets. We didn’t get the rain the Eastern half of the island got. In fact, we have more snow now than we have in years. There is no sign of Spring here and lots more snow on the way! We had a last minute cancelation for one chalet this upcoming weekend and sledding conditions are awesome, so give us a call, load up your sleds and come on out! For those of you who are not familiar with the sledding season here, we always ride until the end of April or close to it. Last year it was April 27th. This year, unless we get drastic amounts of rain, we will be riding into May. We have two chalets available for the second weekend in April and and plenty openings on weekdays. April is my favorite month for riding here in Central with the warm sun….no need to go to Florida for a tan! Nothing beats riding with a t-shirt or jersey on! Believe me, you don’t have to go far on sled to see a lot more snow that in this picture of the chalets I took this morning! Don’t use the view from the TCH as a indicator as it says nothing about the snow even just behind the trees. Hope to see you in April!
Not long back now from a Gaff tour and the conditions ranged from good to excellent and the weather could not have been better. Tons of snow and plenty powder play spots. We left Dawes Pond, crossed South Brook, Sandy Pond and worked our way down the Valley towards Barney Brook. So many excellent play spots its hard to choose! After a boil up we went from Whit Hills – Foretop, Main Top, Summit and down Mary March Brook which is solid (as well as every other brook we were on today). Driving across the open county was packed snow but plenty smooth to move along 40 – 50km per hour. Plenty powder patches to keep the machines cool and many Kms of soft snow from the sun. Stunning day! From there we took Patrick’s pond to South Brook and back out. We saw two fox, moose and so many small groups of caribou I lost count. I took a few pics of a herd of about ten feeding just off the edge of White Hills. Tons of snow, great bunch and a wicked day!
Well as usual, the rain we got wasn’t near extreme as received East and West of us. I am guessing maybe 15mm? Still tons of snow on the trails and open country. The trails, for the most part are flat and hard but not ice by any means. Plenty powder on there to keep machines cool, but some machines will need scratchers. Anywhere off to the side you are still sinking. We had a trip across the Gaff which was pretty good going. In fact, better than before the rain. The climbing hills into Hodges are better now since the rain. We needed it…..it was getting annoying getting stuck and going up to my neck in snow so often. Now you can go anywhere but the snow is still soft and deep. I don’t have a lot of pics today but I have a few. See Tom Caines FB page for pics of Hodges. I threw in one pic of my little guy Jack (8 years) jumping on his Freestyle. We used this pic on his birthday cake yesterday! Give it to her Jack!
"The best ride they ever had" is how they put it. Took 6 guys on a one night (ended up being two nights) for a night ride into Hodges the eve before and a full-on tour of the Gaff yesterday. Tons of snow of course but the crossing from Sandy Pond to the Quarry was a mixture of powder and wind beaten snow. We ducked into the few treed spots on the other side of the Summit and the real fun began. Mary March Brook was awesome with tons of powder, endless drift jumps and deep powder to carve for kilometers. Several riders in the group were able to take riding to a new level with these condition……they will have a lot more fun from now on! We took Patrick’s pond – South Brook back to the vehicles for a nigh ride out. South Brook was supposed to be one of the highlights with and endless meandering track of deep powder but we were all dead tired and didn’t play a lot….although conditions were ideal. Once again had the pleasure of having Tom Caines along for the ride. Thanks for all your help yesterday Tom. I know it was very much appreciated by all!