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 April, 2014
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.