What a trip yesterday! Three of us took a trip to the Gaff yesterday and what a blast. It was still hard in places but about 6 inches of snow fell the night before and blew some huge drifts up. Some of them so big I just had to pass them up as the machine would just burrow in and stick (wish I had a longer track yesterday but the Freeride preformed very well I must say). That’s one pick of blasting up through a drift…if you look close you can see the machine coming up through! We spent about an hour ripping up this one! I know the pics are not that great but I am getting used to a digital SLR.
Now I am HAPPY! Woke up this morning to see the river full of ice again and at least 6 inches of snow on the ground. That’s all we needed and more to come! Heading to the Gaff again today…cant wait! I remember the same thing happened last year but we lost even more snow that this time. My last ride in 2012 was April 19th and it was awesome day on the sleds….lets hope for the same this year.
A couple of friends and I had an awesome day on the Gaff today in the White Hills/Barneys Brook area. Getting there had some bad spots in the road and not a lot of snow on a couple bogs we crossed but it was well worth it when we got up there. Most of the road was really good going though. Tons of snow up there…..we had a great time climbing around the hills. As you wind your way around there its so difficult to choose which hill time climb….its like riding in a giant snow covered egg carton! There are lines all around you from very extreme to very easy. With the Barneys Brook tributaries winding down in amongst the hills, the scenery is stunning. The rain washed out a lot of Barneys Brook but its still no trouble to finds spots to cross. With very cold temps coming this week I suspect and hope that winter will take another grip and put us through until late April like last year. I would be so happy! We also took a quick run out to Springdale Junction (or almost there) to check conditions and once again…loads of snow. As it sits right now, there is a lot of moisture in the snow so if it is cold and no powder its going to be hard and some might have cooling issues. But if it is above zero and the snow soften up, the riding will be excellent except for the odd bad spot I have been mentioning. Last night we had 4 inches of snow so the riding today around Hodges was excellent, as our customers are telling me.
We just had the largest group this winter! Everyone in all the chalets wanted to ride on tour today….18 in all. Normally we cut it off at 8 machines but considering the conditions ect we made an exception. The day went well but there seemed to be several mechanical issues which, tell tell you the truth almost never happens. We discovered a bent clutch shaft on a “new used” machine and we had to ditch one machine on Twin Pond at 1700 feet elevation. We have to get that one by tow in the morning. As for the conditions we saw lots of great riding with lots of snow and we saw lots of poor conditions that we had to go around. Most of the deteriorated areas were in Peace Valley. It is almost gone to the point that I wouldn’t bother taking another tour there again. Other than that, the Hodges trail has some holes in it in the first 500 meters or so but to an experienced rider no big deal. Once you get past these 4 or 5 holes the trail is perfect with lots of snow. I don’t know if I would go all the way to the tower but I am pretty sure you can….if you don’t mind a few rocks near the top. After a meal at the Monica camp we used Boyd’s trail to get out of Peace Valley. The trails is in good shape except for the bogs are close to bare so you have to pick your way for a bit. Ridge Road, with a few exceptions was really good going all the way back to Cornfield Road. All in all a great day with the exception of the mechanical issues. I think some of the clan learned a lot about places they thought they could never go or do! Next time they have a brook or water to cross they will know it is easier than it looks!
Did the Hodges loop today. Still lots of snow in the woods but the warm wind is cutting the snow down pretty quickly on some exposed areas of the roads and open country. Mostly out here closer to the chalets though. There are a few places here and there where you will have to go around some bare spots in the backcountry. My only concern at this point is losing too much snow on the open country like 9 mile bog. It was no sweat to go across 9 Mile today but it is getting to the point where you are picking a bit to avoid bare spots. If we lose much more we will have to stick to the roads and trails and avoid the bogs. The areas we ride up to the Gaff have so much snow there is nothing to worry about for a while yet. I am heading back there Sunday on a personal trip with some friends…can’t wait! Anyone coming out this way for sledding might want to consider scratchers if the nights are cold depending on if your machine tends to overheat. Looks like this Saturday is going to be getting cold again. At this point we are still leaving from the chalets on sleds although it looks like not much snow….but that changes very quickly as you head in Cornfield Road and start gaining elevation. This pic taken today was typical of what you will see on a ride around Hodges.
Yes. The title is correct! At the end of our ride we ran into a friend who lives on Dawes Pond. Yesterday, a meteorite landed in front his cabin in Dawes Pond. He didn’t see it but people heard it. The hole is about 10 feet wide and maybe 100 feet long so it was small and came down at a low angle from the North East. It is an amazing site! You can see where the hole was made in the picture as well as where the water splashed out and froze. For something that apparently was traveling at 1000s of mile an hour is is a neat hole…almost like a lazer had cut it. Amazing to see! I would expect international coverage within a couple days. Now to the riding conditions on the Gaff. Today was a personal ride and I must say, one of the best ride of my life. The Northwest end of the Gaff is absolutely buried and the riding is amazing as you can see from the pictures! The first pic is taken not far from the highway on Dawes Pond Road…obviously lots of snow! Hills, bowls and ravines to challenge just about anyone. I can’t wait to go back! That’s me straightening out my handlebar after I crested a hill (not the one in the picture….much larger and steeper!) and lost my line. I had to stop but the brakes did nothing as I was not far off 45 degrees and it was not powder but I couldn’t bury it. I had two choices….bail and let her go back or try to go forward in which case the machine and me would have likely dropped over a 30 foot cliff just to my right before a long tumble. Of course I bailed and down she went. A long slide backwards over a near vertical climb, 6 rolls, back on her feet and then rolled on her own for another hundred feet. I slid behind it the whole way. Main thing is we got the carnage on video…well worth the cost of the handlebars! Tough machine though (Freeride) with the only damage being bent handlebars on one side. If that had been my Expedition she would have been in pieces!
If anyone want to go see where the meteorite landed and do a Gaff run while are at it I would be happy to take you. Might as well capitalize on it LOL!
An awesome day had by all yesterday around Hodges. I think we had more sleds at the chalets this weekend than we ever had! As for the snow conditions there is still lots, especially in the higher elevations. Its like April riding here now though. If it is a cold day, conditions are hard but not ice. I didn’t need scratchers yesterday with a 2.5 inch paddle on my sled. On sled out of the 6 we had on tour did have overheating issues. I just happened to have a new spare set of scratchers in the garage so we installed them and he was fine for the day. It was a cool day so the snow didn’t soften much until a bit later but we all had a great ride. You could go anywhere…that’s the trade-off! We have a few days coming up with the temps rising above zero so it will be really good riding then! Once again….lots of caribou on 9 Mile Bog. About 50 we figured and they are so used to us they don’t even bother to stand up or stop eating anymore. Here are a few pics! We are wide open at the chalets for some reason for until Wednesday. I guess people think we lost all our snow like most of the island but as you can see we did not. Give me a call and come on out to do some riding. We have discounted the chalets for the weekdays this week to fill em up! Don’t listen to the rumors of no snow and don’t mind the lack of it around the chalets….there is lots of snow just 20 minutes skidoo ride fro the chalets…..guaranteed!
I was in around Hodges today and was relieved to see there is still lots of snow….especially on the higher elevations.
Peace Valley has had a lot of water in in most of which has run off now although we had to skip across a few spots. Both side of the hill are great for climbing now….probably too easy though with the dense snow so if you want a challenge you will have to go steeper.
All cold weather in the forecast which is good but as the snow dries out it will get harder.
For this reason I decided to downgrade to good. Saw about 50 caribou on 9 Mile again today in two herds.
Looks like we survived the rain! I was on the West Coast doing a sledding course on Sunday and it rained on us all day. All the brooks are running wild….lot of damage but still lots of snow left in the higher country. All the way back on Monday morning you can see the vast amount of snow lost. I was getting pretty worried but the closer I got to central the brooks were not running as bad. Aspen Brook and most of the others around are running over the ice but are not out. Had a tour on the Gaff today and the riding was better than good so I am going to leave it at excellent as it is only going to improve as the water runs off. Had a beautiful day with light snow but a great cook up of ham and beans. Really we never got the rain the East and West got. At least here around Badger it was mostly just steady mist. I am headed into Hodges on tour tomorrow but looking at the road and also talking to a friend who was in today….I expect much the same. We are safe again!
We are all getting nailed again! If it doesn’t rain too much (and it hasn’t been) we should pull through. The Mid-Winter Bivver took place this weekend in Grand Falls-Windsor and despite the weather went well. I didn’t take any pics of todays ride but everything is still basically the same as before minus about 4 inches of snow. Once again the winter the higher elevation trees have lost their snow….usually snow covered all winter. I am headed to Corner Brook tomorrow to do a sledding course and see they have the same forecast….sad, but I’m going anyway.