We made it through the rain storm!!! Our groomer after grooming Monday and Tuesday night after the snow storm, got back on the trails the past 3 nights. Friday and Saturday night were spent on ITS 87 as it needed it again Saturday night after all the traffic. The Wind Farm, ITS 84 and Palmer Pond road were still in good shape from Tuesday nights grooming so they were left alone until last night. Now our entire system has been freshened up and is in great shape. There are no bare spots and plenty of lubrication for the slides and heat exchangers.
We took a ride yesterday from town up ITS 87 north, went by the Austin Stream Bridge and turned on the Palmer Pond rd. ITS 87 at 12pm had good coverage and was in good shape even with the traffic. The texture of the snow was much like sugar until we got on the Palmer Pond rd. From there all the way to Austin Pond and the Breakneck Ridge trail was firm, flat and hardly traveled at all. We went down the Breakneck Ridge trail a ways but not all the way to the Blanchard intersection that takes you into Monson, because it was in great shape per usual land all I needed to know. There was one spot in the trail that had a small amount of damage from the rain that was marked of with upright brush, so riders should be aware that some areas may have a spot or 2 to keep an eye when coming around corners. From there we retreated back to the Wind Mill trail and came back to ITS 84, hit the rail bed ITS 87 north and back to the shop. Once off Palmer Pond rd heading through the Wind Mill trail, we found conditions to be a perfect mix, not to firm and not sugar like ITS 87. Just before tower 32 intersection there was a small hole in the trail, I am assuming the groomer was able to cover up last night, and the top of the bluff at tower 30 lookout was completely covered in ice, with a little snow on the sides here and there for about 200' but had no bare gravel showing. This means the next snow storm will make the top very slippery until it sets up and freezes back to the ice. We also did a little off trail playing near the towers and Breakneck Ridge trail system and found an average of 3'-4' and spots with 6'-7'!!!
New notes: The Carrabassett River crossing that had just been opened for traffic on ITS 84 west toward Kingfield has been closed again due to the last rain storm. Also ITS 87 in Solon is now open all the way to Rte 43 where the Snow Hawks meet the Abanaki Snow Riders in Madison. Please use caution as the logging operation is still active in the area, but just crossing the trail to get to their wood yard. The road will still appear to be plowed as of now, but our next storm in a couple of days should cover it back up! (reference the picture)
ITS 87 North:
Groomed in great shape and good coverage all the way to the start of the Forks trail section, which we here is also and has been in great shape. We are still sharing the Chase Pond rd with Weyerhauser to the Cow Mountain rd where we take a left. At this point you will find groomed, covered trail all the way to the forks with the exception of the driveway at Pleasant Pond that is plowed every year. The only two club connectors that are both open and groomed are the one 5 miles out of town that will take you back to the top of Mahoney Hill (ITS 84) where you can head towards Athens on the power line or back to the rail bed to access the north end of Solon or the south end of Bingham as an alternative to ITS 87 all the way through Bingham, and the other being the Palmer Pond rd used for ATV season, and ITS 87 2 or 3 years ago just beyond the Austin Stream bridge on the right. The Palmer Pond rd allows the quickest route to the Breakneck Ridge trail head, and allows a nice 3-4hr loop through the Wind Farm now that it is open.
ITS 87 South:
Groomed all the way to Skowhegan. Spots in Madison and Skowhegan sections may have some frozen and water damaged areas.
ITS 84 East:
Is groomed and in great shape all the way to the power line section where you would meet the Solon and Athens clubs.
ITS 84 West:
Also groomed to the Solon Dam from our club is in great shape. Carrabassett River crossing was clsoed as of 1.24.19 due to the recent rain storm. I anticipate they will reopen it this weekend after the cold stretch later in the week.
Wind Mill Trail:
From ITS 84 taking a left on what some call the Sunshine trail and others the old upper Lake Rd that was closed for most of ATV season, is open groomed and in great shape all the way to the Palmer Pond Rd intersection, and continues to where we meet Northern Outdoors just past Austin Lake. After reading Northern Outdoors trail report at the end of last week, the Bald Mtn trail is on there list to get groomed for the first run of the season this week. The trail is open, but has yet to be maintained due to a logging operation that just finished up. If taking the Breakneck Ridge trail over to Monson, Blanchard, Shirley or a short cut to Greenville in great shape! Do be mindful about 5mi in there is a marked out and frozen back up small water hole after coming around a left hand corner.
Town Line Rd:
Closed for the season due to a logging operation. Please respect the Land Owners wishes and stay off the plowed roads here to avoid possible future closure. A potential rumor currently is that we may have that back before the end of the season, but just a rumor at this point NOT fact.
Iron Gate Rd:
This trail is open but not groomed by our club. With the right conditions it can be a rocket ship ride with sections over a mile straight as an arrow. The first part of it has been groomed to the Stagecoach rd but has not beyond that connecting the Wind Mill trail as work projects still exist on that side.
Trails have been groomed from the Concord end, and we were told that Lexington had headed our way at the end of last week. We are told the trails are in good shape and have had a limited amount of traffic. We had also heard that there was a trail closure issue at the Happy Horseshoe Campground intersection preventing folks from entering Kingfield and Carrabassett Valley, but taking a right and heading to the back of the Bigelow preserve and Flagstaff lake were groomed and in good shape allowing for a nice loop to Grand Falls and back through the Forks.
As always, stay safe. Never ride alone, leave a plan at home, ride right and we will hope to see you out there!!!