Well the first trail report of the year is not the greatest considering the late start, but the good news is all clubs from Bingham to the border have been packed at the very least, with minimal "grooming" in the places with enough depth and traffic to warrant it.
Here in Bingham we have about 4" of snow and 10"-12" out of town in higher elevations. The snow we received was a very heavy, dense, wet snow that made for great packing and base development. With cold temps right behind the storm, most trails locked right up pretty solid and with more cold days and nights ahead, we are in good shape if we need to wait a little bit for the next batch of snow.
One local rider came in a few minutes ago reporting today's ride to 15 Mile Stream for lunch just north of the Forks from in town Bingham. He said ultimately they had a good time but we need more snow. Logging roads are in great shape. They are firm but over heating did not seem to be an issue out of town, but in town was another story for 7mi or so on either side of town, and the trails are a little icy in both areas.
We left around 6pm to pack ITS 87 north and the club connector to Mahoney Hill 5mi out of town before Rt 16. The warm temps and rain from midnight through 2am did not help us at all, but the trails came out pretty decent minus few windrows and spots the drag slid off the trail, pushing some snow off to the side and creating a crown is somw sections. All remaining trees were removed from blocking the trails or creating unsafe conditions, but some shield scratches still need to be trimmed in places....feel free to help us out with those if you can, otherwise we will be working on those throughout the next several grooms.
ITS 87 north is very thin with a fair amount of dirt mixed in for the first 3mi out of town. Then gets pretty good for the next 3 to 4 mi to Rt 16. Once crossing Rt 16 to the "Jack Pine" trail, the condtions a reported to be better than I thought they were but boney and slow going until you hit the Sunshine loop off Town Line Rd. From there minus the old water bar conditions are great all the way to where we meet Northern Outdoor on the Chase pond road. That old water bar before Dead Water is pretty well covered up except for a chuck of ledge about 40' up the start of the hill. Ripple Rd by the radar site and on to the Chase Pond road to our turn around however is a smoke show.
Headed out at 5pm with cooler temps and a little snow squal. This night we packed the remainer of thr trail system, and it went a little smoother, other than having to fix ruts created by truck in 2 or 3 sections. We were even able to do a little cutting in some places to begin smoothing out the trail system.
ITS 84 came out really good though there is a washout section just starting up the Frank Savage rd after crossing Rt 201 impacting the edge of the trail. Mahoney Hill is in great shape all the way to the powerline where we meet the Athens Club.
Iron Gate rd came out great all the way back to the Withee Pond, T Rd, Wind Mill trail intersetion, with only a small washout mostley filled in right after turning off the Iron Gate rd and heading back up the mountain to the intersection. Trail has good coverage and should be flat and fast. Once starting on the Wind Mill trail after crossing Rt 16 for the first time, the power line sections are very thin, making them rough and exposing more rocks than is preferrable, but safely passable at the same time. Once your on the Quarry Rt headed into the upper towers you will be in good shape til the steep section we call "Bull dozer hill" which is a little rough and thin until you reach the top. We groomed down to the Cemetary Rd where we meet Kingsbury in Mayfield which came out great, all the way to tower 32 which came out good but was thin in some spots and bare on the top at tower 30, and we also did the loop around the back side where there is now view, but pops you out between tower 31 and 32 bypassing the bare spot and has much better coverage. At tower 32 is also where we meet Kingsbury. Thus far we have not seen them come through and may not this season. I am waiting to hear back from there President as he had left me a voicemail several weeks ago that the last big rain storm wiped them out in 3 different sections and he was not sure about what if any grooming they would be able to do. Let's keep our fingers crossed for them and hope for the best outcome.
The Withee Pond trail section back to the Mahoney Hill 4 way intersection is in pretty good shape coverage wise, though there is a fairly significant washout out affecting the side of the trail by the tower 1 turn. This has been marked off but could cause major issues if riders are not paying attention at high rates of speed.
The rail road bed in town (ITS 87 south) is very thin and icy. It may cause some overheating issues if conditions stay frim but it is pretty well covered up
This night was a repeat of the 16th doing ITS 87 north and the club connector closest to town. Again very thin and dirty for the first 3 or 4 miles and then gets better though Jack Pine is a little rough as we need more snow, it did come out better than we imagined according to riders. We were able to do some more cutting allowing us to somewhat soften the rock hard base created from the 16th, fill some holes, and pull everything back in the trail.
Please keep in mind it is still early riding conditions with some hazards to be aware and cautious of. So yes the trails are open but destinations and condtions are still a little tricky and fine details on signage are also being finalized. So be careful if you are out riding and remember we are just getting started so be patient, have some fun and help the club if you can with those pescky whip branches that still need to be trimmed.