Last night the Valley Riders were able to help out our adjoining club to the north Northern Outdoors who had yet to be able to connect with us due to conditions at Moores Bog on ITS 87 just north of the turn to the Sterling Inn. This allowed us to have a groomed trail all but 1.25 mi and they are hoping with the recent and incoming snow to be able to make the full connection by the end of the weekend. That being said, 5 sleds had been through this section, and the recent 5-6" snow seemed to fill in a lot of the cracks leaving far less concern than before. But like everywhere still, the woodened sections of trail, powerlines, and minor wet areas still need another 6" or so before everything will be pancake flat.
ITS 87 north:
Groomed last night, and will be for at least 2 out of the next 3 nights throughout the weekend. The powerline section behind the highschool when leaving town is still pretty thin and does have a water bar right after the bridge at the bottom of the hill to be mindful of. Once leaving the powerline, there were some ruts created by pickup trucks this spring and hunting season that we were able to mostly fill in, but you still need to use caution for about a half a mile or so. From there the road system is in good shape with great coverage to the Rt 16 crossing.
The next section like always requires a lot of snow to really make it good, but there is good coverage throughout. The 2 biggest areas of concern are about halfway through when going down into the small bog area where there is some wetness and ledging, and when you are within a mile of the intersection for the Sunshine trail that comes off from and back to Toenline Rd, where there is a decent water bar we were able to fill in enough last night to make it more easily passable. Ironically, this is where we saw where the first sled of the year had left the trail going to fast downhill for conditions on their way back into town on a half groomed trail.
Once taking the left at the Sunshine trail intersection you are back on road system which is covered well and in great shape to the Townline Rd which has been being plowed to the Deadwater Rd, where you will cross the Austin Stream bridge. The short wooded section was worked over before the snow allowing smoother terrain to the old county road that parallels the stream to the gravel pit. Taking a left out of the gravel pit on the Ripple Rd should be a short plowed section for a half mile to the powerline where we are now taking a right due to logging. It had not been plowed as of last night, and had not been last week. The powerline could definitely use some more snow. There are a couple areas of concern that are wet/have water bars. We were able to fill them in for the most part, but are concerned traffic between now and the next storm are only going to open them back up so please use caution.
Once hitting the Heald Pond rd you will have smooth sailing and great conditions all the way to the Chase Pond Rd and for the next 13 miles. That being said we typically meet Northern Outdoors at mile 3, which you will see to there and for the next 5-6 miles to the end of the Chase Pond rd is in great shape. When you get to the end of the Chase Pond rd a pick up truck had plowed the Carney Brook Rd in from Rt 201 past Chase Pond approximately a mile and left a snow bank in the middle of the trail we removed last night. We groomed about 2 miles more before turning around and there did appear to be another inch or so of snow.
ITS 87 south:
We groomed down to the Solon Dam and back opening all the gates on the railbed in our section. Talking with the Solon Snowhawks this morning, they have opened all their gates on ITS 87 south only. The trail system is in good shape down to Griswold's store, but declines shortly there after.
ITS 84 west:
Are only section of this is the same section of railbed as ITS 87 south which is groomed and in good shape. I read this morning that North Anson's club will be out today grooming, so we are assuming they will connect with us at the Solon Dam.
ITS 84 east toward Wind Towers and Athens:
All groomed and in great shape to the power line where we meet Athens. The once place to be aware of is where the Frank Savage Rd turns into the Pat Cassidy rd where it appears camp owners are still plowing into there camps, so you will run about a mile of plowed road that we are ok to be on.
Lower Club Trail:
This is the first connector leaving town on ITS 87 or ITS 84 when taking the left off Pat Cassidy onto Mahoney Hill, instead of following ITS 84 on Mahoney Hill. This was pack last week and will be groomed freshly this evening. As many know this is a tight, windy so please use caution.
Heart of Gold Trail: (Aka middle club trail/start of the Wind Mills)
This trail was in fantastic shape on Monday after the storm last weekend. I'm not sure as the groomer go to this last night but most certainly will tonight if time did not permit last night. At the end of it after passing Whithee Pond, taking a left will bring you to the Rt 16 crossing to the Townline Rd and back to ITS 87. Taking a right allows you access to the rest of the Wind Mills which we can only go as far as Tower 20 as of right now, or wrap you back around to the Iron Gate Rd, connecting you back to Mahoney Hill rd ITS 84 in our system where we meet Athens.
Iron Gate rd: (Aka upper connector)
We were granted permission from the state and Harmony club to help them out by maintaining this section this year. As mentioned above it makes a great loop, and is the best place in our system to safely play with your throttle, as it has a nice 2-3mi stretch that is straight as an arrow and a rocket ship ride when it is flat! This trail also also access to Athens and Brighton. Harmony is going to do there best to maintatin the Stagecoach Rd from Brighton to us every other week as far as we know now.
Lastly, we are working with the new club the Kingsbury Off-Grid Groomers (who are on Facebook and looking for new members) to make a connection from the top of Mayfield Hill on Rt 16 where we normally maintain the gravel pit road that leads to the rest of the Wind Mills that are closed for the season due to logging. If we can get this connection approved by the state and Weyerhauser, there is hope to open it next weekend. This would allow us to connect to the Breakneck Ridge trail system from the south end allowing you to loop back throught the Forks, but it will also get you access to Abbot and Parkman using many of the same ATV access we have currently.
If you haven't been out riding yet, now's the time. Get off your phone, pack your bags, and get up here.
Don't want to load your trailer, rent a sled and save yourself the hassel!
As always, ride right, ride safe and we will see you on the trails!!!