Sorry for the delay everyone, shop has been crazy busy this year and we have been down a man all week with the flu.
Last night I left here at about 3:30pm and headed north on ITS 87 out of town to make sure we had seen the worst. Traveled all the way up into Northern Outdoors trail system to the to the Pleasant Pond intersection, then looped around the mountain to the Bald Mountain trail, taking the Windmill trail back to ITS 84, then hit the ITS 87 rail bed 3.2mi south of here and back. That being said here is the short version....."I cannot believe how good the trails are, considering last weeks rain storm!" I have seen a lot worse and had folks tell me that they had a good time, so there is no reason to not get here and check it out.
However, riders need to use extreme caution. There were several people that just could not keep themselves off the trail despite pleading and warning them of the damage they would cause for the remained of the season to the base. So there are a few places that were very wet that sleds dove through and have now froze up solid. There are also I shelving is some parts of the trail systems where ice dams were created at bridge crossings, flooding water over and around them. Water is down now, but there are still ice chunks in the trail at these places, as well as anywhere you are use to seeing puddles in the summer time if you are ATV riding and that trail is used for both seasons. The only other per-caution is to keep in mind that out no 10" amazing base, is rock hard and basically a solid block of ice, under the 2" of fresh snow we received Wednesday night. Please slow down long before the corners to avoid sliding off the trail, and avoid potential trail issues just around the corner.
ITS 87 north out of town for the first 10mi is very thin and has the majority of ice shelving in our trail system. Once hitting the sunshine trail where you could take a right to head back to Rt 16 crossing that will bring you to the Windmill trail, ITS 87 is in great shape until about 3mi in to Northern Outdoors trail system where it is now going by the face of Moxie Mountain again as it did for many years. As many of you know, at that point until the Moxie Mountain lookout trail is always somewhat thin with small gravel rocks in the trail, and no is no different, but again I have seen it much worse. The Moxie Mountain look out trail has not yet been groomed though Northern outdoors did make it down to us during the day yesterday or the night before. After the lookout trail 87 is in really good shape to the Pleasant Pond intersection.
Pleasant Pond trail around the back side of Moxie Mountain for the most part, but that is where I did see the majority of now frozen issue from last weekend traffic. The groomer had not been through as of last night, but I would imagine they are going to do there best to get down there by the end of the weekend.
Bald Mountain trail for this year is only accessible by taking ITS 87 to the Pleasant Pond trail. The connection where the Valley Rider system is not open this year which you can see on the Forks Trail System map provided by the chamber of commerce. Once on Bald Mountain trail conditions were good to the intersection leading you back to Bingham via the Windmill trail, or continuing on Bald Mountain trail to the ITS 86 intersection on the Shirley Rd. The last we knew Northern Outdoors had put out a report that ITS 86 to Greenville from the Forks was still closed due to logging, but they were hoping to get it back the week or next. Please do not prolong the access by riding on it. Taking the right will bring you back by Austin Pond where the Breakneck Ridge trail veers to the left. As you are traveling that you will notice that it got plowed recently, but it was just to get that piece of equipment out. Just past the Breakneck Ridge trail you will see another piece of equipment with an arrow pointing you to the right. That is the Palmer Pond rd where you only travel about 5mi before taking the left into the Windmill Project.
Windmill was in really good shape from there up to the bluff at tower 30, or the really good lookout. Though it is thin up there all the gravel is covered in ice allowing you to ride over the top without grinding down you carbides. Coverage was good after that all the way to the point where you go back into the woods and down that steep hill. At the bottom of the steep hill, the gravel quarry road is plowed with an active logging operation present, so be respectful and careful. When you pop out to the edge of Rt 16 at the top of Cook Hill, you will find this section of the Windmill trail rough all the way back to their main office where our club trail "Heart of Gold" connects, where you can also go by and link back to ITS 87 from the Townline Rd.
Heart of Gold trail was fast, firm and flat as a board all the way to the ITS 84 intersection. ITS 84 west from Mahoney Hill back to the Bingham/Solon rail bed ITS 87 is in great shape. This is definitely the beset way in and out of town, just don't forget to stop down and see us.
Have fun, be safe, and we will see you out there!