A trip to Richards

The trails were rumored to be setting up well in the Whites, so early-ish on a Sunday morning Ms Marsh, Tom, and I headed out on a overnighter to Richards Cabin in the White Mountains NRA. The weather had been pretty nice the last couple of days, though perhaps a bit too warm for the trails to set up for good biking.

We arrived at the trail head and started down the trail, enjoying the warm weather. I was planning on biking, and Tom and Ms Marsh were going to ski. Richards cabin is about 20 miles in on a well used trail. The trail starts off with a climb up over a small ridge, then decends for 8 miles or so to cross Nome Creek, then winds though spruce forrest and a old burn before arriving at Richards. The trail was a bit too loose and steep for me to bike right out of the parking lot, so I started off pushing for the first mile or so. Tom and Ms Marsh carried their skis, so I traveled up the hill with them for a while, though once it became ridable I headed off. The day was bright and beautiful, and very warm.

Eventually the climbing stopped, and I was treated to nice downhill to Nome Creek.

It was in the upper twenties for most of the day, a bit too warm for pleasant snow biking. The trail was nicely packed and I made good time for the first half of the trip. Eventually I was passed by a large party of snow machines on their way out from Richards, and the riding slowed down a fair bit.

I found out later that these folks had just returned from Iraqi. It was a bit too warm for the trail to setup, so I spent the next 8 miles or so in a mix of low pressure riding and pushing. Good practice for what is in store for me in two weeks.

Not a big deal, as it was warm, and due to the low sun angle and a bank of high clouds, there was a all day sunrise (or sunset?).

The low angle sun illuminated the ridges along Cache Mountain beautifully.

Remus the dog is not too excited by snow biking. When pedaling I travel fast enough he has to trot to keep up, and can’t lolly gag. He gets to goof off while I am pushing though, and durring on of these non-pedaling sections a vole ran across the trail and ran into one of his legs. Remus was very surprised, and didn’t know what to do for a couple of moments. After following the vole around for half a minute he decided it was not edible or interesting and moved on. I followed the vole for a bit as it attempted to find it way back down to it’s tunnels under the snow.

After several minutes of running around on top of the snow the vole found tree well and returned to its life under the snow. Eventually the sun set, I turned on my lights, and eventually arrived at the cabin.

The cabin was still warm from the previous tenants so I hunted down some more wood and got busy melting snow. Once there was enough water I feed Remus, and soon after that Tom arrived, followed by Ms Marsh a while later. Richards Cabin is a large 20′ by 30′ log cabin with lots of room. We enjoyed a wonderful evening eating, talking, and goofing off. Tom was excited to find a copy of a UK publication call “Poultry Magazine”, which was complete with a section of reader submitted poems. He was riveted.

Richards sees a different style of visitor than most of the other cabins in the Whites. Besides several other UK farming publications, there was a number of issues of gun magazines and trading publications, and some motor sport publications. I think it might see a bit more of the hunting crowd, as it is possible to reach it in summer by ATV.

Eventually we hit the sac, and after a slow morning, set off to head back out to the parking lot. A about a half inch of snow fell overnight, and it was slightly colder, but the trail had setup firm and was now pretty rideable. The new snow and the low lying clouds made for a very white day.

The ride out was mostly uneventful, though scenic. I arrived at the truck an hour or so before the skiers, with enough time to feed Remus and myself, and get the bike unpacked and loaded up.

A very wonderful overnighter – thanks for putting together the trip Ms Marsh!

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