Posts Tagged ‘stub’

Snow!

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Every fall I eagerly await the arrival of snow as I look forward to the huge winter trail system that I have right out my backdoor. On a overcast Monday, Tom and I decided to go check out the Summit Trail in the White Mountains NRA and see if winter has arrived yet.

And it had.

It was wonderful to spend a couple of hours wandering around in the snow..

And it got me thinking about winter adventures..

I love all the seasons, but in particular I love winter, and always look forward to the first snow.

We hiked for about 3 hours, then turned around and headed back.

.. But not before enjoying some hi-jinks.

Ouch!

Yay Winter!

Neverending spring..

Monday, May 6th, 2013

We have been having an very late spring. Its early May now, and the trails are still rideable and skiable around my house, though they are getting a bit soft in the late afternoon. With a Monday free, Remus and I set off to see if the trails in the White Mountains are still in good biking shape.

The biking was in a word – fantastic!

Our long days have been balanced by moderately cold nights, keeping the snowpack intact, and the trails firm. A wonderful combination..

Remus and I headed out to Colorado Creek cabin at a mellow pace, stopping to take pictures, enjoying the sunlight, the views, and in Remus’s case, roll around in the snow to cool off. Life is tough..

The trails had a dusting of fresh snow on them, but still fast going and almost no pushing.

Other trail users were out as well..

We turned around after reaching the cabin, and headed a short ways towards Beaver Creek, but turned around, hoping to make it back before the twins bed time.

This spring has been fantastic and while I have been enjoying it, I know that breakup is just around the corner, with summer fun following soon after. Every season has its own fun, and while I am looking foreword to summer.. meanwhile I am really digging what I have now – yay!

One Last Snow Bike Ride..

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

On a fantastically sunny and warm Monday Remus and I headed out to the White Mountains NRA for one last juant on the snow bike.

After a false start after forgetting my bike shoes, I made it out on the trail in the early afternoon, and enjoyed wonderful trails, clear skys, and a superb trails.

It was a bit hot for Remus, but the pace was mellow enough for him to have fun.

Summer is coming, but right now I am still digging spring.. I have had a lot of snow, but I will still be sad to see it all go.

Tolovana by bike!

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

This Thanksgiving Nancy and the twins where off to visit Nancy’s folks on the east coast, and I was left with a week by myself with no commitments. Ms Marsh was kind enough to help me out, and invited me out to Tolovana, and on Thanksgiving day I found myself biking down the trail to to Tolovana. We don’t have much snow here in the Interior, making for not the best skiing, but pretty darn wonderful biking. I really enjoyed the ride out, enjoying the well packed trail and the fast biking.

The views were spectacular.

Near the high point of the trail I stopped at the “Tolovana Hilton”, an abandoned water tank, to get out of the wind for a moment. It is pretty amazing how warm it is once you are out of the wind..

I had the trail to my self for the most part, passing one party on ski and a family on snow machine.

I was amused to find out that I almost beat the snowmachiners out to the hotsprings. They had arrived at the parking lot the same time as we did, and passed me for the last time about a mile from the hotsprings.

One of the skiers knows my wife Nancy, and apparently recognizing Remus, asked if she was coming. Alas, Nancy was on the east coast, enjoying sun and fair weather.

The last downhill was steep enough that I briefly stopped to see what was making a hissing noise and realized it was water vaporizing on the brake rotors. A funny sight at -5f.

After about two hours of riding and taking lots of photos I arrived at the little cabin that we were going to spend the next two nights in. I was surprised to see smoking coming out of the chimney, and a snowmachine parked outside. I stuck my head in to see one of the younger members of the snowmachine posy hurriedly packing up – apparently he was told by his dad they were staying in the “first” cabin, and only when I arrived did he relize his mistake. No harm done, and I didn’t have to start the fire! Remus and I mellowed out enjoying the time to ourselves, and were eventually joined by Ms Marsh, who had walked in.

The evening was spent eating, soaking, and talking. It was a fantastic way to spend Thanksgiving, though I missed Nancy and the twins.
Black friday was spent eating, soaking, and exploring, with maybe a bit more talking.

The wind had picked up a bit overnight, and was really blowing on the day after Thanksgiving. At one point while biking up the Tolovana airfield I though I was going to have to get off the bike to push the wind was blowing so hard. On our last day the wind died down a bit, and the bike ride out was fast and pleasant. The biking was so fast it almost felt like cheating, as the trail was so firm I think you could have ridden a road bike on it. In these conditions the bike is almost magic, zooming along when skiing would have been a slow slog on the flats, and nail biting terrifying on the downhills.

A big thanks to Ms Marsh for inviting me out, it was a wonder trip, and a great way to spend a quiet mellow Thanksgiving, and it’s mad shopping aftermath.

“Almost” winter..

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

My local trails have been slowly working themselves into shape, and in the last week or so have become packed enough to doing longer rides from my house on the snow bike. My “default loop” these days is about 30 miles, mostly on trails, with a short section on a dirt road. On fast days last spring it would take me under 4 hours to complete the loop. Since the trails seem to becoming passible, I decided to head out and check things out. Alas, this time it took almost twice that, with a fair bit of pushing.

Sections of the trails are really nice, mostly in places were the local mushers are grooming the trails to a white asphalt like hardness.

In other places there has been little traffic, probably because we only have 6″ or so of snow on the ground, making travel a bit hard on snow-machines. The ruts made by ATVs in the summer are barely covered in some places..

It was a nice ride though, and it was wonderful to be out on the snow bike right out of the house. Darkness is arriving pretty early these days, which is not a bad things – you can’t have winters in Alaska without darkness, and I was happy to spend some time riding in the dark. It might seem strange to some, but I love traveling after sunset in winter…

I was somewhat surprised I had the trails completely to my self, and only encountered one other person, a fat biker, just a few miles before I was back at my house.

Things are definitely looking up, but we need a bit more snow before our winter trail system really opens up. With another 5″ of snow the trails would be fantastic – here’s to more snow!

Checking out the Fairbanks Circle Trail..

Friday, September 14th, 2012

A long time ago, before the Steese Highway came along, folks would travel from Fairbanks to Circle using a trail that went from Clearly Summit to Central that was called, surprisingly enough, the Fairbanks Circle trail. I had heard various stories about the trail, and and it had been on my list of things to checkout for several years now. I had been told that two locals, possibly the legendary “hell” bikers Roman Dial and Jon Underwood, had biked it from 12 mile summit to clearly summit, which is somewhere around 50 miles, and rumor has it took them over 24 hours. So, with a day free I decided to go check it out and see what it was like. I had hopes it might have potential for some off road bike touring, but either way I was interested in checking it out and crossing it off the list of trails I had been meaning to explore.

The area I explored was a mix of ATV trail double track..

and old mining roads.

The views were pretty nice though.

In some places there were several options, all seemingly heading in the same general direction. For the most part they seemed to join up again, and occasionally I bumped into mile markers marking the “official” trail.

On some of the ridges just before I turned around there were survey stakes that looked like they were marking a trail of some sort.

Though the trail was pretty marginal in this section for biking at least. I ended up walking down one of the hills as the trail dropped off very sharply and I couldn’t see a section of it. It turned out to not be too big of a deal, but walking is not the end of the world (just my dignity).

The next climb was pretty steep though..

So I took a trail leading off to the side, and was soon back on mining roads again. I pressed on a bit further, then turned around.

It definitely seems like there is some nice bike powered exploring to be done here, and now I really want to bike the entire route. This is definitely on the short list for next year.

More photos can be found here and a map here.

A soggy saturday..

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

The twins, Nancy, and I had a overnight trip planned, but things didn’t work out as we intended. We arrived at the trail head to wind, poring rain, and temperatures in the lower 40 – not the best weather for the ten mile hike above tree line we had planned. Instead we decided to make a day hike of it, and explored the area around the trail head.

The fall colors were out in force, making for some beautiful but wet hiking.

We spent several wet hours the wet and splashing around on the trails and near by hill sides.

The twins enjoyed snacks, and were excited to be introduced to Mike and Ikes. They did take a pass on my last minute gas station purchase, a “Uncle Al’s Stage Plank” . There was lots of passing of snacks while walking, to keep the little legs moving…

We spent a bit of time exploring before heading back..

The twins found a nice kid sized cave that they could walk around inside, much to their excitement. It was much to small for the adults, which I think added to their enjoyment. Molly made a point to tell me that it was much warmer in the cave, out of the wind and rain.

.

Not the trip we had planned, but fun none the less.

Hiking Kesugi..

Monday, July 16th, 2012

On the way back from the Fireweed, Tom and I decided to hike Kesugi Ridge, a wonderful ridge hike in Denali state park. It took us about 12 hours, and was a wonderful way to stretch the legs after all that time on the bike. The last bit of the trail is currently closed as a section of the trail has been washed out, so we only did the Little Coal Creek to Byers Lake section.

Things started with a climb..

But quickly transitioned to nice alpine hiking.


I had the camera out a lot, and I think it slowed us down a fair bit. The nice weather made it hard not to keep snapping photos..

It was a bit brushy at times.. but always manageable.

Near the middle of hike the trail climbed over some eroding granite outcrops – super scenic and very pretty.

Near the middle of the trail there was a mile or so with lots of downed trees. It looked like at least some of the trees had fallon this summer, and they were laying in the same direction. Perhaps a unusually hard windstorm? A mystery!

After the countless downed trees it was back to alpine hiking.

We ended the day with a short-ish (17mile) bike shuttle, and made it back to Fairbanks a little after 1am. This trail is fantastically beautiful, and well worth the drive.

There were several sets of tire tracks on the trail, making me wonder if it is a common bike route, and how fun it would be. It seemed like there would be a bit of pushing, and a fair bit of wonderful riding. Something for a future adventure I think…

First long road ride of spring..

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

After putting in some extra hours at work I was blessed with a day off from work. It was a beautiful day, and I decided get some outside play time in. Alas, the snow is going but not gone, so no skiing, or off road riding until the white stuff is completely gone. The roads are dry, so I put skinny tires on the cross bike and headed off for a roughly 100 mile out and back ride.

6 hours and a little over 5k feet of climbing I was back. I am missing the snow, but really, really looking forward to riding on some dirt. Heres to summer!

End of the snow?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

On a fine Wednesday I found myself with a day off work and no family commitments, and decided to go check out the trails in the Whites. The plan was to see if I could get some late season snow biking in, but I also took skis just in case things were too soft. The trails were in great shape, probably the best all year.

The biking was great, but a bit slow as it was a little hot for Remus the dog.

I ended up doing a 35 mile loop, out to Moose Creek cabin, then across to the Trail Shelter, than back out. It was a beautiful day..

The Wickersham Creek crossing on the Moose Creek trail was all broken up by some snow machines who past me heading out. I attempted to get across without getting wet, but alas no such luck. I ended up just walking across carrying the snowbike, it was knee deep, quite a bit deeper than I expected. The sun was out, and it was very warm (hot even!) so not a big deal. Remus swam across, and was very excited to play in the water.

We stopped at the Trail Shelter to loll around a bit in the sun and have lunch. Lunch was greek yogurt and a bagel.

Remus had a bit, and agreed it was pretty good.

The trail softened up a bit in the late afternoon, but it was still wonderful biking.

It looked like the biking should be good for a couple more days, and the skiing should be good for at least a week or so. Get your last bit of spring fun in now, before its gone!