Dec. 29, 2007 Whistlin’ Jacks Ride report
I’d like to thank those who made this a successful ride, including Charlie for keeping me out of trouble, Curtis Anderson for his GPS help in locating the trail in a check up ride with De Ann and Charlie. This record on my GPS gave us the ability to go through a section where I frequently get lost with only a 4 minute GPS check.
I’d also like to thank the Bowens, Deann, Lee, Tony and some who I can’t recall who helped to break through the hiking trail from the 3300 road. Thanks to Don May for his excellent grooming that enabled us to make up some of the time lost with the unexpected SNAFUs. Also a big thank you to Rebecca and Elwood for their hospitality.
Since we were attempting to do this ride during the shortest light of the year, I listed it to start at 8 am. Unfortunately, we had a traffic jam of vehicles stuck on the road into Elwood’s and insufficient room for those who came in the morning. It was solved by two cars reloading and going to the Reload Snow Park adding an extra 5 miles to the trip. Several who had indicated an interest in the ride decided because of our late start I suspect, to stay and play in the “new deep powder”. We left Elwood’s at 9:55 am. Almost two hours late.
The ride went down the freshly groomed trail to Woods and Steel with nine riders, five of them were new members who had not been on a previous CDS ride. We traveled in sunshine, with temperatures in the low 30s. At the first planned off road trail, I made a 250 yard error in location, going 950 feet down a dead end road. This cost us 28 minutes to get back on the trail but everyone cooperated, and we continued on the Cle Elum Ridge trail to the 3300 Road. It was also freshly groomed. We did some downhill meadow-crossings, and no one got stuck in the fresh, deep snow. We continued down the cut offs to Buck Meadows and into the meadows and trees that Curtis helped to show me how to read on my GPS. We passed through Tripod to the ridge trail. Several brought cameras and took pictures of the North Cascades which I hope they will post on the website. The base of Mt Rainier was visible, but the top was in a cloud. Being late and not wanting to cross this part of the trip in the dark, we continued across the wind blown ridge toward Bald Mountain and attempted to find the steep but shorter drop off back to the trail. But I made a miscalculation and ended on the road early without the promised adventure. We went to the bottom of the hill, and when I climbed and looked down from the top, three of the sleds were digging out. After ten minutes of cooperative help, we were on the trail dropping down on the road to Squaw Rock. We arrived at Whistlin’ Jacks at 2:44 pm, gassed the sleds and were ready for lunch, but Charlie had a problem with his track three miles out and arrived 20 minutes later. I also had a problem with my Dragon’s appetite for oil. I had used 6 gallons of gas to go the 60 miles but used every drop of available oil. After consulting with the Yakima Polaris dealer, I purchased three quarts of oil and decided to do the planned itinerary home.
After a refreshing lunch, we were back on the trail at 4:32. Charlie didn’t make it past the first mile and was again working on his track. This became the focus of the rest of the trip, reoccurring seven more times adding 170 minutes, according to my GPS, to the trip. However, we did cover the planned itinerary, doing the downhill trail adventure drops even in the dark. At 6:00 pm it began to snow and blow obscuring the trail, especially the last ten miles. The riders experienced three water crossings, two in the dark in a loop trip that had less than 20 repeated miles in 130 total miles. We arrived back at Elwood’s 12 hours and 17 minutes to a very nice spaghetti meal by several of the drift skippers who stayed to play in the “deep powder”. Several of Whistlin’ Jacks riders said the trip lived up to their expectation. As reported and seen from the front by Fred Wemer