Ride? I’m still recovering from the last ride of the season.
was May 10, Wyoming. The snow had receded quite a bit from the ride
the week previous. In fact, we couldn’t unload at the same spot
near an opening in the woods big enough to turn a trailer around. So
when I arrived at that location where I was supposed to meet up with
Bret Rasmussen and a couple other guys, I figured I was early since
Bret’s truck and 38-foot trailer weren’t there. But he was
actually parked a mile further up the muddy, narrow dirt road. I
assumed there was a place to turn around, so I trucked on up the
road. Bret had actually backed his trailer up there from the spot I
was waiting for him at. Maybe the guy should teach clinics on backing
we were on the snow, I might have gotten a little anxious to see what
Bret’s customized M 800 I was riding could do in the trees. I
cruised around a few corners of the road as we gained some elevation
and then turned it up a drainage. Things were going fine until the
snow disappeared. I mentioned this was mid-May, right? The ridge I
was on was covered only in the remnants of the winter’s snowpack,
where there’s long snow banks in the shade and dry dirt in the sun.
we hit the sun in a patch of willows. Bret followed, as did the other
guys in the group. They dropped back down to find the trail—which
we probably should have stayed on for a few minutes longer to
actually get on top of the mountains where the real snow was. I
worked through the weeds and branches and willow bushes and kept
trying to sidehill and work my way across a few ridges to connect to
the trial higher up.
the ratio of snow-to-dirt was getting on the low side. I got stuck in
10 inches of snow because the carbides got hung up on a rock as the
track spun on a wet log. Not exactly busting through powder and
carving tight sidehill lines here. We regrouped on the trail
eventually and worked our way to higher elevation. Again, the snow
depth had decreased significantly in the week between this ride and
the previous one in the same spot. The temp was in the 60s, so no
surprise. But looking for good snow at 8,500 feet on a warm spring
day of a horrible snow year is no easy task. We climbed up hills you
hope you’d never have to come back down, found traction on rocks,
sagebrush and dirt mounds, sidehilled over wet leaves and snow that
looked like it came out of a machine inside a convenience store.
know how it snowed about 10 inches in the mountains early in October?
Well, it would have been a better ride to spend a day going
cross-country on that snow.
not much of a standard left for how little snow we’ll accept to
ride on, is there?