GOLD CREEK/LOWER BLACKFOOT EAST OF MISSOULA

CATSLEDMAN1

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OK, THIS IS LOLO PASS ON 11/11, A TEAASER, THIS MUCH SNOW UP HIGH near Mineral peak, but not reasonable to get there yet in Gold creek.

So far snow, then warm weather and sunshine. Stewart Peak and North Fork of Joko have been 2' to 3' ft then settled all week.

Last Wed 11/14 cutting snowmobile trails out in the area, it was warm and soft snow. To soft for any ride up in the Shoo Fly area.

Sunday 11/18 cold nights and cutting out downed trees in the area, snow was rock hard and you could have ridden from the "USFS boundary up to Mineral Mtn lookout carefully. I haven't trimmed on that area yet this year, could be some down fall, I haven't been up that road since Sept. motorcycle ride.

With some snow this coming weekend, and hunters clearing out, maybe some riding coming up.
 
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CATSLEDMAN1

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oh well

still trying to figure out how to add normal pictures to SNOWEST post now that the new improved edition of software has not yet been modified to be as good as the old software, hope they let that contract soon.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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sunday 11/25

back to Mineral Mtn roadway to cut out more junk in the road. The thanksgiving eve snow put down about 6 dense inches down low, and more as you pick up elevation, not as much as the LoloPass/Elk meadows we rode in on Sat the 24th, but getting there. Now that the hunters are gone, you could ride to the lookout on the Mineral Mtn road, drive to where the road enters USFS and leaves the old low elevation logging areas, unload there, pickup with sledbeds, tough to drag a trailer through that much snow.

No hunters in sight, two big old cows looking like camels watching me start my chain saw, then they drifted down below the road before I could get my phone out for a picture.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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Dec 1 Sat 1st ride this fall in Gold Creek

We drove up Gold Creek main road and took the Mineral Mtn road, skimpy snow lots of elk tracks and wolf tracks, we drove to where the road leaves the open old clear cuts and Nature Conservancy land, to your right you are looking North into the West Fork, follow the pickup tracks until you have to turn around.

The snow at this point is about 12-15", solid hard crusty, there had been maybe 20" of snow here that has melted and snowed/melted and snow.

Unloaded our bike, we had driven up out of the valley fog inversion and were in brilliant sunshine, 25 degrees. Rode to Shoo fly meadows overlook where the first picture was taken , staying on the road, no rocks or crud. Dense snow, good base. The snow a week ago knocked down a lot of trees. We rode around them and boondocked along the road to the saddle just below the lookout, the lookout knob was up in the fog, so we didn't climb the rock face.

Now we have to back with the chain saws and cut some ugly out of the road, a dozen trees down where you can't go around them on a sled in these conditions. So if you go, take a saw and cut them out.
 

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CATSLEDMAN1

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Don't Go There

back up Gold Creek via the Mineal Mtn Lookout road to cut out trails in this general area.

No snow in the last week. So sad !

However it was nice sunny day and Dan and I:

cut out the trail out the backside of Shoofly meadows to 513 junction

cut out the old roadway down into Shoofly meadow, stay within the upright posts for the next month and be cautious, there is junk down there but safe at low speeds now.

cut out 513 from Shoofly to first top clear cuts that folks play in and play down to big open clearcuts and the big climb clearcut.

cut out Mineral Mtn road as far as Cliff's trail, some big trees down beyond that that need to go for sleds to pass, we just ran out of time.

generally trimmed a lot of dangerous stabs along all the trails that want to spear careless riders.

Fun day, but now we need sum sno.
 
Mar 12, 2018
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back up Gold Creek via the Mineal Mtn Lookout road to cut out trails in this general area.

No snow in the last week. So sad !

However it was nice sunny day and Dan and I:

cut out the trail out the backside of Shoofly meadows to 513 junction

cut out the old roadway down into Shoofly meadow, stay within the upright posts for the next month and be cautious, there is junk down there but safe at low speeds now.

cut out 513 from Shoofly to first top clear cuts that folks play in and play down to big open clearcuts and the big climb clearcut.

cut out Mineral Mtn road as far as Cliff's trail, some big trees down beyond that that need to go for sleds to pass, we just ran out of time.

generally trimmed a lot of dangerous stabs along all the trails that want to spear careless riders.

Fun day, but now we need sum sno.
appreciate your hard work! :)
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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how much

all three sno tel sights I watch to judge the weeks snow fall, all have pickded up a foot to 18". I'll drive up on Fri pm to see how low there is usable snow.
Going to be good up high.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE XMAS

NO epic snowfall in the area, but things starting to fill out. New snow and quite a bit of wind up high, so bumpy SHOO FLY meadows is leveled right out.
You can safely ride from the main road up Mineral Mtn road.
We spent two days tuning and working the bugs out of a couple of family sleds and towning out a blown snowbike so we never really covered that much of the area, but safe to say the higher you go the better the snow.

Still too thin on snow to ride the West fork except road ride. Last two days though just steady light snow so conditons will change pretty fast because there is a fair base.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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End of the year

Sat


Dec 29 new snow but not as much as I expected. Road plowed to a mile below the mineral mtn turn, we drove to the Mineral Mtn turnoff and you could pull a trailer to there and turn around ok. Maybe no big 4 place. some sled came up the road from the hiway with scratchers no problem.

trail to Mineral mtn lookout lots of snow, we did go off through the trees in the area with caution, not quite boondocking up there.

We had not been in The West Fork area all year, so decided just to take a road ride and look around. We were suprised at the amount of snow when we were in the back area where the walking trail to Boulder lake takes off, still no cross county riding, but check picture, good base and new snow.
 
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CATSLEDMAN1

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Winter for sure

Last week, more snow, not epic, but several 2" and 4" drops up high, quite a bit of wind, tracks all gone up high, still need snow down low.

You can still drive to the Mineral Mtn rd, and I see rigs parked at the gravel pit and rode from there, no problem both Sat and Sunday.

Lots of good road rides for family sight seeing, but just not good boondocking except around the Lookout or maybe top of Wisherd ridge and above the bowls round Sheep mtn.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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above the clouds

yes saturday was above the inversion cloud by the time your were at the Mineral Mtn road gate. However up high I expected it to be sunnier and maybe warm, wasn't, clear and cold. HOAR frost snow up high, so beware down the road, these conditions lead to fragile snow pack and avalanche danger if it dumps on top of this slippery snow.

whole area is still snow deficient for boondocking, not enough snow and North facing slopes just don't have a base.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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good drop

more snow, again not epic but it set up the base, maybe 10" new once you are up out of the valley.

Last week end be careful boondocking through the woods, today gliding through the trees it was like you expect. Nice base, new snow, going over downed trees and junk with no issues.

Snowed all day up in the woods, was raining on us as we came down to the truck. Dense powder about to be wet due to rain by 3 in the afternoon which will improve the base even more.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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one of dem winters

holy cow it was warm, rained on us at 7000 ft.

New wet powder, great tree riding on the bikes but lots of hp out in the open trying to ride very fast. Still no snow down low, still not cross country riding in the West fork.

When we rode to the West Fork cabin, snow is about 40% of what you would expect this time of year. It could still dump, but not looking like a banner snow year.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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Brrrrrrrrrr

With all the wind in Missoula valley and at Bonner, snow hanging in the trees in Gold creek. NO SEVERE WIND UP OUT OF THE VALLEY ! New snow and maybe a foot over the last week. Cold and dry, we expected to find drifts and hard snow drifts, no..........wind didn't blow were we ride in Gold creek.

For sure some cornices built up, but in general just some nice powder riding.

You could ride the main road from the hiway not a problem. Trailers of any size to the gravel pit. Only about a mile beyond the gravel pit plowing ends, No DRIVING beyond unless you want to spend the rest of the day getting unstuck.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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yes it DID

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The snow we have been waiting for came down in Gold creek. 2/15 hard to go any where even at modest elevations. At one point two bikes and a 3" track 850 stuck on level part of West Fork road. We went there because you could not climb a slope. Sunny !! Snow was getting wet by mid day.

2/16 snow was colder but got sunny later and going to be sticky on south facing slopes. Took a lot of power to go up a flat road at low elevation.

Pretty dense snow 2 plus foot at Gold creek meadows, we dug some 5' stuck holes trying to go up the main West Fork road. Going to be good when it sets up.

sno tel sites don't really show much dump, but the groups of sleds we went by with their skis stuck straight up in the air made them believers.

Sliding..........oh yeah WAS SLIDING /SLUMPING SNOW so be careful. Was the kind of snow on a bike where breaking trail you couldn't keep your feet on the pegs, you had to stick them on the front fender and honk on it. Motor tuff days.

Most rode from the hiway, plowed late afternoon on Sat, still ok to just ride the road. Ok to park at gravel pit SAT even with trailers.
 
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CATSLEDMAN1

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settle down

a little more snow, real story is all the snow from last week settled down, I wouldn't call it a base, but we rode a lot of terrain that was not accessible last week end. You could ride up and down hills..............all fun.

West Fork now good to go traveling cross country. Fair number of sleds out tracking up the open parks. Talking to one group that was climbing steep stuff, not quite yet when digging mongo trenches, they could feel some junk down there. Going down hill no issue.

Road was not plowed during the week, most were riding from Hiway 200, good coverage on plowed road. OK for trailers to gravel pit.
 
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CATSLEDMAN1

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been snowing







It snowed, mostly all week off and on. Maybe 16" on average up out of the valley floor. No wind a mile up from hiway 200. Snow hanging in the trees, no drifts, just white Christmas snow fell gently all week. Good traction and good base, just 15 degrees when we unloaded at noon in the bright sun. Fine sugar grain flowing snow.

18" deep tracks from last sat were visible but barely. Road is ok to travel to gravel pit and pull a small trailer, but riding from hiway 200 no big deal, lots of loose snow here and there on main road for hyfax and cooling.
 
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rode up there sunday and monday (2-3, 2-4). first time out there... parked right off 200, no problems on the way in w scratchers down. pretty much just rode the big valley and semi surrounding area. like stated below, zero wind once you get in there, very little signs of drifts/wind direction. bluebird sky's. id say waist deep+ ... bout a foot of fresh ontop of a hardening base. didnt really hit much at all... mighta bumped something once w a ski. super fun 2 days :)
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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3/10 blue sky

one week of sun the snowpack settled about a foot according to the little snow cone around tree tops sticking out of the snow.

We went up and down hillsides not to be considered so far this year. Best riding of the year, must have snowed about 4" during the week.

Road still ok from hiway 200 to ride with scratchers but quite a few trailers including 4 place easily pulled and parked at the gravel pit. ALL GOOD
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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G r r r r eat

Riding conditions as good as it gets in the spring, not quite corn snow yet, still powder in N facing areas.


Road from the hiway getting to be frozen slush in the AM. Need scratchers even from the gravel pit to end of plowing, otherwise all good.
 
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