GOLD CREEK/LOWER BLACKFOOT EAST OF MISSOULA

CATSLEDMAN1

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corn and more rotten corn

Sunny days and rotten snow, watch the south facing slopes. Totally buried some bikes and sleds on Friday 22.

Basic spring dirt road now to end of plowing with no good parking at that point, still doable but tight and not recommended for big trailers.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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spring in the rockies

muddy Gold creek road to end of plowing, room for about 4 rigs to park and not block driveways.

New snow , so Sat it was sunny and fresh dense 6" on concrete base, riding was a little tough on the arms, sled or bikes. Go anywhere condtions and while the snow up high is condensing, great spring time riding with good coverage.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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West Fork Cabin



I have had several PM's from riders looking for directions to find the West Fork Cabin in the North West corner of the West Fork Drainage.

Maybe the best answer is the GPS Co-ordinates.

47.060488
113.8016788

Pull that up on Montana Cadastral, Missoula County maping part of their website or Google Earth. When you find it its a white square in a round world.
 
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CATSLEDMAN1

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Late Fall and no real significant snow fall. I have drive up the Mineral Mountain road to see if any downed trees need removed. Fire activity in the area last Aug. the crews mopped out the road. Yesterday log truck were hauling out logs from some clearing along the road for fire breaks last summer, I didn't tour the area on my bikes like normal due to road closures because of fire activity. I know they made some fire lines with equipment, one visible off the Mineral Mtn road, steep but will be ride able later in the year.

Waiting for more snow and hunting season to resolve itself.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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FIRST RIDE SNOW REPORT FALL 2019 HEY......WE GOT SNOW

snow packed road from highway to turnoff to Mineral Mtn road, drove the pickup up the road 1/2 mile and unloaded two snow bikes. Two pickups getting xmas trees for another 2 miles, then new snow on the road...........maybe 14", good easy going, no boone docking, but stopped snowing for the afterrnoon and some sun out. We road up the road towards Mineral Mtn lookout, until the new heavy powder was just tooooo much and hard on the bike. Another day when it settle out. all good.

1. picture at SHOO FLY MEADOWS TRAIL
2. ON THE WAY TO LOOK , about where Cliffs trail turns out
3. Going up hill in this stuff, tuff on the bike engines, forget it and turn around.
 

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CATSLEDMAN1

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for this area you can take the STUART PEAK AND NORTH FORK JOKO snotel sights and average the two for 7000 and up snow depth. Stuart is around 36" and Joko about 50 plus, so you can get stuck.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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Sunday Dec 22 2019 ...........sunny, snow settled out, maybe 4 or 5 inches since last Sunday, not quite off road good in the mid elevations, Cliffs trail and up on the Mineral ridge ........... off through the trees with reason. No problem riding sled or bike from main road at Mineral Mtn road turnoff.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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Sunday DEC 29 2019

Knowing we only picked up maybe a few inches over the week, Dan and I mounted the chain saw on my new Riot snowbike and set out to give the trails we ride a shakedown and trim if necessary. We removed several large trees on trails around Shoofly Meadows, before we got to the 513 trail. We met up with some friends at Shoofy but had to spend the rest of the day moving a heart attack snowmobiler down to the main hiway, big thanks to Potomac Volunteer Fire dept for chaining up a truck and waiting for an hour at the Mineral Mtn road to transport Mark to ambulance at the hiway, yeah thanks for being there.

All good, he had a new stint in before we got back to town. We called for helicopter, then 45 minutes later found out weather too socked in to fly. Big thanks to Jason, left his bike behind and rode the victim out, sitting in back of him cradling him and riding quickly down a bumpy trail.

6 people on site, while we waited for the LIFE FLIGHT HELICOPTER, two sledder took the saw and got firewood and we had a fire going reasonably close to the victim, Dan held him and we took turns massaging this limbs to keep him warm, coats off and over him, space blanket came out to cover him, snowing lightly, one sledder kept riding to cell phone service to keep in touch with 911, good guys pitching in to save a life.



So, got to go back with the saw, unless we get a 5' dump.
 
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CATSLEDMAN1

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SUNDAY JAN 5 2020

At the mineral mtn turn, didn't look like much new snow, but hey we were going to cut out trails. As we went up the road and into USFS the rain down low last week was snow up high and lots of wind. Two big trees had fallen across main road since Wed. So we starte cutting early.

We cut out 513 trail from Trail head at SHOO FLY SIGN over to the old road coming out of the back of Shoofly.
Three big trees from last nite wind, a couple a month old. Hard work for old men. Cut out to where 513 cuts the corner of the ridge top old clear cut...as per pictures.

IN Short, about 18" new compacted snow, some base, we east out through the timber on the bikes in select places, all good, be cautious and don't try anything vertical. Wind blew the meadows flat, flattened out a lot of landscape, all good.

So.....that's the story for today.
 

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CATSLEDMAN1

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Saturday Jan 11 2020

Hiway 200 to the Gravel pit is plowed, could ride on a sled, big heavy trailers this might be the best.
Gravel pit plowed parking alongside the road and no problem riding past the last house plowing.
At the end of plowing, sometimes room for a pickup or two.

BIG ITEM. As of last week USFS bought basically all the remaining NATURE CONSERVANCY LAND WEST of the Gold Creek road , as I recall 18,000 acres...........so when you head up the Mineral Mtn road you are on a piece of private for about a mile, then all USFS to Rattlesnake Wilderness. When you head up the West Fork road you are on USFS to RATTLESNAKE WILDERNESS, from Black Mtn West across main GOLD CREEK to upper West Fork, you are now on USFS land to RATTLESNAKE WILDERNESS OR TRIBAL LANDS. Next fall the plan is USFS to buy all the rest of Gold Creek Nat Con Lands. Your sportsmans dollars at work. So, we shall see ? Now same as riding at LOLO Pass.

Hey it snowed. 4 or 5 inches at the Hiway, but about 18" or more at 6600 ft middle Mineral ridge. So, no sign of sled tracks from the week before. Trees we were going around.........buried. We made an afternoon ride into the West Fork on the West Fork North side road, just kept getting deeper and deeper. We gingerly ventured off road, all ok, but its deep and not setup. Avy danger high so we climbed one modest slope until stuck and went home early to attend a party.

The resuced party from two weeks ago is doing well and waiting for his docs ok to go back to work, he looks great, so that turned out real good.

the pictures are of a portion of the Mineral Mtn trail that was sled wooped last Sunday, no sign of track this SAT.
 

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CATSLEDMAN1

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Saturday Jan. 18 2020

Snowed all week in the high country North of Missoula, thats a good thing.

At 6500 ft all tracks from last week end gone, snow more settled than last weekend. We ventured off trail all over the place once up high, all good. I wouldn't be climbing anything real steep on a sled yet, just no base and you might find something in the trench you don't like. Got to watch for trees that fell on the snow 3 weeks ago in the big blow, they still need more cover.

We cut fresh sled and bike tracks and could hear them accross the WEst Fork valley.

New bridge in on the road over to PRIMM RANCH.

Road plowed to gravel pit and good parking and plenty of snow if you just want to ride from the hiway.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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Sunday 19th

Snowed a little more in our tracks from yesterday, but sunny 32 degrees and fresh, but oh boy did the guys find the snow yesterday afternoon. We left the area the back way in untracked snow back to the truck. This morning the Mineral road got hammered, Shoo fly has been ridden to death...........well compared to most areas it looks like virgin country.

Couple of shots of the West Fork Cabin from Sat 18th

Rigs everywhere when we came home early today to fix a washing machine.
 

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CATSLEDMAN1

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Sat JAN 25 2020

SNOWED, didn't rain like Missoula, not bigtime up to about 5500 ft, then higher it snowed over a foot. Better than that, snow setup from last week, we climbed some stuff today that had us laughing, and the new snow is dense, not kicking up in your face.

From hiway to end of plowed, snow enough to run a sled or bike, lots of parking. All good.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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Friday 1 31 2020

Main gold creek road has gotten pretty icy with the warm weather, if you trailer to the gravel pit be very careful of the hill just before the gravel pit, might wan't to consider chains if you have an enclosed heavier trailer. Gravel pit on up, still ok with scratchers, just a hard snow packed road.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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Sat Feb 1 2020
One of those days:

road up Gold creek starting right at the hiway was a skating rink, had to scurry around on our knees along with several other trucks to put on chains............ you couldn't stand up in good boots. WOW.

50 PLUS degrees, wet snow, heavy wet climbing snow, go any where, but never saw a track anywhere.

2 pm in the afternoon wind blowing hard, blowing down snags everywhere, we headed out of old trees and headed for the truck, still had to go around a half dozen green healthy trees that had blown down in the last hour.

snaking down the Gold creek road with chains on we went around 3 lbig bushy greens trees in the main road, wind just blowing the tops off about 20 ft above the ground, but got around them. 1/3 of a mile above hiway 200 four or five big bull pine down across the road and quite a crew with a saw and people piling brush. They had been at it over an hour when we go there. Jason walked to a residence a 1/2 mile a way and came back to cut it out. As it was just enough room for one vehicle to go through, a lot more cutting to do.All green trees and heavy as all get out. Lots of work.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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Be cautious everywhere out there in the coming weeks. Downed trees that had been covered with 6ft of snow was ok,..... now we have trees especially snags laying on top of the snow and in the coming weeks will only have a dusting of snow on them, most fell on enough crust to be about even with the surface of the snow. We went around a dozen just getting out of the woods on Sat durning the big blow. Many of the roads to riding areas are going to be blocked.
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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From hiway 200 on up fresh snow on the road, so unload anywhere to head out.

More sledders getting out in this area, ran into several groups in the West Fork area.

Both SAt and Sunday fresh snow, sticky down low on Sat, crisp and grainy new snow on base Sunday.

Snow just piling up, better get out and ride.
 

Scott

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I think we saw you turning up Gold Greek on Sunday.
Two trucks, three bikes with BIG handguards?
 

CATSLEDMAN1

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thursday Feb 13

New snow, road un plowed from hiway to gravel pit, 3 inches of new dense so ride from the hiway or drive from the pavement.

Stewart Peak snotel over 90 inches
North fork Joko over 115

so when you go high
 
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