Mark, an old buddy and I hit the Love Rd trails at about 11:30 am this morning. It was starting to clear, about -10F, calm, lovely. We rode the 1/2 mile or so down the pipeline pad to the crosstrail and hung a left to do the east loop; did the west loop yesterday. The first 1/4 mile or so is often somewhat of a challenge, then it crosses Steele Creek (there's a stretch, it's usually about 6 inches deep, 4 ft. across) and quickly connects to a mushing trail. From there it's pretty good riding. It's been calm since the few inches of powder fell so everything is covered with a nice white aura. The next part of this trail was tunneled wonderfully. Mark was out front and as usual when following someone I was hanging back a ways to avoid branches dropping their loads on his passing and to allow the leading biker to get going again after a dab so I ideally don't have to stop. Once he hit a branch that started a chain reaction that went for 4-6 seconds, I just cleared the tail end of it. This photo was taken near there.
http://new.photos.yahoo.com/awinterb...804138557352/2 This trail runs east-west so this time of year gets no direct sun. There were small open areas where the sun hit the top of the trees to create amazing, pinkish spots which opened and closed quickly with our passing. Again, lovely.
We rode on down to a main trail, turned right to head back to the pipeline and complete the loop. Nice section which opens up to a swampy area, we stopped here to catch our breaths, drink and take pictures. Here's one.
Back to the pipeline pad, pumped up tires and started back to the trailhead. Mark's hands were getting cold so we set a nice pace enjoying the sun lighting the tops of trees and the distant ridges. After 10-15 minutes we came to the corner where the loop trails cross the pad. Wow, big bunch of snowmachiners, 7-9, most wearing matching red parkas, which meant it was a commercial outing and they were Japanese, I'd run into another group a week or so ago. One started waving from a distance and as we approached it became obvious something was going on. We stopped and there was a guy lying flat on his back in the middle of the pad. Got closer and one of his legs was going every which way, femur broken and tibia-fibula looked broken too. Some blood so maybe compound too. The guy running the tour was on the cell phone to the fire department and asked if Mark and I could take two of their snowmachines back to the trailhead, meet the ambulance and bring back two medics. We got on the machines (it had been 30 years since I'd last ridden one, ditto Mark) and buzzed back to the trailhead. It took a few minutes 'til they were ready and then we hauled them back. I took this photo as we left.
We were never quite sure if the injured guy was with the group or not; the tour leader said something about a track breaking, but we don't know how it happened, not a priority. We were struck by the fact the tour had no sleeping pad or sleeping bag for the injured man. Seems like if you take inexperienced people out for snowmaching tours on out of town trails, you'd be better prepared.
Just to rub it in for all you folks down around Anch. Fairbanks-interior trails are in great shape. t
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