May 19th ~ Gold Hill Mud Ride

Another Ride in the books and the memory bank! We are going to say that the ride itself was more memorable than walking off the mountain the day before after getting stuck while scouting for the group ride , AGAIN (for the 2nd month in a row). We may not learn the first time around but we are chalking that up to the fact that we are risk takers (that’s a good thing, right) and we are always up for a little or big (hail packed, thunder rolling, rock hauling, branch breaking) adventure.

Scouting the trail the day before started out promising and then ended something like this:



Let’s set the stage. We ventured out on an overcast day to check out the trail conditions for our TRAX Ride the following day. It had been raining earlier in the morning but when we saw a break in the clouds we figured it was our opportunity to run up the mountain and check things out. With the crazy weather, we knew we wouldn’t have another opportunity. We were right. Assuming it would be a quick zip up the trail and back, we once again didn’t pack any provisions. I say “once again” because if you read the post about our last group ride, you’ll discover that we did the same thing last month while scouting, with the same result. Some say you can’t fix stupid 😉 We’re hoping to change that perspective on the third go, so stay tuned for June. Nonetheless, here we were stuck, in the snow, again. No provisions, no fire starter, no shovels, no tow straps, no nothing, because apparently that’s how we roll. “We don’t need nothing.” WRONG. AGAIN.

After digging and placing objects for traction, and clearly, one person more hopeful than the other, Roger exclaimed, “Hold my diet coke and record this. I’m getting us outta here.” (Actually, we didn’t even have a diet coke. That would have tasted good after all of the physical exertion.) Roger was quite convinced he was going to break us free.

No additional commentary required.

We were not willing to give up quite yet. We dug, we hefted rocks and we drug branches while we waited for the hail storm to settle in over us. We really wanted to add a new dynamic from last month, you know, to amp up the adventure. The thunder and hail sure did the trick.

We were completely high centered. The tires were not getting any traction despite our efforts. We tried to clear some of the heavy, wet snow from underneath the machine with no success. It was time to retreat. With minimal cell service, we got a text out and we were able to reach someone at the lodge who sent a rescuer our way. We found shelter under the trees until the hail subsided and then we began our walk of shame…again. As we walked, our concern was that our rescuer would also find himself stuck as there was one sketchy spot earlier in the trail that was really no contest for the Maverick XRS 1000 Turbo but we knew our rescuer was less experienced (than two pros who found themselves stuck on a mountain twice in a row) and in a less powerful machine. We walked and walked and walked, sat on a rock, then walked and walked and walked. (Repeat that a few times.) Sure enough, as we crested a small hill, we spotted our rescuer stuck in the very spot that we had predicted. Upon reaching him, we instantly recognized that he had the “grey key.” All of you CanAm users know what that means. In his defense, he was a brand new employee and didn’t know that our CanAm machines come with two different keys, a performance key and a training key. The training key limits the performance and power of the machine, which ultimately led to his demise there in the snow drift. Fortunately however, he did bring shovels and tow straps and we were able to free him and then the stuck XRS, despite the limited power of the grey key.

Upon returning to the comfort, warmth and shelter of  The Cabins at Bear River Lodge, Roger exclaimed that he had learned his lesson.

“I am not going to waste my time and energy with sticks and rocks. Next time I’m just going to start walking.”

Yes, just let that sink in for a minute or two. Of ALL the lessons to be learned…

P.S. In preparing to join us on our TRAX Rides, please bring adequate provisions and safety equipment for yourself, those in your party and Roger. (At least throw in a Diet Coke and some good walking shoes.) 


The next morning, trucks and trailers started rolling in and we were excited to get back out on the trails (with the right provisions). We brought plenty of Diet Coke and even a couple of sandwiches. We handed out swag bags, made introductions and got on our way.


We received word a couple of days prior that our TRAX Ride rental giveaway winner was getting married the day before the ride so we spruced up their rental.


TRAX Rides are fun for the entire family, experienced and non-experienced trail riders alike. We had a great bunch of people join us. We trailered just down the road from The Cabins to the Gold Hill turnoff and we were off on our adventure.




The Gold Hill trail has a section where the aspens hug the trail and it’s absolutely beautiful no matter what time of the year you visit the trail. Then the trail crests to a big open meadow where the views are breathtaking.


(The very beginning of the video you just watched contains the rock and stick graveyard of our first “trail scouting, getting stuck” adventure, the month prior.)


Our first detour proved to be a little too much for our muscle. This time of year, you can expect a lot of dead fall across the trails. That’s where a chain saw comes in handy, but when you’re stock piling Diet Coke for fear of getting stuck, it’s hard to find room for a chain saw.



After resigning to the fact that we weren’t able to move a tree 5 times our size, we ventured on our way. Spring in the mountains did not disappoint as far as the scenery.




An adventure is never complete without some sort of mechanical issue on somebody’s machine. Several bottles of water and we were good to go again. Thankfully we didn’t have to dip into our Diet Coke reserve.



Happy TRAX Ride trail faces!






Snow drifts are a fun challenge so long as you are properly prepared…say with shovels, tow straps, other riders and machines to help you…maybe a refreshing beverage or two…




High Mountain Lakes make the most beautiful photo backdrops.


Pit Stop at Mill City Creek and Whitney Road for lunch! We ate our provisions and broke into the Diet Coke reserves. Here’s to hoping we all don’t find ourselves stranded in a hail storm. I have a hunch that many of these riders were better equipped than we were the day before.


Who has the dirtiest machine? That means we’ve had the most fun!







On to the Whitney Ranger Station!









The trails were melted off enough that we made it all the way to the Whitney Ranger Station. If you aren’t familiar with this area, Search and Rescue uses this warming hut as a home base when on the job. It has a wood burning stove inside and is always stocked with firewood in case of an emergency. Many have found themselves here taking refuge from a winter storm whiteout while out snowmobiling. We may or may not know from personal experience. It’s a great place to get out of the elements or have lunch while you’re out riding. It can fit a pretty decent size group and has wooden bunks in the back room if you find yourself having to stay overnight. We suggest you venture out with all the precautions, provisions and gear necessary to make it back out of the mountains. The bunks are not very comfortable and you may have to share them with some wild rodents or at least their droppings.


We are still winning the most mud = most fun award!


AND that’s a wrap! Everybody back off the mountain safely, with new friends, new memories, lots of laughs and anxiously waiting for next month’s ride! Will you be joining us? (Perhaps we ought to enlist a few machines and drivers for our TRAX Ride scouting venture the day before. That may prevent us from getting ourselves into another sticky situation. Naw….we learned our lesson, we won’t waste any time or energy on rocks and sticks next time. We’ll just start walkin’. At least the June weather should be nice for the stroll.)


Join us June 23rd for our next TRAX Ride! We have some fun things in the works!