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The Trip That Almost Got Away

The Trip That Almost Got Away

Last winter (2015-2016) was a mixed bag to say the least. Overall snow accumulation was less than we are used to and while there were a few dumps of powder, there were times that snow levels pulled back to levels that had many cancelling trips. This was the situation I found myself in for our March 2016 trip to the White River Road area.

I have been very busy since 2013 working on a major project and as a result I’ve had to back out of several trips each winter. When I finally get the chance to line up Home life, Work and a Sled trip I pull out all the stops to make it work. Last winter I managed to take an awesome early season trip with some of the Sledworthy, Sledcore and Five Toes Riding guys and we found some deep snow. It was one of the best trips I have had in a while, but the snow levels were down from previous years… just ask the A-Arm that I bent on a snow covered stump.

Reports of sunken ponds, open brooks and low snow levels coming from the west coast began pouring in. It seemed like sled trips heading west were hit and miss and an upcoming trip with my Tear-Alls buddies was not looking promising. One by one, our group began backing out and after a long stretch at work I didn’t have a lot of energy to push them, I was considering cancelling the whole thing. It came down to myself and my older brother Wes discussing and realizing we both have busy jobs, a wife and two kids and “adult priorities”. If this trip didn’t happen for us, we couldn’t see another opportunity and that would be the end of our season. Wes had just purchased a Summit T3 and I had only one ride in on my latest sled (RMK) so failure was not an option. We decided we must go and any type of riding is better than zero riding. Snowmobiling trips are like pizzas, even when it’s not very good… it’s still pretty good!

We loaded up our gear and departed after work on a Thursday for a planned arrival of 1am at the Jackladder. This was not the first time we had a late arrival at the Jackladder and they accommodated us as they always do. After a good night’s rest we began our day with coffee, eggs, bacon and toast at the Jackladder Restaurant which was just what we needed for a long day on the snow. Our journey up White River Road didn’t give us much confidence in the snow conditions but we continued onward into the country. After navigating some dodgy brooks and smaller ponds we could see a destination that looked promising. The deeper we ventured, picking our way across a treed hillside towards a distant valley, the more snow we found. Once we broke into some open areas, we realized that coming on this trip was the right decision.

With several continuous valleys and rolling hills covered in trees we had a lot of real estate to track up and only two tracks to work with. It was a big task but we were up for it. We ripped back and forth along the hillsides, picking through trees and burying the sleds in the deep snow that had accumulated in these sheltered areas. Taking turns with follow the leader we covered a large area only leaving enough gas to get us home. It was a very fun, very tiring day and it seemed like there was no end to the snow. The following morning was sunny with not a single cloud in the sky, we started early and headed back in to beat the Saturday rush that would surely follow. After tying a few knots in our tracks we headed back into the same area to finish the job. There was still a lot of untouched snow and as we travelled north each hill top only revealed another valley full of snow. As the sun set we made our way back to the comfort of our cabin and headed over to the Jackladder for some refreshments and a feast. Between the two of us we consumed most of the menu items.

Driving back the next day and recounting the two awesome days of riding it became clear to us that we made the right choice in making the trip. I have had many great trips, and of course any sled trip is good, but sometimes when you least expect it, you get a surprise trip like this one that will stay with you and leave you chasing the snow until next time. I am very ready for Winter 2016-2017 to START!

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Steve Furlong, from Plate Cove West, Bonavista Bay, residing in Bloomfield with my wife and 2 awesome boys. Snowmobiling is a passion of mine and back country riding is my favourite. A mountain sled is a must to access the beauty of NL's back country, but I also enjoy a simple ride through the trails for a boil up with the family. I enjoy writing articles about our crazy trips that came up unexpectedly or had some unique quality about them. It is always nice when a trip comes together and the weather works out for you. I also enjoy writing articles around sled and equipment purchases and trip planning, which are two things I do a lot of and take seriously. Always looking to find my limits and improve upon them, snowmobiling offers an endless challenge. Life is short and winter is shorter! Get outside and ride!

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