Saturday, March 28, 2009

Togwotee Overnight

I left the Togwotee Lodge parking lot Friday afternoon not knowing exactly how this adventure would go but that was ok. I was packed for an epic if it worked out that way but the goal was to gain winter camping experience.

The Fatback was loaded, and felt that way on every hill

Clouds moved in quickly and the wind picked up

The trail was firm and rideable where the groomers had recently been but in sections that hadn't been groomed in a couple of days the trail was soft and churned up from the constant snowmachine traffic.

A light snow began to fall and I wondered if the forecast was way off

The camera didn't do the steepness of this hill justice

Open areas were wind affected and required pushing

As if someone flipped a switch, the snow stopped and sun came back out

I had a rough idea where I wanted to ride but as I got further down the CD Trail, and further from Togwotee Lodge's groomers, the conditions worsened and I was pushing far more than I was riding. Sometimes I was even pushing downhill. To be perfectly honest, I was not mentally into pushing for hours on end on this trip so I spun it around and headed back uphill to a camp spot that caught my eye earlier.

There is something very soothing about a campfire

I was very pleased with my campsite. A giant spruce had fallen over at some point and its root ball stood exposed 6-7' above ground. The mass of roots and dirt provided an excellent wind break for the night.

Backpacker's Pantry Pad Thai is not bad at says it serves two but I ate the whole package

Rise and shine

Breakfast in bed was a half-frozen PB sandwich and gourmet coffee

At some point during the night, the "groomer fairy" came to visit. The first hour of riding today was some of the best snow biking I have ever had. Firm, freshly groomed trails and absolute silence were my reward for sleeping out and rising early enough to beat the snow machine's to it. I wonder if the snow machiners love the "freshly groomed" as much as I do?

For the first hour, the trails were firm and the sun was mostly out

The speed at which this storm moved and the resulting deterioration of the trail made me feel good about my decision to cut the epic short.

The predicted storm moved in quickly and conditions were changing by the minute

I need more practice at being an efficient winter camper. I had a great adventure and learned a few things which was the #1 goal all along.


MC said...


Awesome trip and pics--thanks for sharin'!

Bummed I missed out--my snowbike/camping itch has emphatically not been fully scratched this year.

But the season is young. Got plans next wknd?

Let's talk...


Doug said...

Great trip report with great pictures. I'm very experienced at winter camping, I even teach a class on it, but I still learn something new every time I go. It's something you can't learn from a book. You have to go out and do it. This post has me looking forward to next winter. I missed so much this winter with my injury.

T-Race said...

why was your sandwich frzn?

Dave said...

T-Race - that is a good question. :) I think it fell out of my sleeping bag and was in between the bag and the bivy.

Dave said...

MC - next weekend would be the last shot at Togwotee-groomed trails but it is supposed to stay wintry all week. Let's talk! I mapped out a 49 mile loop that "should" be rideable still next weekend.

Eric said...

Nice Dave!
Good stuff.