February 24-27, 2011 Annual Winter Trip: (56 Photos)


56.   We waited for weeks in eager anticipation for the Annual Winter Trip to Sooley's cabin, and just like Christmas it arrived & was over in a flash. Thursday afternoon, Maffer, Sooley and I hit the highway Whitbourne bound to the Sooley cabin, arriving around 4:30pm.



55.   While Sooley and Maffer fired up the tractor-snow blower to clear the driveway, I started shovelling out the doors and decks of the cabin. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground since our last visit 2 weeks ago it took us nearly 2 hours to clear everything out, get the trucks moved off the highway, and gear unloaded.



54.   After a quick sausage & hotdog BBQ supper, we suited up for a quick night time skidoo run.



53.   First on our to do list was to check the condition of the ice all over the pond. We were content to find a consistent 10-12" of ice on the pond, and that the slush from 2 weeks ago had frozen. We spent the evening trying out all our regular jumps on the side of the pond, eventually hitting the pole line to an area known as Highwaters, the headwaters for the Rocky River.



52.   Sooley had his first episode (of many to come) climbing the first hill on the pole line which was rutted out by snowmobile traffic. Near the top of the hill. his sled hooked in a rut, stopping suddenly flicking big ol' Sooley over the handle bars! It was a funny sight!

Conditions on this chilly star filled night were amazing for riding. The deep snow we were getting stuck in a couple weeks ago had settled and was topped with fresh fallen powder. Getting stuck was not nearly as problematic, and traction on the ponds was near perfect. We played around all our usual hot spots until nearly 3am when sleep finally got the better of us and we called it a night.


51.   The next morning Jason and Andy (two buddies that work with Sooley) arrived as we were having breakfast at Monty's Place in Whitbourne. We got back to the cabin shortly thereafter and suited up for a day riding. The majority of our crew are not long distance riders,  we love to play, explore, jump, skim water, climb hills all with no particular destination in mind.



50.   Skies were clear, temperatures cold and snow settled which made for fantastic riding conditions.



49.   We started out on Sooley's pond tearing up every jump that was too sketchy to hit in the dark last night, eventually heading again to Highwaters.






47.   On the first hill, Maffer made an awesome climb carving left-right-left all the way to the top that we have no pics or video of. Sooley tried this hill using the same line I got stuck on the night before, and also got stuck.






45.   At Highwaters we spent a couple hours tearing up the hills, and skimming over our favourite open water spot.









42.   Sooley's work buddies were hesitant to try skimming open water at first, but quickly got the hang of it using Maffer's 500ss REV.






40.   A little damp but none the worse for wear!









37.   Stroke or laughter, I cant remember  LoL.



36.   Leaving Highwaters we headed out the pole line to Ocean Pond, the newbies using their newfound water skipping skills to cross an open river blocking the path.






34.   At ocean pond, I managed to limb out a Juniper Tree that flicked my sled bottom up, but a quick re-attachment of the albeit broken windshield and I was good to go.






32.   The rest of the afternoon was spent in an area just South of Sooley's cabin where we got some great pics and video of a dandy little kicker jump.



31.   Unlike many jumps in this area, we didn't have to jump the bank at the waters edge so we could hit the actual kicker with a  little more speed. There were a lot of trees blocking the landing area, so we couldn't overdue it on flight time.















26.   As you can see Sooley went bottom up once more trying to navigate a tree filled hill climb, (which had been easily completed by Maffer and I moments before!) LoL...E for effort though.





24.   When we got back to the cabin, Janes had arrived and we headed back up the pond for a little ice fishing and riding.


















18.   Its hard to pass up a nice jump once one guy hits it, even with darkness setting in. While some of the guys tended the ice fishing lines Maffer, Sooley and I hit this awesome kicker right off the side of the pond.





















11.   After an awesome supper consisting of  BBQ steak, fries, mushroom-onions, and vegetables we suited up and took some beverages to our fire pit at the top of the pond. It was another awesome night in the woods, unfortunately it was the calm before the forecasted storm.






9.   As with many cabin trips before, the forecast came true and we woke up Saturday morning to high winds and 30mm of rain.



8.   Needless to say we didn't get snowmobiling so after breakfast we took a trip to Whitbourne and spent the day around the cabin.



7.   Out in the garage made some minor sled repairs and installed a new set of headlights in Sooley's F-150. These lights are a nice upgrade and include projector style H.I.D. low beam bulbs that are much brighter than stock and don't blind other drivers with glare.



6.   The weather cleared around supper time so we suited up for a little ride and some ice fishing. During the rainstorm the temperature was mild but that quickly changed as the temperature dropped to -2 in the afternoon, and in no time the pond was freezing up.









3.   Snow in the woods had been softened by the rain so you had to be careful of getting stuck. Maffer and I took a run to Highwaters, but the trail was tangly and we often had to skip hundreds of feet of flooded slushy bogs.






1.   By evening the pond was frozen solid and with no fresh snow to keep the sleds cool, we opted to relax in the cabin and enjoy a few brew and watch the U.F.C. fight. For supper we had another BBQ with steaks and all the fixings all in all it was a great night. Sunday brought cold clear, sunny skies as we cleaned up the cabin and packed up our gear to head home. Even though the miserable weather Saturday cut our riding short, we still had an awesome trip. This year we had the best snow conditions we have seen up there in quite a few years.

With February all but over we're all hoping for another storm or 2 before the end of winter. The hard frozen snow will make a great base for fresh powder, and with the water/slush frozen on the ponds, we found there is easily an extra 1.5-2" of ice on the ponds we checked.


Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith