April 16, 2020 Torbay End of Winter Tangly ATV Ride (34 Photos)

34.  Its only been a few days since I took my '89 tracked Argo for a rip around the trails in Torbay, a lot more snow has melted in that short span of time so I decided to head back out today this time on project Foreman.



33.   As expected these normally very easy gravel trails were a lot more complicated today for my ATV on tires. Fortunately project Foreman is equipped with a High Lifter permanent front differential locker, a 1.5" Perfex lift and a brand new set of 27" ITP Mud Lite XTR Radial tires.



32.   Snow melt meant a lot of water on the trails, this part of the gravel pit is normally dry but today was quite flooded. Two days ago this was still covered in ice!






30.   This section of trail runs from the airport fence to Forest Landing and is the same location where I had trouble reversing the Argo out of this water hole.



29.   Looking back on the 2nd big water hole which was (and still is) much too narrow for my 5' wide Argo, the snowbanks at that time were also 12" higher!



28.   For the most part the trails looked terrific and were covered in hard pack snow varying from 1 to 4 feet deep. Snow in the trees was even deeper! However looks can be deceiving and quite often a tire would drop into a soft or undermined (by moving water below) spot. Momentum is your friend in these situations so I kept moving and when a tire suddenly dropped I simply accelerated to pull through. This is where true 4wd of a locked front differential makes the difference between riding and getting stuck every 20', especially on a bike with much less ground clearance than newer units.












24.   Sometimes a whole section of trail would drop out of place as the weight of the bike overcame the undermined hard pack snow. Full skid plates really help the bike slide along as all 4 tires keep pulling.






22.   This path from Western Island Pond to the airport fence always has moving water but today it was quite amplified by recent rain and snowmelt.









19.   Next I took a quick run in the path to Indian Meal line stopping at the first field. I didn't want to cross the ditch dug by farmers to keep people out, and the ATV trail around the outside of the fields had a heck of a lot of snow on it.



18.   Heading back I stayed right instead of left in the big water hole and had a job to get out due to the sheer volume of snow & slush.



17.   After a bunch of back and forth attempts to break up the slush in search of hard snow I finally backed up and pinned the throttle to get through as much as I could letting my WARN ProVantage 2500 winch take me the rest of the way!






15.   When there are lots of nice big trees to use as a winch anchor you can afford to get stuck as opposed to digging all that snow out of the way by hand!






13.   Next I decided to tackle the section of airport fence trail between the path to Western Island Pond & the end of runway 16.



12.   I knew this would be tangly after my Argo ride a couple days ago. There is 4+ feet of snow on this section of trail with a narrow crown and tire swallowing drop offs on either side.



11.  I walked the bike through the worst sections with zero tire spin using my shoulder against the gas tank to keep the bike from sliding sideways, in places there was only 2" of inside tire tread making contact with the hard pack snow.



10.   After passing the narrowest section I began riding again only to have the trail under my left side tires collapse due to undermining by water moving below. This high centred the bike leaving it helplessly spinning.



9.   I needed to winch using an anchor on the right hand side to avoid being pulled further into soft snow & trees. Unfortunately the trees on the RHS were small and I was hooking up about 3' off the ground. Fortunately this spruce held on although it was now pulled down across the trail.



8.   My eBay direct from China CS 2500 mini chainsaw sprang to life and made short work of the downed tree. This saw is absolutely awesome and the best $150 I've spent on self recovery equipment recently. Look for my full review on the new Outdoor Lifestyle Product Review page - under outdoor power tools.



7.   One more re-rig of the winch cable had the bike back on solid ground in relatively short order with minimal work & effort. If you're going to trail ride solo especially under tangly conditions please go prepared for every scenario, especially in these days of self isolation and social distancing.






5.   It's incredible how much snow has melted in the last couple of days. Take a look at photo #12 taken at this same spot two day ago in my End of Winter Argo Ride.



4.   Self recovery gear for today's rip included my mini chainsaw, chainsaw tools & fuel, recovery strap, tree saver strap, extra 25' ratchet strap, spare gloves, bottled water, air compressor and axe. This is in addition to the custom tool & tire repair kits I always have on the bike in the rear trunk, and my WARN winch.



3.   Equally important for solo riding is to have your bike in top running order, replacing worn parts immediately so your not stranded on the trail with a failed wheel bearing, ball joint or worse. Don't become someone else's problem to get you out of the woods.






1.   All in all it was a relatively short ride. Easy trails were exponentially more difficult today due to the snow but that made the ride much more interesting! Again a fun afternoon can be had if you carry the right gear, if your in the woods solo absolutely be prepared!

Cheers, MIKE

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith