First Good Ride Of The Year
By Scott A. Sumner
On February 14 I had my first long trip snowmobiling in Thunder Bay this year, especially starting from the Murillo area. Our day started a little rough trying to find a route to Kakabeka Falls Park where the Thunder Bay Adventure Trails have begun grooming this year. As an avid snowmobiler I remember buying my first permit here in 1990 when I was told they sold 94 permits that year. This has gone to a high of 3,300 several years ago and now back to about 300 in 2004. Perhaps one of the most important reasons has been poor snow conditions. However this year I think the lack of any trails open that allow the snowmobiler to ride from near their home on a groomed trail system has been the problem. A trail from Santorellis Truck Stop would have been great for me and many other riders. Maybe next year we can hope for this trail as well as through the city east to Dorion and south to Rydens. Is that too much to ask for? Something tells me the permit sales might move back to the thousands if that happened.
After some adverturesome riding down the Kam River and through Kakabeka Falls we got onto to the TBAT system and began some great riding on perfect trails. Getting onto the Adrian lake road allowed us to take the loop off the road which was groomed and connects back to the Adrian Lake Road again, after some great winding up and down trails, complete with moose siting!
Our next stop was Gravel Lakes Cabins where new owners have taken over. There is some new trail routes there. My friend Albert , avid snowmobiler par excellance, had been out on the new route earlier this season and wanted to show me. The trails were awesome, well groomed like supper highways of the north. Incidently on a cold Saturday we met very few sleds, maybe 10 in our whole day of riding some 160 miles. After some lunch at Gravel Lake Cabins we decided to try the D110M trail for a while on the way to Gunflint Lake. This was my favourite stretch of riding today. It is a beautiful area adjacent to lakes and is a part of the trail system Im sure many Thunder Bay riders have never ridden. After some 20 miles down this trail we started to head back and decided the Poleline road would be a better return route. It had less open water that the Kam did and allowed for some practice of our ditchbanging riding skills. I kind of liked this riding as my F7 performs well in these conditions, but in the back of our minds was a longing for the TBAT to open their trail into the city again. Overall it was a great ride and after a 11 am start we were home by 5 pm with a good trip with plenty of snow.