On Saturday morning, Feb. 16, eight rigs, Stephen, Andrew, Steve and his Wife, Brandon and Gordon, Eric, Ryan, Joseph and myself departed from the parking lot at the Golden Spike visitors center. Our destination – a weekend of winter exploring in the Newfoundland Mountains.
We made our way through a foggy morning around the north end of the GSL, past Monument Point and Locomotive Springs to Kelton. From there we turned south travelling along The Fingerpoint on the eastern edge of the Hogups, right along the western shore of the lake.
After a break to stretch our legs near the southern tip of The Fingerpoint, we travelled east to Big Pass, right in the heart of the Hogups. When we hit the road that goes through Big pass, we again turned south and immediately began cutting fresh tracks in the old snow. Nobody had travelled this route very recently. From this point on, for pretty much the rest of the trip, we were having to cut fresh track and break trail through the snow. We took turns in the lead, breaking trail, with Steve, Andrew and myself doing most of the heavy trail breaking.
I took the lead to give Andrew a break shortly after the picture above and found the only way I could really maintain reasonable forward progress without a lot of stopping and backing up to take another run at it, was to keep up my momentum. So, in the spirit of Big Mo, I locked both axles and kept the RPM’s between 3-4000 to maintain a “spirited” pace through miles of deep, untracked snow. Too much fun!
South of the the Hogups we went, moving past the west flank of Broom mountain before reaching the railroad tracks at Hogup. Then we started east along the right of way. It was kind of eerie, with the fog and limited visibility. Despite the relatively featureless terrain, and the fog, it was beautiful. Maybe it was beautiful because of the fog.
It was along this stretch that the call came in over the CB that Brandon had a flat tire. He had a nasty hole in the sidewall of his brand new KM2. A patch was quickly made, air put back in and we were soon on our way again.
Shortly past the Groome siding, we made the turn south across the tracks and off of the right of way, with our destination for the weekend, the Newfoundland mountains, rising up in front of us out of the fog.
We made a beeline for the nearest mining relics on the north end of the range and stopped for lunch.
After lunch, we made our way around the west side of the range and south towards our eventual camp for two nights in Miners Basin.
After some hill climbing fun in the snow – Joseph put on an awesome show and proved an open/open rig could make it all the way up to Big Boys camp, we elected to search out a camp site that was a little bit easier to access. We found one just a short distance away.
Everyone got setup and then we all just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon, sitting around the fire, telling stories and jokes and just generally having a good time.
Watching the fog move up towards us from the valley below was awesome. It came right up to us, then receded a few hundred yards and yielded us an uneasy truce for the night.
After everyone had dinner and we each retired to our beds for the night, I slept like a baby. It never did get cold, mid 20’s maybe, just about perfect temps for sleeping.
The fog was still sitting restlessly just below camp when I got up Sunday morning.
But as the sun rose higher and the morning got warmer, the fog burned off and left us with one of those drop dead gorgeous, crystal clear, deep blue sky, stunningly clear and bright days that we who spend our lives slicing our way through the spooge filled air of the Salt Lake Valley in winter dream about. It was a freaking BEAUTIFUL day!
Eventually, after getting a very late start, we fired up the rigs and ventured out for a day of enjoying the beautiful day by exploring in the Newfs. We travelled from camp back around the north end of the range and explored our way down the east side. Visiting Sleigh and Dells canyons along the way.
Eventually, we found ourselves a few miles south of Trail canyon, where an impromptu target shooting session erupted with an impressive diversity of firearms and shooing skills on display. It was here that we were joined by Kurt and Devin. Some of the rigs were running kind of low on fuel after all of the snow busting from the day before, so it was decided not to venture any further south and return to camp.
Once back in camp, with plenty of beautiful daylight left, a few of us got restles and decided to snowshoe from camp up to stone cabin – maybe about a mile and a half above camp.
Back in camp a roaring fire and an awesome dinner awaited. After another great BS session around the fire, it was another great nights sleep, not too cold, not too warm, just right!
Monday morning we got up to a clear day – no fog. Eric and I were the only ones up, so we got the fire going and I snapped a couple pictures while we waited for the rest of camp to come alive.
In addition to no fog this morning, we were treated to an awesome sun dog.
Eventually, everyone was up and packed and after another very late start we retraced our route to the Hogup siding, then continued east along right of way to Lakside. We took a short detour and checked out the Lakeside cave while we were in the area.
From there, it was a short hop back to pavement and an uneventful drive home.
Another great adventure in the books. Thanks to everyone who attended for being such a great group to hang out with and making it so much fun!