Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sweeney Creek

May 2018 update!  Most of the trail is like this.

  It's only a 17 minute drive to the trailhead from Pinedale and NO dirt roads involved.  It has mountain vistas, lush evergreen forests, water features (lakes and creeks), meadows of wildflowers and open sagebrush hills. We shared the trail with a couple of hikers in May, but the only ATVs we saw were during hunting season in October. In June, 2017, extensive rock blasting and road grading was going on.  There were numerous sharp rocks, but most were avoidable.  Google Map "Sweeney Creek" for directions.   At .79 miles in on the doubletrack, the trails separate.  Keep to the right for the Grouse Mountain/Half Moon Ridge portion. See the separate post on that.  Keep to the left for the North Sweeney Creek. ( The trail connecting to Kelly Park was cleared last fall.)

(Click on any photo for enlarged image.  Some photos courtesy of Teisha Preece)

Parking area. The first is graveled and graded with a great view of Half Moon Lake.  The 2nd area has been used for parking in the past, but as of August, 2017 has been "rocked" off. The pink line is a rocky trail from the parking lot.  The blue line is a "short cut" along the road.  

Our track on May 22, 2017.  7.66 miles.  Elevation= 7,979' to 8,468'.  Trail conditions:  90% dirt doubletrack with about 60% of that somewhat rocky.       This track went up the North trail, then back to the turn off to the Ridge trail.  Downfall blocked any further progress on that trail at that time.  It was cleared later in the season.

 Parking area with the view of Half Moon.

  Parking area, room for many rigs with plenty of turn around space.  No rest room.

 There are still some rocky spots like this.  A barefoot horse in reasonably good condition will have no problem.  Not nearly as much snow as in 2017.  Photo taken May 16, 2018.

Off the path in the forest. May 22, 2017

Place where snow covered the trail May 22, 2017.

Much of the trail looks like this.

And some parts are like this.

Some of the trail is like this, but thankfully not much.

May 27, 2017, still snow in many spots.

Off the path, May 22, 2017

This is the North "trail" higher up on June 20, 2017. This is just past the boundary where motorized vehicles are not allowed.  At least the snow was gone.

The beautiful meadow we stopped at June 20, 2017.  This area is probably the most gorgeous of the North Sweeney Creek portion.   A big change from the May rides. The flies and mosquitoes were bothersome, but not too bad.

June 20, 2017, Sweeney Creek by the meadow in the photo above.

No snow left anywhere on the North Trail, June 20.

On the Sweeney-Kelly Park connector trail, July 14, 2018

This is a track we did on July 14, 2018.  About 6.8 miles.  The red circles are where we ran into deadfall.  The pink circle is a faint trail going up Grouse Mountain, and most likely dead ends.  The Yellow circle is the Sweeney-Kelly Park connector.  The white circle is where we crossed the road and a small creek to follow a cross country ski trail, cross the creek again and back to the parking lot.

Friday, May 12, 2017

LIttle Soda Lake

  The views are spectacular.  It has everything...forests, sage, water features, meadows, wildflowers, mountain vistas. See the post on Lowline-Glimpse Lake for more trail options from the same trailhead.  Also includes the "Summit Lake Trail" that goes to Chambers Bay. (We haven't ridden THAT particular part, but plan to soon and will add information and photos as we can.)
(Update:  July 17, 2018--The Fremont Ridge and connector portion of that trail system is currently clogged with deadfall, almost impassable. This part is not an "official" trail that the Forest Service wants maintained. So, I have removed any photos and landmark hints from this blog.)

(click on any photo for enlarged images)

Little Soda Lake

Directions from Pinedale.  It's about 7 miles on a dirt road.
This is a herd of draft horses by Soda Lake.  You may pass them on your drive in.  They are used in the winter to pull sleds to feed the elk herd that winters here.  This area is owned and managed by Wyoming Fish and Game.

Here are two parking spots. There is room for several rigs there or at the next one. The road has now been graded between the two and the second one gets you closer to the Little Soda doubletrack without having to ride an extra mile on dirt road.  There is also a clearing just before the lower circled spot that provides room for several rigs. Many times there are campers there. 

This track was done on May 10, 2017.  About 7.2 miles.  Min. altitude=7,507'; Max. altitude=7,802';  Trail conditions were muddy and some snow, but also much dry ground.  20% rocky, 80% dirt, grass.  

This is NOT Little Soda, but a "pond" named "Mud Lake".

Mud Lake...still a nice water feature, May 10

A view of Mud Lake on July 22, 2017

There was some snow on May 10, 2017
Spectacular view of Fremont Lake, May 10

One of the water features on May 10, 2017 that disappeared later in the season.

View of  "Summit" lake or "Chain" lake depending on which map you look at.

Another water feature that we had to ride right through on May 10.
One of the "mini meadows".  This particular one was knee deep in water in May, 2017, but was clear in July.  I named it "Dead Elk Meadow".

Heading back by Mud Lake after seeing Little Soda Lake.

Another view of Fremont Lake from a little lower location.

Little No Name pond on the way to the east side of Little Soda.

View of Little Soda from the east side.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Half Moon Lake

Yes, this is a Lake ride, although not really any beach riding.  I, personally, would not take a horse on this ride again. The reason being an extremely rocky and steep section. I didn't get photos of that section.  Our barefoot horses required boots. 

This is near "The Inlet"

5.35 miles on this track.  Min. altitude=7,569; Max altitude=7,707'; Trail conditions: 70% dirt; 20% rocky; 10% extremely rocky

Part of the road was closed to traffic, so we just rode it.

Started out really pretty.

Nice trail here.

This is one of the "easier" parts.

Much of the upper trail was like this.

And this...

Once we got to the "inlet", there was this nice place for lunch.