Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sweeney Creek

This one's worth going back many times.  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 it is an ATV trail, with probable high use later in the summer. 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. (Update, July 21, 2017:  The Forest Service has been doing major work here, including harvesting of dead trees.  This will be a "hot spot" for gathering lumber.  Some spots in the road have been graded, but there are still lots of sharp rock pieces on the lower doubletrack.)

(Click on any photo for enlarged image)

View of a pond near Half Moon Lake.

Two parking options.  The first is larger and has a spectacular view of Half Moon Lake.

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.  There are a couple of really rocky spots, including (as of June 20) some really sharp rocks that they have "blasted" out to improve the road. The road was much more suitable to a barefoot horse in May.  A barefoot horse in excellent condition could do it fine.  However, after our ride back on June 20, I would use boots in the future because my horse got sore from the sharp rocks. 

First parking area with the view of Half Moon.

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

Getting ready to cross Sweeney Creek on May 22.
Crossing Sweeney Creek, May 22.

Off the path in the forest.

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.

Half Moon overlook on May 27.

May 27, still snow in many spots.

View of Half Moon Lake area, May 27

Off the path, May 22

There was quite a bit of deadfall, but nothing we couldn't navigate as far as we went.  We reached a point on the trail where the snow became too deep and we were concerned about deadfall under the snow. (Note: as of May 27, the deadfall has been removed.)

This is the "trail" higher up on June 20.  At least the snow was gone.

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

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

No snow left anywhere, June 20.

Friday, May 12, 2017

LIttle Soda Lake

We definitely will be going back in this area.  The trail options are many and are easily done by a barefoot horse in reasonably good condition.  The views are spectacular.  It has everything...forests, sage, water features, mountain views. See the post on Lowline-Glimpse Lake for more trail options from the same trailhead.

(click on any photo for enlarged images)

Little Soda Lake

Directions from Pinedale.  It's about 7 miles on a dirt road.

Here are two suggested 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 trail without having to ride an extra mile on dirt road.

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" on the way there.

No-Name Pond...but still a really nice water feature.

There was some snow.
Spectacular view of Fremont Lake

There was a lot of deadfall.  Most of it we could circumnavigate.  This particular tree we had to saw down to get past.
One of the water features that will probably disappear later in the season.

View of  "Summit" lake.

Another water feature that we had to ride right through.

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.