Multiple reports suggested the local snowmobile trails weren't quite ready for prime time yet. They were rideable, but with a lot of work. Reports from the Cape said the ice was 99% gone at Nickerson. Should I attempt a ride from my house, risk rising temps and a death slog? Or should I go for a more sure thing, which required four hours of commuting by car? It was a tough decision. I wanted to ride upwards of four hours without hating life slogging through sloppy snow. I went for the surer bet.
Crossing over the Sagamore Bridge, there was still a lot of snow on the Cape. I brought my geared winter bike with studs. I wasn't getting robbed again like last weekend when I drove down without studs and found nothing but ice. There was no ice or snow by the time I reached Yarmouth. I thought seriously about riding there and checking out a few trails I hadn't ridden yet, but Nickerson is so much bigger. I've also been eyeing a trail on south side of Rt 6 between exits 10 & 11 near Nickerson while driving. I just had to figure out how to get to it.
The ice indeed was 99% gone at Nick. I skirted along the western flank and hopped over Rt 6 to find that trail I saw. I didn't realize there is an undeveloped state park there, called Hawksnest State Park. The park has a large network of moto singletrack and doubletrack trails. I worked my way west until I ran out of undeveloped land. I didn't ride anywhere near the highway. Now it was time to find the singletrack that hugs the highway for the return.
From Exit 10 overpass, I could see the trail pass right under me along the shoulder of the highway. But access to it was either land-locked or fenced off. I turned onto Oak St. A couple of unmarked dirt drives went back to sandpits. I probably startled a couple kids getting some parked back there. Still didn't find the trail. Up Oak St a bit further, I spied my access.
This moto trail was a blast to ride, just like the trail at Otis that hugs Rt 28. Lots of climbs and high speed descents with bermed turns at the bottom. All good things come to an end. I crossed back over Rt 6 and resumed my ride in Nickerson after picking up about 15 miles outside Nick.
Nickerson on right, Hawksnest on left. Need to explore
that little triangle in the middle further.
Studs weren't necessary, but I was glad I had mine a few times. There was a 500ft patch of hockey ice along Cliff Pond, then again some treacherous descents in the northwest corner by the powerlines. I would never have survived the latter without studs.
The ground stayed frozen as the temps rose into the upper 30's. It was actually quite mild to be riding in the woods. Saw three other riders out but lots more tracks. I finished the day with 36 miles in 3.7hrs and nearly 3000ft of climbing. My best ride in a long time.