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tricky

ElliotLake to Searchmont - Help!

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I have snowmobiled north on the F out of Elliot Lake and north out of Searchmont on the D many times. Looking to change things up and travel from Dunlop Lake to Searchmont and then head north. I have only sledded once anywhere in that area and that was almost 20 years ago. Are EL3, D134, BM2 and D106 good trails that are likely to survive this meltdown well? Are these tight trails similar to the F just north of Elliot Lake before it becomes a wide open highway? Or are they more like Whitman Dam Road and Domtar Road sections of the D trail? Is there still gas at Echo Bay, Bruce Mines? Have some people with me who will kill me if we are scraping down bare roads with our sleds. The back up plans involve driving further which I am trying to avoid. Any trail knowledge that could be shared would be greatly appreciated. I know the places that I would like to stay if the trails are good. Thanks in advance. 

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Hopefully acya chimes in.  Seems to have a good handle on that area.

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If I remember correctly, the EL3 follows a gas pipeline right of way and the D south of Elliot Lake follows a hydro easement for the most part. The BM3 uses logging roads. I don't remember any of them having much tight bush trail. Not like the F north out of Dunlop Lake.

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The D can be a crap shoot later in season. It doesn’t get as much snow as higher elevations north of highway 17. It is a fast trail when good, but I wouldn’t count on it, this late in season with bright sun and more open areas it has.

d106 usually has logging on it and can be plowed. Not sure if that is case currently.  I prefer trails north of highway 17, like EL3 follows power line closer to Elliot lake and pipeline farther away from town if I remember correctly. Usually lots more snow And less travelled, that way. The club trails in area are steller normally. You can try d and if it is no good just head to north and take el3. It is a much slower trail then D no doubt. 

Edited by Strong Farmer

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Thanks guys. D trail is not in the plan until right at the end at Searchmont. Still hoping someone has some recent knowledge of conditions on EL3, D134 and  D106. I try to use the "if you don't know, don't go" rule for trail conditions. Maybe that's why I haven't ridden in southern District 13. 

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I rode from Elliot lake to the soo on Thursday taking El3 to D134 then D trail to the hotel and it was snowing pretty good so no issues with roads then . Missed the turn to stay on the D 134 somewhere so can’t comment on that section but it snowed all night. The warm up may change things quickly 

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Thanks Mark. The weather forecast for this week is causing us to look further north for our Wed -Sat trip. Might drive to the Northern Corridor to avoid messy weather.

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18 hours ago, tricky said:

I have snowmobiled north on the F out of Elliot Lake and north out of Searchmont on the D many times. Looking to change things up and travel from Dunlop Lake to Searchmont and then head north. I have only sledded once anywhere in that area and that was almost 20 years ago. Are EL3, D134, BM2 and D106 good trails that are likely to survive this meltdown well? Are these tight trails similar to the F just north of Elliot Lake before it becomes a wide open highway? Or are they more like Whitman Dam Road and Domtar Road sections of the D trail? Is there still gas at Echo Bay, Bruce Mines? Have some people with me who will kill me if we are scraping down bare roads with our sleds. The back up plans involve driving further which I am trying to avoid. Any trail knowledge that could be shared would be greatly appreciated. I know the places that I would like to stay if the trails are good. Thanks in advance. 

Hi Tricky,

 

I was on EL3 last week (PowerLine Run) It was in good shape and there is plenty of snow in Elliot Lake this winter. It tends to survive longer than the Elliot Lake-Blind River  (Pipeline Run) - Iron Bridge.  

 

The D134 is twisty, but scenic.  There are some shortcuts.  The Little Birch Lake trail as an example.

 

The lower end of BM2 is fairly straight and wide open.  The upper half towards Horner / Conacher has the bush appeal with narrower / twisting ride.

 

The D106 at or near Conacher / Horner Lakes is again twisty and slow going.  Local riders hit Horner Lake, shoot west along the lake, then take the bush trail onto Primeau, then across Primeau to again catch the OFSC trail.  You save yourself significant time and mileage.

 

Personally, unless you want to see some deep wilderness, I would take the BM1 then catch the D trail east of Rock Lake.  

 

Dan

 

 

 

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Dan-Senior, I was hoping you'd chime in.

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15 minutes ago, Dan-Senior said:

Hi Tricky,

 

I was on EL3 last week (PowerLine Run) It was in good shape and there is plenty of snow in Elliot Lake this winter. It tends to survive longer than the Elliot Lake-Blind River  (Pipeline Run) - Iron Bridge.  

 

The D134 is twisty, but scenic.  There are some shortcuts.  The Little Birch Lake trail as an example.

 

The lower end of BM2 is fairly straight and wide open.  The upper half towards Horner / Conacher has the bush appeal with narrower / twisting ride.

 

The D106 at or near Conacher / Horner Lakes is again twisty and slow going.  Local riders hit Horner Lake, shoot west along the lake, then take the bush trail onto Primeau, then across Primeau to again catch the OFSC trail.  You save yourself significant time and mileage.

 

Personally, unless you want to see some deep wilderness, I would take the BM1 then catch the D trail east of Rock Lake.  

 

Dan

 

 

 

Awesome remember coming back el3 during a windy stormy day and it was drifted in real bad in places. It was a tricky ride back to Elliot lake with high elevations on that trail. One of my favourites along with f trail. 

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19 hours ago, tricky said:

I have snowmobiled north on the F out of Elliot Lake and north out of Searchmont on the D many times. Looking to change things up and travel from Dunlop Lake to Searchmont and then head north. I have only sledded once anywhere in that area and that was almost 20 years ago. Are EL3, D134, BM2 and D106 good trails that are likely to survive this meltdown well? Are these tight trails similar to the F just north of Elliot Lake before it becomes a wide open highway? Or are they more like Whitman Dam Road and Domtar Road sections of the D trail? Is there still gas at Echo Bay, Bruce Mines? Have some people with me who will kill me if we are scraping down bare roads with our sleds. The back up plans involve driving further which I am trying to avoid. Any trail knowledge that could be shared would be greatly appreciated. I know the places that I would like to stay if the trails are good. Thanks in advance. 

I just saw this and after reading it, it seems you have never run the F Trail to Black Creek and then continued north by using the D201F.  That is one of my favorite trails, but skips much of the long day of riding to get over to Searchmont.  You do know there is no gas in Searchmont as there was years ago?   You would have to carry fuel (always a good idea anyway) to go all the way up to Halfway Haven from gas down along Hwy 17 since the gas is not available in Searchmont.  Getting back to the D201F, this keeps you in the snow and would make it possible to shoot to Chapleau, Wawa, Hawk Junction, or even Dub from the Elliot Lake / Dunlop Lake area.  If not running up the fast way, I would do what Dan suggested and carry extra fuel.  All road connections will include some spring conditions as will gas stations and bridge crossings.  Have fun wherever you ride.     

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Dan and AC+YA, thanks for the info. I have have more local knowledge than most easterners visiting Elliot Lake and beyond, but can always use more. I have admired the spirit of both your trip reports, and Dan's vdeos for a few years now. You talked me into some good trips like out to Marathon, and not to worry about the 201washout a couple of years ago. Have ridden the F/D201F/D from Elliot lake to Hearst and the rest of the Big Loop for years. Recent years have run out of Driftwood north to Wawa on the D. It was only the specifics of the trails from DL to Driftwood that I could not assure my fellow riders I had under control. Two years ago, when one of our riders wouldn't  ride thru the water (after we saw the totalled Skidoo), I scoped out and partially cleared the detour of the 201 washout that seems to have become the official trail. Three weeks ago we noted that it wouldn't take much rain or sun to compromise the F road trail just east of Black Creek, especially the high bits exposed to the south sun.

Fears of what this week's weather might do to the trails in the area, have caused us to bail and are now heading to Timmins tomorrow. May do 'the Loop' from there or may ride out to Longlac. These guys nearly need a money back guarantee that they wont hear their SnowTrackers grinding over rocks or roadbeds.

As we have learned, boys will be girls, and senior men can become ol' ladies. 

Thanks again for the current info and years of great reports. 

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7 hours ago, tricky said:

Thanks Mark. The weather forecast for this week is causing us to look further north for our Wed -Sat trip. Might drive to the Northern Corridor to avoid messy weather.

We are in and around the area starting Thursday.  Say hi if you see us..:wavey:....

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2 hours ago, TURBO DOO said:

We are in and around the area starting Thursday.  Say hi if you see us..:wavey:....

Will do. We are the Blizzard, a '15 red Skidoo GSX 900, and hopefully a '16 TNT 900 and '12 1200 TNT.  Besides the T-Doo, what am I looking for?

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White 1200, Mrs. Turbo Doos '18 Mxz 900 blizzard,  600 Renny,  and a 1200 mxz x and another 2020 turbo...We are in the NCDN only. Cochrane to Hearst and literally all points in between.

 

You guys have a schedule yet?. 

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18 hours ago, tricky said:

These guys nearly need a money back guarantee that they wont hear their SnowTrackers grinding over rocks or roadbeds.

As we have learned, boys will be girls, and senior men can become ol' ladies. 

Unless you are riding in a snow storm, roads and bridges are plowed which means some grinding.  That is what carbides are for, so I guess they need ski wheels.

Longlac is a nice ride and the run past there to Geralton can be done much on lakes, but you have to get gas and cross roads and bridges.  I have realized it doesn't hurt the machine as much as it hurts me to listen to it.  Even mud & gravel happens and spring riding is still nice. 

 

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57 minutes ago, AC+YA said:

Unless you are riding in a snow storm, roads and bridges are plowed which means some grinding.  That is what carbides are for, so I guess they need ski wheels.

Longlac is a nice ride and the run past there to Geralton can be done much on lakes, but you have to get gas and cross roads and bridges.  I have realized it doesn't hurt the machine as much as it hurts me to listen to it.  Even mud & gravel happens and spring riding is still nice. 

 

Little off topic.. Nice seeing you and the gang again in Val d-or.. How was the Quebec trip? 

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On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2020 at 1:50 PM, WinderFab said:

Little off topic.. Nice seeing you and the gang again in Val d-or.. How was the Quebec trip? 

Thanks Fabio, was nice seeing you and the gang also.  We had wine one night in your honor.

 

The trip was great with a few exceptions for me anyway.  Think we were all surprised to see the snow go down drastically around Lac St-Jean area and continue low eastward until we got into the mountains.  That is north and farther east than Quebec City.  Must have had a bad snow year in that area, but trails were still open.  We came back and stayed in Alma heading back west and the next day was my bad day.  The knock sensor code had started coming on, but only for my machine and we were all using the same gas stations?  Well, my clutch was shot and causing the vibrations and that day heading west my clutch began sticking and not shifting back down when I slowed.  A rubber mallet was my tool of choice to get it to pop back out and go again after killing the motor while stopping. 

Well, having our French speaking friend and full cell phone service yielded a plan.  Very lucky to have found a dealer with a replacement primary clutch and it was on our route.  A half day of terrible issues & blowing stop signs at 30 mph when being waived on by others with helmet communicators AND not being stopped by police for those necessary jumps across roads ………. we made it to the dealer.  Well, 1.5 hours later I rode out with a sled running better than I remembered it could.  The sled did have a clutch with over 16,000 miles without service.  The knock sensor issues were gone too.  The blizzard started that night and for 3 days we rode in deep snow and had a blast except for some of the concerning times when the deep snow meant we may not make it to the next fuel stop.  Low fuel lights were a thing for the SkiDoos, but the tanks are much smaller and the better fuel mileage they have could not makeup for smaller volume of fuel they carry.

 

Great trip in all.

Scott      

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On 3/12/2020 at 11:14 AM, AC+YA said:

Thanks Fabio, was nice seeing you and the gang also.  We had wine one night in your honor.

 

The trip was great with a few exceptions for me anyway.  Think we were all surprised to see the snow go down drastically around Lac St-Jean area and continue low eastward until we got into the mountains.  That is north and farther east than Quebec City.  Must have had a bad snow year in that area, but trails were still open.  We came back and stayed in Alma heading back west and the next day was my bad day.  The knock sensor code had started coming on, but only for my machine and we were all using the same gas stations?  Well, my clutch was shot and causing the vibrations and that day heading west my clutch began sticking and not shifting back down when I slowed.  A rubber mallet was my tool of choice to get it to pop back out and go again after killing the motor while stopping. 

Well, having our French speaking friend and full cell phone service yielded a plan.  Very lucky to have found a dealer with a replacement primary clutch and it was on our route.  A half day of terrible issues & blowing stop signs at 30 mph when being waived on by others with helmet communicators AND not being stopped by police for those necessary jumps across roads ………. we made it to the dealer.  Well, 1.5 hours later I rode out with a sled running better than I remembered it could.  The sled did have a clutch with over 16,000 miles without service.  The knock sensor issues were gone too.  The blizzard started that night and for 3 days we rode in deep snow and had a blast except for some of the concerning times when the deep snow meant we may not make it to the next fuel stop.  Low fuel lights were a thing for the SkiDoos, but the tanks are much smaller and the better fuel mileage they have could not makeup for smaller volume of fuel they carry.

 

Great trip in all.

Scott      

Thanks for the wine honour lol..

 

Wow seems like quite the trip, glad it all work out with your sled at the end.. If we don’t t cross paths again this winter have a great summer and will see you next year on the trails..

 

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Any updates on trails heading North out of Elliot Lake.  With no gas in Searchmont, where are other gas stops available before Halfway?

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1 hour ago, Proxrider said:

Any updates on trails heading North out of Elliot Lake.  With no gas in Searchmont, where are other gas stops available before Halfway?

There is gas at Black Creek Outfitters (where the F trail meets hwy 129). This time of year you should call ahead to make sure they will be open. Great people and light snack available.

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Is it not still 130+ miles to Halfway from their?

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44 minutes ago, Proxrider said:

Is it not still 130+ miles to Halfway from their?

About 180-185 km from black creek to halfway. 

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On 3/9/2020 at 9:21 PM, TURBO DOO said:

We are in the NCDN only. Cochrane to Hearst and literally all points in between.

 

You guys have a schedule yet?. 

Sorry I failed to get back to you. About the time you asked, I got the call that we were finalized at five riders and heading to Timmins "now" and riding the loop counter clockwise. I wasn't finished packing yet and we had only Tuesday night booked in Timmins (Ramada). I got on the phone and booked Hearst, Wawa and Chapleau. Was still on the phone when my ride arrived.

Hope you had a good week of sledding. I know that weather wise you had everything.

We left Timmins Wednesday AM at -15C and sunny. Had a great day in great conditions to Hearst via the C to A at SRF. Temp got up to about 0 C. That afternoon was our only time on the corridor. Thursday AM there was a fresh inch+ of wet snow on the ground at -1C in Hearst. Stayed cloudy all day - dry until after lunch at Hornepayne. The ride to Wawa was in the rain which got heavy in the late afternoon, but we still enjoyed the ride and good trail conditions for the most part. Temp got to +4 or 5C. Friday was a real change and quite a treat. Thursday's rain changed to wet snow overnight, with 2-3 inches in the AM. About halfway to Halfway Haven the wind really kicked up, with falling snow, blowing snow, very poor visibility, 6-9 inches of new snow on the ground and the odd tree down across the trail. Snow let up some after we turned off the D onto the 101 to Chapleau, but there was always at least 4 inches of new snow. Saturday was the nicest weather day we had as we blitzed back to the truck in Timmins, loaded up and drove home. Got home by midnight. Overall , an A+ ride around the loop.

The places we stayed were places that I have thanked before and will keeping revisiting, except I have to mention one new-to-me motel. The Outdoorsman in Wawa changed hands two years ago, has been nicely renovated, has good rates and is operated by great people. They were quick to recognize our wet head to toe gear and offer their industrial dryer. We didn't want to go back out into the rain for Friday supper and our hosts offered perfect advice on ordering food in. A great stay. I will return, winter and summer.

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1 hour ago, Proxrider said:

Is it not still 130+ miles to Halfway from their?

As Winder advised, I think 185 km will get you to HH. There is an option that I and others have described on the forum, whereby you can shave about 30 km off that ride. It involves riding the side if Ranger Lake Road and the Domtar Road for about 15 KM that is not OFSC trail. This time of year there may not be any snow to ride on, or you could get lucky and have lots. If you want more detail on that bypass, let us know. Many have used it.

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