Sunday, August 10, 2008

Caribou Lake Trail

I read a newspaper clipping recently about mountain bike trails in the Homer area, and they rated the Caribou Lake Trail as a 2 out of 5 (pretty easy!). This trail takes off of Basargain Road near the Village of Razdolna, so we have passed it many times, but never took the time to check it out. A couple weeks ago we decided that it was time to do it, so penciled it in for today. It is a 4-wheeler highway in the summer, and a snowmobile freeway in the winter. Since we didn't think the kids would be up for a 14 mile mountain bike ride, we decided to 4-wheel it. Good thing we did. We wouldn't have gotten very far biking!

It rained heavily last night, on top of raining a lot all summer, so we were expecting mud, but not quite as much mud as we got! The 7 miles of trail to Caribou Lake could be separated into 3 categories:
  1. Very muddy
  2. Boardwalk
  3. Well packed, nice dirt trail.
If it weren't for all this rain, the trail would have been mostly #3 and a joy to hike, mountain bike or 4-wheel. As it was, the mud was up to a foot deep in most places that wasn't boardwalk. The kids were a little nervous, and though I was mostly (!!) confident in the 4-wheeler's ability to get me through the muck, it took complete concentration and some muscling to keep the machine on the trail.
I would say the boardwalk was maybe 2-3 (??) miles of the 7. The nice, packed trail might have hit 1 mile in some high, well-drained spots. The remaining 3-4 miles was muck!
Since we've moved here we've seen probably hundreds of ATV's being hauled down East End Road to the Caribou Lakes Trail. I have noticed that all of them that are heading back in the direction of Homer have been very muddy! Now we know why. Here's a picture of me after our excursion today. The picture doesn't do justice to how muddy it was!

As for Caribou Lake, we were utterly unimpressed. People talk about it like it is a really incredible place, but it's a medium-sized lake with lily pads growing on one end and a virtual village of cabins surrounding it. The irony is that people go there to "get away", but they are surrounded by neighbors out there! Some of the "cabins" are nicer than many people's homes; other cabins have been in the family for generations so there is a sense of history with it.

It took us a little over an hour to 4-wheel 11 or so miles from our house to Caribou Lake. I will admit that we certainly felt like we were a long ways out--it was a long hour! I actually started to enjoy myself on the way back with the sun shining and despite my forearm cramping from keeping the gas lever pressed. I actually, in a perverse way, look forward to going out there again and exploring some other trails! Next time I'll wear muck boots so the waves of mud don't wash into my hiking boots!


Lorraine said...

The Quad looks muddy but YOU look clean! Tricky!!

Michelle Waclawski said...

Actually, I'm very muddy--even my helmet needed washing, and the insides of my boots (socks) were a muddy mess. It just doesn't show on the picture!

Unknown said...

We use a Gator with tracks. Nice ride all the way

Unknown said...

We use a gator with tracks. Very good traveling the whole way back to the cabin.