Sat, Jun 6 2020 - Sibbald Flats - Novice and Slackers Pace (View Original Event Details)

Event Coordinator(s): Grant P
Participants:Grant P, Jamie, Ian, Prasad Ganesan, Derric

Write Up:
An event of uncertainty.
The weather forecast looked good, then it looked doubtful, then it looked OK again. As we started it was cool and a fair amount of rain had fallen overnight. It was uncertain how much muck we would encounter. We rode down to the bridge to find it wasn't there. No it certainly wasn't there. Seems my memory was uncertain too.

On a hunch I checked out a second trail I wasn't certain was there before, and lo a bridge appeared. So it would seem the old wooden bridge is no more. A victim of the 2013 floods?? I wasn't certain when I had last done the trail... before 2013 it seems. The good part about the new metal bridge spanning a narrow but high rocky ravine is that the persistent water hole in the dip is now bypassed and just a memory (unless you're on a horse maybe, not certain).

We encountered no other trail users except for a couple motor bike riders at the Spruce Woods parking area lookout, and as we returned two hikers came off Cox Hill. So it seems the early start and less popular trail certainly allowed us to remain more isolated. It was nice having the trail to ourselves.

Trail conditions were pretty decent and despite a couple of wet spots, the trail remained relatively dry for most of the length. On the way out shortly after the Tom Snow/Cox Hill -T- intersection, a short rocky section was wet and boggy' yet it had improved by the time we returned. Still mushy but "better". Despite some older chainsaw work in sections, there were other, likely recent, trees across the trail. A saw would remove some but one section would require a full on chainsaw and some time. Fortunately it can all be bypassed or climbed over.

As we left Tom Snow to head over to the Spruce Woods lookout, we discovered new trails and new bridges. Uncertain as to what trail went where the group decided to explore. We did a couple of loops and retraced our tracks until we found another new bridge and an uphill. Nobody knew where it lead, except uphill but we followed it anyway. It had a TransCanada Trail sign and seems to be a very new trail. Once we got up on the ridge the new trail was a little sticky, and clay like but we kept going hoping to connect with the Tom Snow Trail. After riding a ways we figured we were paralleling Tom Snow which although uncertain we thought was across the small valley, and the creek, probably on the next ridge over. So we turned around and retraced our tracks again.

Following yet another trail we were uncertain about and once again more uphill, it would seem this trail is part of the Moose Creek Loop. Not to be confused with the Moose Loop over towards West Bragg. This also seemed to be a new trail section because at the top of some steps, the trail became disturbed duff. As we came out of the trees, I recognized Tom Snow, where we turned north. To the south Tom Snow looks to have been decommissioned. Tom Snow to the south of here always had its wet and boggy challenges and didn't see much travel because of that but it seems trail builders have a new vision. I'm uncertain what the vision is but we owe a debt of thanks for the work they do for our benefit. Of that I'm certain.

As Tom Snow dropped us down to the four-way intersection and familiar terrain we turned back towards the vehicles. We had decided to try some exploring and although I think we all enjoyed it, all the unexpected ups and downs made for some fatigued legs. So back along the Tom Snow trail we were familiar with, including that big hill. We once called this trail Sibbald Flats trail. I'm uncertain of when it became officially known as an extension of Tom Snow.

I'm pleased with our group and we all got along great. I've done some events with some of the group previously but this was a first real MTB trail for Prasad, and for Ian it was his inaugural COC event. Derric actually remembered me from years ago on a shared event, and Jamie I've shared a few events with before. Well done guys and I hope to see all of you again on other events. I certainly enjoyed today.

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