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Murphy Dome to Tolovana Hot Springs

Posted by on January 6, 2014

An excellent ride. Our fearless leader (Tim) called for a breakfast meet at Sourdough Sams to start the day and it was a good call. I always enjoy their breakfast and it does make for a better start in the mornings.

Everyone motored to Murphy Dome around 9:00 and unloaded for the ride with a few folks running late and showing up close to 10:00. All in all we had 18 sleds leaving the Dome with Tim leading and Tom running drag. The wind hadn’t picked up yet and the ride down the road to the boat landing on the Chatanika was in pretty good shape.


Dunbar Trail to Tolovana

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At the boat landing we stopped for a short break, some picture taking and Tom discovered that he lost the carry box on the back of his sled, hope he found it on the way back. It appeared that someone had groomed the trail and ran a drag on the river which made the next mile nice and smooth to the turn off onto the Dunbar Trail. From here it was still a visible trail but Tim was riding thorough powder on his Bearcat.

We took a couple of short breaks on the way to the Hot Springs and the farther north we went the stronger the wind got. The ride was around 45 mile one way and we crossed a half a dozen lakes and ponds where finding the trail became an interesting endeavor. Tim would stop at the edge of the pond and try to see where the trail started on the other side and then head for it across the ice. We did have one spot where the pond was sort of L shaped and had to do some exploring to find the other side, but heck it was a new ride for most of us and a lot of fun.

It looked like the initial setting of the trail was accomplished by a couple of trappers and we kept passing their sets until we came on one set with Lynx in it. A few folks had to stop for photos. The last 10 miles were probable the most confusing, using our GPS’s we could see that we were following the Dunbar but it sure did twist and turn a lot. Tim almost had us take a secondary trail that went to who knows where, but we convinced him to keep to the track.

It took 4 hours to get the hot springs and by then the wind was really howling, so it was a short break for some photos and quick return back to Murphy Dome. The return ride always seems faster and this one was no exception. Of course it does help that we now had some tracks to follow and knew where to go.

A good ride and Tim did great as ride leader, I think he needs to leads more often. Now maybe next time he’ll get a cabin reserved for us and we can have a place to warm up in. Of course I know he’ll be getting heated grips for his significant other first.

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