excellent post on the conditions. thanks
Johnson's --- Guiding tours all week
Johnson Pass (part of the historic iditarod trail and mail route) is a great place to explore. The trail in to Bench Lake is in good shape (not too bumpy yet).
Before venturing out Keep in mind:
- The trail is a nice established single track leading up through mixed forest, and a snowgower should mostly stick to trail to avoid hazzards.
- Be aware of blind spots in the woods, over terrain, and around tight corners.
- Up the single track trail aways (at mid elevation gain) before reaching the pass you encounter terraced narrow trail above big steep (cliff) drops and a couple foot bridges... two way traffic passes can get a bit technical... be cautious - any mistakes here can be 'very' 'very' costly to both rider and machine.
- There are some slide evident zones enroute on the trail and in the pass.
- Once reaching more open high country... there are some good routine routes as far as creek crossings when you get within reach of the pass. There also exists some seriously bad water hazards, groudspring holes, guts, and rock ledges to avoid!
- Flat light (white on white) can make terrain and hazzards difficult to read.
- Trail courtesy! Keep the trail in good shape for others. Don't go ripping the tracks trenching out the established trail. Save that stuff for in the pass.
Caught a spectacular 360 degree mountain view on Bench lake with the sun setting through the Seward side the eve before yesterday with the group I was guiding. Excellent snow conditions. A true wintertime treat and a good time had by all.
Alaska Snow Safaris
I noticed your skier-avatar and was wondering if you've done any skimobiling in the Johnson pass area... or anywhere else south of Turnagain...? or anyone else reading this post for that matter...
I live in Seward and recently bought a used mountain machine to assist me in my backcountry skiing adventures... I've mountain biked the JP trail before but have yet to go in via snowmachine...
thanks for all the good beta on trail conditions...
Brian i compleatly agree but the trail is not too long so i dont mind just crusing at a slower speed because there are some spots that would be bad news if you were riding too fast and/or lost control. I have not encountered the problem of meeting another rider yet it one of the bad spots but it could be a little situation that would between the riders working together would have to find away to pass each other. I rode placer today and doubt i will be back there for awile. Maybe once there is more snow too fill in all the holes but the riding there does not do it for me. There is the one big valley to the north just before bench lake on the johnson trail i would love to explore more but riding alone i did not want to get up there too far.