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Thread: Pinochle Current Conditions?

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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    Default Pinochle Current Conditions?

    Has anyone ridden Pinochle recently? We're riding it this weekend and just curious, particularly the condition of the hill before Hicks Lake, and any other notable things we might ought to know about the trail? We've ridden Pinochle several times, just need to know if there's anything new we ought to know about and be prepared for. Thanks.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Sorry Dee, I do not have an update for this summer, but last fall the hill was in bad condition. The worst part was 3/4 up the hill I had to jump ruts to keep from high centering. With the wet weather we have received this summer I bet the hill isn't in good shape.

    Would that stop me from riding Pinochle, one of my favorite trails? H E L L NO. The hill is the best part. One of these days I want to make a push to try and ride to Eureka from Pinochle. It looks do-able from the maps i've looked at and I have heard big rigs have successfully made the trip in the past.

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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    Water Gremlin-

    We rode Pinochle on Saturday. Your guess was correct- the trail was in pretty bad shape. The mud holes before the hill were very challenging, the hill going down wasn't too bad, but usually from the bottom of the hill on back it's not too bad. This year it was- there were some pretty huge mudholes, the trail was flooded in many spots, etc. We rode to the airstrip at mile 20 (or maybe 21). We didn't cross the river but it looked like it wouldn't have been a problem.

    I, too, would like to ride from Pinochle to Eureka at some point. Some hunters told us last year that the trail has been wiped out by a landslide, though. Not sure on the accuracy of that, as we didn't go look. I'd also like to ride up through Chitna Pass over to Boulder Creek and out that way some day.

    If you ever do it, let us know. I'm curious what the trail further on back is like.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    We rode quite a ways past the airstrip last fall to an old guide camp then followed a trail that went up and over the hill behind it. Wish I could remember the name of that creek that was below us but I don't know if a person could get a wheeler through there but if you could, yowould probably be able to ride all the way back to Eureka.

    As you past the airstrip and ride along the edge of the mountain there is a cabin on the right hand side that is locked. Does anyone know if that is state land or not? If it is then the cabin should not be locked up. It wasn't posted saying it was private property other wise we wouldn't have rode down to the cabin.

    There's also a drainage that goes east (I believe) from the airstrip that looks like it would take you back in the backcountry towards Eureka but we did not try to get wheelers up there, lots of big rocks up in there.

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    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    Default Chitna Pass or Caribou Creek?

    What would be the best way to connect from Pinochle to Boulder Creek? We've been as far back on Boulder as where the trail splits into Chitna Pass and Caribou Creek. We've been as far back on Pinochle as the airstrip, right across the river from the Chitna Pass and Caribou Creek split. Does anyone here have any experience with either trail? The Chitna Pass route would involve some elevation gain but probably would be doable in July and would connect in about 6 miles. Caribou Creek looks more like a 10-12 mile route but following a valley.

    Would love any input on either route. It's looking like we're going to make an attempt this summer.

    Also- anyone ever done the trail from Pinochle to Eureka? Input on that would be appreciated also.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    its only doable with a horse or your feet, way to tight and theres a set of mini falls you would have to get thru. it is a beautifull hike though.

    pinnicole to eureka has its own challenges all i can say is bring lots of gas, river washouts and snow that wont melt make it so you must detour and sometimes have to back track, eureak to kashwhitna now that is my next adventure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akfj40 View Post
    its only doable with a horse or your feet, way to tight and theres a set of mini falls you would have to get thru. it is a beautifull hike though.
    Is that in reference to Chitna Pass or Caribou Creek?

    Thanks for the add'l info.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    If you havent been up Caribou creek past the airstrip, you've got to do it sometime. There is a whole bunch more neat country up there. The cabin over the edge of the ridge as you climb out of Chitna creek headed up Caribou is part of an active mine claim I think. A couple years ago it wasnt locked and there was a note to that effect inside. Farther up Caribou there is an airstrip and a blue tarp cabin, hang a right past the cabin and go up the mountain, this takes you along Mazuma creek. The trail dropping in to Mazuma is closed with a landslide, but you can still get in. Out is a bit more of a trick though. I was up Mazuma ways on wheelers last year, its pretty rocky, slow going. I've been at the pass between Mazuma and Cardioceras creek on snowmachines, but we didnt go down.

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    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    where is the trail head for pinochle? I was trying to find it this weekend but wasnt really sure?

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    Member Rich_in_AK's Avatar
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    The trailhead for pinochle is at MP 99.5 There is a paved pullout there with a trail leading uphill at the NE corner.

  11. #11

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    Is that in reference to Chitna Pass or Caribou Creek?

    Thanks for the add'l info.
    chitna pass, caribou you run into a waterfall and glass creek is the same

  12. #12
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Can't say to 4-wheelin', but in the winter it is possible to start at Pinochle Creek Trail -> Hicks Creek/Lake -> Divide Creek -> Caribou Creek -> Chitna Pass -> Boulder Creek -> Purinton Creek. It is an all day affair on a snow machine and best done in the spring in good weather when the days are long. When I did it years ago it was dark when we started and dark by the time we finally reached Purinton Creek trail head (old take out at the bridge - not the new one). Great all day ride but be prepared for any kind of trail emergency.
    "Actions speak louder than words - 'nough said"

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