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Ophir Creek : Last Call 2021

1174 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  KRob
We had a couple early season storms this year, so the high alpine trails got shut down, but with a little extra effort I was able to get in a few rides including an out and back to Monument Pass between the snows, and a run down Ophir Creek from Mt Rose last night.

I just finished all my pre-winter prep around the house, installed an electric gate opener, so with nothing to do an thoroughly appreciative wife; she hated operating the gate manually, we headed for Tahoe Meadows at the top of Mt Rose Hwy.

Ophir Creek trail splits off the TRT where it heads south to the Flume, the upper part of the trail is pretty mild, mostly XC with few obstacles, but last night it was under snow for the first couple miles, snow depths ranged from a trace to knee deep, fortunately it was pretty firm so I didn't posthole more than a few sections. I was able to ride on snow up to the trail split with the TRT, then it was mostly walking until just before the creek section.

Sky Plant Slope Larch Tree

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Sky Plant Snow Slope Tree

Once I dropped into the creek section the snow had become spotty enough that I was able to keep up my speed and blast the occasional snow drift.

Cloud Sky Plant Plant community Snow

Cloud Water Sky Plant Water resources

Sky Plant Plant community Ecoregion Natural environment

I'd forgotten about the heavy rains we'd received a few weeks ago, so there was considerable erosion damage to the soil base, in places the runnels were more than 6" deep, through the rocky creek bed the erosion had further undermined the base, so it was even more chundery than normal.

Cloud Sky Plant Natural landscape Mountain

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Getting through the creek section and emerging onto Lake View Road, the trail eases up a bit, but erosion damage kept things interesting. The soils were still fairly damp so there was no dust of loose sand to speak of as I left the road and headed back onto the single track. There was at least one hiker who proceeded me with the past week, possibly doing trail maintenance as there were some freshly cut drainage channels on the lower trail above the state park.

Water resources Plant Fluvial landforms of streams Natural landscape Branch

Sky Plant Cloud Natural landscape Larch

It was good riding through the "rock channels" leading into the lower creek section, a few boulders had rolled into the channel so I did some clean up, but overall it was still rideable. When I say rideable, it's not anything remotely easy and is probably an expert level; section as is the upper creek section unless you like to walk.

There was a recent reroute below the creek channels which is pretty nice, but there is still the "hill of pain" that is mostly a walk unless you like to suffer. Heading into Ophir Creek proper, the first crossing with e log bridge was dry, but the creek itself had enough water than I had to hop over on rocks. After the creek it was all rideable into the state park. I usually take the north side (left) route, but the soil was firm enough that I took the south route that winds around the hill and cuts back across the face through sand.

As I was heading down the last trail section into the parking area I heard what sounded like a concert, but turned out to be the weekly meeting of the Sierra Alp Horn Players. It was pretty cool to finish a long ride and to be serenaded by alp horns :)

Plant Tree People in nature Wood Natural landscape

We've got some more snow coming tonight, so it'll probably shut down the alpine riding until Spring.

So long 2021!
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Cool report!
Missed this earlier. Cool adventure. I usually get the frozen drift riding in the late winter/early spring. Must've had some cold temps after the early storm.
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