Here's a fun ski loop in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest that combines a primary snowmobile trail and true backcountry trail breaking. Paul Sirtoli and Carl Anderson and I met at the northern entrance to Powley-Piseco Rd where we found plenty of new snow. The road was freshly groomed for snowmachines, which we expected, but as the only approach to our backcountry stash it would have to be skiied.
With the temperatures around 9 degrees, we skied south for several miles, passing the trailhead for Sand Lake, until little Mud Pond showed through the trees. We bombed down a long wooded hill, traversing as we went over a base of 24" of snow, with a powder layer of about 6". Just perfect.
Finally we were away from the roads and crossed Mud Pond to its south side, clear of the outlet stream. The beauty of this little tour is the open meadows along Mud Pond, and the large open meadows all along the outlet of Mud Pond, all the way to Sand Lake. The meadows can be skied with as little as 18" of snow cover, but we had a solid 24"-28". Only the tallest alders and of course young balsam and hemlocks stood above the snowcover.
No tracks ahead of us, just pristine rolling snow through open meadows, we turned back east toward Sand Lake, two miles away. The outlet of Mud Lake was our guide, but it was hardly discernable in the area due to the snow covering it.
Big spruce, hemlock and balsam line the meadows. We broke out onto Sand Lake, a big gem in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest, and crossed it to a big outcrop with a campsite. No rock showing today, we easily skied up the drifted snow over the outcrop and back down, just for fun. Then we crossed the lake again on an inch of powder over a huge base and found the trail from Sand Lake back to Powley-Piseco Rd
The ski out up the Powley Road was swift, as it was still firm snow and fast on the groomed snowmobile trail. The round trip time for this one was 4 hours, with a short lunch. To explore this area on foot or by Hornbeck in the summer would be a challenge. On skis, it was a pleasure.