Middle Fork Road Status Update!
The Middle Fork Road is plowed up to the Mine Creek Day Use Area. This is 0.75 miles past the Granite Creek Connector Trailhead (near the Mailbox Trailhead), and 1.5 miles before the main Granite Creek Trailhead. There's at least a foot of firm snow on the road, so you'd need a special vehicle to make it beyond Mine Creek. Lots of folks were snowshoeing, skiing, or just hiking down the road. It's a lovely road for a walk, once you've left the cars! We skied to the Granite Creek Trailhead, determined the trail would not be fun to ski, enjoyed the view from the bridge, and headed back to enjoy the day's sunshine out of the trees. A few snow cats went past, one with the county, the others I'd guess going to Goldmyer.
A note on parking...
We arrived around 8:30 and got one of the last real parking spots, near where the plowing ended. Leaving was a disaster. It took us almost an hour to drive the mile from where we parked to the Mailbox Peak parking lot (where the congestion finally eased). It seems most folks who arrived after us parked on the road. There are No Parking signs for a reason. There was essentially nowhere to pass other cars on the road, since all the plowed wide spots were filled with parked cars. There was also no place for non-high-clearance vehicles to turn around, meaning most cars had to back all the way out to the Mailbox trailhead. What happened when a train of cars backing out arrived at a train of cars driving in? Everyone sits around for 10 minutes while the folks driving in realize that they need to back up (all while more cars arrive behind them). The road was icy, so folks were understandably very hesitant to pass other cars in reverse. If cars kept driving in, this was going to turn into gridlock with tons of folks trapped, so I'm glad we escaped by 11:15. I'd be curious to hear how things turned out in the afternoon.
Since the last snow (Friday?), someone managed to drive to the Champion Beach day use area, but all that's left is a burned-out Jeep skeleton. Looks like they got a few donuts in before catching on fire. I'm assuming it happened yesterday, since the tracks were fresh and it was still pungent. Let that be a warning to folks trying to drive the road until it's had a chance to melt out substantially (or be plowed)!