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Bluegrouse ServiceKelowna Area
Written by Greg
I was spending the Christmas holidays at a friend's place in the Okanagan. We were relaxing over breakfast, planning out the day. Somebody obviously knew this, as his phone rang and he was told that he had to repair a microwave site on Bluegrouse Mtn, and it was an urgent matter that needed to be dealt with at his earliest convenience. Meaning do it NOW. Due to all the snow, he figured that driving up the mountain would be more effort than it was worth, so he phoned his helicopter pilot. The pilot informed him that the mountain was socked in, and that the forecast called for snow, so there would be no fly-in. Hm, now what? I just happened to have both quads with me, as part of the plan was to get my friend to ride a quad to see if he liked it. He asked, "Can we take the quads?" I replied, "Maybe! Depends on how deep the snow is, and there's only one way to find out. Besides, we have winches!" He said, "Well, even if we can ride halfway up, I can hike the rest of the way." We loaded up the quads while his 10-month old German Shepherd puppy supervised us, with eyes that said "Take me with you!" This would be my friend's second quad ride; the first was yesterday while riding around his property in the snow.
We arrived at the trailhead and unloaded, as the snow started up again. We loaded up his tools, diagnostic gear, and laptop, and away we went. I was leading on the Rincon; he preferred the Outlander as he's fairly tall and felt that the Outlander fit him better. After a short while I was spinning my tires while breaking trail; it was slow going. The Mud Lite XTR's broke through the snow and left a tumbled mess in their wake, while the Maxxis Bighorns just packed the snow down and left a nice Bighorn track in the snow. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it as the trail got steeper; in the summer it's no problem but this darn white stuff was making things slippery. When I finally got my skid plates high-centered on the snow, my friend went around me and continued on up the hill. The additional clearance of the Outlander with 27" Bighorns made a huge difference. Once he was past I was able to continue on, but about 200' from the site I was high-centered once again. I moved the Rincon over so that my tires were straddling one of his tracks, and his track was under the middle of the Rincon. Now I would no longer get high-centered, and I finally arrived at the site, about 45 minutes from when we started.
He entered the site building, diagnosed the problem, and made the necessary repairs. I shot a few photos to keep myself occupied while all this was going on. Once he was done, we headed back down. The trip down only took about 15 minutes! Nice of somebody to break the trail for us. When we arrived back at the trucks, I took the Outlander for boot, my first time riding it and the Bighorns in snow other than on his property. I was very happy with the Bighorns, and will say that they were better in that particular snow than the 26" XTRs.
The last time I was on Bluegrouse was a couple of years ago with the Outback Club of Kelowna, also in the snow. We actually took a different route than this one, and I know there are a lot more places to explore. I'll be back in the summer when more of the mountain is accessable.
We all say "the worst day quadding is better than the best day working", but when you get PAID to go quadding, what more could anyone want?
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