HMBA Trail Information > General Trail Information

Freeze / Thaw is back

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Paul_Arlinghaus:
With lows near 20 the next couple nights, will be starting the Freeze / Thaw season. 

When the ground freezes, the moisture in the ground expands.  When it thaws this moisture cause the dirt to be soft and muddy (even if it hasn't rained in a while).
The trails are easily damaged when they are thawing out.  Please do not ride trails that are muddy from the thaw cycle.
Often you can ride at sun up, while the ground is still frozen.  But get off the trails at the first sign of them thawing out.
On sunny days, it may be possible that the trails will dry out by late afternoon.
Freeze / Thaw is hard to predict, so please have a back up plan (road or gravel), as even our trail Stewards struggle to predict trail conditions during freeze thaw cycles.
Important note.  Because conditions change very quickly, you should get up early to hit frozen trails.  If you sleep in and read reports of the trails being frozen, it is likely too late for you to hit the trails before they melt. 

RomanH:
When is it safe to say that the ground won't be thawing that day? If that's even possible.

Paul_Arlinghaus:
Its is very hard to forecast freeze thaw.  A few degrees colder or warmer than forecasted can have a big impact. Warm ground temperatures and sun light can thaw the ground even below freezing. 

It is also hard to give daily updates from the trail.  If someone rides and sun up and then goes home and posts that the trails are solid, it is likely the trails will be thawed before anyone can react to their posts.
The best bet is to look closely at the hourly forecast. If it is going below freezing over night, then hit the trails in the morning.  The hourly forecast, plus the cloudy vs. sunny forecast can give you a hint as to how long the trails will be frozen. 

Always have a back up plan in case the trails are expectantly thawed out. 

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