Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Trail Ride – Take Two

The trail report for our last trip to Anthracite hadn’t even been written before the wheels began turning for our return trip to Anthracite. The park had captured our attention and the unexplored second half was calling out to us.

It took a handful of good tries but before you knew it Larry had bounded up the hill. He jumped out of his vehicle yelling, “I know I broke something! I know I broke something!”

    Participants:

  • Andrew Taylor (CORE Member), Cherie Taylor (CORE Member) – Silver Xterra
  • Kevin Barnes (Guest) and Tyler Barnes (Guest) – Silver Land Rover
  • Larry Pope (CORE Member) and Jason (Guest) – Blue Wrangler

The group of vehicles remained almost the same – proof that this new off roading park is well worth the trip. Two weeks earlier our little band of vehicles had spent nearly 18 hours in our vehicles traveling to/from AOAA and riding the trails. But that didn’t stop us from jumping at the opportunity to do it again two weeks later. We had mostly explored the North side of the map – filled with tight trails and mud pits. But we had gotten a taste of the South side of the map and couldn’t wait to explore the rest.

Our meeting points remained the same (please feel free to check out our previous trail report at (July 28, 2014 Trip Report). We got to the park around 9:30am and aired down in the parking lot. While standing around we saw several trucks pull up trailering in large tube buggies. We weren’t sure what they were at Anthracite looking for, but it did give us pause as to what we might find out there on the South side! After the last hissing tire tuckered out we jumped in the vehicles and off we went!

We immediately went straight up the first hill we came to on the right (one of the highlights of our last trip was coming down that hill at the end). Kevin and Andrew were both eager to find one rocky hill that we had explored during the last run so we headed east in search. Immediately we noticed a huge difference in the land on the South side. It’s definitely much more rocky, woody, with a lot of fun obstacles along the way. We concluded that, while a built up rig isn’t 100% necessary for these runs, it’s definitely nice to have one. There are portions of the South side that you definitely wouldn’t want to take a stock vehicle on. We explored the trails close to the Welcome center first, and found a few good off-camber washout areas that provided a bit of excitement. There was one section that was pretty aggressive and Andrew, eager to test his newly built up suspension, wanted to take the hardest line. Larry expressed his doubts but Andrew crawled right over it. After, Larry exclaimed, “Well if the Xterra can do it…” and jumped in his Jeep and made it look easy!

You can never be truly lost when off-roading, but after a while we were beginning to think we would never find that hill we were looking for. And then, there we were – at the bottom of the hill – and boy did it look aggressive! It seemed pretty aggressive when we had come down it last time, but looking up it was a whole new adventure. The rocks were large and the dirt was loose and sandy. After careful consideration (and a quick hike up and down the hill) it was decided that it might not be the best idea for vehicles without lockers to give that one a try. We decided to go explore other trails in the area and then work our way up to the top, and make our way down the hill. That area of trails was fantastic and we spent most of the day playing on them. There were extreme hill climbs, rocks, and even water. At one point we found what those tube buggies were looking for. There was a huge rock garden scaling the side of the hill – providing plenty of room to play. Luckily we were just crossing a path through the middle of it that was pretty tame.

Once we reached the bottom we actually ran into a heavily modified Bronco trying to make his way up the rock garden. Looked like he was having a blast! At the bottom of the hill we found a nice little “play” area with a meshwork of trails to play in. Andrew found himself parked at the bottom of a particularly rough hill filled with big rocks and tree roots – and mud. He said, “eh, why not!” and decided to try to make it up. He immediately got stuck up on a huge root, in between two tight trees, and a tire in sopping wet mud. He carefully maneuvered the vehicle back and forth until he could work up the momentum to jump over the root and up the rest of the way! After, Kevin and Larry pretty much had no choice but to follow. Kevin took a few tries to get over the root, but managed to jump himself over the roots and up to follow Andrew. Then Larry took a stab at it too! It took a handful of good tries but before you knew it Larry had bounded up the hill. He jumped out of his vehicle yelling, “I know I broke something! I know I broke something!” Everybody checked his vehicle up and down and everything looked great. Andrew said, “wasn’t that awesome?” And a huge smile broke out on Larry’s face – “ok, I admit that was fun – but we are not doing that again!”

We had lunch in that area (much more shade on the South side) and even found an old collapsed mine near our lunch spot. Apparently there are still a few left on the property from its days as a mine. After lunch we tried exploring the lower part of the South side – but didn’t find much. There were a lot of tighter trails that we just turned around on – and one section that looked like an access road for future development. After a bit we just decided to return to the “fun” section and play a bit more. We ended up wrapping the day up around 4 so we could all get back on the road a bit earlier than last time. On our way out we stopped by their big mining dragline bucket – affectionately named the “Barryville Bucket” – and took a nice picture with our vehicles parked inside and out! A great ending to a great day!

Some key features we found that were noteworthy this time:

  • Just south of 362 is a pair of washouts, fun for high clearance vehicles, both have a bypass.
  • The area immediately south and southeast of 738 is a rocky playground full of off camber and rocky trails. At a minimum skids and sliders are recommended, high clearance vehicles will have more line options including a rock garden in the area on a long hill.
  • Going from 737 to 742 will have you dropping off a rock ledge, crossing a small rock garden, and then climbing a steep dirt hill
  • Along the trail southeast of 742 are some good shaded lunch spots which easily accommodate a group pulled off on the side as well as a collapsed old mine shaft!
  • Just east of 741 is a trail that connects to 721 (connection not shown on map), this is especially fun taken uphill (from 741 to 721)
Photo Album: 07/12/14 AOAA #2

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Trail Report written by Andrew Taylor. Pictures courtesy of Andrew Taylor, Kevin Barnes, and Larry Pope.

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