German River Exploratory Run

It had been a while since we’d been offroad, either individually or as a club. There had been some commercial events but not especially to my liking. I got to thinking about places where we used to go but hadn’t in a while. One such place was the German River district of the GWNF. It had been long enough that I couldn’t remember the landmarks but an old GPS file contained a couple of saved landmarks that were labeled as GR.
I decided to give it a shot at finding the old trails and sent out a call for an “exploratory run”. Exploratory runs are kind of code for “I’m not real sure where we’re going and may take a few wrong turns along the way.” Luckily, I was able to find a few members who were willing to take their chances and come along.

Exploratory runs are kind of code for “I’m not real sure where we’re going and may take a few wrong turns along the way.”

Joining that day were:

  • Jeff and Marissa
  • Bill and Kathy
  • Mike V
  • Keith with Dave riding shotgun

The old GPS coordinates started us off in Broadway VA so we met up with everyone there. Following the coordinates took us an indirect route eventually into West Virginia where we drove through the Lost River State Park near Mathias West Virginia. It was a very scenic route and the park looked like it might be worthwhile to check out as a future weekend getaway for camping and just relaxing but there were no ORV opportunities.

We followed the coordinates some more and went further into West Virginia in search of the spot marked GR002 in my old GPS files. We eventually wound up on a dirt road and were driving by a private hunt club. As we passed there, the roads map on my current GPS indicated we had entered into offroad territory. My coordinates had us making a sharp right at that point but there was no sharp right to be seen. The appearances were that the dirt road we were now driving had been fairly recently bulldozed and scraped. Perhaps the intervening years had erased the trail in the name of progress?

We hit pavement again although still on a country road. We found a convenient turnoff to eat lunch, enjoy the scenery and allow the drivers and passengers (including four-leggers) get a nice stretch.

We traveled along beyond that in search of GR003 which we never found either. As we neared that vicinity, we saw lots of road construction for what was to be a multi-lane limited access road, perhaps Route 55 or 259 nearer to Moorefield WV. In this area there were several relatively close GPS landmarks that seemed to be on opposite sides of the construction. We traced one out which landed us pretty close to a relatively new house in their long driveway. A couple of the landmarks seemed to be nearby but still inaccessible.

We noticed the skies clouding up and began to realize that the weather was on its way to turning wet. Jeff and Marissa decided to head for home as they’d left the windows at home. Shortly afterwards, the remainder of us decided to join them. While we stopped for gas, the thunderstorm and accompanying wind hit hard but passed quickly. We headed back on Rt. 55, a limited access highway and were checking the DeLorme’s guide to see if maybe we could find some trails in the GWNF as we passed by. As we passed what should have been turnoffs, we realized that our DeLorme’s was outdated and was showing turns off “old” 55. We headed for the old road but only found a couple of “improved” forest roads.

So we called it a day and headed for home. While the exploration hadn’t been productive trail-wise, it had still had been a good day with good friends as even a bad day on the trail beats a good day at work!

Happy Trails!

Trail report written by Keith Holman. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman.

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