Black Friday was quickly approaching and it was my turn to lead an annual CORE event. Instead of the usual shopping spree, CORE has historically headed out on the trails for a day away from the crowds that kick off the beginning of the holiday season. This year I chose to make this run a mild easy run to Green Ridge State Forest in the western part of Maryland near the town of Flintstone.
As the date approached I anxiously checked the weather forecast regularly to see if there was any likelihood of ice for the run. Fortunately the forecast called for a picture perfect day in the low 40’s. Ice and 4wd trails on sides of mountains are not for me.
” It was here that Loc broke out the large CORE banner and organized us into a group photo.”
This year’s participants included:
- Mike Vincenty and Donna Edwards in the white Rubicon (CORE)
- Dave Nichols and Anne in the Land Cruiser (CORE),
- Alex Hinson in the blue grey Jeep JK (CORE),
- Loc Pham in the yellow Rubicon (CORE),
- Gary Owens in the white Rubicon (CORE),
- Paul Lepine in the silver Jeep Unlimited (CORE),
- Chantelle and Christopher Kern in the black Jeep JK (guest),
- John Tompkins and son in the Jeep TJ (guest),
The ride up was uneventful with a quick stop at Sideling Hill to hook up with half of the group and one more stop in Flintstone MD for refueling and snacks. After the quick stop in Flintstone we headed onto route 40 east to get into Green Ridge State Forest and to the ATV/ORV trail head. Some folks in the group air down and disconnected not because of it was necessary but to make the ride more comfortable and to not stress the suspension systems in their vehicles.
The trails in Green Ridge are very easy. There are frequent small hill climbs and descents. Muddy water puddles litter the tails and several creek crossing. Indeed a mild ride. Occasionally a pack of ATVs or motocross trail bikes would pass us. This time these riders were definitely much ruder on the trails than at any other time in the past. I hope that this was an anomaly and not a trend.
We stopped at the usual break spot under the power lines. At this point we had travelled about 4-5 miles of the entire 18 mile loop. It was here that Loc broke out the large CORE banner and organized us into a group photo. A good show of camaraderie – thanks Loc.
After leaving the rest stop and heading down the trail a bit, I noticed on my left that the side of the mountain had been significantly cleared of trees. I remember a conversation with one of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) forest rangers how the state forests are “managed forests.” I presume that these cleared areas in the forest are all part of the DNR forest management plans.
We proceeded along the trail on East Valley Road until it intersected with Stafford Road, at which time we took the left onto Stafford Road. After a lengthy hill climb the trail leveled out and got a bit more interesting. Many more rocks and boulders littered the trail. Again nothing difficult but enough to keep you focused on your driving. The trail continued a several more miles until we reached the traditional lunch spot Banner Overlook. We stopped here, admired the scenery in the valley below, ate our lunches, and enjoyed the company of friends.
After lunch we headed out of the park and proceeded to make our way to the Town Creek water crossings. Before getting to the water crossings we stopped at Log Roll Hill for another break the scenic overlook.
We made our way into the valley and to the edge of Town Creek. Immediately I could see that the water was extremely low. Not surprising since the water level would be the heaviest in the spring after the winter snow melt. On our travels we crossed Town Creek at three designated water crossing locations.
After the third crossing the group discussed continuing to explore other areas nearby. Alex suggested that we check out the old abandoned railroad bridge crossing the Potomac River. This was the bridge that could be seen from Banner Overlook at the lunch spot. Gary also suggested that we take a trip over to Bill’s Place a bar and convenience store in the middle of now where that is apparently a local favorite.
From here Alex took the lead and with the help of his GPS we found the railroad bridge. This bridge is to the east of trail system in Green Ridge State Forest. It crosses the Potomac River and obviously has not been in use for many decades. The group spent probably about one hour exploring the area around and the bridge itself.
Next on the agenda was Bill’s Place. Paul took the lead and got us to the town of Little Orleans. Here was Bill’s Place. According to my research the town population is two. Bill’s Place is a bar, general store and diner. Apparently this log cabin style building is a favorite stop for a cold drink and an excellent meal. None in our group took advantage of the opportunity for the excellent meal. We kind of hung out here for a bit and relaxed before the drive back home.
Another year is quickly coming to a close. This time of year should remind each of us how important family and good friends are. Events such as these make grateful for having both.
Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Alex Hinson and Mike Vincenty.