It had been a while since I had a chance to get out for four wheeling fun. We are well into spring and I was itching to get out for my first run of the year. I decided on a nice relaxing run to Green Ridge State Forest in western Maryland. The weather was not supposed to cooperate so I was a bit concerned. Also, I knew that with the winter snow melt and the recent heavy rains I wondered what the water crossings held for us.
For this run, we had quite a large turnout. Guests outnumbered CORE members two to one. We certainly enjoyed the great turn out.
“I could see the water level rising; I heard the bubbling sound of the exhaust under the water.”
The CORE members and guests in on this ride include:
- Mike Vincenty and Donna (CORE), in Mike’s Rubicon (White),
- Alex Hinson (CORE) in his JK Unlimited Rubicon (Blue),
- Gary Owens (CORE) in his Rubicon (also White)
- Mario Ried in Silver JK 2 door,
- Alan Willie and Will Steckman in Silver Chevy Silverado,
- Mark and Frances Mervine in Black Suzuki Samurai,
- Rimantas Sabas in Red Toyota Tacoma,
- Walter Forline in White Land Rover Freelander,
- Manny Sanchez in White Land Rover Discovery
Guests and their vehicles:
The cast of character for this adventure met at the South Mountain rest stop, about 20 miles west of Frederick. By the time I arrived at the meeting are most of the group was already there. We made introductions and waited until 8:45 before we departed. I have to remember that for future runs to Green Ridge, that the South Mountain rest stop will be closed from the end of April 2007 until October 2009.
On our way to Green Ridge we stopped in Flintstone MD. Here we stopped and picked up snacks and gas before hitting the trails. On the way out to Flintstone, Manny was experiencing drivability problems with his Land Rover Discovery. Seems that his vehicle was losing power off idle and under load. We looked under the hood to see if anything was obvious amiss. Everything looked in order. We discussed the situation. In the end, Manny thought that he could continue on the trail run.
We headed to Green Ridge and made our way to the ATV/ORV trail head. At the trail head we stopped to allow for last minute vehicle preparations. We started our run. There was no rain and no overcast skies. The weather was wonderful.
As usual, the trail was sprinkled with watery/mud holes. The trail provides mild rocky patches every once in a while, nothing to challenging, just a nice ride.
After about an hour of driving we arrive at our first rest stop under the power lines. Here folks got out to admire the scenery and relax a bit. We noted that there were a lot of flying gnats. I decided that we would have lunch our lunch at the traditional stop, Banner Overlook about 45 minutes down the trail. I had hoped to have fewer gnats at that location. We pressed on and made our way onto Stafford Road. This is the road/trail that takes you back up to the top of the mountain and brings you to Banner Overlook. At the top you encounter a few more rock patches that present a bit more of challenge, but again fine for stock vehicles.
We arrived at the overlook and stopped for lunch. The overlook area has been clear cut. The large trees are no longer present, and there are no longer any picnic tables available. You have to wonder whose idea that was. Well my hope for fewer gnats/flies did not pan out. There were a lot more. We ate our lunches and got our exercise waving our arms swatting flies. The scenery overlooking the valley was spectacular, not as much haze in the air as there is later in the year.
After lunch we left the Green Ridge trail system and headed in the direction of the water crossings. Along the way we stopped at Log Roll Hill. This is a nice overlook that faces the valley in the east. We could see storm clouds forming in the distance. At about this time the rain started. We quickly got into our vehicles and headed to the Town Creek water crossings.
Our path from Green Ridge State Forest back to Flintstone, takes us over the Town Creek. We cross the creek three times. Interestingly enough by the time we got to the bottom of the valley and to the first water crossing, the rain stopped and the sun was shining beautifully.
The first crossing is a couple of hundred feet across. Being uncertain as to the water depth, I learned on prior runs that if you swing a wide approach to the left as you go across to the other side, that this path takes you through the shallowest part of the creek. The waster was still surprisingly deep, about up to the bumpers on my mildly lifted TJ. After getting across, I watched from the opposite shore as the rest of the group came across with no problems.
We headed for the second crossing. This crossing is a bit longer. I entered the water and carefully plodded along carefully watching the height of the water. I could see the water level rising; I heard the bubbling sound of the exhaust under the water. About at third of the way across was the deepest part. From looking that the pictures it looks like the water level was about up to the bottom of the headlights. Very cool. I watched as the rest of the group came across each with smiles beaming.
We pressed onto the last and final Town Creek crossing. This crossing is probably less than one hundred feet across. Also the water is not as deep as the previous two crossings. Our group waited unit all made it across. We chatted for a bit before heading leisurely back to Flintstone for gas and air.
This officially ended the trip. Another nice day in the woods with old friends and many new ones.
Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Walter Forline, Rimantas Sabas, and Mike Vincenty.