It had been over two months since a CORE sponsored trail ride; so a ride was planned for GRSF. There are no longer any actual “off road” trails located on the forest but there are plenty of dirt roads and some can be fairly rough. Yes I know, it is not a trail per se that has ratings by color or numbers, however, it is not pavement either.
Those black dots down in the valley aren’t rocks…
- Robert Rixham (CORE Member) and Shelley Fitch (Guest) – Silver 4Runner
- Fred Granruth (CORE Member) – Rode with Larry
- Larry Pope (CORE Member) – Blue Wrangler
- Rich and Melissa Magill (Guests) – White Tacoma
I had established two meeting locations for this trip; South Mountain Rest Area on west bound I70 and the Exxon station at exit 68 off west bound I68. Those who said they would be participating showed at the rest area around 8:00 a.m. We waited a while to see if someone else at the last minute decided to go along might show up. Fred jumped into the Jeep with me and we proceeded to the second meeting spot at the Exxon and upon arrival found no others who might be participants. Those needing to top off fuel tanks and grab some grub for the day did so. I pulled out the forest map and explained the plan for the day. The weather forecast looked favorable for the day and we were not disappointed. Temperature hovered around 62 to 64 all day with a mostly clear sky.
Green Ridge is a 46,000 acre forest consisting of oak, hickory, white pine, persimmon, and paw-paw trees. The forest is located in the Ridge and Valley Province of Maryland. Its narrow ridges and stream valleys reveal steep elevation changes. The look of Green Ridge has changed over the centuries of human use and misuse. At one time according to the forest service hardly a tree stood there. In 1931 when the Maryland State Department of Forestry acquired portions of the forest it was in dire need of help. The iron ore and timber exploitation in the early 1800s and the transformation into an apple orchard a half-century later took their toll on the forest. Today you can find scenic views of wild areas that are home to wildlife such as white-tail deer, turkey, black bears, and bald eagles. There are several overlooks located throughout the forest providing outstanding vistas of the Potomac River and numerous valleys.
Visiting the aforementioned overlooks was part of the plan I had put together for the day. We would start out at the Town Hill overlook and finish the overlook tour at Log Roll Overlook. More to come about Log Roll Overlook. When leaving Town Hill the group took Tower Road to hook up with Mountain Road. This area is in the northern portion of the forest and we would be travelling to the southern end and then back north. Pretty much a large loop. That loop would constitute a total of 53 and half miles.
After running on Mountain Road we eventually made our way onto Orleans Road with a stop at Fifteen Mile Creek Camp Ground. This is where Fifteen Mike Creek empties into the Potomac River. The levels of both bodies of water was very high. The caravan continued on our way to Oldtown Orleans Road; we then merged onto Carroll Road to our second overlook. Point Lookout overlook has a great view of the Potomac running through the valley below. We continued south on Carroll Road passing the old Carroll Stream powered sawmill (circ. 1836) next to group campsite #6. This route took us to Kasecamp Road (loop) where we stopped at Bonds Landing. Here again was an opportunity to take pictures of the Potomac and surrounding area. We travelled a few more miles south, taking Kirk Road, finally reaching our third overlook at Log Roll Overlook on Green Ridge Road.
Log Roll has a fabulous view of the valley below where Town Creek runs through. This would be our lunch stop since the overlook has a picnic table and everyone was getting hungry. The only drawback to this overlook is the wind. I had forgotten how windy it could be since the overlook is on the west side of the hill. The wind can really whip up the face of the hill from the valley below. We had a couple hurricane force winds come through while we were sitting there. As we were eating and conversing about different subjects Rich had a revelation. Those black dots down in the valley aren’t rocks, they’re cows because they’re moving. Refer to the photo album to see the rocks, uh cows. You know where this is going, right? We could not help but kid Rich about it. Those aren’t cows Rich, they’re “moo-ving rocks”. I pointed out over the CB to Rich a couple more times during the day of other “moo-ving rocks”, or as Fred would call them “standing rocks”.
After lunch we headed north as our journey continued. The road ahead led us to Gordon Road, then to May and Twigg Roads. I did notice a new sign put up by the forest service as we merged onto Twigg Road off May. There is a new post with a 4×4 sign attached at the top. I don’t know what is in store for this particular road now. The road is very rough and washed out badly and you have to pick your line carefully. The road was identified for upgrade so may be that has changed, we’ll see. We proceeded on and kept heading in a north to northeasterly direction. The group made a right onto Sugar Bottom Road and eventually made a left onto Fifteen Mile Creek Road. This led us back to I68 and the way home. I did not take us to Town Creek because the water levels were extremely high and I wasn’t willing to take any chances. We all stopped at the east bound rest area on I70 and said our goodbyes. Fred climbed in with Robert and Shelley for his ride home.
As I stated earlier it was not a trip filled with moderate or hardcore off road adventure. It was fun and I believe everyone who participated would agree. A lot of pictures were taken, see album, and we all got to see some “moo-ving rocks”. When travelling around the country side keep your eyes open, you too may see some cows, uh rocks.
Trail report written by Larry Pope. Pictures courtesy of Larry Pope, Shelley Fitch, and Melissa Magill.