Several members of CORE participated in a volunteer weekend at Green Ridge State Forest (GRSF). Larry arranged a work project with GRSF Manager Mark Beals. Our project for this weekend was left up to the Forest Service crew; we did not find out the assignment until Saturday morning.
The answer to the question “does a bear poo in the woods” was you will too!
• Larry Pope – CORE member
• Fred Granruth – CORE member
• Robert Rixham – CORE member
• Kevin Barnes, Gigi. Tyler & Kelsey – CORE members
• Serguei Sviatyi and Sabastian – Guests
• Andrew & Cherie Taylor – CORE Members and Guests Steve & Lauri
I arrived at Group Site 1 at approximately 2:30 on Friday afternoon. Larry was already set up and was out and about looking for a stake for his canopy. It was a nice warm, sunny afternoon around 60 degrees and the bugs were out in force! I started to erect the “Taj Mahal” and after ingesting a couple of gnats it was time for some OFF DEEP WOODS spray. Five minutes after I finished with the tent, Larry arrived back at the camp site.
If you don’t know, GRSF has only primitive camping, no water, no shelters and no toilet facilities, but the group sites have a porta-potty. Well, guess what? Ours was locked and the park personnel gave Larry the explanation “we changed suppliers and they are the only ones who have keys to unlock and we forgot to call them”. The answer to the question “does a bear poo in the woods” was you will too!
Larry had bought 2 bundles of fire wood from the Exxon station (all they had) and I had 3 bundles left over from the spring volunteer weekend. Kevin advised Larry that he was bringing firewood. Hopefully we would have enough for Friday night. We finished setting up my canopy over the picnic table and put on the sides to protect us from the wind.
Robert, who lives in Parkersburg, WV, arrived after his 3 ½ hour drive around 5:00 pm. Since everything was set up all he had to do was his cot!
Kevin and his crew (wife and kids) arrived before dark. After setting up his trailer and canopy, he unloaded the wood that he brought. It should be enough for Friday night and Saturday morning!
Serguei and his son, Sabastian, arrived next and…he brought 3 bundles of wood! It did not take long for him to set up as they were sleeping in their Jeep.
Last to arrive was Andrew and Cherie along with Steve and Lauri. Usually their gear is contained in the back of the Xterra, with the extra people, Andrew was towing a trailer! Luckily Andrew brought his porta potty and it was erected next to the locked one. After setting up their tents it was time for dinner.
We entertained ourselves around the campfire Friday evening. It was not too cold and the fire was nice.
As anyone who camps knows, you do not sleep late as there are no curtains to close to keep the light out! We started a small fire and everyone had breakfast. About 9:00 am the Forest Service crew arrived and we discussed our work assignment. We were going to clear bush along the access road to campsite 46. We “loaded up and moved em out” and our caravan was on the way at 9:30 am.
Campsite 46 is one of the secluded ones, down an access road and hidden from view. When we arrived, we traveled down the access road to the campsite. A Toyota 4runner and several people were at the campsite. They were happy to see us! Seems like someone either left the lights on in the vehicle or plugged in too many electronics…the result was a discharged battery. The Forest Service crew gave them a boost and they were on their way. One side of the access road had light trees and saplings to the edge of the road and the other was not as badly overgrown. We trimmed back both sides of the road, dragging the brush into “holes” in the tree line wherever we could. The excess we piled into the empty areas around the campsite, but not on the campsite proper. We finished the clearing in a little over an hour due the tremendous turn out of volunteers (13). We headed back to Group Site1 for an early lunch and then for a trail ride.
After lunch we hit the trail. There are no longer any actual “off road” trails located in GRSF but there are plenty of dirt roads and some can be fairly rough (there is even one with a sign that reads “4X4 only”) . Yes, I know, it is not an off road trail; however, it is not pavement either. We did a 63 mile ride, Serguei had an app on his phone which plotted our route (see below).
After our “trail” ride we went to the Exxon station to gather supplies and fire wood. Alas, there was no fire wood to be had. Robert and I with Kevin & crew following drove to the Little Orleans Campground Store and bought a “Double Stack” of firewood for Saturday night (was to be in the 30’s!) After having dinner, the fire was lit. Andrew and Cherie announced that Steve had been sick all day and they were going to break camp and head home. Even though we had a lot of firewood it was getting colder…and colder and colder. Robert began eyeing up the 12” logs that were around the campfire ring for seating. Eventually these logs made it on the fire and we had a roaring fire going. It was cold overnight and the fire still had embers in the morning that were used to get the breakfast fire going. We burned all the wood we had to keep warm while having breakfast
After breakfast we broke camp and were gone by noon.
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Trail report written by Fred Granruth. Pictures courtesy of Fred Granruth and Andrew Taylor. GPS track courtesy of Serguei Sviatyi.