Peters Mill, GWNF

As an extension to the UFWDA 4wd Awareness Clinic for June 21, we decided to take a run to Peters Mill (aka Taskers Gap) Trail near Edinburg VA. Peters Mill is not the most difficult trail in the area but it gave the opportunity to practice and demonstrate many of the things covered in the class. It also has the advantage of being relatively close and has some great scenery along the way. We couldn’t have asked for better weather!

“Michael did find enough mud to ensure that the rental company will know he wasn’t just cruising the mall this weekend.”

Along for the ride:

  • Mike Vincenty and Donna Edwards, 89 YJ, CORE members
  • Bob Weaver, 03 Rubicon, CORE member
  • Paul Woscek and Mandy, 01 S-10 Crew, CORE member
  • Keith Holman, 99 BlaZeR2, CORE member and
  • Our guests,

  • Gary Hallman and daughter Melissa, 02 S-10 Crew
  • Mike Radkowsky, 03 S-10 Blazer (rented and with only 300 miles on it!)

Due to the nearness of the trail, we didn’t meet at the Park Ridge Wendy’s until 9:00. That place seems to do a bit more business then than at 7:00 but considering the length of the wait, it may only appear there are more customers.

We took a little time to introduce ourselves and share a story or two and then loaded up for the trip out I-66. The great weather and the later hour had a few more people sharing the roads, many with canoes and kayaks strapped to the roofs or bicycles strapped to the rear carrier.

We pulled into the Exxon/Subway in Edinburg just before 11:00 for last minute fill-ups and such. At the Taskers Gap ATV parking area, we allowed some time for sway bar disconnects and the usual trailhead chit-chat. At last we were off.

The trail started with a little dust, something those of us in the mid-Atlantic area hadn’t seen much of since, oh was it March?

Despite last year’s significant “maintenance” of the trail, the ruts after the first clearing seem to be on their way to reappearing. Still some possibility for some tricky driving when that section is wet.

We discussed which transfer case settings to use at various spots and reiterated the conclusion from the clinic that a lot depends on the particular vehicle and the driver. In some spots, Gary’s crew cab spun in 2wd where the heavier Blazers or Jeeps did not.

We also talked a bit about the trail blaze markings (painted) and if there was any known significance to the yellow vs. orange. Our conclusion was that much depended on what paint was available at the time. If someone knows different, please pass that information along.

The ledge has been maintained out of existence. The new path there has settled in some so it’s not quite so soft. The major obstacle has always been and remains the big rock. There is some difference in the roadway around it that changes the approaches a bit.

To my chagrin, I found that the tried and true path that always worked with the longer wheelbase 4 door wasn’t the right line today. After three tries, I backed down and moved along for someone else to give it a try. Several declined. Paul gave it a go and the lifted crew had an easy walk of it. Bob’s Rubi also acquitted it quite smartly although the rollback when the clutch is depressed made it look a little harder than some others have made it. There are pictures of both Paul and Bob conquering the obstacle.

We meandered along discussing how softer tires (from airing down) leads to an easier ride as well as its potential for increased traction. The lunch stop came at the pond, as usual, although we actually chose to eat in the shade just beyond it. Mandy lamented the fact that neither Paul nor Julia EVER feed that poor dog but we were good and followed Paul’s request not to feed her.

The remainder of the ride found a few wet spots, most notably in the area where the berms were erected highest to keep folks on the trail. A few splashes but no full-fledged creek crossings. Michael did find enough mud to ensure that the rental company will know he wasn’t just cruising the mall this weekend.

We stopped at the Carrera bridge, erected over the creek just before the campground/ATV parking lot split. Although the intended purpose of a clear running stream was met, one can’t help but wonder why a rock lining or something similar couldn’t have been used to satisfy the environmental concerns as well as recognizing the recreational users.

We saw only two other 4x4s, a Jeep GC and a Samurai on the trail athough there were several of the ATVs and dirt bikes on the trails today. We also saw one set of campers at the first clearing coming in from Taskers Gap.

Six vehicles is a nice sized group by the way. Enough folks to be social and provide entertainment but not so many as to have long waits while trying different obstacles.

As usual with CORE rides, it was a great day with some great people.

Happy Trails! TreadLightly!

Trail report written by Keith Holman. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman, Paul Woscek, Bob Weaver, and Gary Hallman.

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