As a precursor to the United Four Wheel Drive Associations’ annual convention at Harrisburg PA, there were trail rides hosted at Paragon Adventrue Park on July 2-4, and a ride at Rausch Creek on Monday July 5 and 6. The CORE group had a small, but dedicated, group of four wheelers represented at Rausch Creek on Monday.
” It was apparent that once you got half way down the decent, there was no turning back…you had to climb your way out the other side.”
The crew for this adventure included:
- Dave Dorin, Rubicon
- Keith Holman, S-10 BlaZeR2
- Mike V and Donna, YJ
We agreed to meet Monday morning at the new Rausch Creek staging area around 7:30 AM. That morning I got up at 4:45 AM and I wondered to myself “what am I doing getting up this early on my day off!” In the end, the wheeling and being with friend made it all worth while.
When we pulled into the Rausch Creek staging area, Keith had already arrived. He had been wheeling the two previous days at Paragon. We were the first group to show up for the United sponsored trail rides. A bit later Dave shows up and we all get our rigs ready for the run. As we get ready we noticed other four wheelers trickling in. Instead of waiting for the formally arranged trail rides to begin we headed out on own since we had the Rausch Creek three vehicle minimum. We “nominated” Dave to lead the group and he graciously accepted.
The plan for the morning was to explore some of the trails on the East side of the park that none of us had been on before. We would explore the West side in after lunch. We also decided to stay on the milder green trails with an occasional venture onto the blue trails. We left the staging area and headed onto trail green A and onto green K. This was an easy ride which brought us to blue U3 (I believe).
Some where on this trail we came across a very large pit filled with water. In had a moderately steep decent to the bottom and a very steep climb out the other side. It was apparent that once you got half way down the decent, there was no turning back…you had to climb your way out the other side. Dave decided to give it a shot. He carefully descended into the pit, eased across the water filled bottom, and quickly powered his way up and out the other side. I did not attempt this obstacle.
Keith took the challenge. He easily made his way down, navigated across the mud/water filled bottom, and then powered his way up the other side. However, his vehicle would not crest the top to get out of the pit. The front wheels made it to the top, but because of the longer wheel base, the mid section of his truck would catch on the ground. He backed down and tried several other lines. All were notable attempts but it was apparent he was not coming out without some assistance. We size up the situation and decided to try strapping him. Dave backed his Rubi up and we attached a strap to the two vehicles. We had to double the strap to so that we ended up with half the strap length. This was necessary as the area of the trail we was too tight for a full length strap. After a couple of failed pulling attempts, and a bit of repositioning, with Dave pulling and Keith working his truck, the BlaZeR2 was free.
After being pulled out Keith said, “that was my last foolish attempt for the day”.
We pressed on through the trail and navigated blue trail L3. We made our way to green trail 1. On this trail we discovered a small but steep hill. It was so narrow at the top that if you climbed up it with your vehicle, even a short wheel based vehicle should high center. Dave decided to give a go anyways. He made it up then down with just a bit of hanging up.
At this point we decided to find our way to the West side of the park. On the way we came across a very large mud pit on Tower Road. We got noted the warning sign posted. The sign indicated that the left side of the pit was 5 feet deep! Needless to say we checked out the right side of the mud pit. However, before crossing, we measured the depth of the mud hole with a large tree branch to make sure that we could indeed make it safely across. We sized up the depth of the pit to be between 8-12″. So, without further hesitation, we all crossed.
As we approached the West side of the park we pulled off on Power Line road, and broke for lunch. Here relaxed, enjoyed the beautiful day, and good company. We also kept a lookout for a wild turkey that was periodically crossing the road and coming in and out of the bushes.
On the West side, we started with green trail J. This brought us to trail 11 then to trail 14. On this trail we found a lot more mud and rocks than there were on the East side. There would be stretches of mud and rocks for several hundred feet, a bit of clearing and more mud and rocks. I know I scrapped a bit on this trail. Also this trail cut left and right quite frequently and had some tight areas. I think we are all a bit surprised that this was a green rated trail.
Still a lot of fun until…my Jeep just stopped running. I just quit and would not start back up. It just cranked and cranked. I started having visions of being towed out of the park and getting a tow for over a 100 miles. I looked it over and saw the carb was getting gas. Then we tested to see if the plugs were getting spark. Nope. Then I remembered I had an old spare electronic ignition module in the back of the Jeep. I dug it out, and while I removed the current module and installed the old module, the others took a break. After a couple of minutes, the new “old” module was in. Sure enough the Jeep started up.
More lessons learned. Save your old parts that are still good and carry them with you on the trail. Carry a wide variety of tools to help with the unexpected repairs. And most important, do not wheel alone.
With the repairs done, we proceeded to head back to the East side of the part, choosing to explore green trail C. We arrived back at the staging area, where our vehicles were prepped for the ride back home. One more item. On the way back down I-81 South, we hit lots of traffic due to long term construction. A quick look at the map showed that off exit 100 was Rt 443. This was a country road that took a Northern route to Harrisburg. We decided to take this way back to head off all of the traffic on I-81. This was a very nice ride, passing through small Pennsylvania towns. Speed limits between 40-50 miles per hour. Definitely worth remembering.
A great day of wheeling with good friends. Defintely worth doing again.
Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman.