Yes, We survived Isabel and Rausch Creek! Sherrie and I drove up to the Echo Valley Camp Ground Thursday afternoon. The idea was to get there in time to set up camp before the winds and rain from Isabel hit the area. We made it and set up our tent just before things started to deteriorate fast!
The following day we spent exploring the area looking for gas and food as the power went out during the night (and was still out at the campsite when we left Sunday!)
“Yours truly was doing just fine until I followed Dave (yes, that other Dave!) into a large hole. Poooosh!!”
Friday evening saw the arrival of Chad Perry and his son Chris in Chad’s TJ, and Dave Gardner, his son Kenny, and Brett Nease in Dave’s Cherokee. I had met Brett on my last run up to Paragon.
We all ate separately that evening but joined around a campfire until early the next morning.
Saturday, we drove on up to Rausch Creek’s registration area where we met up with Mike Vincenty and Donna Edwards in Mike’s YJ, Dave Dorrin in his new Rubicon, Mike and his son, in Mike’s YJ (I believe), (a friend of Chad’s, I don’t have Mike’s last name yet) along with Dave and his son in another Jeep,(sorry, will get your last name also) and Dereck & Debra Allison in their Rubicon, all from the York, Pa area. —– I think I got everybody.
We divided the group up into a group of 3 jeeps and a group of five. Dave Garder and company, Sherrie and myself and Dave wanted to try some of the park’s harder trails before lunch time. The second group was led by Chad, accompanied by Mike and Donna, Dave Dorrin, Chad’s friend Mike, and Dereck and Debra. Chad will be submitting his own report on his groups’ run (it may be a while as Chad has no electricity!)
Dave Gardner led us all to the park itself where we split up off of the B trail, with Chad and his group taking the #2 trail and Dave Gardner and his group hitting the #4 trail. #4 was interesting with several deep holes and lots of rocks. We made it through with no problem except that Dave (the other Dave, lol) lost a valve stem on his right front tire. It fell victim to a sharp rock. We did have to stop twice and remove trees from the trail, a vivid reminder of Isabel. After coming off of #4 we circled around where we saw another group taking on a section of the #5 trail. A red pickup was not doing so well! We continued around to the pole line right of way and proceeded on it and them onto the B trail again to the #2 trail. We wanted to meet Chad’s group at about 1 pm for lunch and the number #2 would take us there.
Yours truly was doing just fine until I followed Dave (yes, that other Dave!) into a large hole. Poooosh!! So much for my right front tire. It got eaten by a rather small but very sharp stump that was protruding from the right side of the hole. I hadn’t seen it and that as they say was that! I measured the total tear in my tire at close to 15 inches!!
The rest of the #2 trail was uneventful and we met Chad’s group at the intersection of the H and J trails. The lunch break was appreciated by all.
Afterwards, we joined the two groups with Dave Gardner in the lead. Dave (yes that other Dave again!) had to bug out for the day. After showing him a quick way out of the park, We proceeded down the J trail to an area Dave Gardner referred to as the Rock Garden. A strip of very large rocks anywhere from 20 to maybe 40 yards wide and at least several hundred yards long. No, we didn’t attempt to run the rock garden; that would probably take at least 37″ tires and lots of luck! The view, however, was spectacular! After back tracking for just a bit, we spent the next couple of hours on trail # 12, a combination of rocks, wet woodland and mud. We ultimately had to turn around as Dave Gardner had a good bit of trouble getting through one very tricky mud whole, only to find the trail blocked by a number of downed trees. We could probably have gotten around the downed trees or cut them up, but it was getting late and Mike and Donna, and Dave Dorrin were needed to get home at a descent hour. This coupled with the fact that Dave’s lockered Cherokee had had trouble with the mud, we figured this was one trail that would wait for another day.
The group wound its way back to near the entrance of the park, where we wished Mike and Donna and Dave Dorrin a safe trip home. The remainder of the group then headed for #3 lower, where Dave Gardner and I spent the rest of the day trying to get up a steep, rocky section of hillside liberally covered with loose dirt. We both ended up winching ourselves up and out.
Time to head for camp, and Dave led us all out of the park and back to the campground via some back roads. We parted company with Dereck and Debra near the interstate as they needed to get back home.
That evening and the next morning were spent with the usual camping activities taking place; you know, cooking and eating, sitting around the fire, making unscheduled runs to the darker side of the woods. Breaking camp was not as hard as I thought it would be as things had dried out substantially by Sunday morning. Everyone parted company a little before noon, the campground’s checkout time. With Dave and his group, and Mike, Chad’s friend, heading southwards and home.
Chad and I decided to take a 20-minute detour and check out the new Cabela’s located at Pa 61 and I78. This little side trip was almost the highlight of the trip. I’ve never seen such a large display of hunting and outdoor type equipment.
With the store tour out of the way and lunch procured nearby, Chad, Chris, Sherrie and I headed for home, and already planning the next trip to Rausch Creek where we want to take advantage of the park’s on site wilderness camping area.
Trail report written by Gil Campos. Pictures courtesy of Gil Campos.