November brings about what is becoming another CORE tradition. In the past few years the long holiday weekend stirs up restlessness amongst the 4-wheelers. This year was no exception. A small but dedicated band of 4-wheelers made the annual trek to Tremont PA for the CORE post Thanksgivings Day run.
” Even with lockers engaged, forward progress halted. Now what?”
For this event the following were in attendance:
- Mike Vincenty (CORE president) & Donna Edwards, 05 White Rubicon
- Keith Holman, 01 Chevy Blazer (member)
- Loc Pham, 04 Yellow Rubicon (member)
- Paul Lepine, 06 Silver Unlimited (guest)
The band of early risers met at 6:30 AM for the 2 hour drive to Rausch. On the way up I noted the temperature of 29-32 degrees and admired the frost on the frozen and bare farm fields. Winter will soon be here.
We arrived uneventfully at Rausch and performed the 4×4 ritual of preparing for the day’s adventure by airing down and disconnecting sway bars.
My standard runs to Rausch always begin with running blue trail L3 and U3. This time was no different. We left the staging area and entered L3 at the west most point and made our way back east. Everything was going great. Nobody was hung up, there were decent rocks along the trail, obstacles to climb or avoid. When we got behind the Rausch office, I made a fateful turn left up the hill. In prior runs this hill climb while challenging contained decent size boulders, was doable by my stock Rubi. I thought this time would be no different.
Immediately as I started up the hill I noticed how much more rutted the hill side was and how some of the larger rocks had been kicked loose. I was making good progress until about half way up. I got the Rubi hung up on a rock on the right side. Instead of climbing over the rock, I was only dragging it under the Rubi. Even with lockers engaged, forward progress halted. Now what?
Good spotting by Keith freed me from the rock. But I still couldn’t get decent traction to make my way up the hill. This time more good spotting by Donna, brought me left on the trail, onto solid ground and up the hill. That’s what friends are for (hey, isn’t that a line to a song?).
After I had “cleared” the trail of all loose and difficult boulders, everyone else showed me how easy the hill climb really was. In reality I think it had more to do with their skill in picking a good line (something I failed to do).
The rest of L3 presented no problems for the group. We headed a short distance to U3. This trail presents its set of challenges but nothing anybody has any problems with.
My traditional route takes us Rausch onto blue trail 2. After entering this trail you traveled a short distance where you encounter a very nice rock garden. This garden is well suited for those with built rigs. However, on prior runs I have seen Keith take his stock Blazer through it also. On this run Loc couldn’t pass up the opportunity to flex his Rubi. With his 4″ lift and 33″ meats, Loc had no problems. The rock garden continues for a bit of distance. While the rest of us took the by-passes, Loc handled the rest of the rock garden without problems.
On trail Trail 2 there is also has a nice steep hill climb. Here are the challenges for this climb. There are deep ruts on the way up created from the spinning tires of those who have tried the climb. If you don’t have the ground clearance, the undercarriage of your vehicle will hang up as your tires drop into the ruts. The difficulty is the steep drop off once you clear the top. Once you reach the top, you must stop and immediately left, otherwise you will end up descending down the other side of the hill into the trees.
Loc tried first. With his lifted vehicle, he had no difficult making the climb. He reached the top, and carefully descended down. Paul in the Unlimited tried next. Not having as large of a lift and having a longer wheel-based vehicle made things more difficult. He tried several times, but each time, as the front tires crested the top, the undercarriage of the Unlimited would drag on the hill, preventing forward movement. He gave it a couple of shots, but it wasn’t going to happen.
Now Keith was up for the challenge. His first attempt his Blazer almost made it over, but got stopped by a rock that caught this skid plate. On this second attempt he steered a bit more to the left in an attempt to avoid the ruts (if possible). He powered his way up with this time with no problem.
We finished up trail 2 encountering more rocks along the way. Trail 2 continues up and behind Crawler Ridge. We did a portion of this trail also before heading to our lunch spot.
This year Rausch opened the south end of the park. There exists a green outer trail around this section of the park. Here we stopped at the south side designated spot for lunch and good company. The south section of the park looks like it was heavily used for mining in the past. At the lunch spot an abandoned mine shaft that was closed up and over grown. Remnants of tracks were also evident.
After lunch we took a new blue rated tail to the north side of “Lake Christy”. This trail took us to the near the edge of the lake. We got out and wondered if it could be crossed. While we checked the lake out, three highly lifted vehicles crossed the lake by following the waters edge. Even still the water flowed over the hoods of some of the vehicles. I don’t think I be trying this soon.
Before finishing up trail S, we stopped at the “Quarry” to stretch our legs and check out the sites at this area.
We headed back to the east property. We took green trail back to the Rausch assembly for a relaxing ride at the end of the day. The day ended as we prepared for the journey home. At the assembly area we reconnected our sway bars and aired up. Another CORE Thanksgivings Day run ended. The tradition continues.
Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Loc Pham, Keith Holman, and Paul Lepine.