Casparis Fail, Wolfs Den to the Rescue!

Attendance List:

  • Alex H w/ guest Kevin H – ‘07 Jeep Rubicon
  • Brian M – ‘17 Jeep Rubicon
  • Ken K – ‘03 Jeep Rubicon
  • Ben D – ’14 Toyota 4Runner

Having been almost a year since our last trip to the Casparis Mining area I thought it was due time to revisit this fun place. Picked a random weekend in Aug hoping for good weather and started to rally up the troops. We did indeed pick a fantastic day to go in terms of weather because it was sunny, mid 70’s, and a gentle breeze. I’d love to say we explored new trails, found new challenging spots, and saw the old mines.

However mother nature thought it’d be hilarious to sweep through the Pennsylvania valley with high winds and mini tornados 2 days prior which brought down a lot of trees across the area. We only made it a mile in to find 3 large trees blocking the path. A quick hike up the road revealed several more. We knew it was going to be like that the entire way. With no chainsaw (I forgot rule number 3 of Casparis, never forget a chainsaw) and not being keen on having to tow trees off the trail with a winch all day, it was suggested we head to Wolfs Den park that happens to be sort of on the way back home to the DC area. After a nice drive across the country side of Maryland and passing Deep Creek Lake we arrived at the park. Quick check in with the ranger and we headed off to the Potomac area to try out the blue and black trails. But first, lunch since it was about noon now.

We decided to be a bit adventurous and try out the black trail 2301 and see how it was. Plan was to follow it up to Dodson Overlook and then circle around to connect to 2201. What an amazing trail that turned out to be. While not exactly stock friendly, Ben proved that with a strong will, a good spotter, and sometimes a winch, you can do this trail in a stock truck. There were even spots my Rubicon on 37’s had mild trouble. Maybe I picked a harder than normal line for the challenge, maybe it was just the mud? Or both. The mud added a major challenge to even the simple sections because it was that thick clay which packs into the tread that will turn even the most aggressive mud tires into bald slicks. Would be interesting to try these trails in the snow.

We made it up and past the overlook where we decided to keep going on 2301 all the way around instead of hopping back to the greens on 2305. While this section had less mud, it still had plenty of rocks and pits to navigate. Had a good hill climb section as well. Made it to 2201 mostly intact and the group decided to head towards the slag pile on the way out.

We followed 2201 down and after the black trails these green trails were nothing. Arriving at the slag pile there was some awe of how steep the two hill climbs were. I was thinking of doing one but not sure I’d make it. Ken said he’d done it before and its easy, so I went for it. Its wild to go up something so steep that when you get to the top you see nothing but sky. Coming back down was only slightly nail biting since even in 4lo and 1st gear for that slow crawl you slide a bit on the loose slag. Seeing the ground come at you like a wall makes you tense up as well. It was then that Ken told me he’s never actually done it and wanted someone to try it and see how bad it was. Then I got asked if I wanted to try the even steeper hill, which I declined this trip since it was getting late (also because that 1st one gave me enough thrill for now).

After this we rolled down the blue trail 2105 back to the parking area where we all aired up for the drive home. Chatted a minute about the day and all agreed that the black trails were a lot of fun but definitely needed some lift and mud tires to really enjoy without the fear of breaking something. Ben’s skid plate and axle have new battle scars from conquering this day. Ken learned that just because a Rubicon on 37’s has an issue doesn’t mean you will too. Brian somehow got the most mud on his vehicle between all of us. And I learned I need to fix my sway bar disconnect ASAP so I don’t get hung up on a rock because I’m 3 wheeling it. Despite the setback in the morning we still had a fantastic day with friends. Looking forwards to visiting Wolf Den again soon, and also hoping Casparis gets cleared by forest service so we can actually make that trek next time.

Photo Album: 08/26/23 Casparis-WDR

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Trail report written by Alex Hinson. Photos provided by Ben Dunkerton, Brian Middleton, Alex Hinson, and Ken Kyler. GPS track provided by Ben Dunkerton.

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