On a cool and crisp Sunday in March, The CORE 4×4 club was due for its regularly scheduled every other month meeting. It’s an opportunity for the club to get together, and meet and talk about our hobby, and enjoy each other’s company.
- Jendra & Andrew – Jeep JKU
- Zach – Jeep JKU
- Alex – Jeep JKU
- Henry and Kevin – Ford F350
- Javi – Toyota FJ Cruiser
- Steve S – Nissan Frontier
- James – Land Rover LR3
- Jan – Nissan Frontier
- Eric – Ram Rebel
- Wade – Colorado Bison
- Jeff – Land Rover Defender
- Dawn – Toyota 4Runner
- Brian – Jeep JKU
- Jason – Jeep JK
- John – Toyota Tacoma
- Isaiah – Toyota 4Runner
- Kirk – Toyota FJ Cruiser
Given that we were still being cautious about indoor dining, we took the opportunity to plan our meeting around a trail ride, and do both at the same time! Meetings are events which are open to all CORE members and guests, so we wanted to choose a trail which was accessible to all 4×4 vehicles and comfort levels, and decided on the ride up to Flagpole Knob via Dunkle Hollow Road in the George Washington National Forest near the Virginia/West Virginia border.
This ride, starting at Skidmore Fork Lake, travels south up the mountain towards the peak at Flagpole Knob. The club met at the start point at 10:30am, where we aired our tires down, collected ride waivers, and had our drivers meeting. After that, we hit the trail!
It was a beautiful ride up the mountain, very scenic, with a couple of shallow water crossings, and spending a bit of time riding alongside the various creeks in the area.
There’s a couple of somewhat challenging options, all with bypasses, that allow you to flex out a bit, but the majority of the trail can be safely traveled with even mild ground clearance and good quality tires.
Once we got to the top, it was quite blustery, with some very light sleet falling due to the temperature drop and higher altitude. We sought shelter under a large tree, got out our chairs and meeting agendas, and had lunch.
The meeting was great, we talked about some of our recent rides, and the current slate of trail rides on the calendar that have been planned so far. We also had the opportunity to vote in 3 new members into the club, Jason, Javi, and Jan. It’s always a great moment when we are able to grow the club, which is great for participation, as well as more members planning more trail rides! We always look forward to growing our off-road family!
After the meeting, we presented the group with two options to head back down the mountain to wrap up this event. The first was the route up to Reddish Knob, which is a mild option, along the ridgeline connecting the two peaks of Flagpole Knob and Reddish Knob. It ends with a beautiful clear overlook, looking down along the valleys below. The second option was the more challenging Union Springs route, which presents a rocky descent, with some more rutted out paths, and large rocks. This route does not have many bypasses along some of the rock steps. While not extremely challenging, it is a good idea to traverse this route with more ground clearance, and ideally, underbody and rock slider protection.
We decided to break up into two groups, I led the group up to Reddish in my Jeep, and Kirk led the Union group in his FJC. This was the best of all worlds, allowing all members of the group to enjoy the ride at their comfort level. That’s one of the key principles of our club, to ensure that everyone has a great time, and isn’t pressured into doing something they aren’t comfortable with.
The Union group met oncoming off-road traffic on the way back, but outside of that had a great time down the Union path. The Reddish route was beautiful, driving along the ridgeline with the valley dropoff below. Once we got to the overlook, we had a great vista, albeit with clouds rolling in, causing it to be quite windy and cold. Still though, it was a great spot to wrap up the trip.
That marked the end of a great cooler weather trip and meeting. Always a fun time out on the trails, and any excuse to get a bit of mud and dirt under our tires is welcome! Thanks to everyone who made it a great event, and I look forward to getting back out soon!
Trail Report written by Jendra Rambharos. Pictures contributed by Jendra Rambharos, Alex Hinson, Andrew Taylor, Brian M, Steve Schueler, and John Altomare. GPS track provided by Jendra Rambharos.