George Washington National Forest

WHEN: March 11, 2006
WHERE: GWNF outside Harrisonburg VA
WHY: Because a day on the trail is better than a day in the city

“The Weather Man was promising an absolutely scrumptious day with temperatures in the 70’s and nay a cloud in the sky.”

On Saturday morning I awoke early in anticipation of a great day 4-wheeling with CORE in the George Washington National Forest outside of Harrisonburg VA. The Weather Man was promising an absolutely scrumptious day with temperatures in the 70’s and nay a cloud in the sky. Along for the adventure were the following brave souls:

  • Bob Weaver Jeep Rubicon CORE
  • Loc Pham Jeep Wrangler CORE
  • Alex Hinson & Guest S10 Blazer CORE
  • Alex Petrovsky Jeep TJ Guest
  • Gary Owens & Lauren K5 Blazer Guest
  • Bennett and Jennifer Wise Jeep Rubicon Guest

We all met at the Wendys in Manassas. While waiting for everyone to arrive we started discussing what we all wanted to do on this fine day. I was explaining the problems with the trails that I had originally picked and being such a wonderful day I encouraged everyone to go up to Flagpole Knob for lunch and enjoy the view. The last time that I went to a scenic overlook I could only see about 10 feet in all directions as the fog was as thick as pea soup on our last outing that had an overlook. So I was ready for a great view. If we had time after lunch we could then run Second Mountain and Dictum trail. Bennett and Jennifer were the last to arrive and found out the hard way that Wendys in order to make a profit has more than one store in Manassas on 234 and of course they had picked the wrong one.

After some quick introductions, checking out of each others rigs, and a brief driver meeting to discuss the day’s plans we were off on our adventure. So off we went down I-66 and I-81 to the Sheetz. We all got gas and food for the trail at the Sheetz. By 10:30 we were ready to hit the trails. Heading out RT 33 we started the climb up into the GWNF and made the turn to go down to Switzer Dam and lake. At the first stream crossing we stopped to air down (at least a few of us did) and play in the stream. It has been so dry in this area that we had little or no water in the stream crossings today, mostly rock crossings. The forest service has placed gravel on the first part of the trail.

The trail today was a fairly easy climb up to Flagpole Knob with no snow or ice on the trail. Once we reached the top at Flagpole Knob we stopped to enjoy a spectacular view and eat lunch. While here we learned that a few of us had not aired down and were worried about the roughness of the trail. We all descended on these rigs and each of us took a tire and in no time had them down to a more respectable level for the trail. I was again teased about my table and seat at lunch but was still able to enjoy lunch. While we were eating another group came up to share the knob with us that were made up of mostly older Toyota pickups.

After lunch we came back down the Mountain and turned on what I call “Stonehouse” road but the maps call this RT 225. As we approached the stone house ruins we stopped for pictures.

Further down the trail we encountered a slight climb with some loose rocks on the trail. After I made it up I came back to spot for the rest of the group. All made it up and we continued on. The Toyota group did not want to wait for us and they took off around us. We continued on back down the mountain to the paved road and a quick stop at the firehouse. Here on the side of the road we aired up Bennett and Jen and said our goodbyes as they had to get home to deal with children. The rest of the group wanted to continue on to Second Mountain. Only problem was the Forest Service gate was closed on the rt. 33 end. We then went to Mcdorms to get gas and air up and I asked about the gate. They told me that the residents on the entry road going up to the trail did not want the traffic and had complained to the Forest Service. They said that the gate was only open during hunting season. It was getting late and we all decided to drive into Harrisonburg to eat. We ended up at the Bob Evans. You will have to ask Alex about his GPS directions to the restaurant. After dinner we headed for home. I good time was had by all.

Trail report written by Bob Weaver. Pictures courtesy of Alex Hinson, Bennet Wise, and Loc Pham.

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