With the winter of 2005/2006 in full swing, it was time again for CORE members to get out and hit the trail for an easy and relaxing day of wheeling. This would be CORE’s second organized run to Green Ridge State Park in Western MD, since our introduction to these trails by Baltimore Four Wheel Drive (B4W).
“The water crossings were the highlight of the run!”
Participating in this CORE event were:
- Keith Holman, 2001 BlaZeR2, CORE Member
- Alex Hinson & Laura, 1992 Blazer, CORE Member
- Patterson Grant, 2005 Blazer, guest
- Bob Weaver, 2003 Jeep Rubicon, CORE Member
- Dave Dorrin and Amanda, 2003 Jeep Rubicon, CORE Member
- Loc Pham,2005 Jeep Rubicon, CORE Member
- Patrick Rivas, Jeep Grand Cherokee, guest
- Gary Hallman, 1989 Franken Blazer, guest
- Mike Vincenty, 2005 Jeep Rubicon, CORE Member
This was a nice turn out. The day started as an overcast morning, with temperatures at about 50 degrees. This was a far cry from the clear sunny day that was predicted for Saturday. However, not bad for a winter day in February.
Green Ridge State Forest is about 6 miles south of Flintstone Maryland off of I-68. We had two meeting areas to get our group assembled. The first was at the South Mountain rest stop on I-70 West, and the second was at the Sideling Hill Center on I-68 west. We got everyone together and arrived in Flintstone MD at about 10:30 AM. Here we stopped for last minute fuel ups and to pick up snacks/lunch.
From here Keith took over the lead for the actual trail riding portion of the run. Keith kindly agreed to head up the actual trail riding since he was the only one amongst the group that had any semblance of notes for the trails. We headed off onto route 144 east and about 5-6 miles south of Flintstone, turned off to road the enter side roads that would eventually lead to the park. We were working from Keith’s notes, our collective memory, and Bob’s saved GPS waypoints to find the ORV/ATV trail head. Somewhere on the way trying to find the trail head, we ran a short nice trail on the north end of the park.
While working our way to the trail head, Bob calls out on the CB that he heard on the radio the weather forecast called for heavy downpours later in the afternoon. At about that same time someone called out with sightings of lightning.
Before we get to the trail head, Gary calls out on the CB that he has experienced a front CV joint failure on the “Franken Blazer”. This left him without four-wheel drive. Even still, he decided to try the run in only two-wheel drive instead of heading back home.
We entered the trail and started the run. The dirt roads in the park and the trail were of course wet. This caused a light mud spray to coat everyone’s vehicles. Many water and mud puddles covered the trail. With only two wheel-drive and the muddy conditions, the hill climbs made it a difficult time for Gary. Initially he had to be strapped up the hills. Then Keith called over the CB with the suggestion that the vehicles in front of Gary proceed up the hill first. This would allow Gary to get up a bit of momentum (without having to worry about stopping) and hopefully this would be enough to get him up most of the hills. This suggestion helped a lot.
Then within the first mile, Alex calls out over the CB. He too indicated that his four-wheel drive system was failing intermittently. I believe I heard someone say that this must be a “Chevy thing”.
We proceed along nicely, enjoying the ride. Nothing difficult, just a relaxing time. Five and half miles later, we stopped for lunch near the area where the power lines cross over the trail. We broke out our lunches and chowed down. At this time, we see Bob setting up this folding chair and matching TV table tray, with his lunch nicely arranged on the table. The only thing missing was the table cloth and candle.
After a good break, we departed the lunch area. We press on, crossed Mertens Avenue (a dirt road as all of them are in the park) and cross another ATV parking lot/assembly area. We covered three more miles of trail where we turn left onto Stafford Road. This “road” is a trail that takes you up the mountain. It quickly becomes rocky and bumpy. The hill climb is long. You just keep pressing on and going up. The initial one mile portion is the steepest. After that, the hill climb becomes more gradual and smoother.
As we climbed higher up the mountain, the fog became eerily thick. In a matter of a hundred foot or so, you would lose sight of the vehicle in front of you and behind you. Cool! Along the way, we stopped at one of our favorite overlooks to admire the “fog scenery”. Of course today there was nothing to see except the gray mist hanging in the air. On a normally clear day, you can look east for miles into the valley; quite a picturesque site.
From here we proceeded onto Mertens Avenue to make our way out of the park and over to the “Town Creek” crossing. Along the way we stopped at another overlook called “Log Roll Overlook”. Here the view was much more clear. We could see the farms in the valley. Nice. Here Bob provides another weather forecast update. A winter weather advisory was in affect for the evening hours. Possible 3-4 inches of snow possible. Great. What happened to the “clear and sunny” weekend?
We press on and soon reach the creek crossing, or should I say, more like a river crossing. The water level was the highest I have every seen it. The concern was the depth of the water. We discussed the risks of crossing and thought that it could be safely crossed by the group. Keith tried first. He cautiously and slowly dropped into the stream bed. The water submerged about 80% of his tires, reaching close to the bottom of the doors. He pressed across the creek via the most direct route. I followed next. What a thrill. As I drove across the deep water I could see a wave of water forming in front of the Jeep. I slowed down to prevent it from getting any higher, so as not to cause the water to be sucked into the engine air intake.
Next it was Alex and Patrick’s turn to cross. There was some concern that they may have more problems making it across and taking on water. In an adjacent house, the resident was watching us and heard our group discussing strategies for crossing. He opened up the window and shouted a recommendation on where to cross at the shallowest point.
It turned out that instead of taking the most direct/straightest path across, if you navigate a bit down stream, then turn back a bit up stream at the half way point, the water level would be lower. Alex and Patrick followed this recommendation and crossed with no problems. The rest of the group made it across without any problems also. Gary opted to get a ride from Bob since his vehicle’s four-wheel drive was dead.
We cross Town Creek two more times going out, then we turned around and crossed Town Creek three times to get back to where we started. The water crossings were the highlight of the run! At this point it was getting late in the day. We headed north out of the park on Green Ridge Road. We stopped just near the on ramp at exit 62 for I-68. We took a time to reflect on the day’s events and get ourselves ready from the drive home.
How about that. A small band of four-wheelers, enjoying the outdoors on a winter day. The rain stayed away and none of the predicted snow arrived. Another great day with friends.
Hope to see you out on the trails.
Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman, Grant Patterson, Alex Hinson, and Loc Pham.