Rausch Creek

Again a band of dedicated CORE members headed to Tremont, PA for a run at the Rausch Creek off-road park. Runs to Rausch are always one of my favorites. This time with a “larger” group and great weather it promised to be a good one…it was.

” I heard Loc exclaim, “Juliette! Don’t look down! Just keep going!””

The group for this adventure included:

  • Dave Dorin, 2003 Jeep Rubicon
  • Loc Pham, Jeep TJ
  • Don Lawson, 2003 Jeep Rubicon
  • Steve Backus, Jeep TJ
  • Paul & Juliette Woscek, 2001 S-10
  • Jose Avila, Ali Avellano , 1994 Toyota 4Runner
  • Mike V, 1990 YJ

We agreed to meet Monday morning at the Rausch Creek staging area around 9:30 AM for our adventure. Ok, here are the logistics. We meet Loc, Jose and Ali at Urbana. We met Paul, Juliette, and Don at the Thurmont meeting area. We drove up past Harrisburg where we picked up Dave. And finally, headed up to Rausch to meet Steve. Wow. Talk about coordination.

There was one incident on a couple of miles short of Rausch that knocked Loc’s Jeep out of the run. A few miles from exit 107, Loc’s Jeep starts losing power and had trouble making it up the last major PA hill. We got off the exit and examined the situation and could smell what appeared to be a burning clutch. We proceeded to the Rausch staging to assess the situation. We came to the conclusion that his clutch began slipping and that it would not be wise to stress it any more on the trails. So, his vehicle was not able to participate for this run. That’s ok. Loc can ride with me. So, we all get paid up, have a short driver’s meeting and head out.

I had planned to retrace some of our steps on the February Rausch run. This included running trails L3, U3, and 2 on the East side of the park. If time permitted, I had hoped to make it to the West side of the park for a bit. We left the staging area, took the “Shortcut to A”, which by-the-way, was a bit rocky, and hung a right on to the start of L3. The first part of L3 is rated a green trail. It runs you behind the staging area and soon turns into a blue trail. As you get deeper you get onto this trail you encounter larger and more rocks. This makes for a nice, but not too difficult, challenge. You needed to pay attention. Everyone picked their way through the rocks with no problems.

The trail swung left and presented a very nice hill climb. Each vehicle proceeded up one at a time. This was done to ensure that no one would have problems, in the case they need to back down. I did see a few tires spinning to get up and over a few of the rocks on parts of this climb. It was nice to see Juliette taking the drivers position on this run. BTW, she did a great job getting the S-10 through the trails!

We proceeded deeper into L3 and soon came upon the “bowl” on the left. This is a deep water filled pit that some have descended into and exited from the opposite side. Well, Here was an opportunity for those who dared, to see what they and their vehicles could do. Steve, Don, and of course Paul could not pass up this chance! The drop into the bowl was very steep. On the left middle part was a large boulder about half way down. This was the obstacle of concern. As you dropped into the bowl you had to stay on the right side (as far a possible) so that you would not hang up on the boulder. Each vehicle proceeded very slowly. As they got closer to the bottom, we heard the inevitable “thump” as the rear of the vehicle would smack the boulder. Oh well. That’s part of wheeling. Once at the bottom they were in 1-2 feet of muddy water. Each of them climbed out the opposite side with no problems.

Our group proceeded to U3, also a blue rated trail. On the February Rausch run, this trail was totally snow covered and the snow mostly obscured the size of the boulders that littered this trail. Since this last run, I swear, the boulders looked like they hand multiplied and had grown larger in size! We carefully make our way through this trail without incident.

We then headed off to blue trail 2. Along this trail we came upon a nice rock garden. We all dropped into it and navigated our way through. Spotters where needed to get everyone through so that no one received any damage. Juliette drove through this rock garden with Paul spotting for her.

At one point along this trail, the group came upon a steep hill climb that once you crested, it immediately dropped off the other side. The shorter wheel-based vehicles could climb up the well worn tracks and crest the hill without high-centering. However, when Juliette tried to bring up the S-10 up the same path, the S-10 would high-center and all forward movement would stop. While Juliette was in the heat of wrestling the big S-10 up the hill climb, I heard Loc exclaim, “Juliette! Don’t look down! Just keep going!” Sounds like a good motto for life in general. In any case, with a bit of coaching from Paul and picking a new line, she got the S-10 up and over the hill.

The hungries set in about this time and we took a nice leisurely break for lunch. It turns out that Ali is an avid four-wheel drive fan. He pasted around pictures of some of his runs in his native country of Venezuela. It looks like beautiful country. We all wondered what it would be like for CORE to wheel down there.

After lunch we continued along trail 2 in order to complete its full length. We crossed over trail D and entered the section of this trail that takes you behind Crawler Ridge. I found this section of the trail to be particularly challenging. It was an up hill climb with various turns along the way. Throughout the trail there were pockets of rather large boulders that had to be cross. I for one smacked a few times when I didn’t pick the best line, or I would come off the rocks too quickly.

We came off of 2 and decided to head to green trail 1. This trail would bring up closer to the staging area. We wanted to check out this trail since this trail also has a very large bowl off the side. Dave wanted to try and navigate the bowl with his Rubicon and, if necessary, test out his new 9500 lbs winch. We made and way to the bowl and were disappointed to find that the winter ice storms had knocked many trees into the bowl and the trails that surrounded it. It was impossible of any of us to play in this bowl without some serious chainsaw cleanup.

At this point we decided to head back to the staging area and get ourselves ready for the ride home.

We never made it to the West side of the park. But, that’s ok, something to be covered on our next run. You really need to make it. I’ll be there!

Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Paul Woscek and Loc Pham.

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