Rausch Creek

Forget the parades, the football, the shopping, and the relatives. Do what you really enjoy and are thankful for – wheeling! This year CORE’s “post turkey” run was held at Rausch Creek, near Tremont PA.

” Forget the parades, the football, the shopping, and the relatives. Do what you really enjoy and are thankful for – wheeling!”

For this event, the CORE group included:

  • Mike V and Donna, 1990 Jeep YJ
  • Dave Dorrin and Taz (pet dog), 2003 Jeep Rubicon
  • Mike Kupec and Jennifer, 1996 Geo Tracker
  • Deb Kupec, Carolyn, Patricia, and Merlin (pet dog), 1996 Geo Tracker
  • Bruce Copping, Jeep TJ

Yes that is not a typo. There were two, count them, two Geo Trackers joining us for this run. In the past, we have wheeled with custom built monsters with 12″ lift and 40″ tires. This time the adventure will be with bone stock Geo Trackers with 205x75x14 tires! Yep a first.
Bruce and the Kupec’s met us at the Urbana Exxon for the ride to Rausch Creek. This uneventful drive took about two hours from Frederick. We arrived at the park a bit after 9AM and hooked up with Dave. We prepped our vehicles, and quickly formulated which trails we would hit. The plan was to run mostly green trails and take a peek at a blue trail to see if it would be doable by the Trackers. With that in mind I led the group from the staging area. As we left I’m sure we got some strange looks.

Soon we were upon the second entrance to green trail L3. Mike K scouted ahead with the red Tracker to see how it would do and to take a look at the start of the blue portion of the trail. I followed with the rest of the group in tow. When we got to the blue section it was obvious from the rough terrain and size of the rocks throughout the trail that the Trackers would not be able navigate through. It was agreed that I would take the Wranglers through the blue section of the trail and the Trackers would double back and complete the other half of green L3. We would meet where L3 emerges on to trail A.

Blue L3 had some nice rocks that you had to climb over. After a left turn a nice rocky hill climb was the next order of business. Here you start the climb and keep going without stopping until you reached the top. Lots of fun. This was no trouble for the Wranglers. L3 leveled out and included a few more decent size rock obstacles to climb over.

We made our way to green K, onto A, turned left and found Mike and Deb emerging from green L3 onto A. The section of the trail that they were emerging from is known as the “shortcut to A”. Mike indicated that this section of green L3 presented a challenge for the Trackers since it was an up hill climb over a rocky terrain. They made it through a bit frazzled but fortunately with no damage.

This experience told us that the remainder of the day we would need to run green rated trails. We regrouped and made our way to green trail 1. We proceeded from trails A to F to B. These are basically dirt roads. Soon we were at the entrance to trail 1.

Rocks that Wranglers would normally drive over or straddle, for the Trackers required that we carefully “spot” them over due to their much lower ground clearance. Needless to say we all got lots of experience trying our spotting skills.

Trail 1 is very level with no hills. Throughout this trail are many clusters of rock gardens comprised of smaller rocks. It was these areas that presented the challenges for the Trackers. When one of these areas needed to be crossed, we would size up with situation and pick a line through it. We spotted Mike K through, and Deb would follow. Depending on how much scraping we heard from Mike’s Tracker, we would adjust the path for Deb appropriately. Hopefully there was not too much scraping.

Not far off the entrance to trail 1 is a very large and deep ravine. Entering into this ravine would require that you descend down a rutted path laced with a few large boulders. Dave considered taking his Rubicon down the ravine but we were not sure that getting back up would be very easy. We took a short walk to the other side that initially looked like it might offer an easier way out. Upon investigation we found that not only was the climb back out steeper, but the up hill climb was very rutted out. Dave decided that trying the ravine would wait for another time.

We emerged from trail 1 onto Tower Road near the 5 foot deep mud pit. We turned left onto Tower Road. Tower Road was muddy with a couple of large standing water/mud pools that needed to be crossed. We turned right to get back into trail 1 on the other side of Tower Road. It was in this section of trail 1 that the red Tracker encountered it first mild carnage. A small piece of the body side molding was ripped off when it got caught on a rock while attempting to cross over it. Also, it was here where a tree stump had to be cut a lower to the ground to allow the Tracker to get over it. I broke out the hand saw and Bruce and I took turns until we got it cut down.

Soon after crossing blue trail 2, we stopped for lunch. After lunch, we decided to explore a bit of the West side of the park. So we took the short cut to trail D proceeded onto trail E and hung a left on trail H. Trail E and H are dirt roads, presenting no problems for anybody. Off of H we turned right into trail 11 and stopped a while to walk over to “Rock Creek” and play on the rather large boulders in this area. The conclusion of the group was the Dana 60’s and 38″ tires would be required to play in this area. What do you say Gil?

We check the time and decided that we should be heading back to the staging area so as not to get caught in the park without daylight. We headed back via H, to E, then to B. Trail B had a surprising number of good size mud and standing water pools to be crossed. At one point while waiting for the rest of the group to catch up, Deb got on the CB and volunteered to go back up the trail and splash through the mud puddles to see what us holding them up. I think that Deb was really enjoying the mud. So it not just guys that like playing in the mud!

When we go to the bottom of A, we took L3 back to the staging area. This is the same trail that the Trackers ran in the morning with some difficulty. We took our time and spotted them through the rocky areas. Every one got through unscathed.

After getting back to the staging area, I swear I heard Mike K discussing with Deb the merits of getting a 3″ lift and 31″ tires for the Trackers.

As always, wheeling at Rausch Creek is ways a great experience. The park has lots of variety from easy to hard. Most of the difficult obstacles have by-passes. I always enjoy coming to Rausch Creek for wheeling.

On the way back down I-81 South, we hit lots of traffic due to long term construction. On prior Rausch Creek trips we learned that we can get off of I-81 at exit 100 onto Rt 443. Rt 443 is country road that takes a Northern route to Harrisburg. We decided to take this way back to head off all of the traffic on I-81. This was a very nice ride, passing through small Pennsylvania towns. Speed limits between 40-50 miles per hour. Definitely worth remembering.

Another great day of wheeling with good friends. And you always knew that wheeling was a great Thanksgiving Day tradition.

Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Bruce Copping.

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