Rausch Creek Black Friday Run

It has been a tradition now for most of CORE’s 10 plus year existence to do something special on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and busiest day of the year. While 90% of the population heads into the city, the malls, and shopping centers, CORE members and guests head in the opposite direction; away from the hustle and bustle and into the woods for a relaxing and challenging day in the woods with our four wheel drive vehicles and good friends. This year was no exception.

Watching her struggle to get her Jeep up the rock formation made me glad that I was coming down, and would have gravity working for me.

Joining us this year for this annual CORE event were:

  • Bob Weaver, and Dave Dorf in the blue Rubicon TJ
  • Paul Lepine in the blue Rubicon LJ
  • Mike and Donna in the white Rubicon TJ

With only three vehicles in our group, we agreed to get a later start. Instead of the normal 6:30 AM meeting time, we chose a 7:30 AM meeting time in Urbana MD, with a planned arrival time at Rausch Creek Off Road Park (http://www.rauschcreekoffroadpark.org/) around 10 AM. The weather forecast for the day promised to be spectacular, sunny and temperatures in the mid 50’s; a special treat for this trip as the weather on prior CORE Black Friday runs has not been as kind.

We assembled at Rausch Creek and met Dave Dorf CORE club member all the way from Japan. Dave rode shotgun with Bob as it did not seem feasible to ship his four wheel drive vehicle all the way from Japan for this trip; maybe next time.

For those not familiar, Rausch Creek Off Road Park consists of 3,000 acres with over 30+ miles of trails for almost every type of 4×4; from stock to pro rock buggies. The trail system spans four different sections; East property, West, South, and Northeast. All of which vary in types of off roading terrain and obstacles.

The Rausch Creek trail network offers some of easiest 4×4 trails to some of the toughest rock crawling trails in the country. Rausch also has one of the only manmade concrete/all natural rock crawling courses in the country to test your skills from beginners, to pro competition drivers.

On this trip we decided that we would explore the Northeast section of the park. This is the most recently opened section of that park. Our goal was to explore this section with the idea of covering a good portion of the trails especially the greens and blue rated trails. The Northeast section of the park is across the main roadway at the Rausch Creek park entrance. We headed in this direction and started the exploration.

We entered the trail system and turned left on green N1. The N numbered trails are a set of green trails that generally run the perimeter of the Northeast section of the park. We proceeded along N1 and were presented with some hill descents and rocky challenges. What struck us all was that the set of green trails in the Northeast section of the park were more challenging than those in the other section of the park.

We progressed along and took a right turn onto green X2, crossed over X2, and turned right onto X4. Again small rock gardens made these trails interesting and kept us on our toes. These green trails are passable via stock vehicles with spotting required in some areas. From hear we entered our first blue trail by turning left onto 36.

Trail 36 is interesting. You are presented with an uphill climb that presents you through a couple of options; in the middle is a significant rock formation that can only be navigated by the most built up vehicle; off to the right is a challenging “by-pass” that takes you over a series of rocks as you make the uphill ascent; off to the left is a less challenging “by-pass” with a smaller series of rocks. I chose the left trail and requested that Bob spot me through this section none the less. Even on this section of the trail, I could tell that my Jeep and my driving skills were being tested on the rocky terrain. Paul was next in line. He chose the harder right path and climbed this section with no issues. Bob also completed this section of the trail taking the left path.

From here we connected to blue trail 34 and hung a right. Again lots of rock littered the trail. Now we were on a general downhill descent. About three quarters of the way down, we came across another club who was on their way up. The group was congregated around one of their young female drivers who was navigating very steep and tough rocky section. Watching her struggle to get her Jeep up the rock formation made me glad that I was coming down, and would have gravity working for me.

The young driver from the other club eventually climbed up with the assistance of a little power and a spotter guiding her to the correct line. It was our turn to descend, and with Donna spotting us down, we all cleared this section of the trail with no major difficulty.

We departed blue trail via a right on green T2. Here we pulled off the trail and spotted for a lunch next to a nicely running stream.

After lunch we proceeded along to blue 40 which included a nice uphill climb, then onto green T6. Here a side trail called Tip-Top provided Bob and Paul a nice loop downhill and back up. Pressing on the trail turns sharply right onto green T1. We could see several of the black and red rated trails in Devil’s Den off to our left. A quick right onto K and an immediate left put us onto blue 39.

On blue 39, Donna got out to guide us through the trail. Here there was lots of good size boulders that required you keep your wheels on in order to prevent getting hung up. At one point Paul got this Jeep hung up on some rocks. The right rear control arm was hanging on a rock and the rear differential pumpkin was pressed against a rock. We spent the next ten minutes or so stacking rocks behind the right front tire and attempting three of us attempting to push the Jeep backwards. Just when we were about to quick the Jeep tire caught stack of rocks and it pulled back off the hanger and differential. Picking a new line, and Paul was clear of this section.

Also on this trail was a very deep rut that required very us to traverse it very slowly. Spotting was also necessary as there were significant rocks that had to be navigated to prevent getting hung up. This was the last major obstacle on this trail. We left trail 39 and took a right on green trail K to continue exploring the trail network in a southwardly direction.

Green trail K became a blue trail as the terrain descended downhill. Here we met up with green N3 where we took a short right and an immediate left on green R. Trail R brings takes us up hill where I hang a right across the south end of the Roswell trail network and Bob and Paul continue on R to explore the perimeter of R and blue trail 38B and 38A. We hook up along trail R and continue right on to N3 a short bit. Next a left on an unmarked green trail takes us close to the Area 51 trail network were we see a group of vehicles stuck in deep mud attempting to be recovered using tow straps.

From here we took a lazy ride back to the beginning of the trail head hanging a left on green N4 and continuing to N3, K2, K2, N3, a left on X1, and finally a right on N4.

On this trip we covered a lot of trails in the Northeast section of the park. We covered a new section of the park that none in the group had previously visited. The green trails have some nice interesting sections and the blue trails really tests your skills. This trip prepared us all for our next trip to Rausch Creek. Let’s make sure we get back soon!

Photo Album: 11/25/11 Black Friday

Trail report written by Mike Vincenty. Pictures courtesy of Bob Weaver, Paul Lepine, and Dave Dorf.

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