Rawley Springs, GWNF

Several CORE members took a trip to the Rawley Springs area of Goerge Washington National Forest on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2004. It was a damp day but we didn’t let it dampen our enthusiasm. We rode the Kephart Run trail to the rock at the end of the mainline, ran the branch to its end and crossed the highway to over Dry River, circling back to the mudflats around the Salt Shack. We didn’t know at the time that it would be our last chance to run Kephart.

“Another good day in the forest which causes one to wonder whether the Government’s spending on pavement should be reported as wasteful spending.”

Along for the ride were:

  • Keith Holman, BlaZeR2
  • Bob Weaver, Rubicon
  • Dave Dorrin and Four legged friend, Rubicon
  • Ian Kluge, 4Runner
  • and guest, Alan Orlikoski (’98 Jeep Cherokee)

We met at the Wendy’s in Park Ridge Centre and we are more convinced than ever that Wendy’s will never succeed if they have to convert to selling only breakfast. It was almost as if it didn’t occur to them that someone might want food when they stopped in.

Anyways, we headed out I-66 in a spotty rain. As we passed Front Royal, we came upon an accident that was in the median and over on the right shoulder. It was hard to say exactly what had happened but the Toyota minivan on the shoulder appeared to have tangled with the Chevy Avalanch in the median pulling the car hauler with the Jeep on it. It appeared the Jeep had rolled but we couldn’t tell if it was a wheeling accident sometime in the past or the results of something that morning. At any rate, all appeared unhurt, a call on the cell to 911 confirmed that professional help was on the way and we boogied on to I-81 and down to the Sheetz station in Harrisonburg where we were to meet another of our party. While waiting there, we started conversations with a couple of guys in Land Rovers (one a nice Defender 90) and met Alan who had come down in hopes of finding someone to ride with. We obliged. The Rover guys were headed over to Union Springs and coming over the mountain that way. We later saw them on Kephart. (Kudos to Ian for having cards handy and remembering to pass them around.

After deciding that we were all that were going to show, we headed out 33 toward Kephart Run. After pulling off the pavement, we took time to air down and allow folks to disconnect if that suited them. We then took a nice little ride back to the Waterfall Rock. Expecting a few trees down, the trail was surprising clear and clean. It looked like someone had done a recent cleanup run out that way. Before arriving at the rock, we negotiated the usually dry run and around the big tree. Surprisingly, the run was still dry although the light rain made traction a bit unreliable. A couple of spotters came in handy crossing there.

When we reached the rock, we discussed the various paths up and over, including the fact the so-called bypass was seldom done. We each took turns headed up. Bob, Dave, Keith and Alan with Ian watching closely as this was a first trip for him. Ultimately, he decided to pass this time. We had lunch around the firepit at the top and it was time to head down and back the way we had come. The ride back down and to the fork in the trail was pretty much uneventful save for a few rather artful u-turns to get us all headed in the right direction.

When we reached the fork, we headed to the left and went down the little branch trail. Two dry beds provided most of the enterntainment here. Additionally, the first one has a small cross up which can create a few problems for those of us who are not locked. When we got back to pavement, Ian decided to head for home rather than impose too greatly on the Grandmother’s tie as baby sitter so Dad could go play.

The rest of us headed down for the Dry River crossing which took us to the guardrail behind the dam and into the mudflats. A nice wandering ride thorugh the woods which eventually led to us crossing the river one more time before calling it a day.

Bob and I headed west over the mountain to see how things were at Brandywine Campground as part of the purpose for the trip had been to prerun for the S10Extremist.org annual roundup (see http://home.offroad.com/~redwhitenblue).

After the campground, we headed for Luigi’s, an old favorite of ours for pizza and also for the local college crowd.

Another good day in the forest which causes one to wonder whether the Government’s spending on pavement should be reported as wasteful spending.

Happy Trails!

Trail report written by Keith Holman. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman, Bob Weaver, and Ian Kluge.

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