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Pott's Mountain and surrounding VA/WV areas

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by cynicalrider, May 16, 2018.

  1. May 16, 2018 at 1:20 PM
    #1
    cynicalrider

    cynicalrider [OP] #NFG

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    So not long after I got back from Moab, I heard in January that @Wheelspinner was planning to do the Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail as featured by the Outbound Overland guys. I saw this loop and some of the badass water crossings and knew I wanted in. The problem was that not too long after I was all set to go on this trip and planning had started, I found out that we had a wedding during the same weekend of the trip for very close friends of ours.

    With that in mind, I needed to switch gears and started planning a different trip but still in Virginia. I found out that the Big Dog's Ice Breakers event was at the end of April, so I based everything around wheeling in Gore, VA for that event. From there I knew Pott's Mountain was a trail I have always wanted to run as well. So I made a plan, book it down to the Pott's Mountain trailhead, run Pott's and then catch the very bottom of the Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail (going to call this ASOT for short) and follow that all the way up to Gore, VA and end there for the Big Dog's event. After I got this idea in my head I started trying to find someone who would want to do this with me. If it was only the ASOT I would be totally fine running it solo, but Pott's Mountain was supposed to be one of the hardest trails in Virginia that was not in an offroad park.

    After mentioning it to @Rockbaron1 on a trip to AOAA in March, and discussing it around the camp fire, he said he was in and we were a go.

    Being from Jersey there is not many things we can enjoy for free. One is any sort of primitive camping for free, or legal for that matter, and the other is legal wheeling trails. Because of these facts, and how I had to drive 30+ hours to do all of that in Moab, it was cool to see that I can do it with only a 6+ hour drive.

    Thankfully since Moab was relatively recent and I made the full 5000 miles or so with no major damage, I did not need AS MUCH prep to get ready for this trip. Aside from fixing the skids, installing the winch and rock lights, most of my prep was standard pre-trip maintenance checks. Finally, the truck was ready and packed before I went to work that day, ready to just be driven out of the garage once I get home from work.

    [​IMG]IMG_0138 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    He and I both left on Tuesday afternoon and were heading here as our meeting location:

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/gwj/recreation/horseriding-camping/recarea/?recid=73987&actid=43

    I ended up catching up to Pat where him and his girlfriend Heather had stopped for some BBQ near the highway, about 45 minutes out from the campground. I was warned ahead of time that there was absolutely no cell service near Pott's Mountain, so I was thankful that I bought my Garmin inReach for this trip as well. We got off the last major highway, topped off our fuel and started following the route to the camp site.

    We were in and out of rain on the entire drive down and the roads off the major highway were extremely tight and windy. The fog was also intermittent and I was learning where my lightbar can help myself and hurt myself when it came to visibility. If it was deeply wooded and dark roads the light bar was amazing but the moment we hit an open field, it was almost useless. I realized I really need to build my glare shield and get spots back on my truck again.

    We arrived at the campground at around 10 PM, chose a camp site and setup. Thankfully the rain held out long enough to let us setup, eat some food and build a half hearted fire. We hung out for another hour discussing our expectations for the infamous Pott's Mountain Jeep Trail and retired for the night when the rain rolled back in.

    The next morning we were able to see what the campground looked like and how nice it actual was for a free national forest ground. All the sites were level, had fire rings, and even a place to hang your food off the ground to keep the critters away.

    I took my time taking photos of our setups, rigs and the campground (mostly playing with my new camera my wife had just bought me for my birthday (Thanks baby! <3)) and for research for the rest of the NJ crew in case they want to come down and run this trail too.

    [​IMG]IMG_0141 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0143 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0150 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0154 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0153 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0157 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    After having a sad breakfast of cereal and milk in the tent because of more rain, we hurriedly packed up and drove 2 miles up the road to the trail head.

    We got to the trailhead and aired down.

    [​IMG]IMG_0160 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0161 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0198 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    We knew we were in for a slick and sloppy day with all the rain. We weren't concerned though, both of us are on 35's, full armor and double locked, though Pat is 3-link front with LC axles front and rear and I am still on IFS. We'll see how much of a difference that makes later on in the trail. :rofl:

    There was a small creek crossing at the very entrance of the trail. I have no photos of it but have some videos of it that will come later.

    From there it was a pretty steep climb with several dug out areas fro drainage. For a while it was nothing challenging at all, and I was starting to worry I drove 5 hours for no reason. Eventually we came across the first 2 "muddy" obstacles both of which had bypasses. I wasn't trying to fuck around in some sloppy shit, but Pat was glad to try it lol

    [​IMG]IMG_0164 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0165 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    More videos of those and some other obstacles coming as well.

    The forest looked cool in it's current state. It was still early spring, so no greenery, and all the rain brought a very dense fog into the forest.


    [​IMG]IMG_0169 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Then we came across the next obstacle, which was nothing exciting really going up, but i found out going down was much harder.

    [​IMG]IMG_0171 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0170 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0172 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0173 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    That's when I learned that the obstacles on this trail are very directional. Some (like the first one) is much harder going down, because it's off camber and want's to through your bed into the rock that is jutting out on the right.

    [​IMG]IMG_0175 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Some people said that the way we ran it is the "hard way" but realistically from what we saw from all the obstacles, this trail can be fun and challenging both ways.

    From there, Pat ended up in front of me and started leading:

    [​IMG]IMG_0178 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    We came across another big section with a ton of rocks, and quite possibly the only tough spot that has no bypass to get through this obstacle. We went down and around into the main part of the trail where all the big rocks were, and found this obstacle, essentially a 4-5 foot rock wall that you need to climb up and go to the left to complete.

    [​IMG]IMG_0181 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    The problem is that in order to realistically climb this wall, you need to hit it almost straight on to not roll, and we were just too damn long to make that happen. Pat started climbing it and then backed off, neither one of us wanted to recover a rolled rig that day.

    This is when Pat kept going through the rest of the section that had no bypass whatsoever. He took the right side, which I think we both agree would be the hardest line to get through it, and after all this was the first damn challenge we had all day!

    [​IMG]IMG_0182 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0183 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0184 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0185 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    The slick rocks and mud was not helping at all, and even with both axles locked, it took some skinny pedal and smashing to get through the section and up over the ledge.

    Next was my turn, and not to be out done, I went for the right side as well.

    [​IMG]IMG_0188 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    No photos of me getting through, but I believe I was ultimately forced left due to my lack of suspension travel. It was definitely tough to hook up on the wet rocks.

    This is the only section that did not have a bypass, and for that reason, I believe this trail would be tough for someone without double lockers, but easily doable with a winch or a buddy for a tug. Or lot's of rock stacking. You know, the usual stuff.

    From there we passed the big field most people camp at and one of the first clearings that let's us see the views:

    [​IMG]IMG_0192 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0197 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Then we came across our second set of obstacles, one of which Pat said fuck it to and drove right up and over this big ledge:

    [​IMG]IMG_0199 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0200 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0201 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0202 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0203 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0205 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    And in the process left his marks on the rocks.

    [​IMG]IMG_0206 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    After seeing that, I decided to go left away from the big ledge he just got over.

    [​IMG]IMG_0210 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    I still had a weekend of wheeling Big Dog's ahead of me and didn't want to potentially pretzel my drive shaft already and need to put the spare on.

    It was around this time that I realized how very different wheeling Moab was compared to it is back East. I climbed undercut ledges 3 times this size in Moab, and walls that basically went straight up. Dry slick rock let's you feel like you defy the laws of gravity and physics, meanwhile you end up getting tripped up by a foot and a half wet ledge on the east coast.

    From there we marched onwards towards the big overlook point which was our planned lunch stop.

    [​IMG]IMG_0211 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0212 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0213 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0216 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0218 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0220 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Then we came to the last big obstacle before the overlook and it was a pain in the ass.

    [​IMG]IMG_0224 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    It was dug out all around the massive boulder on the left side of the photo above, and the only way up is trying to hug the right side as close to that tree as possible.

    Pat needed minor rock stacking to get through it, but got through it relatively quickly. In order for me to get through, I needed a bunch of rocks, and I kept kicking them out. I really would have liked a crawl box at that point because even at the slowest speed they would kick out so easily, and it took a ton of clutch riding to make it happen. I was annoyed at myself for it to be as hard as it was to get up it, and I really wished I had more suspension travel. I finally made it through it without winching which I was happy about, but I was frustrated and feeling defeated anyway.

    Finally we reached the top where we stopped to have lunch. Pat and Heather quickly made a hot lunch under this massive rock:

    IMG_0063.jpg

    While I retreated to my truck as a downpour rolled in right as we started lunch. I had service for the first time in 16 hours and texted my wife a bit to let her know how the day was progressing. Finally the rain stopped but the view was covered in foggy clouds.

    [​IMG]IMG_0225 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0226 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0227 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Literally as I stood there watching, within 20 minutes or so, the wind carried all the fog away revealing some amazing views.

    [​IMG]IMG_0230 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0231 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0232 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0234 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0236 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0237 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0238 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0240 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0241 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0244 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0246 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0247 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0248 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0250 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0253 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0254 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    We pressed on and continued down some really really fun ledges that I can imagine would be tough as fuck going the other way around.

    And this is where we saw the differences in 3-link vs IFS flex:

    [​IMG]IMG_0258 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0260 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0261 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0263 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_0265 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0267 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0268 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0269 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0270 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    After that section we came across another very very steep down section. One way was basically a 2-3 ft straight down drop, but almost no way to get a solid approach angle without it feeling sketchy. The other was a pretty steep off camber drop that wants to send you into a tree. It was so steep that when Pat came down it, his front bumper was digging into the rock below. With some spotting, he came down unscathed though. After seeing that, I decided to tuck tail and take the bypass. I know my limits, and I was still feeling pretty defeated from the obstacle before lunch.

    Right after that obstacle though was this obstacle:

    IMG_0075 2.jpg

    where you basically had to use your slider as a pivot point as you climbed. I saw Pat go up and definitely wanted to try it. I took it a little wider to the right so i didn't have to climb the face as much, but I was able to pivot my way up the rock. I was so damn stoked, and completely forgot that defeated feeling from before. This was a gnarly obstacle and I was so happy to make it up it.

    After that we came to a poser style rock I have seen in many of the pictures and videos of Pott's Mountain, as well as some other rocks that I feel need a caged buggy to crawl. That didn't stop Pat from getting his front wheels up on it though.

    [​IMG]IMG_0274 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0275 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0276 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0277 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0280 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    After that we both went up and over the poser rock, which was pretty fun. Vid's to come of that.

    [​IMG]IMG_0281 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0282 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0283 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0286 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0287 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Right after that was a really really tight section with a bunch of large rocks. This section was tighter than the trails at AOAA I feel with even larger rocks. I ended up just barely tagging my bedside here.

    With that the exit was just forest roads, much like how the entrance was. We came to the end and decided we would just go back to where we camped the night before since it was already late. When browsing my Gaia topo maps, I saw something that said "Campsite" right along the road we were traveling, and sure enough we found a fire ring.

    Sadly though, those who have used the camp site before us left a mess. Between at least a 30 pack of empties, plastic bags, and a cracked 5 gal bucket, it was a little messy. I collected all the garbage to be disposed of at the next opportunity. Apparently some don't realize how lucky they are to have free primitive camping still.

    I was so happy we got to camp before dark and the sun was kind of out for the first time in two days. We setup our tents and easy ups and got going on the fire. With all the rain and wet wood, it was a bear to start. It easily took a good hour to get the fire going unattended, what a pain.

    [​IMG]IMG_0294 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    But finally it was going and we could cook in peace. I cooked some beef tacos, and enjoyed the last cigar I had in the box my wife got me for my birthday the previous year. It was my reward to myself for successfully completing Pott's Mountain.

    [​IMG]IMG_0290 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0291 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0295 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0297 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0299 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    As it got darker I took the opportunity to test out my low light photography skills.

    [​IMG]IMG_0305 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0307 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0309 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0311 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0317 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    I also liked how tucked off the main road this site was.


    [​IMG]IMG_0315
    by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0316 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    And then when it got really dark I whipped out the tripod for some longer exposure shots and some light painting:

    [​IMG]IMG_0323 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0325 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0326 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0329 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0330 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0331 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0332 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0334 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0335 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0336 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0337 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    These were with really long exposures... It doesn't even look like night anymore and it was like 10:30 PM.

    [​IMG]IMG_0339 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0341 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0342 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0343 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    After that we discussed the plans for the rest of the trip before retiring for the night. As tempting as it was to run Pott's again the opposite direction the next day, we decided against it. The reasons being was that we didn't want to break before Icebreakers, and if we did run Pott's Thursday, we would need to camp locally again, and pound pavement to hit Big Dogs by Friday. We knew the ASOT would be much less challenging, but we would later find out the views on the trail would not disappoint.

    We went to bed with the sounds of frogs in the distance (who were extremely loud all night btw) looking forward to another full day of trails.
     
  2. May 16, 2018 at 7:04 PM
    #2
    rngr

    rngr Aix sponsa

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    Getting pretty good at these trip reports. Keep them coming. :thumbsup:
     
    Ngneer likes this.
  3. May 16, 2018 at 7:08 PM
    #3
    recomr

    recomr Well-Known Member

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    Hell of a write-up and bad ass rigs, to boot. This is in my neck of the woods (about an hour out.) Don't think my truck would make it but damn right I'll be hitting it on the KTM!
     
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  4. May 17, 2018 at 10:17 AM
    #4
    Dirty Harry

    Dirty Harry Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Place looks straight up haunting. Despite the rain it looks like it was a hell of an experience. Solid report!
     
    Ngneer and ready6delta like this.
  5. May 17, 2018 at 1:43 PM
    #5
    cynicalrider

    cynicalrider [OP] #NFG

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    Thank's for the kind words everyone!

    Day 2: Catching the Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail and camping at Flagpole Knob

    We had a late start Thursday morning but by God the sun was shining for the first time in two days! It was so nice putting our stuff away dry and getting to dry out a bit ourselves. We had breakfast, packed up, and started up Potts Mountain Rd. towards civilization. This is when my new navigation setup really paid off.

    [​IMG]IMG_0268 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    I am running an older 3g iPad 2 with Gaia for trail navigation and predownloaded GPX files as well as maps.me for offline street navigation. I popped the nearest town into my nav that was on our way so we can fuel up, get more food/ice, and throw away all the garbage we found at the site. I was also thankful for my inReach, not only for being able to track my trip, but so my wife can see where I am at and keep in contact with me. Both sides of the mountain had 0 cell service, and really only at the top was where I had service. It eased my mind and my wife's mind as well I'm sure that I could let her know when I get to camp and that I am safe, or when I am leaving camp. It also gives her a way to contact me in case something terrible at home happens and I need to cut the trip short to book it home.

    Here's a screenshot of the journey from home till about Big Dog's on my Garmin page.

    Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 3.56.33 PM.jpg

    We followed Pott's Creek down a bunch of switch backs and eventually ended in Covington, VA. We stopped at a local grocery store so that Pat and Heather can get some more food while I gave my wife a call and caught up on life for the first time in two days. We knew it was already getting late (around 11ish AM at that point) and knew we had to start booking it to make it to Flag Pole before dark. Flagpole was approximately 200 miles or so from our current location, and since many of the roads were forest roads, we had to get moving. Unfortunately because of this there was minimal stopping despite some of the gorgeous views, but we did stop to check this one waterfall out early on in the journey.

    [​IMG]IMG_0349 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0351 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0353 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    This was before we even picked up the ASOT at a waterfall called Falling Spring Falls. I was really happy to come across it as they were the only waterfalls we would see on this trip, and with all the rain, they were very impressive. Finally we caught the ASOT in a town called Hot Springs, VA which looked like a relatively wealthy area with golf courses tucked into the mountain sides. Eventually we can across our first set of switchbacks on this trail and boy were they enjoyable.

    These switchbacks crossed Shenandoah Mountain and had many built places to setup camp if someone wanted to. The views on these roads were awesome though the majority of it was covered by trees. The turns let you really get on the gas when you could see up the mountain, but there were also so many blind corners too. We were lucky enough to only pass parked people, and no one else on the trail with us. The roads were dirt but relatively maintained and we had a great time on them.

    After we came down off those forest roads we hit some pavement and I stopped and pulled a quick u-turn. I spotted what looked like an awesome water crossing, and we lined up to try it. Pat and I discussed our options and whether it was worth it. It was deep, I would say at least 3ft or so, and with all the rain the water was coming fast. Since it was a water crossing for the sake of doing a water crossing, we decided it wasn't worth the risk and pressed on. Thankfully there would be some other cool ones coming up later on that let me get my fix.

    We ended up following a bunch of pavement after those switch backs and eventually started the climb up towards Reddish Knob. This I believe was the most direct route but was unpaved and had a ton of potholes. There was another way that went up that looked like it had a bunch more switchbacks, but was paved so we decided to go the dirt route. Eventually we got to the top of Reddish knob and the view was spectacular. The sun felt great and we could actually see all around us for once.

    [​IMG]IMG_0355 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0359 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0360 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0363 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0366 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0368 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0370 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0376 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0377 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0378 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0379 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0381 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0382 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    After we got our fill of the views, we pressed on to Flagpole Knob. We came in a pretty direct back way from Reddish, following the same rutted and pot holed dirt road we were on. Eventually we got to the actual Knob, a big open space at the top where people like to camp with a massive fire ring. Being that we were only two trucks with ground tents, camping out in the open with the wind to deal with was not appealing to us. We explored all around the top of FPK, found some mud pits I guess mall crawlers play in, and a couple side trails here and there leading to smaller camp sites. We opted for a site that had a decent ring and tree coverage from the wind and was fairly level. From there we unpacked, got the fire going and setup.

    [​IMG]IMG_0390 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Not a bad view from the tent...

    [​IMG]IMG_0388 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    After making some dinner, I decided to take a run up to the knob to try to capture the sunset. I was able to get some great photos I was really happy with.

    [​IMG]IMG_0392 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0395 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0396 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0397 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0400 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0403 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0404 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0406 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0407 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0408 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0409 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0417 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    I really really enjoyed this spot, and was happy we decided to camp there. The views were awesome, and we had another great night around the camp fire. Thankfully we did have cell service up there and I was able to see that we were expecting heavy rain around midnight so we pre-prepped everything ahead of time. I packed almost everything I could up that night so I would only need to deal with my tent, and put my rain gear in my tent as well. I made sure I wasn't going to get soaked again lol.

    I was really hoping to see more greenery considering how late in spring we were there, but I am thankful I will be returning here in a few short weeks for my buddy @Chux's birthday meet with the NJ crew, so I'll be able to see it all green then.
     
    MR E30, tacomattack, jubei and 4 others like this.
  6. May 17, 2018 at 6:19 PM
    #6
    Bastek

    Bastek Member

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    This is a great write up! And great photos as well!!
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  7. May 29, 2018 at 12:05 PM
    #7
    cynicalrider

    cynicalrider [OP] #NFG

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    Well just as I predicted, we woke up to a wet morning. It rained all night starting around 1 AM and didn't let up. Thankfully it wasn't downpour levels of rain by the time the day started, but it was enough to soak you and all your layers. I got changed, threw on my rain gear, and had another sad bowl of milk and cereal in my tent.

    We packed up whatever we had left to pack and started down the mountain. I remember Steve telling me the way down that we were going to do was going to be a lot of fun because of the view of the valley as you climb down it. Well we were up in the clouds, and couldn't see shit for the entire journey down. :p

    Around the bottom we started crossing a bunch of smaller water crossings, some a foot or two deep. I was really enjoying it since we have yet to do any crossings on this trip yet. I have a couple videos of some of them, they will be coming later.

    As we were exiting one of the many park boundaries we crossed (kept going in and out of the park) I decided to take a page out of Jay's book and snap a photo of the trucks next to one of the signs. I had one from our last VA trip when I was 2wd, might as well do it here too.

    [​IMG]IMG_0426 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0423 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0422 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    As we were coming away from that sign, we spotted some deer in the field next to us. I attempted to snap some shots of them, as well as attempted to follow them as they ran next to me.

    [​IMG]IMG_0429 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0431 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0433 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0434 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0435 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0436 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Eventually we came to a certain spot with a great view, so we decided to stop and take some photos. It was also at this moment that I realized my shackle pin was missing and my shackle was just dangling there from my winch hook. The funny part is if you look back, it was dangling already by the State Forest signs, and who knows for how long before then.

    [​IMG]IMG_0439 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0440 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0444 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0447 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0449 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0453 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    As we continued further we came through a couple more state forest roads with a bunch of switch backs. These had several minor water crossings on them, similar to crossing small streams. Even still it was fun and different from the terrain so far.

    Eventually we came to a spot that is marked on the trail as a water crossing, and there will be two of them that cross this particular body of water. The map also shows a high water bypass, showing that there might be times where this crossing is impassible. This is one @Wheelspinner just did solo a couple weeks before so I was not really concerned if we could do it or not, even with all the rain we have been dealing with on the journey so far. It's a pretty legit crossing, very long, about 1000ft or more, and if I had stopped in the water, I would say it would be past the door sills.

    I went first while Pat got a video of me crossing it. Then he crossed right after while I got a video of him coming at me. Thankfully we both had no issues and traction was fine. It felt like the entire creek bed was all bed rock so that definitely helped. We followed the trail around which brought us back onto main roads and then back to what is literally described as a dead end by street signs. You come to the dead end, and cross back over the same river and climb a mucky steep exit onto the backside of a farm property. You then take it back to main roads again. It's definitely not a water crossing that needed to be done to get to our destination, but it sure was fun doing it.

    Here are shots of Pat coming across the second crossing, which was shorter but deeper. No shots of me crossing this part, video or otherwise.

    [​IMG]IMG_0455 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0457 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0458 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0459 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0460 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0461 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    It turns out this crossing was only a few minutes away from Big Dog's so we topped off on gas and supplies and headed over there. We got there and headed to the camp area @ToyRyd04 said he was planning on meeting us at. I could already tell this was going to be a much larger event and bigger party than we ever used to have at Rausch. There were tons of rigs, everything from your basic builds to full on buggys. Plus there were quads, dirt bikes and side by sides as well. We setup camp, got a fire going and made some dinner. Night wheeling was supposed to start at 8, so everyone prepped with that in mind.

    [​IMG]IMG_0463 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0464 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0466 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0468 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0469 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Eventually we headed out to the meeting spot for night wheeling, but had no luck finding anyone who was doing guided runs. Since we didn't know enough about the place to know where to go and what trails would be good, we decided to hit the scenic overlook trail since we were out already. It wasn't anything crazy, but still a fun easy night ride.

    [​IMG]IMG_0473 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    After that we headed back to camp and drank, bs'ed and relaxed. I headed down to the big bonfire in the center of the main camp area where we were at to find a professional speaker and dj setup, clearly these people were here to party. I took it easy though, knowing I had a long day of wheeling ahead of us the next day.
     
    MR E30, jubei, quis23 and 5 others like this.
  8. May 31, 2018 at 4:05 AM
    #8
    TaKoToy

    TaKoToy Well-Known Member

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    This is EPIC:headbang::headbang: subbed to finish later !!!!!
     
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  9. May 31, 2018 at 4:49 AM
    #9
    Nimble9

    Nimble9 visit squareonecreations.com Vendor

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    awesome trip report!
     
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  10. Jun 1, 2018 at 1:41 PM
    #10
    ready6delta

    ready6delta REGULAR GUY

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    IT NEVER ENDS..........
    Great trip report man and sweet pics!
     
  11. Jul 11, 2018 at 7:35 AM
    #11
    cynicalrider

    cynicalrider [OP] #NFG

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    We started the day early and hit the line up. I had no idea how big this event actually was till I saw everyone gathered to hit the trails. The way these events work is you are supposed to get in a line matching the trails that fit your ride. We ended up going in a line that was a little undersized for us but we were looking to ease into the day and break off onto harder shit later on. Realistically though a lot of the trails were as hard as you could make it too. I know I hit a bunch of side obstacles for the hell of it and smashed sliders and skids for no reason. :rofl:

    [​IMG]IMG_0481 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0483 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0484 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0485 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    We started down a trail called Wahoo, and it was pretty fun. It followed a creek down into a small valley with some bigger rocks and down trees. Unfortunately it did not last long as our trail leaders Commanche died in the middle of the trail. Greg, Pat and I went to work in trying to help him figure out wtf was wrong with his rig. It came down to us trying to at least pull him out of the way of the trail so he can lead from another vehicle.

    This is where we sat for a while:

    [​IMG]IMG_0488 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Eventually we got him on level ground and it started again. Yes, finally we can hit the road again. We went up Cobra which went alongside Corum. Corum is a well known trail there, it's basically rock creek at Rausch, but up a hill. I definitely need to go back and hit that, but hit it early since it's a good couple hours to get through. We eventually got to Trickle which we were going to run at night later that day. We wanted to find some trails we knew we could go out and hit later, and really didn't know the level of the trails or where shit was. Of course we were stopped again, by more jeep issues. One was having tire inflation issues and the other had his power steering line come loose and lost steering all together.

    Here are some photo's I snapped at the beginning of Trickle.

    [​IMG]IMG_0493 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0495 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    You can see Greg bored out of his mind:

    [​IMG]IMG_0499 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    Finally we got back on the road and ran the rest of trickle. From there we split off from the main group and ran Wahoo backwards. That ended up being a pretty good trail. We ended up running a couple other trails, can't remember the names but the one had what looked like car sized river stones. Pat wanted to run up and and holy shit, it was impressive. He was able to pivot around each of the huge rocks and made it look easy. From there Greg broke off and Pat and I went on a little exploratory run ourselves. We were going up one and saw this trail:

    [​IMG]IMG_0505 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    This was Pucker, and this section was the mild part of it. There was a rock ledge about half way up that looked extremely tough to go straight over.

    [​IMG]IMG_0506 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    So I decide to hug the far left to try to go up and around it. It looked like I should have plenty of space so that was the line I shot for. I was a little concerned about going too far left as I felt it would put my truck into a very sideways position going up this trail. I kept getting my right slider stuck on the ledge though and my rear refused to climb. I was basically high centering on the ledge each and every time. After Pat trying to spot me, and stacking some rocks, I threw in the towel. Every time I would start getting momentum, the truck would crab walk to the right, pitting me into what I felt was a high risk rollover position. Pat grabbed my winch line and strap and set me up to winch up over the ledge.

    This was my first time really testing the winch and it did phenomenally. Typically without it I would need someone with a winch to go ahead, or someone to give me a tug up this trail. Honestly I feel like both of those would be far sketchier. The other option would be to back down the rock garden I just came up. No thank's I'll pass. The winch got me over the ledge and once I passed that there were a couple still rough rocky sections ahead but I kept my momentum up and made it through no problem. I was very happy all the time I spent on the winch install paid off and it saved my ass.

    Pat decided to push far left, further left than I went and was able to skip the ledge all together. Once he was through, he also had no issues getting the rest of the way up. I do have videos of him going through this trail, that will be up in the edit eventually from the trip.

    After that whole mess, I wanted to call it quits for day wheeling, get some food and get ready for some night wheeling later on. As the sun sets, the rock lights went on. We head out with me, Pat and Greg as well as a relatively stock open diff first gen and another open diff cherokee. I gotta admit, it was fucking fun to watch those guys wheel, and it brought me back to the days where the skinny pedal made a world of difference.

    We ran trickle, which was pretty easy aside from the entrance. They for the most part didn't even need spotters, just kept trying different lines till they smashed their way through. Fuck I miss those days sometimes. Just really pushing the truck to it's limits, even at the risk of breakage in a smash and gas dance through the trail.

    [​IMG]IMG_0514 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0515 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0516 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0517 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0519 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0522 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0527 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    We finished trickle and had a quick meeting on whether we should try Wahoo. Wahoo is rated much higher, but Greg and I felt the open diff guys were holding their own, and they were stoked to give it a shot.

    [​IMG]IMG_0529 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0531 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0537 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0539 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0547 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0548 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0553 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    We made it through with no damage, and the open diff guys were so stoked they got through the trail without any recovery needed.

    [​IMG]IMG_0557 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0561 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0563 by Michael Halat, on Flickr
    [​IMG]IMG_0570 by Michael Halat, on Flickr

    I really enjoyed night wheeling again for the first time in a very long time, as well as getting to practice shooting the DSLR at night without a tripod.

    This was essentially the last day of the trip, I packed up the next day and made the trek home back to NJ from VA. It was an awesome trip with great people. I definitely will be back to Big Dogs one day, and even more so to Pott's Mountain.
     
  12. Aug 17, 2018 at 6:44 PM
    #12
    TaKoToy

    TaKoToy Well-Known Member

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    Finally finished this read. Great report man!! Really inspiring!! I have lived in VA for 36 years and have not even heard of some of this !! What's ASOT ? I googled it and it only brought up some armin van Buren song. I have been to hot springs a dozen times and still have not heard of ASOT.
     
  13. Aug 17, 2018 at 6:46 PM
    #13
    TaKoToy

    TaKoToy Well-Known Member

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    Never mind........Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail. I'm going to have to research this

    Thanks for the report!!
     
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  14. Nov 9, 2018 at 5:59 PM
    #14
    ovrlndkull

    ovrlndkull STUKASFK - HC4LIFE

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    So in on doing this trail now that and the Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail
     
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  15. Nov 10, 2018 at 5:32 AM
    #15
    cynicalrider

    cynicalrider [OP] #NFG

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    Thanks!

    Definitely worth a run. I plan on going back to Pott's and running it backwards at some point.
     
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  16. Nov 10, 2018 at 8:14 AM
    #16
    ovrlndkull

    ovrlndkull STUKASFK - HC4LIFE

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    It's definitely worth running trails and such different directions gives a different sense on how to tackle obstacles.
     
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  17. May 7, 2019 at 7:07 PM
    #17
    ovrlndkull

    ovrlndkull STUKASFK - HC4LIFE

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  18. May 7, 2019 at 8:16 PM
    #18
    TaKoToy

    TaKoToy Well-Known Member

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    Check out 4runnerfreaks on IG. He just did a run and made a few videos.
     
  19. May 8, 2019 at 7:51 AM
    #19
    cynicalrider

    cynicalrider [OP] #NFG

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    A couple people made runs recently including Justin (4runnerfreaks) and @Chux @Wheelspinner @avw4x4 and TNT Matt the week before Justin did.
     
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  20. May 8, 2019 at 12:56 PM
    #20
    Chux

    Chux Pura Vida

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    F8147E75-FFD1-4BEC-8C70-1007379A3C6A.jpg C8FF4134-3A10-49B0-9168-D25B777E9442.jpg
     
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