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Unread 09-14-2009, 09:29 PM   #1
CoverinEarth
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Expo Run Central, PA 8-09 (Pic Heavy)

ExpeditionPortal.com Eastern Chapter RidgeRunner Rendezvous

This trip started as not even a trip at all. I stumbled across a new forum ExpeditionPortal.com, where i joined up hoping to find some people from my area to run some trails with and go camping. Little did i know what i was getting myself into. After a little time on the board Mark (Haggis) made a post about the PA folks getting together again, i was definatly in to hit some new trails, and a few i had already explored on my way home from York, PA.

As the time got closer i got the Jeep ready to go for the long ride, We were to depart from Erie, PA and head to Houtzdale, PA for the first night, this was gonna be a solo run as the GF, Alexis, didnt get off work until late and everyone had already headed to the campsite.

The Jeep was packed the night before, all that was needed was to stick the cold stuff in the coolers and shove them in the Jeep.


We embarked for the near 180 mile drive and made decent time, we ran 322 most of the way as im not too fond of the Interstates, and they are rather boring. We did have to jump on I80 for a small portion, as soon as we exited the Fog thickened up. Visibilty was cut nearly to 0. The Fog lights were clicked on and we kept on trucking, hoping to get to camp before dark, as we had NO idea where we were headed.


We arrived in houtzdale, and it was dark. I called Al on the phone and tried to get directions, they kinda made sense, so up i headed, on what he called a road (More trail like than anything.) We arrived at camp and found everyone else set up, we popped the tent up, hung out for a bit and everyone decided it was time to call it a night, as we needed to get an early start the next morning. Little did i know sleep was going to be limited, between a possible bear noise (A certain someone snoring) and the voices and sounds of vehicles running around close, i didnt get much. Needless to say i was going to need those energy drinks that were packed the next day.

~Saturday 8-29-09~

Morning came and we got to see where we had acutally camped, near a nice little lake.



I also got to see a little of the aftermath of the ride into the campsite. (Little did i know this wouldnt be anywhere near as dirty as it would get)


Everyone started making breakfast for themselves and tearing down camp. We tried to make breakfast only to find that our near new stove quit working. The regulator broke somehow and wouldnt let it get fuel. A fine example of you get what you pay for, it has since been replaced by a top-o-the-line coleman. HAHA. After everyone was packed and got food into there stomachs we started making our way out. The trails out were very sloppy making it interesting in places, and i was warned to stay away from some of the mud holes as they were to be bottomless.



We came across a nice little creek crossing for everyone to run across, it wasnt too deep, but just enough to get a nice feeling.



We then continued down some more muddy mucky trails, it seemed like we were going to come out in another state. There were tons of places to explore here and i could spend days checking everything out.


We then came to a small playground area with a few hillclimbs, Al mentioned to me there was a nice V-crevice to run and i was immediatly in.



As everyone played on the hills (and David nearly rolling the 4dr JK) Al and I ran the crevice, super fun, super flexy section. Al got a little airtime by choosing a diferent line. It was nice to have to click that rear ARB in.



We needed to keep moving so up a trail we shot to get us closer to our first destination.


We headed up and down and up and down for what seemed like forever with no sign of anything in our sites.



Finally onto pavement to run into town to fuel up at Sheetz, grab a few supplies and then off to the RothRock SF parking lot to meet a few more folks joining us.


As we arrived at Sheetz we found Sven, who was supposed to meet us at the trailhead, fueling up, so we all did our thing and immediatly jumped back on the road, only to realize we left Dave at sheetz. (Sorry Dave!) We got to the trailhead and chatted for a bit and loaded up to run some forest roads.


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Unread 09-14-2009, 09:30 PM   #2
CoverinEarth
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Our first stop would be for a short hike down to a nice look-out point. (Not sure of the name?) Everyone made there way down for the view and pictures.


We jumped back on the forest roads, which mainly consisted of some moderatly maintained gravel. They were very secenic and wrapped us all throughout RothRock SF. Passing hidden little cabins all throughout the way.



We did quiet a few miles before making our way into Bald Eagle State Forest, we all stopped and chatted and somehow decided i was going to lead the way.
After checking the maps and deciding where we were to camp, i picked a route and we attempted to stick to it. The idea was to attempt and hit Panther Run if it was open, then travel down to Flat Hollow Road and then onto Strong Mountain Road which i had run. Both of those area LEGAL drivable trails in the State Forest, they are completely un-maintained to an extent.


Red X marks the closed trail, blue arrows our route, and the blue X our campsite.
After finding Panther Run gated off we proceded straight to Flat Hollow Road, which was rather short, but got us back into a slowed down pace from running the forest roads.

Onto Strong Mountain Road. Which winds you up, down and around Strong Mountain, its extremely scenic and could easily be tackled with a stock 4wd and a decent driver.



We then finished up our day by running Knob Ridge Road, which i would LOVE to go and run again from East to West. It was tight in a few spots and a little technical, could be done in a stock 4wd running west to east, but if it were to get wet it could make it interesting running reverse. We didnt really get any pictures as we were in a rush to hit the campsites in daylight to get set-up. After checking out 3 different spots we settled on one were everyone was able to fit at and immediatly began unpacking and setting up camp.


-Rocky the Jeep Mascot even made the trip.

After all the camp-sites were built and arranged we all started making dinners, Mark and Jay attempting to out-do each other, We stuck with the usual, burgers, hahhaha. We all relaxed around the fire and shared stories and enjoyed the peace, quiet, scenery and freindships. It was good to get away from it all!
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Unread 09-14-2009, 09:30 PM   #3
CoverinEarth
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~Sunday 8-30-09~
Everyone woke to find a nice sunny day, most were heading back home, but i knew i was going to stay and run more. Mark, Jay, Al and myself decided to run a trail in the morning before they headed towards home.

We said our good-byes to the parting Expo'ers and then dug out the map.


We found there was another trail down the road from the campsite, High Top Trail. We packed up our things and headed towards the trail head, only to find it gated off as well. Back-up plans kicked in, we headed up a few forest roads and onto Henstep Valley Trail. Little did we know this would be the best trail the group would run together!

We winded through the woods, beautiful scenery everywhere we looked. Many photo-ops were found and so we made the best of them.




The trail was slightly challenging but very enjoyable. There were rocky sections everywhere and a few nice rocky climbs to throw in some fun here and there.




I hoped the trail wouldnt come to an end, but it finally did. We all agreed that had been the best yet. We stood at the side of the road for a while saying our final good-byes. Mark Jay and Al were headed home. But Alexis and myself would stay and run another trail alone. (We didnt know what we were getting into) We pulled out and headed down the mountain onto try and find another trail to run before calling it a trip.

Rounding the corner we see Al's big tan YJ sitting on the side of the road, Mark parked behind him. a 36" Swamper had lost all of its air.


The spare was put on and the good-byes said again. We made our way down Rt 45 and spotted a nice natural spring, we took the chance to fill up what empty bottles we had with some GOOD water. It was the best i had tasted in a long while.

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Unread 09-14-2009, 09:30 PM   #4
CoverinEarth
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I decided to go try and run Negro Hollow Road, i had never heard of it, or knew what to expect. Along the way we stopped at a nice scenic overlook so the Alexis could take pictures. (She LOVES taking pictures)


Onto the trail, from the moment we started in and saw that it looked wet, i had a weird feeling we were getting into something.

The trail was filled with water crossings, rocks, and mud. It seemed to go on forever, with something challenging around every corner.




There were even 2 spots that 4lo and the rear locker were required. I dont think a tire smaller than 35's could have gotten through the ruts. I also found a spot of quicksand like mud that for a second I thought that the winch cable was going to have to be pulled. We finished the trail up without incident and started heading back towards the pavement. One last vista to stop at on the way.


Onto the pavement we went, Alexis still snapping pictures along the way.



We made it home without major incident, minus partially losing the soft-top on Rt 322.
Total miles for the weekend was nearly 700. We did approximatly 200 miles off of pavement. I had a great time, and cant wait to do it again. Hopefully next time exploring some of the drivable trails in the northern sections of Bald Eagle State Forest.
-Nick
 
 
 
 
 
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Unread 09-14-2009, 09:42 PM   #5
Jeffro06
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Awesome report...great pics...love your jeep (I wonder what I like about it ).

I'd love to be able to get away from it all for a bit.
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Unread 09-14-2009, 09:57 PM   #6
CalebsXJ
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Great Pics man! Beautiful scenery
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Unread 09-15-2009, 07:26 AM   #7
DirtRoadGirl
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Great right up, I loved it!!! and i love the pictures.... oh wait.. i took those ;-) haha. I can't wait to go again! i thought first time was fun, the second was even better.. and now that we really know our way around down there... i think we will have an even better time the third go around. with your Great navigating skills & my photo snapping... we can go anywhere.. lol.

~lex~
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Unread 09-15-2009, 11:25 AM   #8
grogie
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Indeed, nice report! Thanks for taking the time to post it with all of the photos. Looked like a great time!
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Unread 09-15-2009, 10:26 PM   #9
jdhughes
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Awesome! I love the look of the woods in the area. Always wanted to get up there sometime...Good pics too!
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Unread 09-16-2009, 05:52 AM   #10
DirtRoadGirl
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we are going again, so hopefully i get some even better ones this time around ;-)
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Unread 11-18-2011, 03:00 PM   #11
jeepxj9901
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Nice write up man. Lived in Central PA all my life and always am looking for new places to wheel. Need to finish my second XJ project first though
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Unread 12-11-2011, 09:06 PM   #12
chadlanc
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looks like a fun adventure
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