Rausch Creek Offroad Park
Pine Grove, PA
February 15, 2014
by Ted the Fed
I was really looking forward to this run, Rausch is an easy day trip for me and my Jeep had been out of action for over 6 months, so I was willing to make it a snow run of just cruising some easy trails. This was not to be however.
The highway portion of the trip was fine. The roads were just slightly wet, even though it was snowing. That last local road to Rausch however was a different story. It is about ten miles of twisting mountain roads with a lot of elevation change, and it was unplowed and snow covered. I put the tow rig in 4x4 and it took me a good hour of creeping downhill feeling the trailer push the tow rig (an F-350) around, and getting momentum for the uphill stretches while the road crown caused the trailer to bounce off the snowbanks on the right. It was bad. Greg had a similar experience and it cost him a trailer tail light.
I finally got there and met Lee and Greg. They towed as well. My Jeep sits on 36 inch Swampers and is locked on both ends. Greg's looked to be about 35s and double locked as well. I figured we could handle some snow.
Just after we signed in we met the other group. They were from Georgia and were heading home. They said the didn't make it out of the parking lot.
Well, we were there so I figured we'd give it a shot. I led the way to break trail and followed the prior tracks out past huge mountains of snow and to the access road. I saw where the other group turned around and continued on - and found out why they turned around. It was like driving off a cliff, all of a sudden we were in waist deep drifted snow. There was no finding dirt, no matter how much I let the Swampers dig down. I could make some progress, barely, but it wasn't worth it. A day of just ramming back and forth in deep snow didn't seem like a lot of fun, and it was still snowing so I called it. Hilarity ensued. Getting Greg turned around was impossible. We spent the next hour digging with shovels and winching his rig (with both our winches) until I was finally able to just get past him and strap the back of my rig to the back of his. That's how we made it back to the trailers - him in reverse, double locked, me in 2nd gear, double locked.
The forcast was for the snow to stop by 1 pm so I figured we'd hit a nearby diner for a long lunch and the roads would be better for the trip back. I was not going to risk that same local road back to I-78. We were again foiled. Greg and Lee drove the empty trailer and Jeep (not on trailer due to the bad road conditions) to a nearby diner. I followed with my Jeep loaded on the trailer. The diner was closed, as were several others we called.
At this point I decided to head home and eat my bag lunch on the way. They loaded their trailer and we took I-81 south to get to I-78 East. This added a good 20 miles to the trip, but it was 20 miles behind active salt trucks, so while it was slow it was safe. The trip back on 78 was pretty much the same, on and off snow but on a fairly clear and well traveled highway.
All in all I'd say until we get a week of 60 degree temps Rausch might not be the place to go.
Video: Greg Fishman