Beaver Hole

The Group at Christopher Run


4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!



Mike wrote to say that Jason, Sam and some friends were thinking about going "Mud Slinging".  When Mike and I went down to Beaver Hole in December, we had tried to get them to come along but schedules were tight.  This time it would be Mike who had a schedule conflict but Jason, Sam, Ryan and Bill got free and made plans with me to meet at the Burger King and hit the trail.

Ted and Tom did a brilliant job packing snacks and drinks; I got cameras and film for everyone, and soon the Jeep was loaded for the road.  We made a side-trip to Wal*Mart to get film and then started to head back to the meeting place.  Jerry called to say he wanted to come but could not make it because he was still busy getting ready for classes of the upcoming week.  He had Theo with him so I offered to bring and he agreed to send Theo along with us.

We drove over to the University, put the tools and winch kit on the roof rack, and loaded Theo in back with Tom.  Ted rode "shot-gun" and we were off.


Wow!  It's been a while since I even wrote about "muster".  We've been going solo way too often!  We reached the Burger King a couple minutes past the meeting time but still got there first.  Jason and Sam, Ryan and Bill rolled up shortly behind us. 

Meeting Place of the Black Jeep Collective
Meeting Place of the Black Jeep Collective

I aired down and disconnected and talked while the others did the same.  I briefly explained our plans for the day and then we got on the highway and drove down to the trail.


Beaver Run 1/12/08 Track Legend

This trip represented a number of firsts.  While we certainly have visited this trail a few times, it was the first time that I had been out with all of these guys.  Sam and I have been talking about getting together for quite some time.  It was the first time I have seen the new-generation Jeep JK on the trail.  It was impressive and appears to be a very worthy successor to the TJ.  So even though the trail wasn't new, there was plenty to see that was new.  And to my knowledge, it was Theo's first 4-Wheeling trip like this.

After driving a few minutes along the pavement, the road turned to gravel. 

Following Paul

Then it got rutted with shallow mud holes here and there.  Pretty soon we reached a minor stream crossing. 

First Crossing
First Crossing

Sam checks for access to China

Jason and Ryan's Jeeps

Jason and Ryan's Jeeps

Jason and Sam on the approach

Jason and Sam Crossing

First Crossing

Ryan and Bill approaching

Ryan and Bill Cross

Then it got rough and took a 90-degree turn to run downhill along the canyon.

We decided to visit the Big Run Cascade cache on the way back up the trail if we still had daylight.  While the trail isn't particularly challenging, it is very narrow in a couple spots and would be easy to fall off in the dark.  Also the crossing over Christopher Run would be a little difficult in the dark because it's so rocky.

Large Boulder

Pretty soon we got to a slight rough spot in the road.  I stopped and took pictures of everyone, making it look much worse than it really is.  Most of the rocks are on the side of the trail so it really isn't much of anything!


Some minor rocks for Jason and Sam

Easy Stuff

Jason moving through


Ryan and Bill Approach
Ryan takes the Road Less Travelled

Ryan takes the Road Less Traveled

Ryan and Bill moving through

Ted admiring some new hardware

Next we reached Christopher Run and the rocky crossing.  We got out, walked it off, talked about how to approach it, then one by one crossed the stream, and squeezed past the rock and narrow spot where the erosion threatens to swallow vehicles.

The Group at Christopher Run

Paul At Christopher Run

Movie 15 MB (below)

Paul Crossing Christopher Run

Movie 15 MB (above)

I dropped to the crossing with a good solid BAM! on my gas tank skid plate.  After that, it was pretty smooth.

Paul crossing Christopher RunPaul crossing Christopher Run

Paul crossing Christopher RunPaul crossing Christopher Run


Paul crossing Christopher RunPaul crossing Christopher Run


Next came Jason.  He tip-toed through like a pro.  He mentioned an adrenaline rush when he finally reached the other side.  I know that feeling.  New vehicle.  Rocky Trail.  Seeing people bash stuff underneath.  And the adrenaline for sure.

Jason Crossing Christopher Run

Paul Photographing Jason


Jason Contemplating Hard RockA closer look at threading the needle

Jason at Narrow Passage
Jason at Narrow Passage

Theo on the trail

Ryan and Bill Crossing Christopher RunRyan and Bill Crossing Christopher Run

Ryan and Bill

Ryan and Bill Crossing Christopher Run

Ryan and Bill

Theo and Tomas

Ryan and Bill near the narrow pass

Ryan and Bill near the narrow pass

Ryan.  He drove right through with no complications.

After that we drove along, treating the narrow spots with respect and finally reaching the location of the Beaver Hole Cache.  It seems the boys and I were the last to find it before it disappeared and had to be relocated.  I still suspect the old cache is right where we left it.  But this trip was not the time to locate the old hiding spot, so it will have to wait for next time.

Stopping for the Beaver Hole Cache

We all got out and started tramping the woods for the hiding spot.  It was rough.  Between the loose rocks, briars, wet leaves, and fallen trees, the footing was uncertain most of the time.  Tom fell into a hole but thankfully didn't hurt himself badly enough to require the chain saw.

Pretty soon Sam called out that he found the cache but left it in place so the kids could come up and give it a try.  Theo found it and dragged it out where it could be opened and inspected.

Ancient logging gear

Cache found!

Logged 4x4 ICON

Ted found a calculator

Tom finds a puzzle
Tom finds a puzzleTom completes the puzzle

Log Entry

Sam makes notes

The kids each found something they liked:  Tom a Smokey Bear puzzle; Ted a calculator; and Theo a DukeMartin personal coin.

The rest of us signed the log.  I logged my 4x4 Icon travel bug and others through.

With that, a little more chit-chat and we headed back to the trail and drove the rest of the way down to the bottom of the canyon.  A Beaver Hole we parked the Jeeps and left the boys to explore Jason's new JK.  We walked down to the river and looked around for a minute. 

Cheat River facing Cooper's Rock

Trees and Sky
Trees and Sky

Three Black Jeeps at Beaver Hole
Three Black Jeeps at Beaver Hole

As we were heading back up, Jason's horn started beeping on and off in alarm mode.  It turned out that the kids had locked the doors and then opened them, triggering the alarm.  Jason reset it with his keys, and all was well.

We looked around and found evidence of a recent fire in the fireplace, and a not so recently discarded rear axle in the bushes.

The One That Didn't Make It...

Sam shared a bag of pepperoni rolls that disappeared into the boys' bellies in about two seconds flat.  Then we loaded up and headed back up the trail.  We spotted each other through the crossing at Christopher Run. 

Paul coming back across Christopher Run

Jason coming back across Christopher Run

Jason at Christopher Run

Ryan and Bill

Branch in the Road

Then we continued up to the pull-off near the Big Run Cascades cache.  I grabbed my GPS and the boys and we started down the hill to the cache.

The walk wasn't too bad.  Soon we reached Big Run.  Sam, Jason, Ryan and Bill caught up to us.  We soon determined the cache was across the stream.  That was fun...  There were some spots to cross but the boulders were small, loose and slippery.  I had little confidence, having left my walking stick in the Jeep, and having my hands full with the camera and GPS.  The boys were very eager to cross and it was all I could do to reign them in and maintain some order.

Meanwhile, Sam and Jason crossed and located the cache.  I got the boys halfway across and then told them to stay put while I crossed the rest of the way and caught up to Sam and Jason.  By the time I turned around, the boys had finished crossing, in various stages of wetness, and we dug into the cache.

Sam and Jason at Big Run Cascade cache
Sam and Jason at Big Run Cascade cache

Theo with the cache

Left a Toy Camera

Logged some Travel Bugs
Logged Some Travel Bugs

Logged Some GeoCoins

Signed the LogSigned the Log
Signed the Log

Again, everyone signed the log, did some trading, and pawed over the contents.  This time I had my complete swag bag and left a little plastic camera, logged some travel bugs and geocoins through, and left my THX4TC blue Jeep Geocoin COPY, which Jason picked up right away.  We packed up the cache and Jason stashed it back in it's hiding place.

It wasn't until I got back home and went to log my find that I realized that we had missed the biggest part of this cache - the cascade.  I don't know how I  didn't see it - must have been above it.  Sam and Ryan saw it.

Big Run Cascade

I know I was too preoccupied with seeing the boys get back over the stream safely to do much looking around.  We shall have to come back again...

Walking back up to the Jeeps we saw a beautiful sunset. 

Caught the SunsetCaught the Sunset
Caught the Sunset

I managed a couple pictures.  We decided to go back via Sandy Springs Road, so Ryan and Bill decided to split off from us when we reached Route 68 because they had a schedule to keep.

The rest of the drive out was pretty straightforward, including the minor stream crossing and ruts. 

Drove Home in the DarkDrove Home in the DarkDrove Home in the DarkDrove Home in the DarkDrove Home in the Dark
Drove Home in the Dark
Drove Home in the Dark

At pavement, we parted ways with Ryan and Bill.

Jason and Sam followed us up Chestnut Ridge and out along Sandy Spring road.  The beginning of the road was smooth but of course deteriorated gradually until near the Route 857 end it was pretty rocky, rutted, and generally gnarly.  We popped out onto Route 857 in total dark, with Theo commenting how smooth the road felt.  Indeed!


We stopped at the BP station in Cheat Lake and got gas. 

Jason at Cheat Lake BP

Jason at Cheat Lake BP

Jason and Sam stopped to return the walkie-talkie and we said our good-byes.  I took the boys over to Burger King where we grabbed a bite to eat and met up with Theo's Dad.  All in all, a great day!


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First Crossing

Large Boulder

Paul Crossing Christopher Run

Big Run Cascade