Beaver Hole Bay

Beaverhole facing toward Coopers Rock - Click to Enlarge


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

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!



For some time I had been aware of this Geocache.  The log entries included a host of 4-wheeling people that are in the local club so I knew that the trail was probably interesting enough to make a short afternoon trip.  I kept meaning to go but never got around to it.  Then I found myself home alone with the kids, and a beautiful sunny day outside.  I remembered this cache and decided to take the kids, cameras, and hit the trail!


The cache was so close to home that all we really did was take extra clothes, walkie-talkies, cameras, water, and all the emergency stuff that is always packed on the Jeep.  The only thing that took a few minutes was reloading the GPSr for local maps and waypoints, and burning a new music CD to listen to on the way.  After that was done, we just jumped in the Jeep and hit the road.


One of the beauties of living here in West Virginia, as opposed to Suburban Maryland, is that when we want to go out, we are not faced with a three hour drive to get to the trail and another three hour drive to get home.  There are lots of places nearby that are easy to get to in 15 minutes or so.  They are legal county roads that are either poorly maintained or not maintained at all.  There are lots of historical dimensions to these places so there is a chance to learn as well.  And because there are so many places to go, the trails are not overburdened with traffic.  This should hopefully keep things from changing too much.

Beaver Hole GPS Track Legend - Click to Enlarge

We drove a short distance down the highway, about five miles, and got off at the correct turn.  I followed my planned route until we left pavement.  A lone 2WD pickup truck was ahead of me.  Eventually I think the driver noticed us because he pulled off and let us pass him by.  As this road goes down into the canyon next to the river, and nowhere else, I am sure he was wondering where we were going.  We had not yet passed the last couple of residential roads that spur off to the side so we were thinking he must live out here.

At the first waypoint provided for the geocache, we decided that we would have no trouble continuing.  This spot was recommended as the last place to park and turn around for 2WD vehicles.  My friend Ken at work may want to park his mini-van here and walk the rest of the way in, though depending on his prior experience, he could probably make it a little bit further in with some spotting and careful choices.

We just slapped it in 4-LO though clearance is the only real issue from here to the next "spot" in the road.  I didn't bother to disconnect or air down.  I should have, but mainly for comfort, not for any real traction issues. 

We made good time down the trail though Tomi commented that he was uncomfortable with the view out his window.  I stopped and took a look.  Sure enough, it was a sheer drop down to the floor of the canyon and the river below.  There was plenty between us and the bottom but it sure is an impressive drop, some 450 feet according to the topo map.  That's roughly half the elevation change on Black Bear in Colorado.  Let no one say that West Virginia is lacking in trails with pucker factor.

One would have to be asleep at the wheel or very careless to get into trouble on the trail, but still, it did get our attention and keep us focused on staying on track and choosing our moves carefully.  In the summer when the trees fill in, this will be less evident.

Pretty soon we came to the second spot where the geocache owner suggests parking, the last spot to turn around, the road ahead strewn with challenges and narrow spots.  This is what we go looking for.  This is the point on trails where casual back-roads drivers stop and walk.  Given a legal trail, this is where it gets interesting for us.  This proved to be the case here.  The trail is far from extreme, and most likely a stock vehicle and driver with some off-pavement experience would be fine, but from here on out it did require a little bit more care.

We stopped to make some photographs.

Ted (with 50mm) and Tom (with the 28mm) - Click to Enlarge
Papi - Click to Enlarge
First Crossing - Click to Enlarge
Papi's Jeep at Christopher Run - Click to Enlarge
Tom with a 28mmJeep Near Christopher RunPapiNear Christopher RunPapi getting out of the Jeep


Teddy getting out of the Jeep - Click to Enlarge

The next spot was a little bit more technical but still nothing a moderately experienced driver and stock vehicle could not handle. Ted and I got out to take a couple pictures.  I chose some angles that would make the spot look worse than it really is.  But if the viewer gets nervous and pale looking at them, instead of excited and wishing they were there, then they probably should not drive down this far... 

Nothing a Mini-van couldn't handle... Click to EnlargeAnother easy (but tight) crossing - Click to Enlarge
No Big Thang

Easy-PeasyNothing a Mini-van couldn't handle...Just a normal day in the woods

Nearby is a cave.  We did not stop to check that out today because we were already pushing the envelope by wheeling alone and because of the late hour in the day.  I found a video and many pictures of the cave that shows a very interesting place.  It looks like something that requires a bit of skill and some equipment to explore - we lacked both as of this writing.  I do not recommend going in the cave unless you know what you're doing, and someone knows where you are and when you're expected to return...

Past this spot we came to Christopher Run.  Again I stopped to make a couple images.  This spot has some pretty good sized boulders in the crossing, along with some pipes.  It should be noted that the spot where the pipes start, the water disappears into the ground around the pipes.  This leads me to believe the surface downstream of the pipes is not as stable as it appears.  We chose to hug the upstream side of the crossing to avoid slipping off the hillside...  There was plenty of room to do so, and not very many rocks to climb over.

Christopher Run - Click to EnlargeNice Stream - Click to Enlarge
Christopher Run

Immediately after crossing Christopher Run we came to the spot in the trail with the slip.  Pictures on the geocache page made it clear that the trail has eroded away and become narrow.  it was hard to tell how narrow it was, so we were not sure what to expect when we got here.  I was happy to see that it was not completely impossible though it was rather tricky.  We would have to hug the large boulder uphill, and avoid tipping into it as we passed.  We also had to stay far enough from the slip to avoid any instability or to fall off the edge into the 400-foot deep canyon...  In this photo, you can see the boulder but the slip is not visible (it is to the lower right of the photo)

Squeeze By...

Here can be seen the vehicle passing the slip on the right of the photo.  This is a very conservative line taking into account that the slip is probably still unstable and the implications of triggering a slide fairly serious.  This photo does not give the best view of the conditions.  It is tighter than it looks.

Squeeze By... - Click to Enlarge

Here is another photo that gives a better view of the slip.  It still doesn't look as bad in the picture as in real life.  If the viewer is afraid of heights or cannot focus while driving, this is not a good spot to be with a vehicle...  Note the tires are 10 inches wide so it appears there is two feet between the side of the wheels and the edge.  There is about 3 inches between the roof rack on the vehicle and the boulder.

Not as wide as it looks - Click to Enlarge

 Once past the narrow spot, the rest of the trail is just narrow, muddy in some spots (not enough to get excited about) and rough.  Still pretty much the domain of a stock 4WD vehicle driven by someone with moderate experience.  We soon reached the cache location.  I parked the Jeep and we started looking for it.

Nice wide spot near cache - Click to Enlarge

The cache wasn't too hard to find.  But it wasn't sitting out in plain sight with a flashing light on it either.  That's about what we like so we had a good time looking for it.  In a few weeks, the briars will be hidden by new growth so it may be a bit more troublesome, but we got through just fine.

We logged the ppro Jeep Club through the cache.

ppro Jeep Club - Click to Enlarge
Tom with Travel BugsTed with Travel Bugs
ppro Jeep Clubppro Jeep Club

We placed the Disney Pin in the cache.

Disney Pin for Cache - Click to Enlarge

Ted chose the fishing reel Travel Bug to move on to another cache.

Fishing Reel TB - Click to Enlarge

Tom chose the Old El Paso NASCAR die cast car to move on (shown here in the lower left of the collection of other stuff in the cache)

Cache SWAG - Click to Enlarge

Of course, we signed the log:

Our Log Entry - Click to Enlarge

After we packed up the ammo case and replaced it in the hiding spot, we returned to the Jeep.  There is plenty more to the road so I decided to spend another 1/2 hour driving before we turned around to go home.

What's down there....?
Let's Go down there...

If you've made it this far with the mini-van you should have no trouble going the rest of the way...  Send me a picture of the mini-van here - I would love to see it!

We found a clearing where the road appeared to end.  There is a fire ring, some stones used for sitting, and a lot of room to camp or have a picnic.  It appears someone stopped here and left their helmet behind when they left.  It also looks like shooting is a diversion practiced here.

ShellsSomebody forgot their helmet...

Looking around, I noticed the ruins of a bridge that spans Scott Run.  It appears to be a carefully erected footing on either side of the stream.  The span is long gone, though the footings still appear to be quite robust.

Old Bridge at Scott Run
Old Bridge at Scott RunOld Bridge near Scott RunScott Run

A wide sandy path leads to the shore of Cheat River. 

Path up from Cheat River

From there the bay can be seen, with the hill in the distance obscuring Cooper Rock.

Facing toward Coopers Rock
Facing toward Coopers Rock

There are plenty of signs of wildlife.  I don't know what beaver tracks look like but I understand that the tail drag usually obscures them, and the rear feet leave impressions of the webbing.  These could be raccoon, river otter, skunk, or ??  Here is a track I found on the shore of the river.

Tracks - Click to Enlarge

Back up on the bank of the river I soon found that the Scotts Run is forded upstream of the old bridge location.  There is a track that leads down to the ford and another that leads up the other bank.  It looks like it is used by ATV's though it is somewhat wider.  I don't think the mini-van is going across this spot...

Road down to Ford at Scott Run - Click to EnlargeFord at Scott Run - Click to Enlarge
Ford over Scott Run - Click to Enlarge

Bridge Ruins at Scott RunScott Run



With this being the end of the trail for us, and the sun low in the sky, we turned back and headed for home.  I am glad we had another activity that required we leave because I was tempted to ford the Scott and explore the lower end of the trail.  I think that will call for having someone along so that we don't over extend ourselves and so we have an escape plan if things turn bad.

The kids were happy to be on the trail again, and so was I.  The cache was very satisfying and the new place so close to home will probably become one of our favorite short rides!

Profile for ppro

Beaver Hole GPS Data

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