Natural Bridge, KYWith Jeff Pollock Pictures courtesy of Jeff Pollock and Rob Wilson
Friday - February 16, 2001
We left Mount Sterling, Ohio at 2pm under overcast skies with the weatherperson calling for rain. We thought we might have lucked out and the rain was going to pass us by, but we were wrong. The weatherperson had actually hit the forecast because it rained the whole drive. When I say it rained, I mean it poured cats and dogs. It was so bad at times it was hard to see the taillights of the vehicle in front of you. This was going to be one sloppy trail ride. Hopefully the weather would break for the weekend. We would see!
How did we get there? Check out the driving instructions, it may be easier to find than you thought!
Saturday - February 17, 2001
The rain finally stopped and we were ready to go so we headed west on Hwy 402 East (Mountain Parkway) to Slade Exit #33, Natural Bridge State Park. We, along with a group of trucks hauling quads, parked at a local Church with a fairly big parking that was close to the trail entrance. From there it was a short jaunt down a gravel road to the trails.
Time to meet the drivers and their rigs! Come and check out their specs.
As we were approaching the trails we came across a pile of rocks that we decided to play on. Good idea, maybe NOT! Tim was the first one to attempt the rock cluster. As he proceeded up onto the pile the front end of his zook started sounding like an aluminum can being tossed around inside a metal trash can rattle, rattle, clank, clank. Tims zook was down and both front tires wouldnt spin. Steve escorted Tim back to the trailer. While we were waiting on Tim to get back we decided to play on the rocks to pass the time. We took our turns tackling the pile from all of the different angles until Jeff Chester wedged his zook between two rocks. As we tried to get him out he ended up breaking a right front axle. I wish we would have used the strap and pulled him out but we didnt think he was that bad off. I guess hindsight is 20/20! One rig down and one injured and we havent hit the hard stuff yet. This ought to be fun.
Tim and Steve returned and we proceeded down the trail. In no time we were at the Natural Bridge. It is a rock bridge between to mountains/hills depending where you are from! There were a few shelves but nothing real challenging here. We followed Steve to the obstacle named Tabletop. This is a large rock approximately 3.5 tall that has a flat top like a table, I wonder if that is how it got its name?! It was covered slightly in a sandy/mud compound that made it a little slick. Up and over, its easy, yea right! As you come down the backside of the tabletop you see that it will twist your rig and if you roll youll have a wild ride down the side of the hill. Steve went first and as his right front tire dropped off the table like a hard breaking curve ball and the rear of his zook lifted. Even with revolver shackles fully drooped we still saw AIR! Steve cautiously proceeded forward and brought his zook to safety. What a great obstacle! The rest of us made it through with less excitement but there was air by more than just Steve which always makes for a good show.
The Bowl was the next spot we came to. It had a bypass but we wanted to play so we went in. You must descend a steep hill with a few rocks. Then you have a choice of taking the far right hill climb, the easier route which consisted of gooey mud with a few rocks, or the left route which was a steeper hill with a slop fest of mud at the beginning and then it had a rock slab at the crest. Steve took the trail to the right as did Jay and with a little tire spin they were out! Rob attempted the left hill about four times and had too much trouble with the mud so he took the hill to the right. I attempted the left hill and made it to the top with the help of my co-driver, Tim, but started sliding sideways. Well, Im not afraid to admit it but I began to have flashbacks of my endo so I backed it down and let Tim tackle the hill. Tim got back up to the rock slab and then he started to slide sideways but he regrouped the zook and walked it up. Onward
Goat Hill was the next challenge we approached. This is a fairly long, muddy slop fest hill climb with ruts. The front right axle on Steves zook was acting up, it had a lot of popping and banging going on in it, so he opted to take the slick bypass. Chester followed but they didnt get far. It was too slick so they were going to watch the rest of us try the hill. Jay went first and drove the heck out of his zook and walked up the hill, like a fish thrashing in shallow water! I went next and slung mud all over including inside the rig! Rob was next and he too hammered his zook and with high rpms made the hill. Now we needed to get Steve and Chester up the hill so Steve used his winch to pull himself and Chester up so we could continue on.
The next obstacle was a creek crossing where we climbed the rocky slopes. The slopes were steep but short and depending on the line we took it could be exciting. Since Chester was having so much trouble with the front end it crossed his zook up and ended up dumping it. I think he does it on purpose so please dont tell anyone! We lifted his zook up and away he went. After that we headed down a stretch of muddy ruts where we encountered two groups, one of Toyotas and one of Jeeps. There was a big rut that could be straddled right before the traffic jam but we decided to put on a show so we dropped down in it and hammered away! Jay and I were the ones that got this honor. Jay had his zook on its side with only one wheel touching, stuck, NOT; he slapped it into reverse and backed out. After a few attempts and using both sides of his tubbed zook he was up and out. I followed and slid the right side down in the ditchup I go onto my right side, reverse and Im level again. I then dropped my left side into the ditch and up I went again but with a little steering input was able to cut the wheel left and pull out of the ditch. After we let the Jeep group go by we proceeded to Carburetor Hill.