Coal Mine Classic: Day 1
A few people were ready on the first day so we ran some trails in the Rausch Creek ORV Park that were mixed for stock/big tire trucks. This park is an abandoned coal mine, but there was not enough coal to remove the mountain, which is typical for higher grade Anthracite mines (remember this coal was formed during an orogeny). We drove through some holes that were not (usually) deep, if filled with water, and had a black color that is a dead giveaway for coal dust (not mud).
These got as deep as 30 inches (the trail guides new the depths beforehand). However, there were some very deep holes where the miners had gone looking for a economically viable coal seam. These were unmarked and you don’t want to drive into one.
The Pottsville Groups has four main kinds of rock: coal, conglomerate, sandstone, and shale. The conglomerate has large (~.25 -.5 inch) pebbles in a matrix of sand and cement (calcite or silica). This picture shows the texture of these rocks.
Because we were a mixed group of eager-beavers (you just want to go wheeling!), a couple of trucks took a detour to do some rock crawling. The guy in front is the spotter, who tells the driver where to steer.
Eventually, the trail guide stepped it up a notch and we did some blue trails (bigger tires and lift), which freaked out the stock trucks, but they did fine with some help from expert spotters.
Looking forward to Day 2.