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By: Claude Taylor

Hatfield - McCoy Trail Predicaments

Of all the pictures we have taken there, none show the severity of some of the places on the trails. I should say challenges, or better yet, predicaments, that my so-called friends get us into. I just finished my sixth trip to the Hatfield-McCoyTrail Systems, and I was asked by my wife, “Aren’t you tired of riding up there?” Well, no! It is different every time we ride the trail systems. This year, for the first time, we rode the Pinnacle Creek Trail System. This was a very different ride, very scenic, and we saw the most deer there. We found the trails easy, even the blacks. As usual the, “Come on you can do it” came into play and I had to ride my 250 Suzuki Ozark on the black trails and not with the greatest of ease but, with much bouncing around, holding on for dear life, and holding my breath. I also ride a Yamaha 350 Warrior. So, I’m not a total wimp. I made it, but I don’t know how; and L4 & L5 from the bottom of my back is now at the bottom of my neck. I am the only one without 4-wheel drive, and they have shamed me so bad this year I have to get a new ATV. I just have to find the right time to tell my wife.

We left Pinnacle Creek and headed to the Browning Fork Trail System we call “Rockhouse” in Gilbert, WV. This is still our all-time-favorite trail system. It has such a variety of trails and degrees of difficulties or predicaments. You can easily, well not easily, ride for two or three days on this system. The best is at the top trailhead, Rockhouse, and into the town of Man for lunch at the “Hillbilly Fire Pit” restaurant.

Gilbert, West Virginia seems to be the center point of the trail system, and we like it there; it is comfortable and friendly, and we like the accommodations there. There is something special about riding your ATV in town, going to a restaurant or store, or just riding around. I just hope some idiot doesn’t mess this up.

At the end of the day’s ride, we had our usual fire-side meeting at the “Mountain Breeze Motel” to review our day’s predicaments. We met a great bunch of guys from New Jersey on their first trip to the Hatfield-McCoy trails. Just when I thought nobody read my articles, they tell me they had read one of my articles and planned their trip from it. That made my day! It is great to share your experiences and then find someone who has enjoyed it as much as you did. During that fireside gathering, we were told a story by someone, and you know who you are, Kendell, about a cow and a wooden stick used to prop-up a clothesline to keep the clothes off the ground. I can’t tell the story; you have to hear it from the source. It is one of the funniest stories I’ve heard. So, you have to ride the Hatfield-McCoy trails and go to a fireside gathering at the Mountain Breeze Motel to hear the story. This whole thing is about getting away, enjoying riding ATVs with your friends, and meeting great people along the way.

The third day we went to Matewan, WV at the Kentucky border, to ride the Buffalo Mountain Trail System, our second favorite. Believe me when I say that all of the trails are blue and dark blue, but they are fun; we really like them. On this mountain is an underground coal fire that you can see the smoke coming out of the ground and smell it and feel the heat from it. There are lots of beautiful rock formations and there were lots of, “come on, you can do it, we will help you” predicaments on this system. Kids, don’t try this, this is only done by professional idiots, like my friends.

We had lunch in the town of Pikeville, Kentucky on the other side of the river from Williamson, West Virginia. How cool is that!

Day four was spent in Gilbert riding in town and at the IROC, Indian Ridge Off-Road and Custom Shop, getting an oil change, minor repairs, buying parts and accessories. Later on when we went back to the Browning Fork trails trying to find predicaments we had been in a few years ago, we found them. What a rush, why do I keep listening to them, “Come on ,you can do it”!

The last day, day five, we rode Dingess Rum Trail System. We had a fun full day even though half the trails were closed because of logging. As you would have it, we rode mostly dark blue trails, you guessed it, and “Come on, you can do it”!

The Hatfield-McCoy Trail Systems are the best in the nation! You’ve got to do it! Just remember, “The more the merrier is not always true.” My friends will know what I mean.

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