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5Sep/120

Wayehutta OHV Park

The Wayehutta OHV Park is a ATV riding area located in Western North Carolina. Offically it is the Roy Taylor OHV Park.  Most locals including myself call/pronouce it "Worryhut" It is located in the Cullowhee area. It is normally open from Dusk till Dawn and is a pay area (Few bucks per day).  ATV's, SXS, and bikes are all welcomed there.  I've had no problems with larger machines like the RZR-S.  RZR900's barely fit but I do occasionally see them riding some of the larger trails.

 

There is a pay box for day passes and you can also purchase a season pass from the Ranger or a a forest service location. Here is a link of Trail 10 and the parking area. http://goo.gl/maps/KFKqj .  There is further information located in the parking lot related to rules, fees, and a map.  There is a rest room and water source in the parking area along with covered picnic area. Helmets are required and no double riding unless the machine is designed for it.  Cell phones do not work in the parking area but driving down close to the gate or many places on the trail that are elevated they work fine.  If you have an emergency dial 911, there are emergency service personal that train regularly in the area.

Trail 10 is the shortest trail to and from the parking area. You must enter the upper side of Trail 1 for a few hundred feet to enter Trail 10.  It is a one way area and exits back onto the gravel road that leads back to the parking lot.  I would rate this trail as the easiest trail.  The only obstacle is a small bridge which is approx 60" wide.  RZR S and Ranger XP fit nicely snug while RZR 900s may want to have a spotter and be very careful.

Trail 11 is just below the exit of Trail 10. The inlet is also the exit from this trail.  The first section of Trail 11 is two way which leads up to a intersection where it makes a one way loop.  Parts of this trail are steep on both uphill and downhill sections. Also the trail in most places is very wide.

Trail 1 makes a  complete circle around all trails with the exception of Trail 10 and 11 which are independent trails. All other trails are inside the Trail 1 loop.  To prevent getting lost, just remember that Trial 1 is the outer loop and either direction will eventually lead you back to the parking area or gravel road to the parking area.  Trail 1 is the longest trail and has a little bit of everything. It is well maintained and wide in most areas.  It also takes you up to two large ridge top areas for taking a break.  Trail 1 is two way and has a upper entrance at the top of the parking lot and is the trail you have to follow for a few hundred feet to access the start of Trail 10.  The lower entrance is near the gate to the park which can be seen if you look for the bridge right past the gate.  All bridges are the same width on all trails which is approx 60".  On the upper side of 1 there is a rock "gate" that prevents anything larger than a RZR-S or 900 from passing.  If you have a RZR 900 with larger wheels or extensions its impassable.

Trail 2 has just been revamped and is very wide and fast.  It can be accessed from Trail 1 and is two way.  A very popular route is to ride in on the upper side of Trail 1 to Trail 2 then down Trail 8 back the parking lot.

Trail 3 is a two way trail that has some steep sections mostly sandy and clay.

Trail 4 is a two way trail which leads up to one of  ridge clearings on Trail 1.

Trail 5 is a very short trail.

Trail 6 has been revamped and has some very challenging uphill and downhill slopes.  It also has a partial rock climb section that includes two moderate hills with embedded rocks sticking out.  I have had no problems on either a RZR or ATV in two wheel drive picking a drive-able line.  It also has some steep grades with negitive cut that provides banks on both sides.  One of my favorite trails.

Trail 7 has been revamped and some sections are wide but with steep drop offs on the side.  This trail along with exiting 7 via 7A is one of my favorite trails.  There is a waterfall along the left side of this trail if you don't speed by it.  This trail eventually leads to a optional section labeled 7A which is one way and extremely difficult.    I have taken dirtbikes, ATVs, RZR S, and even a 6x6 thru this area but its not for the faint of heart. Most everyone that sees it for the first time pauses and spots the area before attempting. It has very steep inclines with 2 sharp S sections.  Also there are very deep ruts that have to be navigated at steep angles.  I would recommend for first time vistors to ride at least with someone on this trail or see if anyone that has rode the trail would like to take you with them.

Trail 8 is has a very steep downhill section that is one way.

Trail 9 is nicknamed "Rocks on Rocks". It is very rocky and is a one way trail rarely traveled.  There are some small streams at the trail in the rock section and in places it gets very narrow. I have no problems with RZR-S or ATV on this trail.

 

I ride at Wayehutta almost every weekend and using the map post above that should direct you to the parking lot as well as wet your feet on trail 10.  We normally ride in a fairly large group including RZR's , RZR - S and ATVs. If you are going to be in the area drop me a line and if you have any questions about the riding area please ask.

1Sep/100

Rescue 3 SRT Swiftwater Rescue Technician Class SRT 1

I recently took the Rescue 3 SRT class at Haywood and Nantahala River.  It's certainly one of the best classes I've taken.  Leaving the class you certainly leave with a good feeling that you can perform a swiftwater rescue.  Our class was a three day class, beginning on Saturday at Haywood community college for the classroom portion.  The next two days (Sunday and Monday) were on the Nantahala River.  Our class instructors were Rescue 3 instructors Trey Smith and AJ Bird.  I've taken other classes with both instructors and it doesn't get any better, not to mention a comfort level existed, with instructors you know and trust.  If you consider taking this class, below are my recommendations based on my experience in class:

11Apr/100

Dark Water Dive into Bear Lake North Carolina

Dark Water Dive into Bear Lake North Carolina

11Apr/100

2010 Polar Plunge Dive Photos Bear Lake North Carolina

Click continue reading for more photos!!!!!!!

25Jan/100

Technical Rescue Ropes Anchors Class Photos

Photos from Ropes Anchors Class for North Carolina Technical Rescue

21Jan/100

Learning Neutral Buoyancy Scuba Diving Control How To

I have many of the open water skills mastered but as with any thing else try to practice each one to keep my muscle memory fresh in case I need the skill during an emergency.  My next skill I've been trying to polish up on is buoyancy control.  During my first dives my hands flailed a lot, I seemed to either be positive or negative and had trouble hitting the sweet spot.  I think a lot of it was I didn't sit down and think about it until many frustrating dives later.  I've also been logging things I've figured out and tips that may help others which is below:

15Jan/100

Underwater ROV (Part 2) – Beginning Design.

After a lot of research I finally have enough information to start some design and prototyping.  If you missed the previous post, its located here.  Here is a refresher of my design goals and info about how I plan to accomplish them.

2Jan/100

Underwater ROV (Part 1) – Ideas and using off the shelf parts.

I was recently reading the public safety diver magazine and noticed the small commercial ROV's listed.  Intrigued I went to each site took a look then noticed the pricing.  They cost thousands if not tens of thousands to procure one.  I thought to myself, what if I just want a simple one to for what I've see as a need?  So I set out to do a quick feasibility study on build a small ROV for use with search and rescue and otherwise just something fun, useful, and inexpensive.

29Dec/090

Zeagle Ranger BC – Some version history

First my standard disclaimer.  This blog is for information only.  I don't warranty any of the info and I'm rarely right so use common sense.  With scuba gear always consult a professional.

About a year or so ago I picked up a used inexpensive Zeagle Ranger BC.  I had used them at the squad and really liked it. On the first dive or two I noticed it was a bit different than the other Zeagle rangers folks had. The first thing was that it didn't have  a chest strap at all.  My first thought was I was just going to purchase a upper section to gain the strap.  After looking at other BC's I realized that the buckle size was different as well.  Thus I began my hunt on EBay for a used Ranger BC that had the chest strap. It took a few months but I did purchase one.  After setting them side by side I could see many differences.  Here is  a short list:

17Dec/090

River Diving 101

I recently had the opportunity to dive in one of our local rivers, the Tuckasegee.  It was very close to dark by the time we arrived. There were three divers affording us a safety diver and several SRT (Swift-water Rescue Technicians) on the bank.  Since at least two of us had never been diving in this kind of current much less in the dark it seemed we were well prepared.

It was a cold night in the 50's and the water temp according to my Suunoto gage was 43 degrees. I had all of my 7mm gear on but could certainly feel the cold water.  One difficulty I hadn't thought about was getting myself in a 7mm suit with booties, no less, down to the dive site with my equipment.  We had some dive handlers that helped but it was a careful stroll down the embankment thru heavy brush to get to the waters edge.  Not something that was particularly fun in a wetsuit and booties.

After getting our gear on someone who knew how to do this gave us some quick advice and made it a point that it was just that, advice.  He reiterated a few times that it was an acquired skill diving in current and navigating to the bottom. I of course had no real idea what he was talking about I just knew I was going to do my best to apply what he was saying once I got out there.

We had a target area about 25 feet out in the river we wanted to go over well.  Initially I went up stream a bit then attempted to descend and begin the search.  I quickly floated downstream past our target area and had to swim to the edge and walk back up. Not something with scuba gear on your back you would like to do many times in a row.

Second try, I went a bit further and tried to visualize my speed vs where I went at to determine if I was going to over shoot.  First I dipped down into the water and completely emptied my BC,  snagged an additional 8 lbs of weight as I walked by the bag, and found the secret.  What is that you ask, well head down butt up is the best way I know to describe it.  I forced my head down to the bottom. The current took care of getting the rest of me planted well enough with the pressure of the current pushing down on me to hold me in place.  I could now crawl around and examine the bottom.

First small problem that arises. Am I even at the target site?  I browsed around for a bit and realized if i didn't keep my body laid out the way it was I would be whisked off downstream.  Struggling around I finally noticed some light from the bank and used the lines of wash to establish I was near slightly upstream from the target area.  The important point here is use the lines of the wash underwater to use a parallels along with light source on bank to tell where you are.  I searched much of the target area and was able to hand around for about 10 minutes before making a mistake move that whisked me away quickly downstream.

Walking back up, I shared what I had learnt and headed back upstream.  This time I perfectly "landed" the target area and reproduced it several times until I ran out of air and we packed up for the night.  With each dive I got better and better at managing the current, my position, and my dive light.  The only scary part of the night came while I was at about 15 feet searching.  I was windshield wiper searching the bottom and suddenly a bright rainbow flash was suddenly right next to my head. It was a 12-16 inch rainbow trout swimming happily right next to my head.  I almost spit the reg from my mouth. He just hovered around me like I was supposed to be in the water.