We had the privilege of joining Mountain State Overland, an environmentally conscious team of overland travel enthusiasts, as they explore southern Appalachia to commence filming the second season of their online video series.
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After spending the previous night in Roanoke, Brandie and I joined up with the team at lunchtime in the small town of Justice, West Virginia. There we met Jason, Jamie, Jeremy, and Joe from Mountain State Overland, Matt from Blue Ridge Overland Gear, Rick, who represented OutdoorX4, and our friends Caitie and Matt from 4xFish.
There, we ate at the Justonian, which was a nice, American style restaurant and diner. The food was decent, the staff and patrons were extremely friendly, and the prices were good. It’s definitely a good place to stop if you’re passing through town.
Lunch hit the spot, and shortly thereafter, we were back on the road.
It wasn’t long before we found ourselves winding our way into an overgrown two-track, which didn’t resemble a high-traffic route in any way, shape, or form. It quickly became apparent that the road we were on saw little more than ATV traffic. Nevertheless, we pushed onward, as proper adventurers might.
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After one switchback, things got a little hairy. The adjacent section of trail ran along a steep hillside, was extremely narrow, and featured a series of washouts that we were required to carefully traverse.
Some of the washouts were spanned by logs on the downhill side, placed by others, to assist with passage of
vehicles ATVs. These makeshift bridges were helpful, but did little to ease the mind while next to such a steep drop-off.
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The team readily laid MAXTRAX and pulled winch cable, several times, to ensure everyone’s safe passage. Matt and Caitie’s shovel came in particularly handy to widen the final, and most perilous section of trail.
At last, everyone made it through!
The very start of our adventure turned out to be a grueling, very time consuming, team-building exercise. In what amounted to little more than a hundred yards of trail, we all contributed to the group’s passage, and in the process, became close friends.
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The narrow and overgrown trail eventually opened up to a proper road, but it was getting late, so we had to forego our intended destination, Breaks Interstate Park, which is where Jason had made reservations for the team to camp for the night.
Instead, we studied some maps, and plotted a course to a nearby improvised campsite; a mountaintop clearing where loose horses roamed.
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No one expected to see horses, yet there they were, frolicking playfully in the clearing. The dogs immediately gave chase, but Jason called them back. We’re not sure why they were there, or where they came from, but we were more than happy to share the campsite with our equine friends.
Photo by 4xFish
The Mountain State Overland team proceeded to set up their camp, complete with rooftop tents, brilliant camp lighting, and ample awning space to shield us from rain. Not long after we settled in, we all sat around and shared stories from the day’s adventures as Jamie prepared delicious hamburgers on the grill.
Shortly before midnight, Brandie and I retreated to bed in our James Baroud Evasion Evo rooftop tent. Outside, I could hear our team greeting the horses as they wandered close to camp. From that point on, they were known as… The Midnight Stallions.