On the Trails of Hatfield-McCoy

A few weeks ago Jonathan Stewart posted a picture on the Facebook wall of his Can-Am Outlander parked on the 33 degree decline in the Hatfield McCoy trail system in West Virginia; it was an awesome shot and we had to know more about Jonathan and his machine. Jonathan enjoys outdoor activities including kayaking, gardening, camping, motorcycles, walking, and of course, off-roading.

Can-am Off-Road: Tell us a more about the picture from Hatfield McCoy. Does the park live up to its reputation?  

Jonathan Stewart: I spent the majority of my first visit to Hatfield McCoy in an area called Rock House.  The local people here are really friendly.  I stayed at Marty’s Browning Fork Trailhouse, which is close to the town of Gilbert.  The people at Marty’s were really helpful in supplying me with information about the Rock House trail system.  The place was great, the grounds were well kept and there was even a connection to the Rock House trail system just up the road.

The Rock House trail system is full of both pleasure and challenge. My favorite trail at Rock House runs along the top of one of the mountains for about 3 miles.  There are several places that are very challenging, and I have learned how to ride these trails through years of practice, but inexperienced riders must be careful so they don’t wind up in an area they aren’t comfortable riding through. Good thing is there are trails of all skill levels in the area. The trail systems of Hatfield McCoy are so vast that it would take a month to enjoy all six of the systems.

Can-am Off-Road: When did you start riding? How did you get started?

Jonathan: In 1995, I had an 185cc ATV; it was fun and cheap. After getting my share of thrills, I decided to take a break from motorcycles and off-road sports.  Last year, I bought a used 250cc ATV to see if I liked it, and guess what, I did.  Less than three months later I bought the Outlander 800R MAX Limited.  I didn’t want to waste money starting at medium class ATV, knowing that I would only crave more power.  So, I looked at the higher end models and a legal two seat ATV.  The Outlander was the ATV for me.

Can-am Off-Road: Where do you usually go riding? Have any favorite spots?

Jonathan: Jefferson Forest, Virginia, is my usual spot to go riding.  I like to use the Outlander to haul a lot of gear.  I also enjoy taking my wife out to the tops of various parts of the mountain.  We camp in a lot of different locations away from most people; this is what we like to do.

Can-am Off-Road: How often do you use your Outlander? What’s your favorite part about your Outlander?

Jonathan: I’ve been using my ATV more this year than in the past.  Aside from taking it to Jefferson Forest, I’m finding other uses for it. I live in Hillwood, which is within the US Nation’s Capital beltway, and the community has a 5.4 acre grass field where members can rent parcels of land for $2 per year and grow vegetables along with other crops.  This is where my Can-Am comes into the picture. The power of the machine is unparalleled. It does a great job pulling about 2,400 pounds of water 500 feet through a grass field to my garden. I use a 10 x 5 utility trailer to help haul the load.

Can-am Off-Road: What’s the most challenging terrain you’ve ever ridden on? What is your favorite terrain to ride?

Jonathan: The most difficult terrain I encountered was when I tried to pass through Jefferson Forest and failed.  There is a half mile trail that runs along a creek and consists of 1-3 foot boulders close together most of the way.  It was quite a balancing act. I had no choice but to walk it, and in many spots I had to use my shoulder pressed on the seat while simultaneously tapping the throttle to keep it stable. It was really tough.  Half of the way through I decided to turn back, but turning around was really hard to do since the path was not only narrow but incredibly rocky.  After that, I decided that for the future I’m not going to try and take the ATV through trails better suited on a dirt bike.

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