<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Paragon's Relief Ride for Victims & Families of Sept. 11, 2001
ROCKCRAWLER.com
Paragon's Relief Ride
for Victims & Families of Sept. 11, 2001

By Val DeSantis, Jr.

On September 11th, 2001, I was in the North Maine Woods, a wilderness area in northern Maine, bowhunting black bear. Driving down a logging road, I came across some Canadian loggers I had known for some time. That is when I found out. It had come across a radio that, indeed, the World trade Center had been attacked. Disbelief best describes my feelings and emotions. How could anyone commit such an act?

Paragon Relief Ride
Paragon Relief Ride

I had never been to Paragon Adventure Park in Hazleton PA..I am a off-road enthusiast, but I am more of the "adventure" kind. I'm not really into the rock stuff. I frequent many off-road websites and when it was announced that on October 7th, Paragon was having a memorial/benefit event I thought it might be fun. I have some friends that have been there before and they told me it was a cool place and I should have a good time.

My friend Mike and I headed out that Sunday morning around 4:30 am from Westchester County, NY, which is about 3 hours away from Paragon. When we arrived, I couldn't believe what I saw. I thought I died and went to Jeep heaven. That day 268 rigs participated in the event.

Paragon Relief Ride
Paragon Relief Ride

When I got to the sign-in area, I originally wanted to go on a 3-4 rated trail. I had never done something like this, and for my first time I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew. They rate the trails from 1 - 6 at Paragon, with 1 being the easiest and 6 meaning guaranteed damage.

Somehow I ended up on a 6-rated trail! Let's put it this way. I will never look at rocks the same way again! I never had my rig on the rocks. I found it very challenging and will certainly attempt it again. I have front and rear lockers and an Atlas II transfer case. That helped a lot, but I bailed halfway through the trail. I had some minor damage and we had a long ride back home.

Paragon Relief Ride
Paragon Relief Ride

It was my understanding that on a normal event they have around 150 vehicles. That weekend they had another event going on in addition to this one, which puts the vehicle count at around 300. My hats off to the folks at Paragon. They moved the vehicles expertly through with no problems. It was a very organized and safe event. If you are ever in that area, you owe it to yourself to visit the park.

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