Hudson column: Off-roaders seek perfect 'sippy hole'

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It is fun to get dirty. Especially when you are piloting a four-wheel drive vehicle. In fact, it is the quest for the perfect sippy hole that drives many off-road enthusiasts. The object of the game is to get into as much mud as possible.
Let me provide some education for those of you that don’t know what a sippy hole is all about. A sippy hole is basically a big mud puddle, but it has to be thick enough to splatter mud all over your rig without being so thick or deep that you can’t get through.
The only thing I can tell you about where the name “sippy hole,” comes from is to consider some other common, quirky southern phrases, such as “skeeter fluid.”
Skeeter fluid is really just washer fluid that assists in the removal of dead mosquitos from your windshield. Using this logic, my guess is that sippy hole is a derivation of soupy hole.
Somebody’s accent must have gotten in the way and that could be responsible for the difference in spelling and pronunciation. Regardless, you are looking at a sippy hole if you are on an off-road trail and you see wet hole in the ground that looks like vegetable soup.
When driving through a sippy hole there are several factors that are important for you to consider.
First, how deep is the hole? Second, will the water level be so high that it will flood your engine? Third, what are you going to do if you don’t get out?
For those reasons, most people opt to just step on the gas and plow through while hoping for the best. That’s what I always did.
It’s not smart, but it makes it that much more fun when you drive out safely to the other side. From this point it is important to find a place to park and marvel at the amount of mud you have on your rig. You may need to take several trips through the mud to get the desired effect.
Here in Salisbury, we are fortunate to have access to some really beautiful trails set in the Uwharrie National Forest that feature some great sippy holes.
But going off-road with your four-wheel drive vehicle isn’t something that you should take lightly. It is very easy to tear up your truck or sport-utility vehicle when you exit the pavement.
Suspension parts will be tested thoroughly at Uwharrie. Your rig’s ground clearance may seem sufficient while sitting in your driveway.
But there are some very technical trails at Uwharrie, specifically the Daniel Trail, that are very difficult and require a large amount of ground clearance throughout the length of the trail.
And remember, these trails have only enough room for one vehicle. And traffic can go both ways. So there are going to be times when you are going to have to back up and move off to the side to allow another vehicle to pass.
Speed is not your friend on the trails, either. When rock climbing off road you need to drive slowly or you will have to be towed off the trails when you break a suspension part. It happens all the time.
It is only $5 per day per vehicle to get onto the Uwharrie Off Road Vehicle Trails. Permits can be purchased at the El Dorado Outpost located on 4021 N.C. 109 in Troy, which is about an hour west of Salisbury near Badin Lake. There is a great deal of useful information on the Internet at
Glenn Hudson is a freelance fishing writer based in Salisbury. Contact him at