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Friday, August 18, 2017

SO MANY TRAILS

I can't remember the last time I spent an entire summer mountain biking in so many new places...on so many "new to me" trails...and on trails I hadn't been on in nearly a decade.  Over the past few months, I've done just that.  The biggest perk I get from my job (if you want to call it that...I get to teach history to kids) is time.  Time is the one resource that you can NEVER get back.  So, this summer...along with Mark, Glenn, Tim, Chris, and Matt...I've used my time mountain biking to explore, and re-explore, a variety of different places and trails.  I truly am blessed to have such great state and local parks and forests...populated with miles and miles of trails...just waiting to be ridden.  I'm equally blessed to have friends who share the same passion.  So (without any further rambling), here's some of the places that I, my friends, and my Stumpjumper have explored the past two and a half months.  Enjoy!

STONY VALLEY RAIL TRAIL


Mark told me that he would ride Stony Valley anyday of the week.  Even though it is "rail trail," it was one of the most visually stimulating rides of the summer.  While riding almost thirty miles on a rainy Monday, we explored the ruins of Cold Spring (a 19th century resort) and got to see Rausch Creek being diverted into limestone wells in order to purify the water.  

While riding the Stony Valley Rail Trail, Mark and I took a short detour to explore the ruins of  Cold Spring, a 19th century resort town, which is located in State Game Lands No. 221. -- June 5, 2017

The remains of Cold Spring Resort -- June 5, 2017

Rausch Creek being diverted into limestone wells to remove the acid in thewater caused by nearby abandoned coal mines. -- June 5, 2017



SWATARA STATE PARK


For our first Tuesday ride of the summer, Tim and I met Matt at Swatara State Park.  The ten miles we rode that day doesn't sound like a lot...but my legs always seem to know after I've ridden there!

Riding on loop D at Swatara State Park. -- June 6, 2017

Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane. -- June 6, 2017

OHIOPYLE STATE PARK


 I spent a week camping in Ohiopyle State Park with my son Alex this summer.  I had a blast riding the Sugarloaf trail system, Baughman Trail, and some super scenic sections of the Great Allegheny Passage.  Alex brought his GoPro and new drone along on the trip...so I managed to get some amazing footage.  The descent down Baughman Trail dropped approximately 800 feet in just under two miles!  

Taking a break at Baughman Overlook in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 13, 2017

Riding Baughman Trail at Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 15, 2017



Crossing over the Youghiogheny River on the Great Allegheny Passage. -- June 15, 2017

Riding the Great Allegheny Passage in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 13, 2017



About a mile from my campsite, I paused to take in the view of the Laurel Highlands around Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 15, 2017


THE LAKES


I only made two trips to the Lakes this summer.  The first, with Mikey, Glenn, and Mark, was a fun mid-day ride with the guys.  My second ride at the lakes was a stop on my way home from Baltimore to turn my pedals and squeeze in five quick miles.

Fun ride at the Lakes with Mikey, Glenn, and Mark. -- June 22, 2017

With just a short window to ride, I stopped for a quick five mile loop around Lake Williams. -- August 14, 2017


ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK


My good friend Chris Keller started his own business this past year.  His new company is located just about a mile from my house.  Whenever his schedule allows, we head up to Rocky Ridge County Park and mountain bike a few miles.  

Ridin Fresh and Twisty at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- June 9, 2017

A super humid ride with Chris Keller at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- July 13, 2017


HARRISBURG GREEN BELT


Okay...this one surprised the heck out of me.  When Mark told me there were trails in Harrisburg, I didn't know what to expect.  I surely didn't think I'd be riding 15+ miles of singletrack located right in, and around, the city.  Urban mountain biking at its best!  Thanks, SAMBA!

Harrisburg Green Belt -- July 26, 2017

Riding the trails along the Green Belt in Harrisburg, PA. -- June 27, 2017

Mark Lentz, Dave Raymond, and Glenn Medice on the Harrisburg Green Belt. -- July 26, 2017


TUSCARORA STATE FOREST


What a day Mark and I had in Tuscarora State Forest!  We mountain biked 29 miles and climbed 4,000 feet through what seemed like a surreal tropical forest. 

Love this picture of Mark riding in Tuscarora State Forest. -- July 6, 2017

My Stumpjumper along a fire road in Tuscarora State Forest. -- July 6, 2017



What a day Mark and I had in Tuscarora State Forest. -- July 6, 2017


ALLEGRIPPIS TRAILS


Tim's maiden voyage to ride the Allegrippis Trails!  I did my best to piece together a fun loop for the three of us.  Personally, Hydro Loop was my favorite.  It's the one trail that gets you super close to the water of Raystown Lake...and, like water, the trail just flows.  Loved it!

Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, and Glenn Medice on Hydro Loop. -- July 11, 2017

Riding the Allegrippis Trail System.  -- July 11, 2017


MICHAUX STATE FOREST


You'd think by now I would have the trails in Michaux State Forest memorized like the back of my hand...but not the case.  Along with Mark, this summer I rode more "new to me" trails in Michaux than I had since he and I first started riding there.  Ridgeline trail was amazing...but today the combination of Triple Pine and Astronomy Trails completely blew me a way.  

It wasn't all about "new" trails in Michaux this summer.  On our Tuesday rides, I did my best to revisit some of the trails that Glenn and I had ridden together almost ten years ago.  Three weeks ago, during our "Rockiest Tuesday of the Year," we ended on Bear Knob...which is super fun to ride.  I was stoked that everyone else seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

My Stumpjumper on Ridgeline Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- July 31, 2017

Dave Raymond and Mark Lentz on Ridgeline Trail. -- July 31, 2017

The rockiest ride of the year.  Riding Bear Knob in Michaux State Forest. -- August 1, 2017

My bike on Bear Knob in Michaux State Forest. -- August 1, 2017


Last Tuesday ride of the summer.  Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice, Matt Linnane. -- August 15, 2017

Mark Lentz riding Campground Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- August 18, 2017

Mark Lentz and Dave Raymond.  Wrapping up the last of the summer. -- August 18, 2017

I can't remember the last time my mountain biking miles exceded my road cycling miles...but this summer that surely was the case.  As much as I like my road bike, mountain biking has always been my passion.  The past few months on my Stumpjumper with my friends have been nothing short of amazing. Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean the riding ends...there's so many trails that need to be ridden.

I ate so many post-ride (hike) ice-cream cones this summer...but my favorite, by far, was the Glen Dairy Bar in Watkins Glen, New York. -- July 20, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 18, 2017


Yes...that is a black bear about 30 yards in front of Mark and I in Michaux State Forest! -- July 31, 2017

Here's the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...













Interested in mountain biking some of these trails?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE RIDE IS NEVER THE SAME

It's almost impossible to replicate a mountain bike ride...but yesterday, I tried my very best to do just that.  Tim, Glenn, Matt, and I met at Pine Grove Furnace State Park for the last mid-week ride of the summer.  The other night I texted each of the guys and asked them to let me know what trail or section of the forest they wanted to ride.  From there, I planned on piecing together something for everyone.  Glenn requested a repeat of a ride that he, Matt, and I did a few weeks ago (minus the "getting temporarily lost" section).  Sounded like a plan.

Group shot after riding Grave Ridge.  Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice, and Matt Linnane. -- August 15, 2017

I'm not sure if there really is such a thing as a "perfect" ride...but Glenn, Matt, and I came pretty close three weeks ago. While attempting to show Matt some of the ATV trails that run along Piney Mountain Ridge, we ended up revisiting trails that Glenn and I hadn't been on in years.  Low humitiy, low temps, and a crystal blue sky awaited us as we pedaled Bendersville Road and then made our way onto Slate Road (forever known to us as "the Easy-Button").  In years past, because it was the only way I knew how to access some of the trails, this was how we would have begun every ride at Michaux.  What had long ago become tedious seemed fresh again.  Near the intersection of Piney Mountain Ridge and Slate Road I led us across my favorite rock garden.  A nearly three quarter mile trail of endless rocks with the ability to humble any rider.  The pay off was the descent down the back side of the "Easy Button" and eventually to the single track on the other side of Rt 233.

Glenn and Matt coming down the back side of the "Easy Button." -- July 25, 2017

The network of single track twisting and turning through the section of forest located between Ridge Road and Rt 233 is seemingly endless.  My goal was to put together some of the best trail I knew and make our way to Grave Ridge.  I'd ridden Grave Ridge only once (last summer with Tim) since it reopened two years ago after being closed due to logging in the area.  Labeled as "Most Difficult," Grave Ridge has, once again, become one of my trails in the forest.   To get to the  southern end of Grave Ridge (the trail is best ridden South to North) we made our way across Woodrow Road and continued down Gargamel's Trail.  Loaded with twisted roots and endless rocks, Gargamel's Trail  parallels Mountain Creek...providing a landscape that looks like something out of a story book...and is a perfect conduit to Grave Ridge. 

The unique landscape along Gargamel's Trail. -- July 25, 2017

Glenn slowing things down a little and taking a break on a well-placed bench along Gargamel's Trail. -- July 25, 2017

Matt Linnane riding on Gargamel's Trail -- July 25, 2017

Glenn Medice riding a section of Gargamel's Trail. -- July 25, 2017

Dave Raymond riding a section of Gargamel's Trail. -- July 25, 2017

Matt Linnane, Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice on Gargamel's Trail near Mountain Creek. -- July 25, 2017

I won't go as far to say that I got lost on this ride...but, as I've said many times...the trails in Michaux State Forest don't typically go where you expect them to.  I got a little greedy on Gargamel's Trail and decided to continue down the path when I knew I should have turned off.  As we continued along the trail the area around us became incredibly beautiful but obviously less ridden  It wasn't long before we realized that we had ventured into Tumbling Run Game Preserve.  Not a big deal...we just learned where NOT to ride.  

Once on top of Grave Ridge I managed to get "turned around" again.  It's been almost 8 years since I had been there and the landscape had changed.  With a little backtracking we soon found ourselves navigating the rocks of the Grave Ridge.  When all was said and done, Matt, Glenn, and I managed to get in over 19 miles of incredible mountain biking.  This is what I attempted to replicate for Glenn, Matt, Tim, and I yesterday.

Matt Linnane riding Grave Ridge. -- July 25, 2017

Glenn Medice riding Grave Ridge. -- July 25, 2017

Dave Raymond riding a section of Grave Ridge. -- July 25, 2017

I found that trying to recreate the ride from three weeks ago was impossible....for the simple reason that a "ride" is so much more than the trails you choose.  There are so many different aspects of a mountain bike ride that don't make any one "ride" better than another...just unique and fun in its own way.  Sure, we pedaled a lot of the same trails yesterday, but the  was ride was different.  With Timmy along, the whole group was present. The humidity was back in full force...(one of the local weather men likes to say it was the "air that you can wear")...making the terrain super slick and bringing out fungi in all shapes, forms, and colors. We avoided the sections where we got "lost" and found a "new to us" trail (which I named Chasing Gargamel) as we came off of Grave Ridge. 

Orange and purple fungi along Mountain Creek...all shapes and forms. -- August 15, 2017

Tim and Glenn coming down Gargamel Extended. -- August 15, 2017

Matt crossing under a low branch on Gargamel Extended. -- August 15, 2017

Dave Raymond riding down a section of Gargamel Extended -- August 15, 2017

Yesterday's ride wasn't better or worse than the previous one...just different and fun in its own way...and a great ride for the group to end the summer with.  Mountain biking is more than just about riding.  It's about how we interact with the trails, nature, and our friends.  These things are just as instrumental in creating the experience as the route you choose to ride.  Proof that even the same ride is never the same.   


Matt showing off his busted up knee. -- August 16, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 16, 2017


"Seriously...you've got to write about this!"  I'd love to, Matt but you and I know that I promised that I wouldn't.  If you want to know...ask Glenn!  Matt Linnane and Glenn Medice -- July 25, 2017


Here's the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...



Interested in mountain biking in Michaux State Forest or other parks I've been to?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Saturday, August 12, 2017

SEARCHING FOR TREASURE (or...SOMETHING IN THE WATER)

For centuries, people from all over the world have traveled to the Bedford Springs for different reasons...each hoping to find their idea of treasure.  Some came for rejuvenation, others for healing, some for escape...but for me and the kids I grew with, Davey Lewis' Cave is what first lured us there.  The story of Davey Lewis fascinated me as a kid..."the Robin Hood of Pennsylvania"...who robbed from the rich to help the poor.  Some saw him as a criminal..others as an "equalizer."  Legend has it that he would hide out and escape through a series of caves located near the Bedford Springs Hotel and that part of his treasure might still be there.  What kid wouldn't want to search that cave?  On more than one occasion, I've visited Davey's cave in woods on the other side of Shober's Run with Jake, Robbie, Beau, and other neighborhood kids hoping (but never finding) whatever it might have been that Davey Lewis left behind.

Taking a break and doing a little reminiscing at the entrance to Davey Lewis' Cave -- August 6, 2017
Native Americans who lived in the area knew that there was something special about the mineral waters flowing out of the mountains.  They used the springs to rejuvenate, treat wounds, and cure illnesses.  The property, purchased in 1794 by Dr. John Anderson, eventually grew into a world famous resort which has hosted seven presidents (Andrew Jackson, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, James Garfield, William H. Taft), five future or former presidents (Thomas Jefferson, William H. Harrison, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush) and many other notable politicians and industrialists (Henry Clay, Aaron Burr, John C. Calhoun, Henry Ford).  During his lifetime, President James Buchanan made over forty trips to the Bedford Springs.  He was drawn to the area, not just by the rugged beauty of the Allegheny Mountains, but by the "healing" powers of the mineral springs making their way out of the mountainside.  The building served as President Buchanan's "summer White House" during his four years in office (1857-1861) and provided relief from the oppressive D.C. heat for the U.S. Supreme Court while they worked on the Dred Scott Decision.  It was at the Bedford Springs that President Buchanan received the first trans-Atlantic telegraph message (from Queen Victoria).  The resort boasted a premier golf course and installed one of the country's first indoor swimming pools.  In 1984, the hotel, and the land around it, were designated a National Historic Landmark.

Pennsylvania Historical Marker at the Bedford Springs Hotel. -- July 4, 2014

Hanging in the Springs is a James Buchanan campaign poster from the 1856 presidential elections.  Also on display is the guest book page signed by our 11th president, James K. Polk.  I imagine that Polk heard about the Springs from his Secretary of State...James Buchanan.  Super cool! -- pictures taken in 2013
As a teenager, I would once again be drawn back to the Springs...not searching for Davey Lewis' treasure...but looking to earn a little cash of my own.  Along with the other kids I grew up with on South Juliana Street, I'd walk over to the Springs, trudge through the creek which flowed through the golf course, and search for lost golf balls...which we would sell back to the golfers on the course...pocketing some cash of our own (to the chagrin of the local golf pro).

A few years later my neighbor, Charles, and I were each given jobs working as stage hands for local legend, Fred Smith.  Fred Shannon Smith was the leader of a popular big band, Fred Shannon Smith and the Clubmen Orchestra, which performed at the Bedford Springs almost every Saturday night.  Working for Mr. Smith felt like an awesome privilege....but it also was my first real taste of responsibility and having to meet strict expectations.  When our job was done, and the band was in full swing, Charles and I spent hours exploring a now increasingly dilapidated Bedford Springs Hotel.  It was evident to us that no amount of money or fabled treasure hidden in cave could save the building.  The best days of this historical resort seemed to be in the past.  The Bedford Springs officially closed it's doors in 1986.

Fred Shannon Smith (standing on the left) and the Clubmen Orchestra.  One of the best Big Bands on the East Coast.  Fred was a lot of things...a musician, a real estate agent, and a school teacher.  My father taught with him at Everett Area High School.   Mr. Smith was a great guy who hired a 15-year-old me to work as a stage hand.  Mr. Smith paid me $15 a night.  Doesn't sound like a lot, but that's approximately $31 today.  Not bad for a fifteen year old with no other income. What an awesome experience.  Take a listen to "OUR LOVE IS HERE TO STAY."  


In 2007, the property re-opened and reclaimed its splendor...becoming, once again, a destination for people to escape, rejuvenate, and treasure.  My fascination with the history of the building and surrounding property continues to this day.  If possible, when I come home to visit my dad and Mary Jane, I bring my road bike along on the trip.  A route past President Buchanan's summer White House is always included in any ride that I take in Bedford.  On the occasions when I don't have my bike with me I've hiked the trail system that has been constructed around the mineral springs which so many people once made a pilgrimage to experience.  The trails even offer easy access to the entrance of Davey Lewis' Cave (no longer does an adventurous kid need to wade through the water and bushwhack overgrown brush to find it). 

David and Alex Raymond on a July 4th ride in Bedford. -- July 4, 2014

My 2012 Specialized Roubaix in front of the Bedford Springs Hotel. -- July 6,  2016

From a trail head on Sweet Root Road you can cross this bridge to access the Bedford Heritage Trail and the trails at the Bedford Springs. -- August 6, 2017

A trail map posted at the trail head.  Just across Shober's Run and Sweet Root Road is the Bedford Springs Hotel. -- August 6, 2017

A series of steep switchbacks make up the southern end of Springs Trail. -- August 6, 2017

Descending Springs Trail you can begin to make out the famous Bedford Springs Hotel on the other side of the stream. -- August 6, 2017

The Iron Spring is near the base of Springs Trail.  Bathing in it's waters were thought to give you increased energy and a overall sense of well-being. -- August 6, 2017

Hiking near the Iron Springs with Robin -- April 27, 2013  



Limestone Spring along Shober's Run at the Bedford Springs.  The limestone in the water was used to treat people with gastric problems and who generally may have just felt "run down." -- August 6, 2017



In the 19th century, visitors to the limestone springs would have passed through the "Limestone Turnstile" and then crossed Shober's Run on the "Limestone Bridge" in order to access the spring.  Today, you can easily experience the Limestone Spring while hiking on Spring Trail. -- August 6, 2017

Yes!  The trails are open to mountain biking.  Pretty good chance the next time I am in Bedford my Stumpjumper will be with me. -- August 6, 2017
I've hiked the trails near the Springs three times now.  The first two times with Robin and last week on my own.  Dad dropped me off at the trail head near Sweet Root Road and I asked him to pick me up in an hour.  I wish I would have had time to take in the sites around me...but that wasn't the case.  The nearly three mile hike combining Evitt, Spring, and Naugle's Mill trails wound past Davey Lewis' Cave, around Constitution Hill, and then down a steep switchback which descended to the Iron Spring and across to the Limestone Spring.  The trail systems, arranged from easy to difficult, are set up in a way that any hiker (of any ability) can experience the natural beauty of the Bedford Springs.  Making the most of my time schedule,  I was able to do a little reminiscing, get my heart rate up, see some wildlife, clear  my head, and experience the waters that so many people once sought out for "healing."

Maybe there IS something in the water.  Maybe there really is something special hidden deep in a cave. 
I don't know...but, those things don't matter much to me anymore.  Rediscovering a place of my childhood...spending time outdoors...appreciating the history of a place that meant so much to so many...and sharing the experiences with my wife and with my son.  These are the the things that continue to bring me back to visit the Bedford Springs when I am in my hometown...and these are the things I treasure.

All trails lead to ice cream...and birthday cake!  Happy birthday to the best step-mother in the world...Mary Jane Raymond.  I love you! -- August 6, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 12, 2017


In memory of my father-in-law, Hubert C. Arnold, who lived an active life.  He treasured the outdoors, taking walks, riding his bike, and most of all...his family.   We will miss you. (1938 - 2017)

Interested in hiking the Bedford Springs or other parks I've been to?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

Here's the GARMIN maps and data from my hikes at the Bedford Springs and a few of my bike rides through the area:  






"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin