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Friday, June 23, 2017

#NoChildLeftInside

Just a little less than a month ago I said goodbye to another group of history students.  My parting, end-of-the-school-year advice changes from year to year...but this year it seemed very relevant and well received.  I basically just reminded my students that they only have one life to live.  I asked them to make a commitment over the summer to go outside and watch life through their own eyes...not someone else's life through a screen.  I asked them to go outside and create their own story...don't sit and binge watch someone else's story on Netflix.  Just days after school let out I was completely stoked when I crossed paths with one of my students (on his bicycle) while I was riding Rocky Ridge with Chris Keller.  Personally, I love when parents of my students tag me in photos of super cool places they visit over summer break.  After a year of seemingly non-stop testing (tests, by the way, most adults would have trouble passing) it's great to see kids outside learning, making their own adventures, and living life through their own eyes.

#NoChildLeftInside


While riding Rocky Ridge County Park with Chris Keller I ran into one of my former students who was on his bike enjoying the park -- May 31, 2017

#NoChildLeftInside applies to my own son, Alex.  He never got into mountain biking...but he loves the outdoors, loves to ride my old road bike, and loves to go for hikes with me.  This pic was taken in Michaux State Forest last summer. -- June 22, 2016

Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- June 23, 2017

Be sure to check out H.R.882  - No Child Left Inside Act of 2015 introduced by Representative John P. Sarbanes, D-Md.  The goal of the bill is to provide meaningful outdoor education experiences for students across the country. It's been referred to the sub committee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and then was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 11, 2015.  Call your local representative to support it.

My brother and I had the notion of #NoChildLeftInside firmly embedded within us by our mother and father. This picture was taken in  Ohiopyle State Park .  Jacob and David Raymond -- November 1980

Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from my ride with Chris at Rocky Ridge and my hike with Alex in Tumbling Run:



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

OBSERVATIONS FROM OHIOPYLE

Visiting Ohiopyle State Park is a tradition that spans generations in my family...and I'm so happy to be able to keep the tradition alive.  It's quite possibly one of the most beautiful State Parks in Pennsylvania.  There's no doubt in my mind that it is probably the most unique of our State Parks.  The beauty and uniqueness of Ohiopyle can be observed around every corner, between every rock, over every rapid, and on every trail.  

After the riding up the most obnoxious hill ever...I took time to take in the view from just outside of Kentuck Campgrounds in Ohiopyle State Park -- June 15, 2017

Thursday morning I was relaxing on the banks of the Youghiogheny River when I decided to stretch my legs, take a walk, and check out the visitor center located near the main falls which makes up the heart of the town.  As I toured the visitor center my attention drifted towards a t-shirt with the words ADVICE FROM OHIOPYLE followed by seven short sentences meant to help you experience and appreciate your time in Ohiopyle.  I think these seven sentences are relevant, not just for Ohiopyle, but anywhere you are on the planet.

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN NATURE.

It's not hard to find nature in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.  The state park contains more than 20,000 acres of rugged forest...with the Youghiogheny River running through the heart of the park.

Taking in the view at Baughman Rocks Overlook before morning mountain bike ride in the Sugarloaf area of the park -- June 13, 2017

Taking things literally...nothing is more refreshing than immersing yourself in the Youghiogheny River after a morning of mountain biking in Ohiopyle -- June 13, 2017

SPEND TIME NEAR THE WATER

The most relaxing part of my week in Ohiopyle came on Thursday.  After breakfast, I packed up my chair, a cooler, and a good book and headed to the falls area.  Two complete (and uninterrupted) hours of reading with nothing but the sound of the Youghiogheny raging just feet away.

Ohiopyle's name comes from "Ohiopehelle."  A combination of Native American words which translate to: "white, frothy water."  The main falls are all the indication you need that this translation is correct -- June 15, 2017




The spot I chose, just above the falls, to relax near the river and read -- June 15, 2017


CHERISH WILDERNESS

You don't have to be on a mountain bike or a raft to enjoy and cherish the wilderness that makes up Ohiopyle.  Midway through our week, I took a nerdy hiking trip with Alex and Devin.  We trekked through an obscure part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield (just a few miles from Ohiopyle) to see the spot of George Washington's first military encounter...Jumonville Glen.  It's remote, beautiful, and seemingly untouched since young Mr. Washington was there!

Pausing to take in some nerdy history at Jumonville Rocks...part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield -- June 14, 2017



Alex and I took our first camping trip together back in 2009 when he was 10 years old.  It's become an annual event.  Last week, however, was the first time we had hiked down to Jumonville Rocks since that first trip -- June 14, 2017



BE AT HOME IN THE WOODS

After years of sleeping in tents and on the ground...I now opt for a little more creature comforts.  The mini-cabins in the Hickory loop of Kentuck Campgrounds are a perfect home away from home!

Relaxing by the fire and reading a nerdy history book -- June 13, 2017

Alex and I have been camping together since he was ten years old.  It's nice to get away and spend time with him -- June 13, 2017


STAY CURRENT

I've never been one to want to ride "rail trail"...but the mind blowing beauty of the Great Allegheny Passage just took me completely by surprise.  So much so that I had Alex bring his new Go Pro and drone down to the river gorge to get some amazing video.  I will, no doubt, ride this rail trail again.  Can't wait to bring my wife, Robin, here! 

Pausing on the Great Allegheny Passage directly above the Youghiogheny River -- June 13, 2017



FIND INSPIRATION AROUND EVERY TURN

Nothing says "finding inspiration around every turn" like a mountain bike trip down (and yes...up) Baughman Trail.  I was able to get out on the trails twice last week.  Riding Sugarloaf and Baughman Trail on Tuesday...and then back to Baughman on Thursday.  The same rocks that line the river in the valley below can be found lining the trails up above.  


Alex took this shot of me as I navigated the final section of Baughman Trail -- June 15, 2017

I'll admit that I was pretty proud of myself for navigating the nearly 800 foot descent of the 2 mile long Baughman Trail.  Alex let me borrow his Go Pro and stabilizer for the ride.  The video I managed to get is amazing. -- June 15, 2017



MAKE A SPLASH

It's impossible to go to Ohiopyle and not go white water rafting.  I ALWAYS choose White Water Adventure to guide our trip.  They are safe, reliable, and extremely friendly.  Our trip down the lower Yough was super fun because (being the middle of the work week) it only included two rafts.  Our guide, Seth, was great to hang with...and it was awesome to have my step-daughter, Mia, join us for the ride!

Rafting the lower Yough with White Water Adventures.  Left to right:  Alex Raymond, David Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott, Devin Seiger, and "tour guide" Seth -- June 15, 2017


This amazing video of our week was created by my son Alex Raymond.  Check out his work on YouTube.


As I stated at the beginning of this post, these seven "observations" aren't my own creation.  I really did get the inspiration from a t-shirt in hanging in the Ohiopyle Visitor Center.  It doesn't matter what or who inspires you...it just matters that you are inspired to get out and enjoy the nature and beauty that surrounds all of us.  I'm glad I saw the shirt.

The t-shirt design is credited to Your True Nature.  Check out their website:  yourtruenature.com


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond June 21, 2017

My first trip down the lower Yough with White Water Adventures.  OMG...no helmets in 1995!
Front to back:  Jason Cole, David Raymond, Sean Turner, Beau Henderson, Jacob Raymond

Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from my rides and hikes featured in this post...







Tuesday, June 6, 2017

BRAKING FOR THE SMALL THINGS

Halfway down trail A at Swatara State Park, Matt stopped and pointed out that the fungus growing on a nearby tree was the same color as my florescent orange bike.  Naturally, I stopped to take a look and to take a picture (I obviously don't care about Strava segments).  Matt was right...it was darn near the same color.  I never would ever have believed that florescent orange could be found naturally...but there it was....growing on a tree.  That wasn't the last of the orange today.  Not too much further up the trail I nearly ran over my new friend....a florescent orange turtle sitting in the middle of the trail.  I'm not a biologist by trade (I leave that to Mark).  I've no clue what the name of the fungus is or what type of turtle it was that I saw.  I just think that it's super cool that, while pedaling among all the huge rocks and trees, I was able to take a moment to brake for a few of  the small things.  Cool.

My 2016 Stumpjumper next to the super cool orange fungus growing at the base of a tree in Swatara State Park -- June 6, 2017

My orange bike and my orange friend in Swatara State Park -- June 6, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- June 6, 2017

What are some of the small things you notice when riding? I'd love to hear about them in the comments located at the bottom of this post.

Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, and Matt Linnane.  Circumstances found us riding today in Swatara State Park. We stopped to get a pic at the same spot where Tim and I met Matt nearly 2 years ago -- June 6, 2017

Here's the GARMIN map and stats from our ride today in Swatara State Park:



Thursday, June 1, 2017

KEEPING THE TRADITION ALIVE

It's become tradition for my wife and I to RETURN TO ROCKY GAP State Park near Cumberland, Maryland every Memorial Day weekend.  The park holds special meaning for me because my mother and father would take my brother, Jake, and me there to camp when we were kids.  It's a beautiful place and it's the one of the few trips that Robin and I take that has traditionally just been the two of us.  It's a great place for us to connect and enjoy each other's company.  

Hiking around Lake Habeeb at Rocky Gap State Park -- May 27, 2017

This year, however, to keep the tradition alive a few things would have to change.  Robin and I always book the weekend a year in advance in order to secure a camping spot for the holiday weekend..which leaves open the possibility for life to throw in a few curve balls.  Not that the curve balls that came our way this year were bad (actually, quite the opposite)...they just forced us to adapt.  So...on Friday afternoon, immediately after another amazing school year concluded, I set out for Rocky Gap...alone.  In all honesty, I'd much rather hang out with my wife than be by myself...that's why I married her...but I had a friend in high school who would often say that in order to be comfortable with others you need to learn to be comfortable with yourself.  With the comfort of knowing that  Robin would be joining me Sunday afternoon I decided to embrace the time I had and use it to relax and decompress (two things I'm not very good at).

I did get to spend some quality time relaxing at my campsite this weekend -- May 27, 2017

This waterfall is actually the spillway of the dam.  I had never been here before.  So cool! -- May 28, 2017

Hiking down to the Gorge with my cousin, Marialena, and her son, Tommy -- May 28, 2017

360 view of the Gorge in Rocky Gap State Park -- May 28, 2017

The mountain laurel is in full bloom -- May 28, 2017

I spent a lot of time hiking, sitting by the fire at my campsite, and reading.  Truthfully, I wasn't totally alone...my cousin, Marialena, and her family were camping there for the weekend, too.  They had me over to their site for breakfast, I cooked them dinner, and we took a few hikes together.  One, in particular, was down to the gorge below the Lake Habeeb dam.  Even the afternoon rain couldn't dampen the mood.  The mountain laurel was in full bloom and the scenery was amazing.  Rocky Gap at it's best.  Later that evening, Robin finally made her way to the campsite...just in time to have dinner.  My dad and Mary Jane made the short drive from Bedford to join us around the fire for the evening (another tradition).  Things ended up turning out just fine.  Before I packed up and left on Monday morning I made sure to reserve my camp site for next year...gotta be sure to keep the tradition alive!


The whole group finally made it!  Keeping the tradition of Rocky Gap alive! -- May 28, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- June 1, 2017


No ice-cream on this trip...but how about a great recipe to use as a dessert while camping?  I do a little thing for my history students called COOKING WITH LEWIS & CLARK.  Using the recipes that the Corps of Discovery used while on their expedition, I prepare the meal in the back yard and present them to my students.  Hope you enjoy Captain Lewis' recipe for Cherry Sauce.  It taste's great on ice cream!


Here's the GARMIN map and stats from my hike down to the Gorge at Rocky Gap State Park:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

MOUNTAIN BIKING YORK


  I discovered my love and passion for mountain biking when I moved to York County, Pennsylvania in 1995.  That love and passion was born and nurtured, in no small way, by the availability of nearby parks that provided me with the opportunity to ride.  With multiple State and County Parks, providing miles and miles of trails, York has become a main destination for mountain bikers in South-Central Pennsylvania.  Here are just a few of my favorite places to mountain bike in York County!

ROCKY RIDGE PARK

Trail Rating:  INTERMEDIATE/DIFFICULT
Probably the most popular mountain biking destination in York County, Rocky Ridge (located northwest of Hellam) offers 750 acres of forest and over 12 miles of fun, technical, and challenging mountain bike riding.  This York county park features a multitude of rock gardens and super cool trails with names like Broken Arrow, Rusty Chair, and The Gut...just to name a few.  On the most challenging of the trails you can expect to climb an average of 100 feet per mile!  Oh...and don't forget the rocks.  They are endless!  If you are up for a challenge...then Rocky Ridge is the place for you!

Dave Raymond and Tim Sindlinger riding Rocky Ridge -- October 14, 2016
Riding the rocks at Rocky Ridge Park -- September 23, 2016

CODORUS STATE PARK

Trail Rating: INTERMEDIATE
Located in southwestern York County, near Hanover, Pennsylvania, the 3,500 acres of Codorus State Park have been traditionally known for boating on, and fishing in, Lake Marburg.  Recently; however, Codorus State Park has become more and more popular with mountain bikers.  With almost 15 miles of trails (which also network with XC-ski/snowmobile trails) it is possible to put together some crazy fun loops.  With minimal elevation change, you can expect a twisty and fun ride.

Riding Codorus State Park -- May 9, 2017



WILLIAM KAIN PARK

Trail Rating: INTERMEDIATE
Over 12 miles of marked trail loops around the two lakes (Lake Redman and Lake Williams) that make up William Kain Park.  These trails offer spectacular views of the lakes as well as challenging climbs, sweeping singletrack, and two tunnels that make their way underneath Interstate 83!  If you have the time to spare, you can easily spend hours looping and criss-crossing the trail system of William Kain Park.

Taking in some of the beauty of Lake Redman -- October 5, 2016

Riding the Lakes -- April 19, 2017

HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL

Trail Rating: EASY
This 21+ mile, 10 foot wide, ADA trail runs though scenic sections of southern York County.  The trail is popular with cyclists, joggers, walkers, horseback riders, and even cross country skiers.  The Heritage Rail Trail covers more than 170 acres and runs north to south connecting historic downtown York and Maryland's Northern Central Rail Trail.  While riding the trail visitors can see and experience a multitude of historic sites such as the York Colonial Complex, Howard Tunnel, and Hanover Junction Train Station.  It doesn't matter if you're riding for exercise or pleasure, alone or with your family, relaxing on a day off or commuting by bicycle to work...the Heritage Rail Trail has something for everyone!

Nothing like a lunch time ride with my buddy, Tim, on a random day off from school! -- May 9, 2017

Stopping to look at the lawn decorations near Glatfelters Station on the Heritage Rail Trail -- May 9, 2017

Tim Sindlinger and Dave Raymond on the southern side of Howard Tunnel -- May 9, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- May 14, 2017

I originally wrote this at the request of a friend of mine, Kim Lentz.  She works with a group called York County: Creativity Unleashed.  Their purpose is to highlight all that is awesome about living and working in York County.  I encourage you to check out their website and "like" their Facebook page.  If you are ever in the area be sure to take time to enjoy ALL that York has to offer!


One of my favorite post-ride ice cream stops in York is the Bobcat Creamery.  No ice cream today...I had to try the deep fried Twinkies!  They got a thumbs up! -- May 12, 2017


Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from some of my recent rides at the parks featured in this post:





Saturday, May 6, 2017

MOUNTAIN BIKING IN YOUR OWN BACK YARD

If we didn't live in York County my friends and I would probably would drive for hours on a summer day to mountain bike at Rocky Ridge County Park or the Lakes.  Actually, another riding buddy, Matt, who lives in the Harrisburg area, thinks nothing of the sometimes nearly hour long drive down Interstate 83 (depending on traffic) to ride the trails at Rocky Ridge.  Having places like the Lakes and Rocky Ridge County Park in my own back yard makes mountain biking an every day possibility.

Chris Keller, Glenn Medice, and Dave Raymond taking a break after riding up THE GUT at Rocky Ridge County Park -- April 27, 2017
The option to ride locally makes it easy for us to meet up after work, in between our kid's baseball games, and family responsibilities.  It gives us the chance to unwind, decompress, catch up with each other, ride our bikes and be home in time to maintain domestic tranquility.  Glenn and I managed to squeeze in three local rides after school within the last two weeks...two at the Lakes and one at Rocky Ridge (it feels great to be back on my bike again).  As an extra-kool bonus...Chris Keller (who is now his own boss and works a mile from my house) was able to join us.  

Chris Keller, Dave Raymond, and Glenn Medice at the Lakes -- May 2, 2017

I've never seen Lake Redman like this.  It is completely empty and drained do to the construction of a new pumping station.  Visible, in the top right, is the East Branch Codorus Creek...which, when dammed, is the main water source creating Lake Redman -- May 2, 2017

Dave Raymond riding the Lakes -- April 19, 2017

Chris Keller at the Lakes -- May 2, 2017

Glenn coming out of the south tunnel which passes under Interstate 83 -- April 19, 2017

Glenn is all smiles for this "steam crossing."  He claimed I was channeling my "inner Mark" when I made him navigate this. Mark would have been so proud -- May 2, 2017

Glenn Medice and Dave Raymond at the Lakes -- May 2, 2017
Summer's almost here and I'll once again be blessed with the gift of time. Before you know it, I'll be back in Michaux with Mark, Timmy, Kristian, Glenn, and rest of the guys...but until then I'll just keep on squeezing in local rides when I can...exploring and enjoying the miles and miles of trails right here in York County.  It's great to have the option to mountain bike in your own back yard.  After all, you never know what you might find.  Just ask Glenn...


Glenn pointing out the "elk" tracks at the Lakes.  Yes..he educates America's future. -- May 2, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- May 6, 2017

No ice cream...but the weather has been great the past two weeks.  Perfect for back yard fire pits, mountain pies, and smores with my son, Alex, and his bud Devin, as they wind down their senior year of high school -- April 28, 2017

Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from the rides featured in this post:



Do you have a favorite place to ride locally?  Love to hear about it in the comments below.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

THE SIMPLE JOY OF RIDING A BIKE

Late last week I got the news I'd been waiting (and hoping) for.  With the blessing of my surgeon and family doctor I was given permission to get back on my bicycle!  I'll admit that I've been just as nervous as I've been excited.  I was told that I could "ease back into it" by my surgeon, Dr. Salotto.  My wife, who is pretty convinced that I'm incapable of easing into anything, held her breath as I clipped in for the first time in six months.

A little pre-ride celebration!  My first ride since October...and I wouldn't have done it with anyone else!  Thanks for coming with me, Sweetheart! -- April 9, 2017

I think she was surprised when I suggested a short 3 mile ride home from the middle school where I teach after we dropped my truck off for my son.  As far as I'm concerned...that's "easing into it."  What a feeling it was getting back on my bike.  I really missed this...the sense of freedom...the wind in my face...the simple joy of riding my bike!  I made that trip from school twice this week...the second time coming when I commuted home from school on Wednesday.  


The best 5 miles of mountain biking ever!  Mark, Glenn, and I at the Lakes.  Thanks for waiting for us, Mark! -- April 11, 2017

The real test came on Tuesday when I met Mark and Glenn at the Lakes for the best 5 mile mountain bike ride I've ever taken.  Pulling into the lot near the Lake Redman dam I could feel the nervousness in my stomach.  An easy ride home from school is one thing...but a trail ride (even the easiest trail ride I could possibly imagine) is a whole different beast.  Mark, Glenn, and I took trails 4 and 2 around Lake Williams with no problem whatsoever.  


All smiles with Glenn at the Lakes...Glenn because he had a new bike and me because I'm back on my bike.  It's great to be out riding! -- April 14, 2017

2B (or not, 2B).  Yep...let's ride trail 2B at the Lakes.  Glenn Medice & Dave Raymond -- April 14, 2017

Glenn and I returned to the Lakes on Friday morning for another ride.  The pace was slow...but the ride was amazing.  We rode the same loop the we took with Mark on Tuesday and added a little more to the mix.  I was happy to be out and not in pain...and Glenn was happy to be out on his brand new carbon Epic 29er (which, he claims, will be the last bike he buys...this year!)  Ultimately, we added an extra 3 miles to the 5 mile loop we did earlier in the week.  It was a perfect morning to be out on the trails mountain biking...and, with each pedal stroke, I could feel my confidence growing and my nervousness dissipating.  


First ride on my Roubaix.  A quick 7 mile ride around Manchester, PA -- April 13, 2017

The view from my road ride up Starview Road.  Through the blossoms on the trees you can spot Three Mile Island (on the left) and PPL Power Plant (on the right). -- April 15, 2017 

My road bike managed to come down from the wall in the garage this week, too!  Again...not many miles...but who cares.  I forgot how amazing I feel, both mentally and physically, when I'm on my bike.  I made it out for two road rides.  On Thursday I managed to sneak in my first ride since October before my son's baseball game.  It was an easy 7 miles around the industrial parks near my house.  Today, I got out for an easy 10 miles...highlighted by the view of the blossoms in full bloom in the orchards overlooking Three Mile Island nuclear power plant and PPL Power Plant.
  Spring is definitely taking over south central Pennsylvania...bringing with it a sense of new beginnings.  I can't help but see the parallels.  This Spring season I can definitely feel a sense of renewal and rejuvenation.  A kind of rejuvenation that only comes from the simple joy of riding a bike.  It's great to be back!

I've been allowed to ride my bike now for a week.  I managed to turn my pedals 6 of those 7 days.  I couldn't think of a better way to end the week than to take a bike ride to the BOBCAT CREAMERY with my wife, Robin, and my son, Alex, for one of the Creamery's amazing root beer floats.  Yep...ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM! -- April 15, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- April 15, 2017


Yep...it's great to be back.  Just soaking it all in at the Lakes. -- April 14, 2017


Here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post.  I know they are short (mileage wise) but hey...I'm easing back into it!

April 11, 2017 -- Best 5 mile mountain bike ride...EVER!  With Mark & Glenn at the Lakes.

April 13, 2017 -- First post-surgery road ride on my Roubaix.

April 14, 2017 -- More mountain biking fun at the Lakes with Glenn.

April 15, 2017 -- Road ride up Starview Road to the orchards.