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Monday, October 9, 2017

I'VE JUST BEEN RIDING

I've been getting out on my mountain bike at least once or twice a week after school the past month and a half.  Within 45 minutes of my students leaving my classroom, I can be on the trails at Rocky Ridge County Park or the Lakes.  A few times I've ridden solo...but most of the time Mark or Chris are able to ride with me.  Our rides haven't been epic...but they've been fun.  Chris and I rediscovered the fun of decending down (and climbing up) Trail #7 at Rocky Ridge.  Mark and I rode what he called "the Agitator" at the Lakes....a nice ride around Lake Williams in both directions.  It's probably the hardest ride you can do at the Lakes.  I've been challenging myself and switching up the trails...making each ride new.  There hasn't been much stopping for photos and there hasn't been may rests.  There's just been a lot of riding...and it's been fun. 


Tim snagged this pic of me at Rocky Ridge a few weeks ago. -- September 15, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- October 9, 2017


My amazing wife didn't forget about my birthday!  When I got home from a day that included a ride with Mark at Rocky Ridge, dinner, and dance class...Robin had a quarter sheet of chocolate cake with buttercream icing waiting for me.  It  took me four days to eat it...the countless calories make a great excuse to do more riding! -- October 2, 2017


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





Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  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, September 23, 2017

STAYING BALANCED

Friday morning I loaded my mountian bike and my gear into the back of the truck before I left for another wonderful day in 8th grade.  The plan was to meet Mark at the Lakes immediately after school and kick off the weekend with a mountain bike ride.  Circumstances, more important that mountain biking, brought me directly home instead.  I felt bad texting Mark at lunch time and cancelling...but I would have felt worse had I not come home to help my wife.  I hope Mark got to ride (I'm not sure)...but I felt good with my decision and I know that he understood.

I didn't expect to be able to ride today.  I made sure to make my way up Starview Road. -- September 23, 2017

It's not just Mark...I'm super blessed with friends who love to ride but who also understand that family comes first.  As much as we would all love to get together and hit the trails...it can't come at the expense of our loved ones.  I didn't expect to have to cancel yesterday...but I also didn't foresee the opportunity to get out on my bike today.  By time I knew I was able to ride, Timmy was already pedaling the trails at the Lakes (squeezing a ride into his busy family schedule), Mark was in the process of laying down a new walkway in his back yard, and Glenn was lounging somewhere near the ocean with his wife.  

Channelling his "inner-Dave," Tim took these pics of his ride at the Lakes today.  Pictures by Tim Sindlinger. -- September 23, 2017

Mark sent me this pics...some serious digging!  He's removing to sod and laying new brick.  Photo by Mark Lentz. -- September 23, 2017

Glenn's view today!  Photo by Glenn Medice. -- September 23, 2017

I really didn't expect to ride today.  I spent most of the morning doing yard work for a friend who just had hip surgery and then trying to reclaim some sort of organization in my garage/bike area.  -- September 23, 2017

The weather turned out to be perfect today...a beautiful Pennsylvania September Saturday with low humidity, temps around 80 degrees, and a crystal blue sky.  Actually, it was more than perfect...it was completely sublime!  You couldn't ask for a better day to ride a bike...but it was also perfect for doing yard work, helping a friend, laying a new side walk, sitting on the beach, and spending time with family.  Riding a bike is about staying balanced...but so is life.  Cycling is such an important part of my life...but it's not the MOST important part.  I'm glad that the friends I surround myself with strive to strike the same balance.  It's what keeps our friendship moving forward.


On my road ride today I stopped to check out my favorite view of York, Pennsylvania (North Point Drive looking south towards York City). -- September 23, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destinaton.



David A. Raymond -- September 23, 2017


September 23, 2017


Here's the GARMIN map and data from my road ride today...


Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails I feature in my posts?  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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

FINISHING THE HIKE

I stumbled upon Cunningham Falls State Park by accident.  Years ago, I needed to head south into Virginia on Interstate 81 and I desperately wanted to avoid the traffic in Gettysburg and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  So...before I hit either town...I turned south onto Route 15.  After crossing the Mason-Dixon Line, I began looking for a side road to take me west and connect onto I-81.  The road my very first GPS hooked me onto was Route 77.  Making my way up the hollow I was stunned by how visually stunning the landscape was all around me.  On either side there were streams, dense forests, trails, and eventually a sign for Cunningham Falls State Park.

Robin and David Raymond at Cunningham Falls State Park, Maryland. -- September 17, 2017

Nearly three years ago, Robin and I...looking for somewhere different to hike...decided to pack a picnic lunch and head to Cunningham Falls.  I really had no idea what to expect...I had only driven through  the park once.  The rustic beauty of Maryland's Catoctin Mountains didn't disappoint...but unfortunately, the only real memory I have from that first hike is helping Robin out of the park after she sprained her ankles when she slipped on a rock near the waterfall.  

My favorite picture from our oh-so-short hike in Cunningham Falls State Park three years ago. -- October 24, 2014

Cunningham Falls State Park offers nearly 15 miles of hiking trail (not counting the 27 mile Catoctin Trail which passes through Cunningham Falls and leads to Gambrill State Park).  The main attraction, Cunningham Falls, can be reached by following the yellow blazes of  Cliff Trail or the red blazes of the Lower Trail.  This morning, Robin and I chose to hike the more strenuous Cliff Trail out to the falls.  Along the way, we took in scenery composed of dense forests, huge bolders, and rock outcroppings...leading us up the ridge and then down towards the waterfall.  

The yellow blazes of Cliff Trail are clearly marked on the trees and boulders near the trail. -- September 17, 2017



This post marks where Cliff and Catoctin Trails intersect. -- September 17, 2017

One of the many outcroppings which Cliff Trail passes through on the way to Cunningham Falls. -- September 17, 2017

Most people like the waterfalls....me, I like playing on the rocks! -- September 17, 2017

A  wooden walkway leads the way to the overlook near Cunningham Falls. -- September 17, 2017

Cunnngham Falls. -- September 17, 2017

Yeah...I know...I'm not suppose to be where I am standing.  Cunningham Falls. -- September 17, 2017

Being a "destination hike"...we had the choice of finishing our hike by taking Lower Trail (rated as EASY) or retracing our steps back to the parking lot trailhead.  I'm glad we chose to return back on Cliff Trail.  Hiking back the opposite way in which we hiked out not only added a little distance and a few more steps...but it offered different view and perspective of the woods around us.  

As we made our way down the final hill to the parking lot I began to smell all the charcoal grills that other park visitors had begun to light in the day use area.  No grilling for us today...but Robin and I did enjoy a nice lunch of peanut butter and jelly at a secluded picnic table near Hunting Creek Lake.  It was a great day for a hike with my wife.  Unlike the last time we were here...this time, we managed to finish our hike.  That definitely makes for a better memory.

With just a few more feet until we reached the parking lot, Robin and I stopped to take in the scenery. -- September 17, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- September 17, 2017


Yes!  My wife totally let me get my "history nerd" on!  We stopped at Mr. G's Ice Cream in Gettysburg, PA on the way home.  The rectangular sign on the building (top right) indicates that this building was here during the Battle of Gettysburg.  I was really craving a rootbeer float...and Mr. G's didn't disappoint.  -- September 17, 2017

Here's the GARMIN map and data from our hike in Cunningham Falls State Park...


Interested in hiking at Cunningham Falls State Park?  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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

WHICH WAY DO YOU WANT TO RIDE THIS?

As we made our way out of the parking lot at the Lakes on Tuesday, Mark turned to me and asked, "Which way do you want to ride this?"  I instinctfully nodded up the hill to the right.  Afterall, it's the way we always ride it.  That's the way the trail is "suppose to be ridden."  But why?  Somewhere along the line, we decided that riding that particular trail counter clockwise was more difficult.  So...ride after ride, year after year, I've ridden trails 4 and 2 at the Lakes clockwise.  So much so, I could probably navigate the trails in my sleep.  

Taking a break at Rocky Ridge County Park.  All by myself on a solo ride...I thought I'd challenge myself and climb clockwise out of trails 8 and 9.  Super tough...but super cool! -- September 1, 2017

Coming down an off-shoot of Trail 4 at the Lakes.  I hardly ever ride this direction...made for a great afternoon. -- August 24, 2017

David Raymond and Chris Keller.  Changing up our rides at Rocky Ridge County Park has been fun.  Recently we've challenged ourselves to ride a ride we've never ridden.  It's been fun! -- September 8, 2017

All this passed through my mind the second after I nodded my head to the right.  I looked up, motioned Mark to turn left, and off we went.  Yeah...the ride was more difficult...but man, was it fun!  We climbed and climbed and climbed...but for the first time in a long time the Lakes seemed new and the ride wasn't predictable.  I'm a creature of habit and I live by routine.  Lately, I've been having fun forcing myself out of normal patterns.  Something as simple as parking in different lots when I ride at Rocky Ridge has forced me to start on different trails and ride in different directions...helping me to piece together unfamiliar rides in very familiar places.   So..."Which way do I want to ride this?"...not the same as yesterday.


Switching things up at Rocky Ridge County Park...Mark and I headed up "Forbidden Four" only to blast our way down trail #1 to beat a massive storm heading our way. -- September 5,  2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond --  September 14, 2017



No post ride ice cream after my recent after school rides....but back yard fire pit mountain pies make a good substitute. -- September 8, 2017

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







Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

SHARING THE TRAILS

A few months ago I was mountain biking at the Lakes with Mark, Glenn, and Mikey.  I was riding in front of the group and then, a quarter of a mile into the ride, I suddenly stopped.  When Glenn asked me what was wrong I told him that I was skittish.  I wasn't riding...I was looking for snakes.  Only three weeks into my summer and I had already seen four snakes along the trail (Mark and I would encounter the fifth...and largest snake of the summer...a couple weeks later in Tuscarora State Forest).  It's surprising to some people that, as much time as I spend in the woods, I'm seriously afraid of snakes.  When I see one I tend to do that "Scooby jumping into Shaggy's arms" thing.  For the rest of that particular ride I let Mark (the man who fears no animal) take the lead.

My good friend, Mark Lentz, admiring a rattlesnake.  WHAT A DAY WE HAD in Tuscarora State Forest! -- July 6, 2017



Rattlesnake in Tuscarora State Forest. -- July 6, 2017

I could call summer of 2017 my "summer of snakes."  Altogether I saw two copperheads (in Ohiopyle State Park), two black snakes (one in Michaux State Forest and one at Rocky Ridge County Park), and one Rattlesnake (in Tuscarora State Forest).  Snakes, however, weren't the only wildlife that I shared the trails with this summer.  I'm not sure why...but this summer I came across more wildlife than I ever remember in such a short timespan!  Yes, I crossed paths with snakes...but I also shared the trails with squirrels, turkey vultures, turtles, deer, hornets, and a black bear (and that's still not the entire list!)


On our first ride of the summer, Mark took me to Stony Valley.  We saw this snapping turtle near the trailhead. -- June 5, 2017

Sharing the trail at Swatara State Park with this turtle.  He matched my bike. -- June 6, 2017

Sharing the trails with a chipmunk at Rocky Ridge. -- June 8,  2017

Not sharing the trail...but sharing my campsite in Ohiopyle State Park with a racoon. -- June 14, 2017

Grudgingly, I shared a shower with these guys while camping in Ohiopyle. -- June 15, 2017

I'm 99% sure that this is an Osprey that I saw while hiking at Rocky Ridge County Park with Robin, Alex, Jackie, Sophie, and Isaac. -- July 2, 2017

Hiking along Sheffield Light Island in Connecticutt, Robin and I shared the beach with multiple horseshoe crabs. -- July 17, 2017

Matt, Glenn and I shared the road with these Turkey Vultures having lunch along Route 233 in Michaux State Forest. -- July 25, 2017

Definitely not the only deer I crossed paths with this summer...but the only one I managed to get a picture of.  This particular doe was running the fence line near the trails where Glenn, Mark, and I were mountain biking on the Green Belt in Harrisburg, PA. -- July 26, 2017

It's been a while since I've seen a black bear while mountain biking...Mark and I shared the trail with this black bear while mountain biking in Michaux State Forest.  We were approximately one hundred feet away when I took this picture. -- July 31, 2017

Just a few days after Glenn, Matt, and Tim were bombarded with hornets while we were mountain biking in Michaux (I was in the front of the pack and must have stirred them up), I saw this hornets nest hanging from a tree while I was hiking the trails around the Bedford Springs. -- August 6, 2017

Alex launched his drone (on the left) after we hiked to the top of Tumbling Run.  He captured super cool footage of a hawk flying over Michaux State Forest.  Check out the video below. -- August 17, 2017



On a road ride with my son, Alex, we ended up sharing the road with this snapping turtle trying to cross the pavement. -- August 20,  2017

This past week, I was riding at the Lakes when I began thinking about about all the animals I had shared the trail with over the summer.  Glancing ahead, there was a groundhog standing in the middle of the trail...just staring at me.  Last thing I wanted was to play chicken with this furry guy and his razor sharp claws.  He darted towards me and then passed under my left pedal. With my heart still racing (and no more than fifty feet further down the trail) I looked up and found myself staring at a six point buck no more than one hundred feet away!  Incredible!  I interpreted this  little episode as a gentle reminder that I'm the visitor in their home...not the other way around.  I'm glad that they don't mind sharing the trails.

Unfortunately, I was forced to start my summer by sharing the road with a buck while driving in southern Bedford County on the way to my summer kick-off camping trip at Rocky Gap State Park.  My truck was completely repaired.  Can't say it ended quite as well for the buck. -- May 26, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- September 3, 2017


Why do they even make signs like this?!  I know there are snakes in the woods!  Nothing like raising my blood pressure before the hike.  Lakeside Loop is in Rocky Gap State Park, Maryland. -- May 28, 2017


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














Interested in mountain biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

ADVICE FROM A MOUNTAIN

My son was nine years old the first time I took him hiking.  Mark Lentz led us up Tumbling Run in Michaux State Forest.  I wasn't just hooked...Alex was too.  That hike has...over the years...become Alex's favorite.  Why wouldn't it be?  That particular trail has all you could ask for:  waterfalls, obstacles, rocks, and a spectacular view at the top!  Over the past ten years, Alex and I have hiked many other places...but Tumbling Run is still his favorite.  Usually, as we did last week, we combine a hike up Tumbling Run with a second amazing hike up to the top of Pole Steeple.  This, along with a picnic at one of the numerous state parks in the area, makes for an adventurous day.  For me, the best part of the day isn't the hikes or the food.  What I look forward to the most is sharing the day and the experiences with my son.

Thank you to YOUR TRUE NATURE for the super cool bookmarks and magnets.  Your gift and your inspiration helps inspire me.

David and Alex Raymond on Pole Steeple vista.  Laurel Lake can be seen in the background. -- August 17, 2017
A few months ago, I wrote about an trip that Alex and I had taken to Ohiopyle State Park.  The title and the format of what I had written was inspired by a t-shirt I saw at the visitor center in the park.  YOUR TRUE NATURE, the creator of t-shirt, was kind enough to send me a few of their magnets and bookmarks after reading my post.  Their inspirational words on a bookmark entitled "ADVICE FROM A MOUNTAIN" inspired me to write this post for my son.  So, Alex, here is some ADVICE FROM A MOUNTAIN.  Enjoy!


THERE IS BEAUTY AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE

Beauty can come in so many different forms and is all around us.  You don't have to take a hike to appreciate the beauty of nature...but it doesn't hurt!

A winter view of Michaux State Forest from the top of Pole Steeple. -- December 31, 2016

The view that Alex and I (along with Robin, Mia, and Blythe) had as the sun began to set on the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. -- January 20, 2014

The view from the top of Tumbing Run in Michaux State Forest. -- June 22, 2016

Alex on Pole Steeple vista. -- December 31, 2016



GET TO THE POINT

Most of the hikes you and I have taken had peaks with amazing views.  We had to "get to the point" in order to reach those spots.  In life it is important to get to the point if you want to reach any goal that you set for yourself.

Alex (age 11) climbing the rocks on top of Tumbling Run. -- October 17, 2010
Alex hiking the trails on South Mountain near Phoenix, Arizona. -- January 24, 2014

Alex exploring at Rocks State Park. -- May 18, 2014

Taking a breather on top of Tumbling Run. -- June 22, 2016

Ending the year on a high note...on top of Pole Steeple. -- December 31, 2016

REACH FOR NEW HEIGHTS


No matter what you do in life...don't ever be afraid to set your sights on new heights and goals.  It will challenge you, help to expand your horizon, and make you a well-rounded person.

Alex on his very first adventure climbing up Tumbling Run. -- March 8, 2009

The first steps towards Superstition Mountain in Lost Dutchman State Park. -- January 23, 2014

Hiking on South Mountain with the city of Phoenix, Arizona miles in the background. -- January 24, 2014

PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE

Don't be frustrated when things get in your way or when you feel somewhat lost.  These are learning experiences that will help you grow.  You'll learn that there is more than one way to the top.  Also, be aware of the people who are are on the trail with you.  Help them when they need it, carry them when you can, and allow yourself to be helped.  We are all stronger when we work together.

The trail along Tumbling Run. -- June 22, 2016

Tumbling Run in Michaux State Forest.  The trail was swallowed up by the swollen springs. -- June 22, 2016

Alex waiting for his dad in Lost Dutchman State Park. -- January 23, 2014

Alex keeping an eye on Emma as she makes one of the many creek crossings at Tumbling Run. -- June 22, 2016

THERE WILL BE PEAKS AND THERE WILL BE VALLEYS

Life is full of ups and downs.  Love the view from the top...but appreciate the strength gained from the climb out of the valley.

Hiking along the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. -- January 20, 2014

Hiking in Superstition Wilderness. -- January 23, 2014

Hiking up the trail on South Mountain near Phoenix, Arizona. -- January 24, 2017

BE UPLIFTING

Mr. Lentz took time out of his busy life to share something beautiful with you.  Share what you know with others.

On his first hiking trip to Michaux, Alex was guided along the trail by Mark Lentz. -- March 8, 2009

Alex Raymond and Blaine Yinger checking out the view of the Susquehanna River from Chickies Rock. -- April 13, 2014

Alex (right) along with his friends, Robbie and Austin, on top  of Pole Steeple. -- August 5, 2015

Devin Seiger and Alex Raymond on Pole Steeple. -- August 17, 2017

Alex and Emma having fun on the rocks near the top of Tumbling Run. -- June 22, 2017

Alex getting a lift from step-mom, Robin, after a hike in Lost Dutchman State Park. -- January 23, 2014

RISE ABOVE IT ALL

Do all you can, everyday, to be the best you that you can possibly be.  That is all that anyone could ever possibly ask of you.  If you can do this...you will surely rise above it all.

David Raymond, Alex Raymond, and Devin Seiger on top of Tumbling Run.  -- August 17, 2017



Devin Seiger, Alex Raymond, and David Raymond on top of Pole Steeple. -- August 17, 2017



ENJOY THE VIEW!

No matter how busy you may think you are...or how hectic life is...be sure to take time and enjoy the things around you.  It is even more special if you can share the view with someone that you love.

David and Alex Raymond taking in the view of Michaux State Forest from the top of Tumbling Run. -- August 17, 2017

Thank you again, to YOUR TRUE NATURE, for the inspiration and the gifts.  
These eight sentences are great advice for anyone...but I thought them perfect as my wife and I sent Alex off to Point Park University in Pittsburgh this past week.  Tomorrow, Alex, you begin your first day of  college classes.  There will be many mountains to climb...some expected and some not.  Just be sure to make them even more enjoyable and memorable as the ones you've already conquered.  

Alex and David Raymond. -- June 22, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.




David A. Raymond -- August 27, 2017


Robin, David, and Alex Raymond.  Robin and I dropped Alex of at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this week.  We are so proud of him. -- August 26, 2017


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










Interested in hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  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 HIGH PEAKS HIKING and YOUR TRUE NATURE!

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