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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

THE WONDERS OF THE WOODS -- April 27, 2016

Nature is amazing and mountain biking has given me an incredible mode in which to experience it.  I've seen an owl swoop down out of a tree and attempt to pick up a red fox.  I've seen a hawk come out of no where to snatch up a black snake that was sunning itself of the trail.  I've seen deer and black bears.  I've watched a snake eat a toad and wild turkeys run defiantly thought the woods. I've watched Tim play with turtles and Glenn throw rocks at rattlesnakes.  I've videoed dung beetles rolling a chunk of crap across a trail and even taken selfies with horses.

I yielded the trail to this horse and it's rider.  After a nice conversation (with the rider) the horse seemed comfortable enough with me to take a selfie -- June 1, 2014

There is no shortage of deer in Potapsco Valley State Park, MD -- July 10, 2012

Timmy likes his turtles -- July 20, 2010

This black snake was so large (approximately 5 feet) that, until I ran over it while riding at Rocky Ridge, I thought it was a branch laying on the trail -- August 19, 2015

I hate snakes.   There's no way for me to over state that.  I can recognize black snakes...but when I see something like this I run like a little girl.  Timmy and I saw this one coming out of the tunnel at the Lakes -- April 18, 2015

Yes.  This is a rattlesnake attempting to eat a toad.  I did not stick around long enough to see if he finished his meal -- June 28, 2009

Billy found jaw bone of a deer at the top of Dead Woman's Hollow Road in Michaux State Forest -- May 22, 2010

Billy, Tim, & I paused for a few minutes to watch these two dung beetles roll their prize across the trail...no shit.  Check out the video below!  --  May 22, 2010

You would expect to find deer and snakes and even dung beetles in the woods...but it's the man made structures, objects, and oddities that have intrigued and perplexed me.  As a history teacher, I'm completely taken back by, and appreciative of, the amount of "lost history" that can be discovered (and sometimes uncovered) in the woods.   Thanks to my friend, Mark, I've learned how to spot what is left of a lot of these structures.  The wonders of the woods aren't limited to just the wildlife.  Sometimes they open a window to the past and the people who lived and worked there.

A spring house located in the mountains near Raymond B. Winter State Park -- July 14, 2011

While biking in Raymond B. Winter State Park, Mark, Mikey, and I came across this huge amphitheater built into the mountainside -- July 13, 2011

A stone fountain that once greeted visitors (or Japanese prisoners in WWII) coming into Camp Michaux.  Located in Michaux State Forest -- August 12, 2013

Remains of a structure on the grounds that once were Camp Michaux.  Located in Michaux State Forest -- August 12, 2013
For a map of a self-guided walking tour of Camp Michaux click here.

Somebody build this Lean To on the ridge near Chickies Rock in Lancaster County, PA -- April 13, 2014

A water spillway built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Located in Penn Roosevelt State Park -- June 27, 2014

Abandoned structures litter the hillsides above the remnants of an old flour mill in Potapsco Valley State Park, MD -- December 28, 2015

These old abandoned houses can be found in the middle of Potapsco Valley State Park, MD -- December 30, 2013

On Dynamite Shack Trail you will find an actual dynamite shack.  Located in Michaux State Forest-- August 21, 2013

This barren spot in the hillside is a charcoal terrace.  A charcoal platform (or terrace) will appear as a flat area, usually 10-15 meters across.  They were active in the mid-to-late 1800s and early 1900s to make charcoal to use as fuel in iron furnaces.  The technique was to cut cord wood in four foot lengths and stack it in a sort of tepee arrangement.  A hole was left in the middle of the stack for a chimney.  The whole stack was then covered in dirt.  Burning logs were thrown in the chimney, and the pile of wood cooked for about two weeks until is was turned into charcoal.

What remains of the Pine Grove Iron Furnace.  Located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park -- July 2014

This is salamander...no not a little green animal...but the waste residue that would build up in the bottom of an iron furnace.  That's some heavy metal!  Located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park -- July 2014
There is more though.  More than the animals you would expect and the man made structures from long ago.  Every now and then, while mountain biking, we come across something that just makes us scratch our heads.  Things that beg the question, "Who the hell put this here?"  These are the things that sometimes bring the biggest smiles to our faces.

Merry Christmas...mountain biking style!  Brent and I came across this random tree, deep in the woods of Potapsco Valley State Park, all decked out for the holidays -- December 28, 2015

I still have no idea what this is...but Tim, Billy, and I found it east of Piney Ridge in Michaux State Forest -- July 20, 2010

I know that we are just one of many groups to take American Standard Trail to find the urinal nailed to the tree.  Located near Jim Thorpe, PA -- July 2008

Mark Lentz and I found this old gas pump deep in the wood of Potapsco Valley State Park .   I'm convinced that, if Mark could have fit it into his Camelbak, that pump would be at his house! -- August 13, 2015

Someone found it necessary to carve seats out of these tree stumps in Potapsco Valley State Park, MD -- August 2, 2011

My all time favorite find...this golf cart is located in Potapsco Valley State Park, MD.  Next time I drive, Tim! -- June 26, 2012

Life is a journey, not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- April 27, 2016

The last thing I ever thought I would find in the woods...my mountain bike with a sign that read "4-SALE or Trade for Russian Bride & Dog."  Thanks Mark, Glenn, & Kristian!  August 2008