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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!

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