Wednesday, March 25, 2020


"Me time" is important but even the most introverted of us are feeling the strain of social distancing right now. While it is necessary, it sure doesn't seem natural.  As an educator, I seriously miss being in my is, after all, my chosen profession.  As a son, I'm frustrated that I don't feel comfortable making the drive two hours west and visit my dad and Mary Jane.  As a father, it sucks that my son can't celebrate his 21st birthday today with his I'm sure he has envisioned for a long time.  (Selfishly, I'm glad he's spending it at home.)  And yes, the provider in me is annoyed, and increasingly concerned, that finding toilet paper for my family is like actually finding treasure on Oak Island.  

Maintaining my social distance and straddling the Cumberland/Adams County line in Michaux State Forest.  - March 24, 2020

Here, in York County, Pennsylvania, even though the facilities in State Parks are closed, I can still (as of now) access and use the trails.  With the world temporarily grinding to a halt...I've been able to find refuge on my bike, in my hiking boots, and at some of the places that I love.  I've seen others taking the opportunity to use the trails, too.  I can only assume they doing the same thing I am...enjoying the outdoors, soaking in Vitamin N, getting exercise, and doing their best to maintain distance.  It's really been a balancing act of doing what I need to feed my desire to be outside and making sure that I, and others, are safe.  The six foot rule applies not just in a grocery store...but on the trail as well.  I've purposely avoided places and areas of local State Parks and Forests that I know are heavily trafficked.  While maintaining social distance I've discovered areas of the forest that I had never been to...ate lunch on a not so frequented vista on top of the mountain...pedaled my road bike down barren back roads...sat alone with my mountain bike on top of Piney Mountain Ridge Road...and relaxed as I watched my grown son skip rocks in Pinchot Lake.

As of now...the facilities are closed...but the trails are open. Be smart and be safe.

Chris Keller and I kept our distance from each other while riding the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. -- March 15, 2020

Chris took this picture of me crossing a dam while riding the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg. -- March 15, 2020

Hiking Dead Woman's Hollow Trail. -- March 16, 2020

David Raymond and Mike Graham on Blueberry Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- March 16, 2020

Maintaining social distance while hiking Dead Woman's Hollow in Michaux State Forest. -- March 16, 2020

Socially distant on the back roads of York County, Pennsylvania.  -- March 17, 2020

Socially distant on the trails in Codorus State Park.  I didn't see another human being the time I was there...just a "NO SWIMMING" sign on the hillside in the woods. -- March 18, 2020

Socially distant on the rocks that make up Sunset Rocks Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- March 19, 2020

Socially distant on the Appalachian Trail. -- March 19, 2020

The morning after a heavy  rain, Tom's Run in Michaux State Forest was very Ohiopyle-like.  -- March 19, 2020 

Celebrating the first day of Spring 2020 with a solo road ride. -- March 20, 2020

Brent and I maintained social distance while riding Rocky Ridge County Park. -- March 21, 2020

Riding Rocky Ridge County Park. -- March 21, 2020

Father/Son hike in Gifford Pinchot State Park. -- March 22, 2020

Alex skipping rocks and being socially distant at Gifford Pinchot State Park. -- March 22, 2020

Hiking (not biking!) Lakeside Trail in Gifford Pinchot State Park. -- March 22, 2020

I'm so looking forward to being able to enjoy some GROUP THERAPY (like this hike on the Appalachian Trail with family and friends) again. -- March 14, 2020

With normal life on hold I've noticed a few silver linings during this time of social distancing.  Sidewalks and driveways are covered with the chalk artwork of little kids, families are hanging out together, kids are riding bikes, and the young man next door to me is out shooting hoops in the driveway with his dad.  Basically, quality family time.  Until we are told otherwise (at least where I live) it is okay to go outside...take a walk...ride a bike...and get some Vitamin N.  Just take care to follow basic guidelines, use common decency, and practice common sense.  Hopefully soon we will be able to get back together...hug, high-five, shake hands...and enjoy some GROUP THERAPY.  Until then...let's all do our part and remain socially distant.


Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- March 25, 2020

We didn't get to go out to Alex's favorite restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland this evening for his 21st he enjoyed some homemade Korean bulgogi and cheese cake.  Happy birthday, Son.  I love you!

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Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides and hikes feature din this post.  #OptOutside2020

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


Saturday, March 7, 2020


I was supposed to meet Chris and Ben at Rocky Ridge yesterday afternoon for a Friday afternoon happy hour ride...but Mother Nature was really not cooperating.  Being good stewards of the trials, we all agreed...even before the local park service announced on Twitter that the trails were postpone until next week.  I have to admit that I was a little disappointed (although I satisfied my addiction with a road ride).  Honestly, it wasn't the fact that the trails were closed that was the most disappointing to me...more so it was that I was looking forward to getting together with Chris and Ben for some trail time with friends.   Nature is awesome...but it is even more so with friends. Once again, I find myself looking back over the past year at those who have shared in my outdoor adventures and I was reminded how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many amazing people.  What follows is a compilation of photographs showing group therapy at its best.  Smiles are ever present, bonds are strengthened, and spirits are lifted in each snap shot.  Some of the same family members and friends show up in multiple pictures...but each photo has a different combination of people.  That is so cool.  So come and join me for some of the group therapy from the past two years.  

Probably my largest group ride ever.  Last summer I had the honor of leading one of Gung Ho's group rides at Michaux Fest.  I had a blast leading this awesome group of rides on a super fun 14 mile-ish ride through Michaux State Forest. -- June 30, 2019

January 2019 started with a frigid hike to the top of Pole Steeple in Michaux State Forest with Robin, Blythe, Julien, and Brigette. -- January 27, 2019

Matt Linnane, Chris Keller, and I spending a cool March day riding in Swatara State Park.  Chris was in the market for a new mountain bike, so I borrowed new Epic and Stumpjumper from the bike shop for him to demo.  In the end, he chose the Stumpy!  -- March 16, 2019

Lots of fun with the gang from Gung Ho at the Marysville Relay last April...BJ, Ben, Dave, Jay, Ryan, and Ed. -- April 7, 2019

After a shift at the bike shop, I took this ride at Rocky Ridge County Park with Chris Keller, Jay Zech, and Josh Coleman. -- May 10, 2019

Sunday family hike at Camp Michaux in Michaux State Forest with Robin, Mia, and Kevin. -- February 10, 2019

Our final Tuesday Michaux Ride of the summer of 2019...Ben Kelly, Josh Coleman, Brent Shirk, Tim Sindlinger, and Dave Raymond.  -- August 13,  2019

One of our many late summer and autumn Friday happy hour rides at Rocky Ridge County Park.  Dave Raymond, Chris Keller, Tony Vasura, and Brent Shirk. -- October 4, 2019

Taking a hike at Gettysburg National Military Park and sharing the outdoors with my nieces and nephew.  Shalice, Isaac, Uncle Dave, Sophie, and Jackie  -- July 27, 2019

Devin Seiger, Alex, Jackie, and David Raymond near Jonathan Run in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 20, 2019

Fun hike through the lush greenness of Michaux State Forest. -- August 14, 2019

Hiking behind Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle with Emma Sadowski, Alex and Robin  -- July 5, 2019

One of my favorite rides last year.  Adam, Tim, Ben and I met at the Hershey Trail System for our Ugly Sweater/Winter Solstice Ride. -- December 21, 2019

Robin and I enjoying a February afternoon at Rocky Ridge County Park with the Dorward Family. -- February 9, 2020

Exploring the new trails at Codorus State Park with Brent and Brandon Shirk.  -- December 26, 2019

Hiking at Gifford Pinchot State Park with Robin and our next door neighbor, Jon Senko. -- November 3, 2019

Possibly my favorite group photo of last summer.  Matt, Tim, and I on Abigail Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- July 9, 2019

It's the time spent with friends and family that make life worth living.  I am so very fortunate to be surrounded by people who love and care about me...and who enjoy the  endless and bountiful beauty that surrounds us.  With Winter rapidly coming to an end and with the weather incrementally improving each day I have no doubt that their will be much more group therapy in the near future.  I encourage much as you surround yourself with the people that you love doing the things that you love.  That is, ultimately, the best kind of therapy you can find.

And how super cool is this!  Robin, Blythe, and I taking one month old Freya on her first hike in Richard Nixon Park. -- March 1, 2020

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- March 7, 2020

After a group white water rafting trip in Ohiopyle State Park, the Raymond's (Devin Seiger included) and the Keller's enjoyed a group meal! -- June 18, 2019




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Here are the GARMIN map and data from the rides and hikes featured in this post.  #OptOutside2020

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


Friday, February 28, 2020


The sun was out today and that made all the difference.  Sure, the cool, crisp February air still has a grip on central Pennsylvania, but yeah...the sun makes all the difference in the world.  I have a trainer...but I rarely use in.  I'd rather ride 5 miles outside in the cold, windy, overcast January and February weather than ride 30 on a trainer.  I've written on numerous occasions about my desire and need to be outside to soak in Vitamin N and reap the benefit of outside exercise...but it is during the months of January and February that those things become even more important.  The crux of the matter is that those two months are the hardest time of the year to experience those things that help keep me balanced.

Just being out in the sun on an unmarked trail at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- February 1, 2020

I believe in seasonal depression.  It's real and it can be a struggle for a lot of people...including me.  The amount of time spent indoors this time of year...compounded by the usually overcast and cold weather...really takes a toll.  We all need sunlight.  It's sunlight that triggers the release of the hormone, serotonin, in the brain which helps to keep us mentally and emotionally balanced.  In the comic books of my youth, Superman gained his strength from the yellow rays of the Earth's sun.  Something similar happens to me when I'm out in the sun.  I don't claim to become stronger in the sun...but I DO become more focused, my smile widens, my mood most definitely improves, and a sense of calmness overtakes me...which, I guess, makes me feel pretty super.  Come Spring time my rides will become more frequent and significantly longer...but for now I'll take what I can get.
 Things are always better out than in.

Soaking in the sun and a little Vitamin N with my nephew Isaac.  I got him outside on his cousin's old BMX bike for an awesome three mile bike ride -- February 23, 2020

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- February 28, 2020

This little ray of sunshine came into the world on January 25, 2020.  Meet my little granddaughter, Freya.  She is spectacular. -- January 28, 2020

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Here are the GARMIN map and data from the rides featured in this post.  #OptOutside2020

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


Friday, January 24, 2020


Life is one step in front of the other.  For those of us who mountain bike life can be described as the the continuous cranking of the pedals.  No matter if you choose to take a hike or to ride a's that sense of beauty, exhilaration, fun, and inspiration that propels us forward down the trail.  But...what about that trail that passes beneath our feet and disappears under our rolling tires?  I can't believe that I'm the only person who has ever paused to wonder who originally blazed it?  Who maintains it?  What historic figures may have traveled on it?  And...if the trail could talk...what would it say?... what stories could it tell?... and what advice would it give?

Possibly something as simple as this:




 Whether it be the colors of Fall, the sounds of waterfalls, the sun glistening off of the snow pack, or the fresh smell of Mountain Laurel in early is all around us.  Submerge yourself by walking forward on the trail and allow yourself to be enveloped with the bountiful beauty of nature.

In this picture I was riding into beauty.  On a solo ride at Rocky Ridge County Park I paused to take this amazing photo of the the sun shining through the autumn foliage.  -- November 8, 2019

Walking into beauty can sometimes mean walking over it, too.  In this picture I am helping my daughter, Blythe navigate a downed tree in order to cross Mountain Creek in Michaux State Forest.  -- August 1, 2018

My wife, Robin, and I literally walking into, and behind, Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park.  So beautiful! -- July 5, 2019


Staying on your path preserves the integrity of the forest and allows others to experience and enjoy the trail.  Using signs and maps are the best means for following your path.  Understanding and using landmarks can be vital to a success hike or mountain bike ride.   Small deviations from the marked path can easily lead you away from a planned destination, cause unnecesary stress, or throw you over your handle bars!

I'm so fortunate to have have Mike Graham in my life.  He is an amazing friend and colleague.  I enjoy our adventures together outside of the classroom....adventures like this hike on a section of the Appalachian Trail that passes through Michaux State Forest. -- August 14, 2019

Some trail markers are obvious...some like this carved tree near the Appalachian Trail...could easily be missed.  -- November 2, 2019

Following stacked rocks, or cairns, which mark the trail while hiking in Sedona, Arizona. -- February 15, 2015

I don't care what anyone says...maps are not stupid and they are not overrated...especially if it is your first time on a trail system.  It doesn't matter if it is an old fashioned paper map, a trail book, or even a sign like this one in Hershey, Pennsylvania...maps keep you on the trail.-- November 3, 2018

Brandon Shirk learned the importance of staying on the trail the hard way after taking a spill of of the trail and into mountain creek.  Somehow his phone survived the experience. -- June 25, 2019

Just inches off of the trail my front tire caught on a branch sticking off of a stump...flipping me off of my bike.  Thank goodness the landing was soft.  -- August 13, 2019

Always be a good steward of the trails.  Me and my bike in Shawnee State Park.  -- March 30, 2018


While touring Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Robin and I decided to find a trail head so that we could hike and watch the sunset.  Little did we know that the trail head that we chose, Black Rock Summit, would lead us to one of the most beautiful and inspirational views I've ever seen.  It started as any typical trail...but as we began to move into an open area the most amazing view of the Shenandoah Valley came into focus in front of us.  We truly found beauty and inspiration around each turn.

Walking towards the sunset on Black Rock Summit Trail (part of the Appalachian Trail) in Shenandoah National Park. -- July 20, 2019

Coming out of the tree line on Black Rocky Summit as the sun begins to set in Shenandoah National Park.  -- July 20, 2019

When we began our hike on Black Rock Summit Trail, Robin and I had no idea of the spectacular view we would have of the Shenandoah Valley.  -- July 20, 2019


Enjoying the trail also implies the responsibility of being a good steward of the trail.  Taking care of the trails, knowing what the trail conditions are, and...if caught in a mucky mess...treading lightly around it.  Enjoying nature also entails preserving it for future, go on and tread...but tread lightly.

Treading lightly, and carefully, on the newly fallen foliage on Trail #7 in Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 3, 2017

Robin and I treading carefully on a snow covered trail in Ricketts Glen State Park. -- November 16, 2019

Jackie, Robin, and Shalice treading carefully through a swampy section of trail on Rocky Gap State Park. -- May 26, 2019


Some of my best memories were forged in the woods and on the trail with my family and friends.  It's the memories created on the trails that my mind goes to when I day dream.  They are the stories that get swapped at the bike shop.  Those memories born on the trail are the moments in which the sense of family, love, friendship, and nature intersect.

Not just a good memory...but one of the best!  On a Sunday morning, eight years ago, I took Robin on a hike in Michaux State Forest and proposed to her on the rocks overlooking the forest.  -- June 24, 2012

Spending time with my son, Alex, and creating memories prior to his first year of college.  David and Alex Raymond in Michaux State Forest -- August 17, 2017

Creating memories with Mike Graham as we climbed Tumbling Run Trail in Michaux State Forest -- August 1, 2018

Every Tuesday in the summer, Matt, Tim, and I create memories while mountain biking in Michaux State Forest.  -- July 9, 2019

Creating memories with my nieces and my nephew on a hike across Round Top located in the Gettysburg National Military Park. -- July 26, 2019


Peaks and valleys.  For just about all of is defined by peaks and valleys.  We all have our ups and downs.  No one gets through this life unhurt.  It's how we deal with our successes and failures that define us. The scenery from the top is always amazing...but the strength we gain from the climb out of the valley is invaluable.

Climbing up the last few feet of Pole Steeple Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- November 4,  2017

Mike Graham pausing to determine the best path up Sunset Rocks Trail in Michaux State Forest.  -- August 14, 2019

Ups and Downs on the Hershey Trail System.  Ben Kelly, Dave Raymond, and Tim Sindlinger  -- December 21, 2019

Decending a trail in Michaux State Forest. -- June 25, 2019


This can be true no matter where you are but, on the trail, every step has to be deliberate and careful.  Nature, can be beautiful; yet, deceptively dangerous and unpredictable.  Respect the terrain, take proper precautions on the trail, and watch your step.

Having some fun with Alex while hiking in Gifford Pinchot State Park. -- January 1, 2019

My neice, Jackie, using rope and the exposed rocks and roots to navigate the final 40 feet of Jonathan Run Trail in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 20, 2019

A black snake hiding in the green along the trail at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- September 15, 2017

Devin Seiger, Alex, and I on top of Pole Steeple vista in Michaux State Forest (as seen from Alex's drone). 

A special thank you and shout out to the good folks at YOUR TRUE NATURE for allowing me to use ADVICE FROM A TRAIL.  Their mission of honoring our beautiful planet by inspiring people to live their own true nature is something that I completely buy in to.  They inspire me to continue my commitment to spending as much time doing the things I love, in the places that I love, with the people that I love. I hope to see all of you on the trail soon.

Passing on ADVICE FROM A TRAIL... My mother and I in Ohiopyle State Park (1980) and my son, Alex, and I on the same rock in Ohioyple (2018)

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- January 24, 2020

My nieces were pleasantly surprised that when they go for a hike with Uncle Dave that all trails really do lead to ice cream.  David and Jackie Raymond after a hike at Rocky Gap State Park in Maryland --  May 26, 2019

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Here are the GARMIN map and data from the rides and hikes featured in this post.  #OptOutside2020

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