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Sunday, February 28, 2021

FROZEN

 I was five years old in 1978 when my mom and dad took my brother and I to see the movie SUPERMAN.  Two years later, in 1980, our family drove to Altoona, PA to see THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.   Both of these pieces of pop-culture, one made me believe a man could fly and the other made me want to be a lightsaber wielding Jedi Knight, grabbed ahold of my  imagination and defined my childhood.  To this day, my favorite scenes in both of those movies involve icy, frozen landscapes.  As a kid I was mesmerized by Superman's "Fortress of Solitude"....and ice covered structure that often served as the Man of Steel's headquarters.  Then,  in the opening minutes of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, I sat on the edge of my seat as Luke Skywalker, on the frozen planet of Hoth, rode on the back of a beast called a Tauntaun, battled snow creatures, and fought Imperial AT-ATs.   

The view of the valley in Michaux State Forest.  The cold air settled in the valley turning the second half of our ride into an icy adventure.  -- January 2, 2021

The irony of it all is that winter ranks last in my list of favorite seasons of the year.  I'm not a fan of the cold, the wind, and the snow...especially after the township's plows make their way though the neighborhoods turning the pristine, frozen wonderland into a gravelly, muddy mess...but, ever since I was a child, winter has had the ability to capture my imagination and is, undoubtedly, one of the prettiest times of the year.  The first two months of 2021 have pretty much been, if not snow covered, frozen.  For someone like me, who really enjoys being outside, it can be easy to let winter get me down.  Therefore,  I try my best not to let the cold, snow, and limited daylight hours get the better of me. So, I bundle up and head out on my bike (or on foot) and enjoy and explore the frozen environment just like eight year old me would.

Dave Raymond and Chris Keller riding through an icy Michaux State Forest.  The ride started dry, but as we descended into the valley the trees were encased in ice...making for an absolutely surreal experience.  -- January 2, 2021

No snow, but plenty of frozen wind blowing on Robin and I as we hiked Sunset Rocks Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- January 23, 2021

Completely bundled up as I made my way up Sunset Rocks through the frozen January temperatures -- January 23, 2021

Heavy snow and wind forced me to leave my bike at home and lace up my hiking boots for some local outdoor exercise -- January 31, 2021

Plowing my own path through the snow on my Diverge. -- February 6, 2021

In early February, Winter (and yes, the Covid Pandemic), was really wearing me thin.   I needed to do something, go somewhere, explore outside, and just be present in nature. Robin and I decided to make the nearly 4 hour drive, on a Friday morning, to Ohiopyle State Park.  Ohiopyle has been a favorite place of mine ever since my childhood...but I had never...ever...seen it frozen.  I just wanted to see the waterfalls and take a hike and experience it in a way that I never had before.  The trip was just what I needed.  The time spent that day with my wife would have been plenty...but what we found at Ohiopyle was nothing short of spectacular.  The almost always crowded State Park was nearly empty and completely frozen.  Robin and I spend the entire day visiting places that we frequent in the summer time... Baughman Rock, Meadow Runs, and Cucumber Falls....places of immense natural beauty.  But on this particular day I think I may have found my "Fortress of Solitude" as we gazed over the Laurel Highlands from scenic overlooks, hiked through the mountain laurel in the Fern Cliff Nature Preserve area, and explored the immense cauldron of ice at the base of Cucumber Falls.  The whole day was relaxing, exhilarating, refreshing, and rejuvenating all at once.

OHIOPYLE STATE PARK --February 12, 2021

Robin and David Raymond taking in the view of Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands from Baughman Rock Overlook in Ohiopyle State Park. -- February 12, 2021

The icy Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park -- February 12, 2021

Hiking a snow covered Fern Cliff Nature Preserve in Ohiopyle State Park with Robin -- February 12, 2021

A great view of the main falls in Ohiopyle -- February 12, 2021

Meadow Run is also known as the "natural waterslide" at Ohiopyle State Park.  On this particular day it was a place of frozen solitude. -- February 12, 2021

A spectacular frozen view of Cucumber Falls -- February 12, 2021

David and Robin Raymond visiting Cucumber Falls -- February 12, 2021

The inner child came out!  I was completely mesmerized by the awesomeness of the frozen Cucumber Falls. -- February 12, 2021

A view from behind a wintery Cucumber Falls. -- February 12, 2021

Hanging out in my "Fortress of Solitude" in Ohiopyle State Park. -- February 12, 2021

Dave Raymond sitting at the base of a cauldron of ice at Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park.  -- February 12, 2021

Adult me still doesn't love Winter.  I am just not a fan of shoveling driveways and looking at the gravelly, muddy mess left behind from the snowplows.  The warm weather lover in me really despises making up snow days on a beautiful 85 degree Tuesday in June.  But yeah, that little boy who still lives within me...the one who gazed upon larger than life images of ice fortresses and frozen planets in the movie theater...still has an appreciation, and longing for, the pristine frozen imagery of winter.  I have to admit, it was quite nice, during this time of unusual stress due to Covid and quarantines, to get to experience it.  Just compare the smile and sense of joy on the face of the eight year old boy in the pictures below to the smile and sense of joy on the face of the forty-seven year old man exploring Ohiopyle with his wife.  It's the same, exact smile!  I guess you could say that it is frozen on my face.


Eight year old me sporting my Superman and Empire Strikes Back t-shirts! -- 1981


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- February 28, 2021


The frozen temperatures served as the backdrop for the filming of this years first episode of Cooking with Lewis & Clark.  Hoe Cakes were on the menu.  Eric Gimbi, Dave Raymond, and Mike Graham -- February 15, 2021


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@mountnbiker73


Here are the GARMIN maps and data from some of the adventures featured in this post.
#OptOutside

FROZEN MICHAUX RIDE -- JANUARY 2, 2021

EXTREMELY COLD MICHAUX HIKE -- JANUARY 23, 2021

SNOWY RIDE ON MY DIVERGE -- FEBRUARY 6, 2021

OHIOPYLE HIKE WITH ROBIN -- FEBRUARY 12, 2021


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
GUNG HO BIKES
YOUR TRUE NATURE
PENNSYLVANIA DCNR
WHITE WATER ADVENTURES
and
PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION
"Write something work reading or do something worth writing..." Ben Franklin



Thursday, December 31, 2020

BACKTRACKING 2020, Part Three -- THE YEAR BEHIND BARS

The last day of 2020 is, currently, cold and dreary...but that didn't stop Matt an I from wrapping up the year on a high note with a super fun New Year's Eve ride in Michaux.  I've spent a lot of time on my bikes this past year.  Three hundred forty eight hours...to be exact...were dedicated to riding my bike in 2020.  Translated to mileage...I pedaled over 3,500 miles in the last 365 days.  Although I got to ride a lot with my friends...the Pandemic forced me to ride more solo miles than I had for quite some time. 2020 also saw a new bike added to my fleet...a 2021 Specialized Diverge.  Yeah...now I own a gravel bike, too.  As crappy as 2020 has been for so many people, I have been blessed with the time and ability to safely get out and enjoy nature on my bike.  Looking back over the past year it was hard to pick my favorite rides.  I was able to narrow it down to the following twelve rides.  I want to thank my wife, Robin (who is part of this list) for encouraging my love of cycling.  Also, these rides wouldn't be nearly as fun if it wasn't for my friends who joined me on my adventures....thank you, Matt, Tim, Todd, Chris, Brent, and Adam!  So, here is my look back on my past year behind bars...handle bars, to be specific.  Enjoy!


ATV TRAIL FUN IN MICHAUX -- AUGUST 11, 2020

Any ride in Michaux State Forest is tougher than average...but this particular ride was a challenge.  Matt, Tim, and I set out to ride the ATV trails just southeast of Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  These particular trials are rutted from ATV tracks and made up of loose rocks.  For sure, this 17 mile ride isn't something that I would want to do all the time...but on this particular day the three of us were up for the challenge and it was really fun. 

Riding the rocky ATV trails in Michaux State Forest. -- August 11, 2020


I'll be your Huckleberry!  -- August 11, 2020

Dave Raymond, Matt Linnane, and Tim Sindlinger-- August 11, 2020

INDUSTRIAL PARK EXPLORATION -- NOVEMBER 21, 2020

Living in York County and in close proximity to Interstate 83, as I do, means industrial parks...everywhere!  Looking for something unique to ride I decided to head out on a November, Sunday morning, to ride all of the empty industrial park parking lots that were within five miles from my house.  I ended up with an awesome 22 mile ride that, when I pull it up on Garmin and Strava, looks unlike any other ride I've ever done!

Posing next to the Bob Hoffman statue in front of the National Weightlifting Hall of Fame. -- November 21, 2020

Pumped up riding past York Barbell. -- November 21, 2020

Nothing like the smell of  the Starbucks plant near my house when they are roasting their dark roast. -- November 21, 2020


CODORUS STATE PARK -- SEPTEMBER 12, 2020

This ride was just a blast.  I had the honor of giving Chris and Todd a tour of the eight miles of twisty, turny, built-up single track that makes up the mountain biking section of Codorus State Park.  What a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Dave Raymond, Chris Keller, Todd Fisher. -- September 12, 2020

Todd Fissher shredding the trails in Codorus State Park. -- September 12, 2020

Chris Keller, with no fear, taking off from one of the many build ups in Codorus State Park. -- September 12, 2020

Gung Ho shop guys in Codorus State Park.  Todd Fisher and Dave Raymond. -- September 12, 2020


SWEET RIDE IN HERSHEY -- MAY 15

In March, April, and May I had been laying low and riding solo...a lot...as this whole global pandemic was unraveling.  By May, I had come out of my shell and had begun riding (safely) with other people again.  Brent Shirk and I made our way up Interstate 83 to ride the Hershey Trail System.  This ride will forever be remembered as the ride where I wiped out riding through this really cool "cauldron" formation in the landscaped because there was a snake directly in my line of sight.  Turns out the little effer was already dead!  Good times!

Taking a selfie with a random gnome along the Hershey trail system.  -- May 15, 2020


Dave Raymond and Brent Shirk. -- May 15, 2020

Fun stuff on the Hershey trail system. -- May 15, 2020

Bailing out...or possibly just freaking out...at the sight of a snake in my direct line of sight while riding the Hershey trail system.  -- May 15, 2020

Turns out the damn thing was already dead! -- May 15, 2020

HALLOWEEN URBAN RIDING -- OCTOBER 31, 2020

Harrisburg's Parkway Trail System contains about sixteen miles of single track hidden in the green area throughout Pennsylvania's Capital City.  On Halloween, Tim, Adam, Matt, and I rode it all...plus a little extra extension using Harrisburg's Green Belt for a quick loop up and around the Capitol Complex.

Adam Zeigler, Matt Linnane, Dave Raymond, and Tim Sindlinger on the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg. -- October 31, 2020

Taking a slight detour from the single track on to Harrisburg's River Walk. -- October 31, 2020

Matt Linnane and Dave Raymond enjoying a little urban mountain biking.  -- October 31, 2020

OHIOPYLE STATE PARK -- JUNE 18, 2020

I camp in Ohiopyle State Park every June...ergo, I mountain bike in Ohiopyle every June.  It is one of the few places where I have someone (my son, Alex) drive me to the top of a mountain so that I can play around on it and then descend.  On this particular ride I thoroughly enjoyed Canyon Edge trail (in both direction) before descending the final 800 feet in less than 2 miles on Baughman Trail.  So intense...and so much fun!

Canyon Edge Trail in Ohiopyle State Park -- June 18, 2020

Post-ride relaxation in the Youghiogheny River. -- June 18, 2020

Wrapping things up in Ohiopyle with an ice cream cone. -- June 18, 2020

NORTHWEST LANCASTER RIVER TRAIL -- NOVEMBER 25/26, 2020

The Northwest Lancaster County River Trail traces the Susquehanna River from Columbia to Falmouth.  Round trip, the ride is just about 30 miles in length.  The River Trail has beautiful views of the Susquehanna River and is lined with the remnants of 18th, 19th, and early 20th century industrial sites that thrived along the rail tracks near the river.  I has so much fun the first day that I rode that I needed to go back the next day to explore even more. 

Looking westward at the Veteran's Memorial Bridge which spans the Susquehanna River connecting Columbia and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. -- November 25, 2020

A small detour off of the River Trail allowed me to explore the interior of an 18th century iron furnace. -- November 25, 2020

The White Cliffs of Conoy...an ultra cool limestone formation rising above the Susquehanna River...are accessible from the River Trail. -- November 25, 2020

Pausing on my ride along the River Trail to admire my brand new Specialized Diverge. -- November 25, 2020

C & O TOWPATH & GREAT ALLEGHENY PASSAGE -- JULY 19//21, 2020

Robin and I scaled back our annual anniversary trip and decided to keep things a little more low key by spending five days camping in Rocky Gap State Park in western Maryland.  Cumberland, Maryland...just 10 miles from Rocky Gap...is where the Great Allegheny Passage meets the C & O Towpath.  Robin and I made two separate trips into Cumberland to ride on the trails and explore the surrounding areas.

David and Robin Raymond enjoying the C & O Towpath just south of Cumberland, Maryland. -- July 19, 2020

Checking out George Washington's French and Indian War headquarters in Cumberland, Maryland. -- July 19, 2020

An anniversary ride on the C & O Towpath with my beautiful wife, Robin. -- July 21, 2020

A tunnel to West Virginia?  So cool!  -- July 21, 2020

ROCKY GAP STATE PARK -- JULY 20, 2020

This solo mountain bike ride...sandwiched between the two rides on the Great Allegheny Passage and C & O Towpath with Robin...was, no doubt, the my most difficult ride of the summer.  With the July sun blazing and the temps rising over 95 degrees I pedaled out of my campsite for a 9 mile ride that would climb more than 1,300 feet to the top of Evitts Summit, past the Mason/Dixon Line, and into Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  The climb to the top of Evitts Summit was difficult...but the view from the top was equally rewarding.  And yes....the ride down was a blast!

Happy to finally be to the top of Evitts Summit. -- July 20, 2020

Mason / Dixon marker on the top of Evitts Summit. -- July 20, 2020

Crossing out of Rocky Gap State Park and into my home county of Bedford, Pennsylvania. -- July 20, 2020

Appreciating the view from the top of Evitts Summit...probably the most spectacular view I had all summer. -- July 20, 2020

CAPITAL AREA GREENBELT -- OCTOBER 24 and NOVEMBER 14, 2020

In 2020 I discovered how extremely cool Harrisburg's Capital Area Greenbelt is.  The trail does a super fun loop around Pennsylvania's Capital City.  Robin and I explored half of it together in October....and then a few weeks later, I went back to complete the entire loop.  Harrisburg's River Front, City Island, the Capitol Building, Governor's Mansion, Farm Show Complex, and Wildwood Park are all featured along the Greenbelt.

Welcome to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania! -- October 24, 2020

David and Robin Raymond enjoying a Saturday afternoon on the Capital Area Greenbelt. -- October 24, 2020

My Diverge and the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. -- October 24, 2020

Late October Fall foliage and an old iron train bridge.  -- October 24, 2020

Riding through Harrisburg's Phoenix Park. -- October 24, 2020

My evolution. -- October 24, 2020

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania -- November 14, 2020

EPIC MICHAUX RIDE -- JUNE 13, 2020

I told Chris that I had a fun ride planned...and that it would probably be about 18 miles long.  Well, the ride was fun...but when we finished we had pedaled over 25 miles of Michaux single track.  This epic ride included fire road, rock gardens, super cool build ups, beautiful vistas, and mountain laurel that was in full bloom.  This ride was the real deal!

My Stumpjumper with the mountain laurel that lines the trails in Michaux State Forest. -- June 13, 2020

Chris Keller taking off! -- June 13, 2020

I actually landed this one. Not bad for forty-seven year old me.  -- June 13, 2020

Chis Keller and Dave Raymond in Michaux State Forest. -- June 13, 2020

SOLO AND UNSUPPORTED CENTURY RIDE -- SEPTEMBER 27, 2020

I talked about doing if for a long time...but in 2020, I made it happen.  I left my house in Manchester, Pennsylvania at 10 AM on a dreary and damp Sunday morning with a determination to ride 100 miles...my first "century ride"...on my own and completely unsupported.  Here is what I learned on my nearly 7 hour, 102 mile journey on my Roubaix.  First of all...the York County Heritage Rail Trail and the Northern Central Maryland Railroad Trail are NOT flat.  As a matter of fact I ended up climbing well over 2,000 feet on this ride.  I also discovered that parts of the Maryland side of the trail were actually pretty narrow and rocky (as far as rail trails go.)  Around mile sixty five, I made the mistake of beginning to think about the pizza I was going to order when I got home making the ride, for the first time that day, seem a little daunting. Fortunately I was wise enough to bring a little cash...which was well spent on some Italian Ice  in New Freedom, Pennsylvania.  That little sugar rush was just what I needed to make it the final thirty miles.  Finally, I think I realized that the next time I do a century ride (and there will be a next time) I would like to have one of my riding buds with me.  Anyone interested?

Heading South and passing through Howard Tunnel on the York County Heritage Rail Trail. -- September 27, 2020

Crossing the Mason/Dixon line into Maryland. -- September 27, 2020

The halfway point of my century ride. -- September 27, 2020

Stopped for some amazing Italian Ice at Gill Ice in New Freedom, PA. -- September 27, 2020

I did it.  My first century ride! -- September 27, 2020



Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- December 31, 2020



I've had some pretty awesome treats this year too!  Clockwise...my mammoth post-ride, birthday sundae at the Bobcat Creamery,  Butter Pecan at the Tiger Eye in Harrisburg following a ride on the Capital Area Greenbelt, and a waffle cone in Cumberland, Maryland following a ride on the C & O Towpath.


Feel Free to follow me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM

@mountnbiker73
Here are the GARMIN maps and data from some of the adventures featured in this post.
#OptOutside


ATV TRAIL FUN IN MICHAUX -- AUGUST 11, 2020

INDUSTRIAL PARK EXPLORATION -- NOVEMBER 21, 2020

CODORUS STATE PARK -- SEPTEMBER 12, 2020

HALLOWEEN URBAN RIDING -- OCTOBER 31, 2020

OHIOPYLE STATE PARK -- JUNE 18, 2020

NORTHWEST LANCASTER RIVER TRAIL -- NOVEMBER 25, 2020

NORTHWEST LANCASTER RIVER TRAIL -- NOVEMBER 26, 2020

ROCKY GAP STATE PARK -- JULY 20, 2020

EARNING MY GREENBELT -- NOVEMBER 14, 2020

EPIC MICHAUX RIDE -- JUNE 13, 2020

SOLO AND UNSUPPORTED CENTURY RIDE -- SEPTEMBER 27, 2020


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
GUNG HO BIKES
YOUR TRUE NATURE
PENNSYLVANIA DCNR
WHITE WATER ADVENTURES
and
PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION
"Write something work reading or do something worth writing..." Ben Franklin