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
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.
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.
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