Tuesday, June 28, 2016

THE BEST MEDICE(ine) -- June 28, 2016

I'm going to openly admit that I've done too much the past few weeks and it's taken a slight toll on my "recently operated on" back.  I arrived home from hiking in Arizona and camping in Ohiopyle feeling great and anxious to get on my bike.  Thing is...I have a problem with moderation...I always have.  I guess, fortunately for me, my drug of choice is the outdoors...or, more specifically, my mountain bike.  Unfortunately, like any drug that you take too much of...especially when you shouldn't...the outcome isn't always positive.  

Celebrating the first day of summer and "National Selfie Day" with Matt Linnane & Tim Sindlinger  with a ride in Michaux -- June 21, 2016

Taking a break in Michaux (Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, Matt Linnane) -- June 21, 2016

Timmy gliding over a newly created ramp on one of our favorite trails in Michaux State Forest -- June 21, 2016

Matt taking a post ride shower from the back of his truck -- June 21, 2016

To our horror, there was no ice cream at Mountain Creek Campground until 1 PM today -- June 21, 2016

The first official day of summer (also National Selfie Day) fell on a Tuesday this year.  As in previous summers, Tim and I have again designated Tuesday mornings as our "ride in Michaux" time.  Each week I invite as many people as I can...but at least Tim and I know that we will have some time to ride together.  Matt joined us for our first "Tuesday ride" of the summer.  We rode all of our standard trails and mixed things up a little by riding a few of them in the opposite direction before wrapping things up and heading to Mountain Creek Campground for our post ride ice cream.  My heart almost stopped when I saw the sign on the door of the camp store:  NO ICE CREAM.  Thank goodness it was just for one day as the freezer was being defrosted.  On this particular day, all trails led to coffee instead.

Hiking Tumbling Run with Alex -- June 22, 2016

This guy slithered out of our way as we made our way up Tumbling Run -- June 22, 2016

Alex took this super cool photo of me at the top of Tumbling Run.  Check out this photo sphere to see my view -- June 22, 2016

I had promised my son, Alex, that the next day, Wednesday, I would take him hiking in Michaux.  I think I realized that morning, after I completed a road ride through Manchester, Mount Wolf, and York Haven, that I wasn't in any shape to go hiking.  Honestly, I shouldn't have even done the road ride.  I woke up sore from mountain biking with Tim & Matt the day before and should have planned to spend the day on the couch with an ice pack...not on my road bike...and definitely not on a hike up a mountain in Michaux!  Moderation...I'm not good at it.  Even when I know better...even when  I know that I probably shouldn't be doing it...I push myself to keep going.  I'm just not good at turning that switch off in my head.  Halfway up Tumbling Run (which is one of the most beautiful hikes that you can do in Michaux) I began to feel some of the pain I felt prior to my surgery.   It felt great to get to the top, rest a little, and take in the view.  A day off of the bike...and off of the what I had in mind for Thursday.

Mark and I paused to take a break at the intersection of Rattling and Dry Run Trails -- June 24, 2016

Thursday came and went without as much rest as I had intended...or needed.  On Friday morning Mark picked me up for a ride that we had scheduled earlier in the week.  We planned explore some trails north of Swatara State Park.  Because of circumstances beyond our control we ended up in Rattling Creek later that morning.  I had not been to Rattling Creek since 2010 and the thought of riding there got me pretty excited.  We spend the remainder of the morning navigating fourteen miles of unforgiving, rocky, technical trail.  I had a a blast...I had a great time...and I was spent.  For the first time since my back surgery I really knew that I had pushed myself too hard.  My "drug" had ceased being good medicine.  

Three straight days of rest made for a fun and enjoyable ride in Michaux with Glenn & Tim -- June 28, 2016

Glenn's back...and he hasn't missed a beat -- June 28, 2016

Thumbs up for Glenn on his first Michaux ride in over five years -- June 28, 2016

Twice a week.  That's the bargain I struck with myself.  Tuesdays with Tim (and whoever else can join us) and then a ride on Thursday or Friday.  That's what I need to hold myself to for the time being.  After my ride at Rattling Creek with Mark on Friday I spent three complete days resting  my back.  I had extra motivation for today's Tuesday ride.  Today, Glenn Medice joined Timmy and I!  This is one of the coolest (and most unexpected) consequences this blog.  Glenn, and a few of the other guys that rode with us years ago, are back in the game.  The band is slowly coming back together....and the feeling is beyond description.  At one point today, I was leading the three of us down the trail and I could hear Tim and Glenn just talking away in the background.  The smile on my face went from ear to ear.  This is the best medicine...being with friends and enjoying our time together.  I can't do that with a sore back.  If this means cutting back and riding just a little bit less (at least for the time being)...then so be it.  

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- June 28, 2016

The best Medice(ine)...some post ride ice cream at Mountain Creek Campground.  Thanks for buying, Glenn!  --  June 28, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

PASSING ON OHIOPYLE -- June 20, 2016

Ohiopyle isn't in Ohio.  The little Fayette County town, located in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, has been a family destination for a long time.  Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania gets it's unique name, most believe, from a combination of Native American words which come together as "Ohiopehelle" which, when translated, means "white, frothy water." 

The main falls at Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania -- June 17, 2016

The town, itself, is complete engulfed by Ohiopyle State Park...a sort of western Pennsylvania mecca for kayakers, rafters, hikers, campers, and cyclists.  The main feature of the park is the Youghiogheny River Gorge which meanders its way through the park.  The "Yough" offers some of the best whitewater rafting and sight seeing east of the Mississippi River. 

That's me on the left with my mother, Kathy Raymond, and my brother, Jacob Raymond.  Based upon what I know from the background we were hiking the Ferncliff Natural Area -- 1980

A seven year old me sitting next to the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park -- 1980

The Morosky Family (1950s).  My mom, Kathy Morosky, is front right.  Apparently my grandfather George Morosky (taking the picture, I suppose) and my grandmother, Rose Morosky, would bring their family to Ohiopyle for outings.  Front left...Rosanne Morosky (Rendulic), back row:  George Morosky, Judy Morosky (Saska), & Rose Morosky (pregnant with my Aunt Debby Morosky)

 My earliest memories of Ohiopyle is with my mom, dad, and brother.  We would make the 90 minute trip from our home in Bedford, PA for a day of picnicking and hiking.  Apparently, my mom and dad were just passing on to my brother and I a love of Ohiopyle that started, possibly, with their parents. My first time back to Ohiopyle as a young adult was in June of 1995 shortly after graduating from college. It was my first time white water rafting on the Yough.  My brother, and a group of his friends, organized a trip and asked me to join them.  It  would be the first  of 10 trips (so far) that I've taken on the river with White Water Adventures.  

My first time down the Yough.  Clockwise starting with the front of the boat:  Jason Cole, David Raymond, Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson, & Sean Turner. helmets required in 1995!

It was, a little more than ten years later, that my love for mountain biking would bring me back to Ohiopyle.  In 2006 Bill Graves and I made the first of three mountain biking/camping trips to the park.  We had no maps...but I knew that there were a lot of trails around the river.  We ended up climbing Sugar Loaf Trail and riding the Sugar Loaf Mountain Bike Area.  It was quite the climb in the August heat.  What I remember the most from those first trips back to Ohiopyle was cooling off in the river after our rides, stumbling upon an "all you can eat" buckwheat & pancake festival, and the campgrounds in the park.   My mom and dad took me on a lot of camping trips...but never here.  Ohiopyle was quickly becoming one of my favorite places.

Baughman Rock Overlook with my 2006 Stumpjumper -- May 2007

Cooling off in the Youghiogheny River after a mountain bike ride in Ohiopyle -- August 2006

Riding the Sugar Loaf Mountain Bike Area with my 2009 Specialized Epic -- April 17, 2009

Yes!  An "All You Can Eat" buckwheat & pancake dinner -- April 17,  2009

Camping in the Hickory Loop of the Kentuck Campgrounds at Ohiopyle -- April 2009
By the summer of 2009, I had decided to start passing on the beauty of Ohiopyle to my son, Alex.  We spent three amazing June days camping in the Hickory loop.  Alex was only 10 years old at the time and wasn't old enough to raft the lower I booked us a rafting trip on the middle Yough...which is much more kid friendly.   Alex's love affair with the park had started.  We spent three perfect days enjoying all that the park had to offer.

Alex survived his first rafting trip on the Youghiogheny with the help of his guide, Corey -- June 2009

Alex's first camping experience -- June 2009

Taking a hike around Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle with Alex -- June 2009

A camping trip to Ohiopyle has now become almost a yearly thing for my family.  I first took Robin to the park in 2011 when we were dating.  Her daughter's, Mia & Blythe, have been there with us and come whenever they can.  Mia, in particular, seems to really enjoy herself there.  My daughter, Emma, and her boyfriend, Cole have been there with us.  Alex, who is now 17, wouldn't miss the trip to Ohiopyle for anything.  Even my dad and Mary Jane come to visit at least one of the days we are there to sit around the campfire and have dinner with us.  

Getting dinner ready with Robin -- August 2011

Hanging out with Emma Kate -- July 2014

Robin & Mary Jane dodging rain drops at the campground -- August 2012

Robin at Ohiopyle -- 2014

Blythe and Mary Jane -- August 2012

Mia & Vader in Ohiopyle -- June 17, 2016

Enjoying Ohiopyle with Mary Jane, Robin, and Dad -- June 17, 2016

There's never a shortage of things for any of us to do there.  We will usually plan a white water rafting trip for one of the days (although I've yet to convince Robin to go with us down the lower Yough).   We all love Cucumber Falls and the trails that lead down to the river where we will spend an afternoon skipping rocks.  Most of us have braved the Natural Water Slide (those who haven't enjoy watching us glide through the rocks).  Robin and I really enjoy hiking the Fern Cliff Area opposite the town...the same trails that my mother and father took me on as a child.  A few years ago, we discovered the Ohiopyle Bakery and Sandwich Shoppe.  No trip is complete until Alex picks up his chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and Robin & I grab some coffee.  It's all part of the experience!

Rafting the Lower Yough -- Left to Right:  Chris Lowe, Alex Raymond, Devin Seiger, Emma Raymond, Cole Bixler, David Raymond (Mia is somehow hidden from view in this pic!) -- July 19, 2014

Rafting the Lower Yough -- Left to Right:  Devin Seiger, Chris Lowe, David Raymond, Alex Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott -- June 15, 2016

Successful trip with White Water Adventures -- Left to Right:  Devin Seiger, Chris Lowe, David Raymond, "Smiles" the awesome guide, Alex Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott -- June 15, 2016
An ultra cool pic Alex took of me standing BEHIND Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park -- July 2015

Another great pic Alex took of me behind Cucumber Falls -- July 2015

Robin & I exploring Cucumber Falls on her first trip to Ohiopyle with me -- August 13, 2011

Alex and his friends skipping rocks in the Yough -- July 2015

Skipping rocks in the Yough -- July 2015

Hiking the Ferncliff Area at Ohiopyle with Robin -- Memorial Day 2015

Gliding through the Natural Water Slide -- July 18, 2014

Alex on the Natural Water Slide -- July 18, 2014

Next to the Natural Water Slide...I think that the Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe is Alex's favorite place -- June 19, 2016

The cookies.  Alex makes a daily trip to the Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe to get them while we are there -- June 19, 2016
I'm not really sure if the tradition of trips to Ohiopyle State Park began with my grandparents, George & Rose Morosky...or if it started with someone else on my family tree.   Regardless, I'm so thankful that my mom and dad continued the tradition with my brother and I when we were little.  Passing on Ohiopyle to my family is something that I'm more than happy to do.  I hope that the tradition stays alive for as long as that river keeps running.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- June 20, 2016

Father's Day weekend with my dad in Ohiopyle State Park -- June 17, 2016
If you enjoyed reading all means, feel free to tweet it!