GRAVE RIDGE -- August 9, 2016

Just the name of the trail makes anyone who loves mountain biking want to ride it.  Grave Ridge.  Rocks emerging from the top of the ridge resemble tombstones of all shapes and sizes.  Labeled for ATV riders as "Most Difficult"...the trail is a mile of technical mayhem!  Mark Lentz first took me there in 2006 but I haven't been back since 2010.  Grave Ridge, which is located in the heart of Michaux State Forest, straddles the boundary of a recent timber sale.  Logging, which closed the trail for public use, began in December of 2010.  Today, Tim and I found our way back for the first time since the trail reopened last year.  

Navigating Grave Ridge in Michaux State Forest -- August 9, 2016

Taking a breather with Tim halfway through our ride today -- August 9, 2016

Tim snaking his way through the ferns in Michaux State Forest -- August 9, 2016

I had a couple of routes mapped out in my head for how to get there today.  I really did have to think about it.  It's been over five years since I've ridden that part of the forest.  Tim and I opted to start our ride on Tom's Run, make our way across the ridge, ride the fun rocks on the west side of Woodrow Road, which then would dump us off near the base of today's ultimate destination:  Grave Ridge. 

Yep...Grave Ridge is labeled with a Black Diamond.  That's for ATV riders, though!  As Mark Lentz says:  "If it's too tough for everyone's just right for us!" -- August 9, 2016

Don't let this pic fool you!  A brief reprieve from the technicality of Grave Ridge.  The unusually cool breeze felt amazing!   -- August 9, 2016

This rock looks huge...but it's actually about a thin as my bike!  It's sticking out of the ground like a huge grave marker.  So cool!  Got to love Michaux!  -- August 9, 2016

Even the best of bikes will take a beating in Michaux.  At least I had what I needed to keep things moving forward! -- August 9, 2016

Descending from the top of Grave Ridge down towards highway 233 -- August 9, 2016

I was pleasantly surprised that the mile long trail had once again regained the appearance it had before the area was logged.  It was also reassuring that, even after all the logging, Grave Ridge was just as technical, rocky, difficult, and fun as I remember.  Honestly, after not riding it for so long, I couldn't remember which direction it flows the best.  Today, Tim and I rode it from north to south and then doubled back on the snake like trail that meanders between Grave Ridge and highway 233.  From there we found familiar single track that  would quickly take us back to Pine Grove Furnace.    
For me, the best part of today's ride was connecting the old and the new...riding trails that we rode ten years ago in combination with trails we've more recently found.   I think it's safe to say that it won't be too long before the two of us are back in that neck of the woods taking on Grave Ridge again.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- August 9, 2016

After a ride at Michaux the Stumpjumper's going to have a sleep over at the shop.  Thanks to Jay and Clark for keeping things moving!  -- August 9, 2016