Eight miles to the southwest of Pine Grove Furnace State Park and near the top of Shippensburg Road...right in the middle of Michaux State Forest...you will find the Big Flat Parking Area. Big Flat offers access to multiple ATV and snowmobile trails that are in the area. It'll also...if you're brave enough...provide a mountain bike ride that you soon won't forget! I know, for a fact, that today was the first time in almost eight years I began a ride at Big Flat. Partly because the starting point is near the top of the mountain...which means that the ride will inevitably end with a good climb...and partly because there is no way I am physically capable of riding this kind of terrain all the the time!
|My 2004 Silverado parked in the Big Flat Parking Area located in Michaux State Forest -- August 12, 2016|
Thing is...today's ride with Mark and Nate was a great reminder of what Michaux is...and why I love it so much. Riding the trails in this section of the forest is most definitely a challenge worthy of the best mountain bikers. Wildcat Trail dropped us almost 500 feet in only two miles! Abigail Trail and Anthill Trail (not to mention Birch Run Road) helped us accumulate the nearly 1,700 feet of climbing in just under 13 miles of mountain biking! Along the way we navigated trails that were littered seemingly endless rock gardens. We rode trails that apparently had only had one direction...up! And...for Mark and I...trails that required a old fashioned "hike-a-bike."
|Mark, Nate, and I had an early start today...leaving Manchester, PA by 6:15 AM to beat the August heat and humidity. No such luck. Temps were approximately 85 degrees at 5:20AM this morning -- August 12, 2016|
|I paused to get this pick of Wildcat Trail and all of the rocks that make it up -- August 12, 2016|
|A couple pics of my good friend, Mark Lentz, taking on Wildcat Trail -- August 12, 2016|
Some may call this punishment...but I truly love it. Why? It's simple. Along the way...throughout the entire ride...we also encountered things you just don't see anywhere else. Trails lined with mountain laurel, white pine, and wild blue berries. A random pile of rocks, overlooking a valley, that seems to have been undisturbed for centuries. A beautiful reservoir and dam that provides water for a nearby community. Anthills that are at least two feet tall! You really never know what will be around the next corner or over the next hill!
|If you look closely, you can make out Mark Lentz and Nate Hake in the distance riding across the dam which holds back Long Pine Run forming the Chambersburg Reservoir -- August 12, 2016|
|The view on the opposite side the Chambersburg Reservoir is amazing -- August 12, 2016|
|Nate Hake on his last Michaux ride before heading back to college -- August 12, 2016|
|Mark Lentz sight seeing on the dam near the Chambersburg Reservoir -- August 12, 2016|
|Yep...a random pile of rocks. Mark said it was quartzite...and the pile of rocks was formed naturally -- August 12, 2016|
|Me, the rocks, and the valley below -- August 12, 2016|
|Yes! Huge anthills! All I can think about when I see these is that scene in the fourth (and in my opinion...worst) Indiana Jones movie when that guy is attacked by mutant ants! -- August 12, 2016|
The best part of the experience is letting it sink in when I get home. Sometimes I'm in total amazement of what I had seen and done and accomplished before 11:30 AM. I'm totally grateful that I have the time, the resources, the ability, and an understanding wife that allow me to enjoy life...and Michaux Forest...the way I do.
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- August 12, 2016
|Got to love the...um...primitive DCNR bathroom facilities. No uni-sex outhouse here! They are clearly labeled -- August 12, 2016|