It really meant a lot to me that my wife told me to go biking with the guys and enjoy myself today. I'm equally appreciative that Mark changed his plans to join Kristain and I. I've been hanging out in Michaux State Forest now for almost 10 years and, until today, I never managed to get there when the foliage was at it's peak. Today it happened...and it was nothing short of amazing.
|Taking in the view from the vista in Michaux State Forest. Check out this ultra kool photosphere of the view -- October 30, 2016|
Mark and Kristain met me this morning at 9. If I'd of known that it was going to be 65 degrees at 6 AM today we would have left earlier. Today was just one of those late autumn days here in Pennsylvania that make you happy to just be alive...and I was happy to spend it mountain biking in Michaux. Today's ride somehow combined the destination ride, the exploratory ride, and the "let's just take our time and have fun" ride. It was, for me, the best kind of ride.
|Laurel Lake and the fall foliage in Michaux State Forest -- October 30, 2016|
THE DESTINATION RIDE
The colors were brilliant today and I bet, that if I were to go back tomorrow, half of the leaves will be on the ground. It was the perfect day to be mountain biking. We did have a destination in mind...the Vista view northwest of Pine Grove Furnace State Park. It's my favorite place in the forest. I was last there in July...and I was really looking forward to experiencing it with the colors at their peak. After riding down the biking path that connects Pine Grove Furnace with Laurel Lake we headed up the single track that twists and turns and climbs up the Vista...over four hundred feet of elevation in just about 3 miles! The climb sounds really intense...but it's not. It just flows up. I often say, that when I bike I want to make sure that anything I climb is worth climbing! Once at the top of this trail, nature doesn't disappoint. No evidence of the state park below, no cars, no roads, and no noises (except what nature provides.) Amazing, beautiful, peaceful, and satisfying...it IS my favorite place...and today I made sure to take some time and soak it in.
|I took this pic while up on the vista today. I liked it so much it's now the background pic on my blog. Check out this ultra kool photosphere I took while I was there! -- October 30, 2016|
|Kristain Hains -- October 30, 2016|
|Kristain checking out the view -- October 30, 2016|
|If it wasn't for Mark...I would never have known about this place. Thanks, Bud -- October 30, 2016|
THE EXPLORATORY RIDE
I didn't expect to go exploring today...Mark and I usually do that on our own. But today, when we got to a fork in the trail on the top of the ridge we turned right instead of left...which provided a nice deviation from our normal route. At times the trail was hard to see...but it was there...and it's been ridden. Ultimately, it took us to a super cool rock outcropping that faced the west side of the mountain looking towards Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. A nice find which leaves us with more to explore. That's the magic of Michaux...there is ALWAYS something around the corner that you've never ridden...and the trail you find never goes where you expect it to!
|Mark and Kristain riding fire road which provides a conduit to various single track in the forest -- October 30, 2016|
|My 2016 Stumpjumper...of all the bikes I've owned this one is my favorite -- October 30, 2016|
|An odd find deep in the forest. Looks to be a fire fighters emergency kit -- October 30, 2016|
|Kristain and parked our bikes while we explored a rock outcropping today -- October 30, 2016|
|Kristain climbing to the top of the rocks we found today -- October 30, 2016|
|The view looking towards Chambersburg isn't as nice as the one at the vista or Tumbling Run...but it was still super kool -- October 30, 2016|
THE "LET'S JUST TAKE OUR TIME & HAVE FUN" RIDE
At the end of the day, if your not having fun, why are out on the trails? Mountain biking is my hobby. There was a time when I did a lot of racing (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with racing) but now I just want to ride my bike. I'm not breaking any speed records...and I really don't care. Mountain biking is now a time for me to laugh, talk, and ride with my friends. It's a time to share experiences, stories, sights, and a common love for being outside. There are few mountain biking pics that don't include smiles.
|Selfie time! Dave Raymond & Kristain Hains -- October 30, 2016|
|Kristian Hains -- October 30, 2016|
|Mark found a snake! God...I hate snakes! -- October 30, 2016|
|Looks like the only person who hates snakes more than me is Kristain. The look on his face says it all! -- October 30, 2016|
|Mark Lentz, Kristain Hains, and David Raymond in Michaux State Forest -- October 30, 2016|
|Push, Kristian, Push! -- October 30, 2016|
|Mark Lentz -- October 30, 2016|
|Selfie on top of the vista! Dave Raymond, Kristain Hains, & Mark Lentz -- October 30, 2016|
|Kristain Hains -- October 30, 2016|
|Kristain took this pic of me taking pics on top of the vista -- October 30, 2016|
|David Raymond -- October 30, 2016|
Yep...I'm so very appreciative to my wife for selflessly telling me to go out with my friends today...and just as appreciative to Mark for switching his plans so he could hang out with Kristain and I today. You see, November will mark ten years of riding in Michaux for me and Mark and rest of the crew...but today's ride will be my last for quite some time. As great as I feel on my bike, my back is falling apart again, and I'm told I'll be out of commission for quite a while. No one looks forward to having surgery...but I cautiously am. I can pedal all day long. I ride and feel like a million dollars but I can't stand up or take a walk with my wife for more than a minute...that's unacceptable and no way to live life. It's time to get this fixed so that I can enjoy the nature and the hobbies and the life I love living for a long time to come. I've got a lot of things planned for my time on the couch...a lot of stories to write about...and time to contemplate the trails that lie ahead.
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- October 30, 2016
|Today our trails led to Mountain Creek Campground where Kristain picked up the tab for the ice cream. Thank, Bud! -- October 30, 2016|