Tuesday, October 11, 2016


It's pretty well known that Christopher Columbus didn't actually "discover" America.  Heck...he never even made it to the mainland (although who can fault him for hanging out  in the Bahamas?) I have this belief that you can't really discover something that's already well known to other people.  Yeah...there were others who came to the western hemisphere well before Columbus.  Native people came here anywhere from 40,000 to 13,000 years ago.  It possible that St. Brendan the Navigator, doing missionary work, traveled to the New World 1,000 years prior to Columbus.  There are some who believe, based on a map of Chinese origin, that Chinese explorer, Zheng He, may have made it as far as the Americas during one of his seven voyages between the years 1405 and 1433.  And yes...evidence has proven that Leif Erikson traveled to Newfoundland around 1,000 A.D...a full 500 years before Christopher Columbus "Sailed the Ocean Blue."  

In the spirit of exploration, Mark Lentz and I spend the day mountain biking and exploring an unfamiliar section of Michaux State Forest.  The view from the power lines, looking west towards interstate 81, was amazing -- October 10, 2016

So, if Mr. Columbus didn't "discover" America...what exactly did he do?  Well, he was the first to open relations between Europe and the Western Hemisphere.  His voyages mark the beginning of more than 500 years of cultural, economic, and political relations between Europe and the Americas.  You can also credit him with the fact that written recorded history of the Western Hemisphere begins with Columbus.  (There are also many negative impacts of Columbus' voyages...but I won't go there right now.  I want to keep things positive.)  So...thanks, to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1936, Columbus Day became a federal holiday...and I have off from school.  Personally, I'm not a fan of  Columbus Day...and I'd rather either celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day or just go to school and teach my butt off...but; nevertheless, every October I can count on having the day let's make the most of it.

David Raymond & Mark Lentz in Michaux State Forest -- October 10, 2016

Mark and I first met when he began teaching at Northeastern Middle School 12 or 13 years ago...and we began riding together in 2006.  Most of what I know about mountain biking I learned from him.  Last year we decided that, if we were going to have a day off of school for Columbus Day, we ought to, at the very least, use the day to honor the spirit of exploration.  So, with bikes and gear loaded up, Mark and I set out for a section of Michaux State Forest, near the Chambersburg Reservoir, that we were completely unfamiliar with.

Mark and I began our ride at the intersection of Ridge Road and Stillhouse Road in Michaux State Forest -- October 10, 2016

The trail that runs the power lines stretching east to west through the forest provided for a very fun section of our ride today -- October 10, 2016

Looking west towards from the top of the power lines -- October 10, 2016

Mark Lentz and I riding the trail that runs the power lines in this section of Michaux -- October 10, 2016

Enjoying the ride! -- October 12, 2016

Turning off of the trail that ran the power lines, Mark and I found and incredibly cool section of the forest that was amazingly beautiful.  This is the Michaux I love!  Check out this ultra kool photosphere I took of this area -- October 10, 2016

Part of our ride was along this exclusion fence.  The fences are put up to allow areas of the forest to regenerate and not be disturbed by the deer and other wildlife of the forest -- October 10, 2016

It's not a ride in Michaux without a mechanical.  Nothing too serious...just a cable that needed adjusted -- October 10, 2016

What's Mark riding over?  Check out the next pic -- October 10, 2016

Turns out it was once a swimming the middle of the forest.  No kidding.  Here's what remains of the diving board -- October 10, 2016

When we parked at the top of the mountain there was no question that, at some point, we would make our way back up.  Here we go! -- October 10, 2016

Towards the conclusion of our ride, Mark and I found this view from Ridge Road -- October 10, 2016

The only plan for our day was exploration.  If we found a trail we took it.  There was no such thing as a wrong turn.  Mark and I just set out to ride.  What we rode...and what we found...was nothing short of amazing:  trails that very few mountain bikers have ridden (there were absolutely no segments found when I loaded my ride into STRAVA),  views that were breathtaking, new places to take Timmy, Glenn, and rest of the gang, and a very kool sense of pride, excitement, and accomplishment that comes with the spirit of exploration.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- October 11, 2016

No one can pass up a stop at the historic Round Barn.  On our way home both Mark and I could hear the whoopie pies calling our names!