Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Hitting rocky trails on a mountain bike is expected (especially when riding in Michaux State Forest).  You could say that Michaux is an 85,000 acre rock garden...literally a mountain biker's playground.  It's a place where grown men can ride their bikes, cast away worries, and become kids again.  Most of 2009 & 2010 was spent riding familiar trails and roads that our group had pieced together the previous three years.  One notable exception was a trail that led to a rock outcropping southwest of Forest Road.  This proved to be an extremely cool, although accidental, find.  In searching for an alternate route to the top of Tumbling Run, I stumbled upon a system of rocks that provided an amazing view of the valley below.  For the next few years this became my "standard ride" at Michaux. 

Riding "Gargamel's Trail" in Michaux State Forest.  Mark Lentz, Dave Raymond, Mikey Nardelli, & Kristian Hains -- February 2009

Our group.  From Left to Right//Top to Bottom:  Mark Lentz, Glenn Medice, Kevin Hardy, Tim Sindinger, Bill Graves, Mikey Nardelli, Kristian Hains.  I'm the squirrel with the camera! -- May 9, 2009

Tim and I getting ready to ride Michaux.  In the background you can see the remains of the iron furnace for which Pine Grove Furnace State Park gets it's name -- July 14, 2009

One of my best looking for an alternate trail to the top of Tumbling Run I came across this rock outcropping with a spectacular view -- June 7, 2009

Dave Raymond and Tim Sindlinger -- July 14, 2009

The only pic I have of me riding my carbon fiber 2009 Specialized Epic  -- July 14, 2009

Bill Graves, Dave Raymond, and Tim Sindlinger -- July 20, 2010

Riding Bear Knob near Piney Ridge -- July 20, 2010

As I look back on these pics from 2009 & 2010 I can't help but notice the smiles on our faces.  It shouldn't surprise me...we were in our "playground" after all.  What you can't see in the pics is that, for the better part of those two years, I was internalizing some personal rocky trails that I found myself on.  Our group, which had been so tight, began to unravel.  I know now that we would eventually come back together...with deeper, stronger, and more mature friendships...but it didn't make it any easier at the time.  If there is one lesson I've learned from riding in Michaux it's this...when faced with rocky trails just keep on pedaling.  You'll eventually come through safely on the other side.  We all did.

To be continued...

Friendships (and smiles) that have survived rocky trails and the test of time.  All pics taken in 2010.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 7, 2016

Yes...I teach American History.  I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that today commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  If you know a World War II vet be sure to thank them for their service.