There's nothing better than the feeling of doing something you love, in a place you love, with people that you love.  Which is exactly how I said goodbye to 2016.  No bikes yet...but I was super excited to be able to head to Michaux on New Year's Eve with Robin, Alex, Blythe, and Foster to hike through Camp Michaux and up to the vista on top of Pole Steeple.  

Hiking the ruins of Camp Michaux in Michaux State Forest.  Foster, Blythe, Dave R, Alex, & Robin -- December 31, 2016

I've been to Camp Michaux many times...but always on my mountain bike...and usually in the summer.  The ruins of the old CCC Camp/World War II prisoner camp/church camp are clearly marked, but I've always limited my exploration of the grounds because of the overgrowth of vegetation and my fear of snakes.  Yesterday, with a chill in the air and snow on the ground, we had a perfect day to explore the area.  I was amazed at what we discovered... the remains of the church camp swimming pool which was built in the 1950s, a dam built by German prisoners in 1945 to hold back the water of Tom's Run to be used as drinking water, and the recently collapsed remains of barn that dates to the 18th century which was used by the POW camp to house horses.  Such a super cool way get out and enjoy the last day of the year!

The remains of an 18th century barn located at Camp Michaux -- December 31, 2016

Alex, Robin, David, Blythe, and Foster hiking in Camp Michaux -- December 31, 2016

A dam, constructed by German prisoners in 1945, holds back the water of Tom's Run.  Check out this ultra kool photosphere of the area -- December 31, 2016

My son, Alex, goofing around on the ruins of the old church camp swimming pool -- December 31, 2016

Alex inspecting some of the remains that can be seen at Camp Michaux -- December 31, 2016

My wife, Robin, took this picture of me sitting near the dam on Tom's Run -- December 31, 2016

After an hour or so of hiking through Camp Michaux we made our way to the Pole Steeple trail head located near Laurel Lake.  Pole Steeple is probably the most widely known and popular hiking destination in the area.  The trail, clearly marked with blue blazes, climbs 500 feet in just about three-quarters of a mile (with the option half way up of a "steep" or "less steep" trail).  I've done this hike over a dozen times...but to be able to hike it yesterday with my family, just two months after back surgery, was especially gratifying.  

My wife, Robin, and I on top of Pole Steeple -- December 31, 2016

It was great to end 2016 on a high note with people I love in a place I love...Alex, David, Robin, Foster, Blythe.  Check out this super kool photosphere taken at the top of Pole Steeple  -- December 31, 2016

When I drove out of Michaux with Mark and Kristian on October 30 I didn't think that I would be back before the end of 2016.  To be able to be there...and hike with the family...really meant a lot and  it was a great way to bring a close to, what for me was, a year of surgery, recovery, and healing.  After being relegated to the couch for the past few months it was so nice to be ending the year on a high.

Wrapping up 2016 with a hike to the top of Pole Steeple.  It's great to be on my feet again -- December 31, 2016

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- January 1, 2017

Kicking off 2017 with a hike at Rocky Ridge County Park...LIVE//LAUGH//LOVE//LEARN//B(H)IKE.  Foster, Alex, Robin, Blythe, and David -- January 1, 2017

Be sure to check out HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM


Hiking CAMP MICHAUX (December 31, 2016)
Hiking POLE STEEPLE (December 31, 2016)
Hiking ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK (January 1, 2017)

Click HERE to download a map of the walking tour of CAMP MICHAUX