Friday, June 23, 2017


Just a little less than a month ago I said goodbye to another group of history students.  My parting, end-of-the-school-year advice changes from year to year...but this year it seemed very relevant and well received.  I basically just reminded my students that they only have one life to live.  I asked them to make a commitment over the summer to go outside and watch life through their own eyes...not someone else's life through a screen.  I asked them to go outside and create their own story...don't sit and binge watch someone else's story on Netflix.  Just days after school let out I was completely stoked when I crossed paths with one of my students (on his bicycle) while I was riding Rocky Ridge with Chris Keller.  Personally, I love when parents of my students tag me in photos of super cool places they visit over summer break.  After a year of seemingly non-stop testing (tests, by the way, most adults would have trouble passing) it's great to see kids outside learning, making their own adventures, and living life through their own eyes.


While riding Rocky Ridge County Park with Chris Keller I ran into one of my former students who was on his bike enjoying the park -- May 31, 2017

#NoChildLeftInside applies to my own son, Alex.  He never got into mountain biking...but he loves the outdoors, loves to ride my old road bike, and loves to go for hikes with me.  This pic was taken in Michaux State Forest last summer. -- June 22, 2016

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- June 23, 2017

Be sure to check out H.R.882  - No Child Left Inside Act of 2015 introduced by Representative John P. Sarbanes, D-Md.  The goal of the bill is to provide meaningful outdoor education experiences for students across the country. It's been referred to the sub committee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and then was introduced in the House of Representatives on February 11, 2015.  Call your local representative to support it.

You can see all of my posts at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and...make an effort to check out HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

My brother and I had the notion of #NoChildLeftInside firmly embedded within us by our mother and father. This picture was taken in  Ohiopyle State Park .  Jacob and David Raymond -- November 1980

Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from my ride with Chris at Rocky Ridge and my hike with Alex in Tumbling Run:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Visiting Ohiopyle State Park is a tradition that spans generations in my family...and I'm so happy to be able to keep the tradition alive.  It's quite possibly one of the most beautiful State Parks in Pennsylvania.  There's no doubt in my mind that it is probably the most unique of our State Parks.  The beauty and uniqueness of Ohiopyle can be observed around every corner, between every rock, over every rapid, and on every trail.  

After the riding up the most obnoxious hill ever...I took time to take in the view from just outside of Kentuck Campgrounds in Ohiopyle State Park -- June 15, 2017

Thursday morning I was relaxing on the banks of the Youghiogheny River when I decided to stretch my legs, take a walk, and check out the visitor center located near the main falls which makes up the heart of the town.  As I toured the visitor center my attention drifted towards a t-shirt with the words ADVICE FROM OHIOPYLE followed by seven short sentences meant to help you experience and appreciate your time in Ohiopyle.  I think these seven sentences are relevant, not just for Ohiopyle, but anywhere you are on the planet.


It's not hard to find nature in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.  The state park contains more than 20,000 acres of rugged forest...with the Youghiogheny River running through the heart of the park.

Taking in the view at Baughman Rocks Overlook before morning mountain bike ride in the Sugarloaf area of the park -- June 13, 2017

Taking things literally...nothing is more refreshing than immersing yourself in the Youghiogheny River after a morning of mountain biking in Ohiopyle -- June 13, 2017


The most relaxing part of my week in Ohiopyle came on Thursday.  After breakfast, I packed up my chair, a cooler, and a good book and headed to the falls area.  Two complete (and uninterrupted) hours of reading with nothing but the sound of the Youghiogheny raging just feet away.

Ohiopyle's name comes from "Ohiopehelle."  A combination of Native American words which translate to: "white, frothy water."  The main falls are all the indication you need that this translation is correct -- June 15, 2017

The spot I chose, just above the falls, to relax near the river and read -- June 15, 2017


You don't have to be on a mountain bike or a raft to enjoy and cherish the wilderness that makes up Ohiopyle.  Midway through our week, I took a nerdy hiking trip with Alex and Devin.  We trekked through an obscure part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield (just a few miles from Ohiopyle) to see the spot of George Washington's first military encounter...Jumonville Glen.  It's remote, beautiful, and seemingly untouched since young Mr. Washington was there!

Pausing to take in some nerdy history at Jumonville Rocks...part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield -- June 14, 2017

Alex and I took our first camping trip together back in 2009 when he was 10 years old.  It's become an annual event.  Last week, however, was the first time we had hiked down to Jumonville Rocks since that first trip -- June 14, 2017


After years of sleeping in tents and on the ground...I now opt for a little more creature comforts.  The mini-cabins in the Hickory loop of Kentuck Campgrounds are a perfect home away from home!

Relaxing by the fire and reading a nerdy history book -- June 13, 2017

Alex and I have been camping together since he was ten years old.  It's nice to get away and spend time with him -- June 13, 2017


I've never been one to want to ride "rail trail"...but the mind blowing beauty of the Great Allegheny Passage just took me completely by surprise.  So much so that I had Alex bring his new Go Pro and drone down to the river gorge to get some amazing video.  I will, no doubt, ride this rail trail again.  Can't wait to bring my wife, Robin, here! 

Pausing on the Great Allegheny Passage directly above the Youghiogheny River -- June 13, 2017


Nothing says "finding inspiration around every turn" like a mountain bike trip down (and yes...up) Baughman Trail.  I was able to get out on the trails twice last week.  Riding Sugarloaf and Baughman Trail on Tuesday...and then back to Baughman on Thursday.  The same rocks that line the river in the valley below can be found lining the trails up above.  

Alex took this shot of me as I navigated the final section of Baughman Trail -- June 15, 2017

I'll admit that I was pretty proud of myself for navigating the nearly 800 foot descent of the 2 mile long Baughman Trail.  Alex let me borrow his Go Pro and stabilizer for the ride.  The video I managed to get is amazing. -- June 15, 2017


It's impossible to go to Ohiopyle and not go white water rafting.  I ALWAYS choose White Water Adventure to guide our trip.  They are safe, reliable, and extremely friendly.  Our trip down the lower Yough was super fun because (being the middle of the work week) it only included two rafts.  Our guide, Seth, was great to hang with...and it was awesome to have my step-daughter, Mia, join us for the ride!

Rafting the lower Yough with White Water Adventures.  Left to right:  Alex Raymond, David Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott, Devin Seiger, and "tour guide" Seth -- June 15, 2017

This amazing video of our week was created by my son Alex Raymond.  Check out his work on YouTube.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, these seven "observations" aren't my own creation.  I really did get the inspiration from a t-shirt in hanging in the Ohiopyle Visitor Center.  It doesn't matter what or who inspires just matters that you are inspired to get out and enjoy the nature and beauty that surrounds all of us.  I'm glad I saw the shirt.

The t-shirt design is credited to Your True Nature.  Check out their website:

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond June 21, 2017
Be sure to check out HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

My first trip down the lower Yough with White Water Adventures. helmets in 1995!
Front to back:  Jason Cole, David Raymond, Sean Turner, Beau Henderson, Jacob Raymond

Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from my rides and hikes featured in this post...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Halfway down trail A at Swatara State Park, Matt stopped and pointed out that the fungus growing on a nearby tree was the same color as my florescent orange bike.  Naturally, I stopped to take a look and to take a picture (I obviously don't care about Strava segments).  Matt was was darn near the same color.  I never would ever have believed that florescent orange could be found naturally...but there it was....growing on a tree.  That wasn't the last of the orange today.  Not too much further up the trail I nearly ran over my new friend....a florescent orange turtle sitting in the middle of the trail.  I'm not a biologist by trade (I leave that to Mark).  I've no clue what the name of the fungus is or what type of turtle it was that I saw.  I just think that it's super cool that, while pedaling among all the huge rocks and trees, I was able to take a moment to brake for a few of  the small things.  Cool.

My 2016 Stumpjumper next to the super cool orange fungus growing at the base of a tree in Swatara State Park -- June 6, 2017

My orange bike and my orange friend in Swatara State Park -- June 6, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- June 6, 2017

What are some of the small things you notice when riding? I'd love to hear about them in the comments located at the bottom of this post.

Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, and Matt Linnane.  Circumstances found us riding today in Swatara State Park. We stopped to get a pic at the same spot where Tim and I met Matt nearly 2 years ago -- June 6, 2017

Here's the GARMIN map and stats from our ride today in Swatara State Park:

Interested in mountain biking some of these trails?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM.


Thursday, June 1, 2017


It's become tradition for my wife and I to RETURN TO ROCKY GAP State Park near Cumberland, Maryland every Memorial Day weekend.  The park holds special meaning for me because my mother and father would take my brother, Jake, and me there to camp when we were kids.  It's a beautiful place and it's the one of the few trips that Robin and I take that has traditionally just been the two of us.  It's a great place for us to connect and enjoy each other's company.  

Hiking around Lake Habeeb at Rocky Gap State Park -- May 27, 2017

This year, however, to keep the tradition alive a few things would have to change.  Robin and I always book the weekend a year in advance in order to secure a camping spot for the holiday weekend..which leaves open the possibility for life to throw in a few curve balls.  Not that the curve balls that came our way this year were bad (actually, quite the opposite)...they just forced us to adapt.  So...on Friday afternoon, immediately after another amazing school year concluded, I set out for Rocky Gap...alone.  In all honesty, I'd much rather hang out with my wife than be by myself...that's why I married her...but I had a friend in high school who would often say that in order to be comfortable with others you need to learn to be comfortable with yourself.  With the comfort of knowing that  Robin would be joining me Sunday afternoon I decided to embrace the time I had and use it to relax and decompress (two things I'm not very good at).

I did get to spend some quality time relaxing at my campsite this weekend -- May 27, 2017

This waterfall is actually the spillway of the dam.  I had never been here before.  So cool! -- May 28, 2017

Hiking down to the Gorge with my cousin, Marialena, and her son, Tommy -- May 28, 2017

360 view of the Gorge in Rocky Gap State Park -- May 28, 2017

The mountain laurel is in full bloom -- May 28, 2017

I spent a lot of time hiking, sitting by the fire at my campsite, and reading.  Truthfully, I wasn't totally cousin, Marialena, and her family were camping there for the weekend, too.  They had me over to their site for breakfast, I cooked them dinner, and we took a few hikes together.  One, in particular, was down to the gorge below the Lake Habeeb dam.  Even the afternoon rain couldn't dampen the mood.  The mountain laurel was in full bloom and the scenery was amazing.  Rocky Gap at it's best.  Later that evening, Robin finally made her way to the campsite...just in time to have dinner.  My dad and Mary Jane made the short drive from Bedford to join us around the fire for the evening (another tradition).  Things ended up turning out just fine.  Before I packed up and left on Monday morning I made sure to reserve my camp site for next year...gotta be sure to keep the tradition alive!

The whole group finally made it!  Keeping the tradition of Rocky Gap alive! -- May 28, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- June 1, 2017
Be sure to check out HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

No ice-cream on this trip...but how about a great recipe to use as a dessert while camping?  I do a little thing for my history students called COOKING WITH LEWIS & CLARK.  Using the recipes that the Corps of Discovery used while on their expedition, I prepare the meal in the back yard and present them to my students.  Hope you enjoy Captain Lewis' recipe for Cherry Sauce.  It taste's great on ice cream!

Here's the GARMIN map and stats from my hike down to the Gorge at Rocky Gap State Park: