Sunday, July 30, 2017


When one thinks of mountain biking...Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is not the first thing that comes to mind.  About a year ago, when Mark told me that there was single track along the Capital Area Green Belt, I was more than a little skeptical.  Over the last two years, SAMBA (Susquehanna Area Mountain Biking Association) has converted the wooded areas around the Green Belt into the Parkway Trails Network...some of the most surprisingly cool mountain bike single track in the area!  There's definately an urban feel to it...nearly 10 miles of trail, which enter and exit from the Green Belt, ranging from intermediate level to expert.  The Parkway Trails blend the natural, wooded areas along Spring Creek with the urban setting of Pennsylvania's capital city, Harrisburg.  After adding the rail trail section of the Green Belt (which connect the trail network) you can easily pedal for more than 15 miles!  

My 2016 Specialized Stumpjumer resting on the wall next to the railroad tracks in Phoenix Park...part of the Capital Area Green Belt -- July 26, 2017

Mark (front) and Glenn riding out Phoenix Park on the bridge overtop of the railroad tracks.  Glenn's taking notice of the "High Voltage Do Not Touch" signs posted on the sides of the bridge. -- July 26, 2017

Riding a super cool section of the Green Belt near the Harrisburg Incinerator -- June 27, 2017

Near the Harrisburg Incinerator we spotted a few deer along the fence -- July 26, 2017

Probably my favorite trail along the Green Belt, SAMBA did an excellent job carving PAX 4 into the side of the ridge.  Mark Lentz can be seen in the distance riding the trail -- July 26, 2017

A memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is located on the Cameron Parkway East section of the Green Belt.  The only way to access the memorial is via the Capital Area Green Belt...which provides a quite setting for visitors -- June 27, 2017

Mark checking out the view above Spring Creek along the Cameron Parkway side of the Geen Belt -- June 26, 2017

Glenn is all smiles after his first ride on the the Green Belt.  No doubt that we will be back! -- July 27, 2017

For sure, there's no day dreaming on these trails. Along the way you will climb, descend, ride build ups, navigate switchbacks, and pedal slippery stream crossings.  Mark, Glenn, and I rode inches from industrialized areas of Harrisburg yet we observed three dear within feet of us.  I'm no longer skeptical of the single track in Harrisburg...and neither is Glenn (who is skeptical of anything "new" Mark brings to the table).  The uniqueness of the trails (blending the best of all worlds), the proximity to home, and the shear joy of riding along the twisty and smooth trails carved into the city have made the Green Belt and Parkway Trails one of my new favorite destinations.  It's a safe bet that it won't be long until we'll be back in Harrisburg for some more urban mountain biking.  

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A.  Raymond -- July 30, 2017

According to Mark, "S" is for Specialized and "N" is for 'Niner.  The South Harrisburg Wall Project near the tracks in Phoenix Park were funded by the Penn Cumberland Garden Club -- Pics taken on June 26 and July 27, 2017

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...

Monday, July 24, 2017


 Taking a hike on our wedding anniversary has become a super cool tradition for Robin and I.  Last year, we found ourselves exploring the waterfalls in Dupont State Forest, North Carolina.  The year before that we explored Grand Bahama Island.  Heck, I even proposed to her after hiking to the top of Tumbling Run in Michaux State Forest.  I love that we both enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and that we take time to make life-long memories.

With Rainbow Falls providing an excellent backdrop...Robin and I pose for a picture on our 4th anniversary -- July 21, 2017

Exploring High Falls in Dupont State Forest, N.C. on our 3rd anniversary -- July 21, 2016

Exploring Grand Bahama Island on our 2nd wedding anniversary -- July 21, 2015

Last week, on our anniversary, Robin and I experienced the awe-inspiring sights of Watkins Glen State Park in New York.  I've been to New York City a few times...Cooperstown with my son a few years ago...but, until last week, I had never been to the Finger Lakes region of the state.  I had seen commercials on tv for the area...but what Robin and I saw while treking through the park was much more than either of us expected.  Honestly...I expected a destination hike.  You know...walk down a trail and check out a waterfall.  What we experienced was nothing short of breathtaking.  

Robin and I began our hike in Watkins Glen State park by descending Couch's Staircase -- July 21, 2017

Merging onto Gorge Trail from Couch's Staircase -- July 21, 2017

Glen Creek in Watkins Glen State Park seen from Point Lookout -- July 21, 2017

Walking along Gorge Trail, Robin and I soon realized that this wasn't going to be an ordinary hike! -- July 21, 2017

Waking towards Cascade Cavern -- July 21, 2017

Inside the Spiral Tunnel -- July 21, 2017

The view of Glen Creek coming out of the Spiral Tunnel -- July 21, 2017

Passing under the Suspension Bridge.  Robin and I crossed the bridge as we left Indian Trail and began making our way back to the parking area -- July 21, 2017

Glen Cathedral -- July 21, 2017

Making our way towards Rainbow Falls -- July 21, 2017

Reaching out to touch the water of Rainbow Falls -- July 21, 2017

Gorge Trail above Rainbow Falls -- July 21, 2017

The top of Jacob's Ladder.  After a brief stop at the rest area, Robin and I took Indian Trail back to the parking area -- July 21, 2017

Indian Trail....because it runs the ridge above the creek it is less populated.  The trail does get a little more rough towards the bottom -- July 21, 2017

David and Robin Raymond in Watkins Glen State Park -- July 21, 2017

With a little guidance from a park ranger near the parking area, Robin and I, map in hand, headed towards Couch's Staircase which lead us straight to Gorge Trail.  As Robin and I walked upstream on Gorge Trail it quickly became obvious to us both that this wouldn't be an ordinary hike and that we weren't just going to see one or two waterfalls.  Over thousands of years, Glen Creek has eroded a nearly 2 mile gorge which descends 400 feet through the park winding us past nineteen waterfalls...each different and spectacular in its own unique way.  The path cut by Glen Creek led us into a Spiral Tunnel, under waterfalls, and through Glen Cathedral...all of which seemingly transported us to some mystical place.  I had never experienced anything like it.  At the end of Gorge Trail we climbed the steps Jacob's Ladder and then back Indian Trail towards the parking area.  The sounds and sights of the Glen Creek making it's way toward the town of Watkins Glenn provided the perfect backdrop for Robin and I as we celebrated our anniversary.  To say that the trails in Watkins Glen State Park are gorgeous doesn't seem to do them justice....but I can't think of a more perfect adjective.  So yeah...this year our anniversary hike was not just was gorgeous.

Yep...all trails do lead to ice cream.  Robin and I stopped the Glen Dairy Bar near Watkins Glen State Park.  The potions were huge...and I mean HUGE!  Nothing like a triple layer orange sherbert and vanilla ice cream cone!  -- July 21, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- July 24, 2017

Robin and I at the top of Tumbling Run in Michaux State Forest.  I had just proposed and she had just made me the happiest man alive -- June 24, 2012

Interested in hiking Watkins Glenn or other parks I've been to?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.  
Also, be sure to check out HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from a few of the hikes featured in this post:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


When I was a child, my parents often would take my brother and I to the water slides at Raystown Lake.  It was always something I looked forward to.  As an adult, I usually make the 2+ hour drive back to Raystown...not for the water slides (I'm not even sure if they are still there)...but to ride the Allegrippis Trail system on the northwest side of the lake.

Dave Raymond riding along Hydo Loop near Raystown Lake -- July 11, 2017

The most important thing I've learned on my four trips to ride Allegrippis is that...with more than thirty miles of trails, created as a series of stacked loops in a collaborative between the Army Corps of of Engineers and the International Mounain Bike Association, and designed specifically for mountain's super easy to get carried away!  Tim found this out first hand when, while riding Ray's Revenge, his tires kicked out from underneath him shooting him a few feet down the embankment.  It's not for a lack of warning...there are signs everywhere cautioning the rider...but I'll admit that as my bike rolled along I found myself easing off of the brakes and allowing the terrain to carry my bike along the perfectly laid out trails.  So...with a smile growing on my face, the trees flying past me, the trail passing underneath my bike, and an appropriate amount of caution in the back of my mind...I allowed myself to get a little carried away.  That's what riding is all about.

"CAUTION DIPS" warns riders on Ridge Trail -- July 11, 2017

Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Glenn Medice taking a break on Ridge Trail just above Raystown Lake -- July 11, 2017

Tim Sindlinger (front) and Glenn Medice riding Hydo Loop -- July 11, 2017

A few miles out of our way...but a stop at Eat N Treats is a must after riding the Allegrippis Trails.  Glenn Medice at the window picking up his post ride ice-cream -- July 11, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- July 12, 2017
For more about the Allegrippis Trails be sure to check out my post GET A GRIP.

My father pointing my brother Jake (left) and I in the right direct while riding the water slides at Raystown Lake way back in 1986.

Here's the GARMIN map and stats from my ride on the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake with Tim and Glenn...

Friday, July 7, 2017


Mark and I pushed our ride time back to 9AM yesterday with the hope of hitting a small, rain-free window of time during what was predicted to be a soggy day.  We even decided to change our destination and headed towards Michaux State Forest.  As we got off of the exit ramp of Interstate 81, I noticed a sign for Colonel Denning State Park...pointing in the opposite direction of our destination. Turning to Mark, I asked if there was any riding there.  With no hesitation, and with the rain coming down, Mark turned his car away from Michaux.  It was the beginning of one heck of a day.

I love this pic of Mark...riding in the clouds somewhere on Bower Mountain Road -- July 6, 2017

Colonel Denning State Park is located in Doubling Gap (named for the turn in Blue Mountain as it doubles back on itself)...adjacent to Tuscarora State Forest.  Mark and I used the parking area at Colonel Denning as our starting point...but we spent the bulk of our day mountain biking the miles and miles of fire road in Tuscarora State Forest. In near tropical conditions we turned pedals for almost 30 miles and climbed nearly 4,000 feet.  All along the mountain roads the clouds and fog and rain created surreal views of the forest.  Our ride found us exploring an old CCC Camp, admiring (from a distance) a three foot rattle snake, checking out Doubling Gap Overlook, walking out and into the clouds which engulfed Horsehead Rocks, observing construction of the Keystone Pipeline, and stopping at Dead Man's Curve to paying respects to a CCC working who was killed while helping to construct the very road we were riding on.  For Mark and I, it was the perfect ride on a rainy and humid summer day.  Mark said it best while we were looking at the rattle snake just feet away from Doubling Gap Overlook..."What a day we're having!"  Nothing I could say would have described it better.

Giving my bike a chance to rest after climbing Elk Hill Road -- July 6, 2017

Riding up Bower Mountain Road...seemingly above the clouds -- July 6, 2017

Not being able to see beyond the clouds as I stepped out onto Horsehead Rocks was very eerie -- July 6, 2017

The only thing to see at Doubling Gap Overlook was the rattle snake just a few feet behind us -- July 6, 2017

In 1934, CCC worker Henry Hamerski was accidentally killed when he was run over by a bulldozer while constructing the road.  His body has since been relocated closer to his family in Latrobe, PA -- July 6, 2017

Site of CCC Camp S-55-PA -- July 6, 2017

Mark Lentz and David Raymond pausing before our last descent of the day...2 miles down Elk Hill Road.  It really was an amazing day -- July 6, 2017

Life is a journey...not a  destination.

David A. Raymond -- July 7, 2017

Colonel Denning State Park is named for William Denning...a Revolutionary War Sergeant (no one knows who unofficially gave him the title of Colonel) who manufactured wrought iron cannons for the Continental Army.  William Denning is buried nearby in the Big Spring Presbyterian Church cemetery in Newville, Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, none of his cannons are still in existence -- July 6, 2017

Here's the GARMIN map and stats from our amazing ride in Tuscarora State Forest: