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: