Back in August, while visiting my family in my hometown of Bedford, Pennsylvania, I took a hike on the trails near the Bedford Springs Hotel...the same trails that I use to explore as a kid.  I made a promise to myself that I would revisit the trails around the historical resort with my mountain bike as soon as possible.  The opportunity came around this past weekend when I travelled solo to Bedford to visit my dad who recently underwent knee surgery.  

Pausing in front of an ice covered Davey Lewis' Cave. -- January 14, 2018

When I woke up in Bedford, PA on Saturday morning there was a fresh coat of snow on the ground and the air temperature hovered in the single digits.  Nevertheless, I pulled on the cold weather gear and headed out on my Stumpjumper for, what I estimated would be, an hour.  My ride Saturday would be a first for a number of was my first ride of the new year, it was the first time I ever mountain biked in Bedford, and (because there weren't many people out in cold air) my tracks would be the first in the fresh snow!  Leaving my father's house I had to ride only a mile on the paved streets to reach a trail head on the Bedford Heritage Trail...a walking and biking trail that connects downtown Bedford, PA with the Bedford Springs Hotel...which would provide the perfect conduit to the trails I wanted to explore near the Bedford Springs.

To get to the trails at the Springs I rode, for the first time, on the Bedford Heritage Trail which connects the Springs Hotel to historic downtown Bedford, PA. -- January 13, 2018

To get to Davey Lewis's Cave you have to cross this small stream (which flows off of the hillside and into Shobers Run).  The morning sun shining on the untouched ice and snow was absolutely beautiful. -- January 14, 2018

The first hill I climbed in 2018!  In the distance, off to the right, you can see another trail which winds back towards the trailhead near Shobers Run and the Bedford Springs. -- January 13, 2018

Kneeling near the limestone springs. -- January 13, 2018

I paused at an intersection to orientate myself and decide which direction I wanted to ride.  Typical of me...I chose to head up the snow covered trail visible in the picture.   A good climb is the best way to stay warm in the cold.  -- January 13, 2018

Taking in the morining sun and admiring the view of the numerious trails that are on either side of the valley.  -- January 14, 2018

 I rode both Saturday and Sunday.  The extreme cold limited my time and my willingness to explore too far away from the trailhead near the Hotel.  The only knowledge of the trails I had was from a handful of short hikes I had taken there over the years.  Saturday, I just retraced some of the trails I have previously hiked...only to deviate once.  The trail I took led me down the ridge and towards Springs Lake....not far from the Heritage Trail.  On Sunday, I set out to explore a trail I noticed while hiking back in August that apparently leads to a scenic overlook on top of th ridge...but the extremely icy conditions made the journey up the ridge impossible.  I'll get there next time for sure.  

Nearing the end of my ride on Saturday, the trail dumped me off near a frozen Springs Lake.  -- January 13, 2018

Three days later I can't seem to stop thinking about these two rides near the Bedford Springs.  Sure, there's the novelty of riding somewhere new and there's the coolness factor of riding trails that I explored when I was a kid...but I don't think either are the reason I keep revisiting the weekend in my head.  I think it was the beauty of the whole thing.  I'm not a fan of winter and I usually only like snow for 5 minutes...then plow comes down the street and turns it gray.  But what I experienced while mountain biking this past Saturday and Sunday was completely different.  Away from the main roads, and almost as soon as I headed into the woods, the winter sun melted through the trees and glistened off of the snow...all around me, icicles dangled off of rocks and caves...the air was crisp and clean...and for those two hours, on those two days, I experienced a landscaped seemingly untouched by anyone other than me and the local deer population.  The whole experience was really quite beautiful and, was super cool.

Riding back from the Springs, I decided to take an alternate route and pass through the alley behind the house that I grew up in.  The same alley that we would ride our bikes on as kids.  What an awesome surprise to run into  my childhood bud, Rob Clark.  Great to see you, man! -- January 13, 2018

After my super cold ride on Saturday, I drove to Pittsburgh to have dinner with my son, Alex.  We were joined by my good friend and college roommate, Chris Lowe.
After some of the best wings in the 'Burgh we headed to the Milk Shake Factory for dessert. -- January 13, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- January 17, 2018

The day before my arctic rides in Bedford, Mark was riding at Tuckahoe enjoying the 70 degree weather that temporarily brought a "Spring like" feel to south-central Pennsylvania.  70 degrees one day...single digit temps the next.  Crazy! Pic taken by Mark Lentz. -- January 12, 2018

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

Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

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