I could hear Ben's voice behind me as I was navigating down one of my favorite trails in Michaux State Forest. Tim had a flat and we needed to stop. Of all the places in the forest where Tim could possibly had flatted...he chose one of the most beautiful. The trail isn't identified on the official map of the forest and I'm not sure if it has an official name...but it's an absolute jewel of a trail to ride. It's been nearly two years (and one back surgery) ago since I'd last been on it...and I was loving every second of it! After hearing Ben call out, I walked my bike back to the sight of Tim and Ben on top of a huge boulder...Tim's bike turned upside-down...working to fix Tim's flat. I had never paused here...and why would I? The trail, in this particular section of the forest skirts the boundary of Tumbling Run Game Preserve, weaves in and out of tall pines, flows past an endless sea of green ferns, and rolls over...and around...boulders the size of my pick up truck...it's literally "mountain biking heaven!" Realizing that they had the tire situation under control I just stood there and gawked at my surroundings. I can remember saying out loud..."It's beautiful back here!"
|Taking a pause on one of my favorite trails in Michaux so Tim could fix his flat. -- July 10, 2018|
This was Ben's first ride with us. He's a former student of mine who now works at Gung Ho Bikes. I've been helping out in the shop this summer and it's been really fun to work along side of him. When I realized that we both had Tuesday off, and that we were both planning on mountain biking, I invited him to join Tim and I on our ride in Michaux. I was under strict orders from Jay (our boss at Gung Ho) to make sure that Ben was "puking and crying and taught a good lesson about old men and cycling." I was to bring him back to the shop hurting...but not so much that he couldn't work! Our ride was front loaded with climbing and included Tom's Run, Dynamite Shack, a stop at the ruins of Camp Michaux (a WWII Interrogation Camp), a ton of super fun single track, and ultimately ended with an amazing ride on top of Grave Ridge...one of the most technical rides in the forest. I probably wasn't as hard on Ben as Jay would have liked me to have been...but I wanted him to want to ride with us again!
|Yep...there's still a dynamite shack on Dynamite Shack Trail. -- July 10, 2018|
|Our bikes leaning against the remains of the fountain that once stood at the entrance of Camp Michaux. -- July 10, 2018|
|Ben Kelly getting an "8th grade history lesson" at the ruins of Camp Mixchaux. Some things just don't change. -- July 10, 2018|
|I backtracked a few feet to find Tim and Ben on top of a huge boulder fixing Tim's flat. -- July 10, 2018|
|The green ferns that populate this section of the forest are so super cool. -- July 10, 2018|
|After helping to fix Tim's flat, Ben had no issue riding over the rock that I chose to ride around. -- July 10, 2018|
|I love navigating the white pines of this section of Michaux State Forest. -- July 10, 2018|
|Tim Sindlinger taking on a super cool log build up in Michaux State Forest. -- July 10, 2018|
|Ben Kelly taking a break along Mountain Creek in Michaux State Forest. -- July 10, 2018|
|The Rhododendron is in full bloom along Mountain Creek in Michaux State Forest. -- July 10, 2018|
|A view, from Grave Ridge, of the ridge that makes up Tumbling Run Game Preserve. -- July 10, 2018|
|Riding the rocks on Grave Ridge in Michaux State Forest. -- July 10, 2018|
Everything about our ride on Tuesday was amazing...the crystal blue skies, the breeze was cool, dry, with the scent of pine trees, and the Rhododendron was in full bloom. It was super cool to watch Ben ride over boulders that I choose to ride around and see Tim navigate log build-ups that continue to make me nervous since my surgeries. As for me...I have this "risk/reward" thing going on: I don't take as many risks as I use to...and the reward is that I get to keep mountain biking. After all...it's really beautiful back there.
|Yep...Tim couldn't have picked a more beautiful section of the forest to have a flat. Left to Right: Ben Kelly, Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond. -- July 10, 2018|
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- July 12, 2108
|Ben's reward for a the day...post-ride ice cream at Mountain Creek Campground paid for by his 8th grade history teacher. Yeah...I was easier on him than Jay wanted me to be! -- July 10, 2018|
Here is the GARMIN map and data from our amazing day of mountain biking in Michaux State Forest.
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.
All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at YOUR TRUE NATURE, GUNG HO BIKES, PENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.