Friday, August 31, 2018


Two weeks ago, Tim, Brent, and I had our best ride of the summer in Michaux State Forest.  We started off on familiar trails...and in the typical fashion...but along the way we ended up finding two "new to us" trails that I have been re-riding in my head ever since.  When I looked at the school calendar, and realized that I didn't have school today, I knew that I just had to head back to Michaux and ride those trails again.

Today's my ride with Tim and Brent two weeks ago...began with a ride up to the Vista which overlooks Michaux State Forest.  It had rained the whole way up the ridge....but we were seemingly above the rain clouds once we got up to the Vista. -- August 31, 2018

Just a little ways above the Vista the trail comes to a "T."  I've always turned left...simply because, well, that's the way we always went.  Besides that...there literally are pieces of bark wedged into the tree branches at the "T" pointing to the left.  Today, we turned right.  Sure, I set out with the intention to ride those two specific trails Tim and Brent and I rode two weeks ago...but I was also determined to see where Matt and I would end up if we turned right.  What we found was a nearly mile long single track, lined with huge prehistoric boulders, that looped us right back to the "T" in the trail.  On Strava, it is segmented as "Round About" and on Mountain Bike Project is is simple included as part of "Vista" trail...but, regardless of the name, to Matt and I it was just pure fun.

I've always turned left at the "T" in the trail above the Vista because the arrows point that way.  Today...we tried something new and it proved to be pretty amazing. -- August 31, 2018

Matt Linnane and Dave Raymond in Michaux State Forest. Today's ride was all single track and all smiles! -- August 31, 2018

Matt riding a super cool loop (part of Vista Trail) that neither of us had ever been on.  It was littered on all sides with boulders the size of my truck. -- August 31, 2018

Making my way off of the ridge and back down towards the furnace stack, Matt and I came across these recently laid bridges making a usually swampy section of trail extremely easy to ride. -- August 31, 2018

I stopped to take a pic of this sketchy looking ramp that someone had built along the I snapped the pic, Matt blew past me and rode right over it.  Show off.  -- August 31, 2018

Nearing the end of our ride, Matt and I crossed Tom's Run before making back to the furnace stack in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. -- August 31, 2018

Matt and I were also able to ride the two trails that I rode with Tim and Brent a few weeks a super cool single track that switchbacks up to the intersection of Ridge Road and Cold Spring Road...and the other a recently logged area on top of the ridge which is impossible to ride without a smile plastered to your face.  From there, everything was familiar...single track that just wound it's way down the ridge, past huge boulders, over rock and log build ups, and through streams until we eventually made it back to the truck.  It really was a perfect ride.
I just shot a text to Tim with my Garmin stats to show him the cool loop that Matt and I added today.  I'm betting he's anxious to check it out.  If so...looks like I might just have to head over and ride it again.

Yep...I just had to come back here again.  Matt and I taking a break at the Vista and above the rain clouds that had settled in over the forest for the first part of our ride today.  It really did turn out to be a perfect ride. -- August 31, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- August 31, 2018

No immediate post-ride ice cream today...but I did hear today's lunch special at the Bobcat Creamery calling my name once I got home.  As my Grandma Raymond would have said...It really hit the spot. -- August 31, 2018

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Here's the GARMIN map and data from the amazing ride Matt and I had in Michaux today...Happy riding!

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 NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Sunday, August 19, 2018


Traditionally, Tuesdays, in the summer, are set aside for riding with Tim.  It's the only day of the week he has off we maintain a standing date for a weekly ride.  Our rides, this summer, weren't very long...but what we lacked in miles we more than made up for with adventure, mud, rain, rocks, and exploration!  

Posing with my bike at my favorite vista in Michaux State Forest.  Photo by Tim Sindlinger. -- August 14, 2018

Tim and I set out for six Tuesday mountain bike rides over the course of the last few months...five in Michaux State Forest and one trip to the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg.  Unlike the summer of 2016, we weren't plagued with mechanical issues (we only experienced two flats this summer) and, unlike the summer of 2017, we saw very little wildlife (with the exception of the typical squirrels and deer).  As in years past...the more the merrier!  Tim's buddy, Adam, joined us for our ride on the Parkway Trails. Ben (a former student of mine and now co-worker at Gung Ho Bikes), along with Matt and Brent, each joined us for a ride in Michaux...adding to the dynamics, conversation, adventure, and fun.


For our first Tuesday ride of the summer, Tim and I rode up to the vista in Michaux State Forest. -- June 12, 2018

Riding through Tom's Run creek in Michaux State Forest.  Photo by Tim Sindlinger. -- June 12, 2018

Tim and I paused to ride the rocks while climbing up to the vista in Michaux State Forest.  -- June 12, 2018


This was the only Tuesday that Tim and I did not go to Michaux.  He had never ridden the Parkway Trails in we made that our destination for our second ride of the summer.  Tim took this pic of me coming out of the trees and under the power lines.  Super cool! -- June 26, 2018

Riding the single track that runs near the Harrisburg incinerator...Tim spotted Bambi stuck in the fence.  It took him a while, but Tim was able to get the little guy free. -- June 26, 2018

Adam using his momentum to crest a small hill below the Harrisburg Incinerator. -- June 26, 2018

Riding one of the many log build ups on the Paxtang side of the Parkway Trails. Photo by Tim Sindlinger. -- June 26, 2018

Sometimes it's easy to forget, while riding the Parkway Trails, that you are in the middle of the City of Harrisburg.  Graffiti, like this, is a good reminder! -- June 26, 2018


Pausing along the trail, in Michaux State Forest, to fix Tim's flat tire.  Left to Right:  Ben Kelly, Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond. -- July 10, 2018

Tim Sindlinger riding over some downed white pines. -- July 10, 2018

Ben Kelly making stuff I can't ride look pretty easy!  -- July 10, 2018

On this ride, with Ben and Tim, I took this pic of the rhododendron blooming along Mountain Creek. -- July 10, 2018


Tuesday, July 31, was probably the most tropical ride of the year...and the only ride that Matt was able to join us on. Great to have you with us, Red Beard.  Hope we can connect more next summer.  This pic was taken at the end of my favorite rock  garden  near the top of Slate Road.  Left to right:  Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, Matt Linnane.  -- July 31, 2018

On July 31, normal stream crossings were as swollen as I've ever seen them.  Not so bad that we couldn't ride it, though! (Maybe this is why I recently needed to put a new bottom bracket in my bike.) Matt Linnane in Michaux State Forest. -- July 31, 2018

Matt showing off proper tire inflation techniques after being the victim of the second of our two flat tires this summer.  -- July 31, 2018

Taking a short break at the Cumberland/Adams County line while riding through the clouds in Michaux State Forest. -- July 31, 2018


Tuesday, August 7, was a day that Tim and I had decided to revisit a section of the forest that we hadn't ridden in over 10 years.  The week before, I had, from the corner of my eye, noticed ATV trail #33 which descends off of Slate Road.  I remembered it being pretty difficult...and it was.  The huge pay off was getting to ride off of Bear Knob...a great section of the forest...and one that I just don't visit nearly enough. Dave Raymond and Tim Sindlinger. -- August 7, 2018

Tim riding off of Bear Knob in Michaux State Forest. -- August 7, 2018

Another super cool pic from this summer...I took this photo of Tom's Run as Tim and I were wrapping up our ride. -- August 7, 2018


Super cool to have Brent join us for what would be the last (and best) ride of the summer.   Left to right:  Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, Brent Shirk. -- August 14, 2018

While riding Ridge Road, Tim, Brent, and I spotted a trail leading into an area on top of the ridge that led off into a recently logged area of the forest.  It proved to be one of the coolest trails of the day!  -- August 14, 2018

Tim Sindlinger riding the recently logged section of the forest near the top of Ridge Road. -- August 14, 2018

Brent making his way over a rock shelf as the trail nears route 233 at the top of the mountain. -- August 14, 2018

GoPro footage that Brent took during our ride in Michaux State Forest -- August 14, 2018

Giving Tim and Brent a chance to converse prior to our descent down the ridge towards Tom's Run.  -- August 14, 2018

I mountain biked other places this summer besides my Tuesday rides with Tim...but these weekly excursions are something I really look forward to.  Tim and I have been riding together for almost 20 years now and I love that we've been able to maintain our friendship through this weekly summertime tradition.  With the school year now about to begin, I'm hoping (and pretty positive) that Tim and I (along with everyone else in our mountain biking circle) will be able to connect over the next few months.  Regardless, come next summer, I'm sure the two of us will be out mountain biking the first Tuesday we have off.

Wrapping up the summer the same way it began...taking in the view from the vista in Michaux State Forest.  Amazingly breathtaking! -- August 14, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- August 19, 2018

Each ride at Michaux this summer ended with a trip to Mountain Creek Campground for ice cream.  For some reason I was on a sherbet kick all summer long.  My typical order...Two scoops, in a dish, with a sugar cone on top like a hat! -- August 14, 2018

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Here are the GARMIN maps and data from our Tuesday mountain bike rides over the past few months...Happy riding!

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 NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Sunday, August 5, 2018


Matt, Tim, and I were taking a short breather after finishing one of my favorite rock gardens (near the intersection of Piney Mountain and Slate Roads) in Michaux State Forest when I made a comment about how beautiful the forest was at that moment.  The green of the mountain was totally engulfed in the heavy white clouds that had settled over us.  In all of the years I've been mountain biking in Michaux, I have never ridden it in conditions in which Tim, Matt, and I found ourselves riding in last week...and yeah, it was a blast!

Making a splash in Michaux!  Photo by Tim Sindlinger -- July 31, 2018

For two straight weeks, Central Pennsylvania has been ground zero for more continuous rain than I've ever seen.  The forest, usually bone dry this time of year, was turned into a tropical rain forest...the creeks and streams were raging, the white clouds hung low over the forest, and the air was thick.  The whole experience was very surreal...and just as beautiful.  Matt, Tim, and I didn't ride far last Tuesday...just over 11 miles of crazy rock gardens and single track near Pine Grove Furnace...but the miles we did ride were tough, wet, sloppy, and extremely fun!  

Great to have Matt (far right) join Tim and I for a Tuesday ride in Michaux!  You can see the clouds handing in the trees behind us! -- July 31, 2018

Matt and Tim completing one of the "extremely unusual for this time of year" stream crossings during our ride on Tuesday. -- July 31, 2018

Enjoying a day of tropical mountain biking in Michaux State Forest.  Slate Road engulfed in a tropical haze...the sign marks the boundary between Cumberland and Adams Counties.  -- July 31, 2018

The fun didn't end after our tropical ride on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning I headed back to Michaux (with my son, Alex, his girlfriend, Emma, my step-daughter, Blythe, and my partner in crime at NMS, Mike Graham) for, what I knew by then, would be a wet and tropical hike up to the rocks on top of Tumbling Run.  A day of hiking in Michaux isn't complete, though, without first stopping to climb Pole Steeple.  This was, after all, Mike's first trip to the forest and he needed to get the full experience!  Because of it's location, I knew that Pole Steeple wouldn't be wet...but I was surprised that the clouds I had ridden through 24 hours earlier had lifted.  The early morning sun guided us up the first section of the the trail...and then as we usually do, we headed off the marked trail and climbed the crevice in the rock face that leads to the Pole Steeple vista.  The always...was spectacular!

Early morning sun shining on the beginning of the trail leading up to the Pole Steeple vista. -- August 1, 2018

Early morning, August sun shining though the canopy in Michaux State Forest. -- August 1, 2018

Blythe, Emma, and Alex walking ahead of Mike Graham and I on our final climb up Pole Steeple. -- August 1, 2018

Alex and David Raymond on the Pole Steeple vista. -- August 1, 2018

Pole Steeple vista in Michaux State Forest.  Left to right:  Blythe Arnold-Scott and Emma Sadowski (front)...Mike Graham, David Raymond, and Alex Raymond (back). -- August 1, 2018

Our feet stayed dry on Pole Steeple...but there was NO chance of that as we began our ascent up Tumbling Run.  The first obstacle on our journey was Mountain Creek.  I just figured it would be a lost cause trying to stay I just plunged knee deep through the water.  In all the years that I've been hiking this trail, I have never seen the water coming off of the mountain as high, or move as fast, as it was.  The low hanging clouds from the day before were replaced with low hanging rhododendron and mountain laurel.  The rushing water of Tumbling Run guided us up the mountain to the rock vista at the top...where the breeze was a refreshing change from the humid air that had settled in the valley below.  

Our first obstacle on our climb up Tumbling Run was crossing the extremely swollen Mountain Creek.  Alex made it over the logs easily. -- August 1, 2018

Assisting Emma and Blythe across Mountain  Creek. -- August 1, 2018

The extremely wet month of July has raised the water levels at Tumbling Run higher than I've ever seen them.  The water cascading down the mountain was so beautiful! -- August 1, 2018

Mike Graham taking some pics of the beauty all around us.  -- August 1, 2018

No way for Mike and Alex to avoid getting wet here...the trail was completely submerged under the swollen creek. -- August 1, 2018

The pool of water below this waterfall marks the halfway point up the mountain. -- August 1, 2018

Once the feet are wet, it really doesn't matter how you get to the top of the  mountain!  Mike Graham and Dave Raymond. -- August 1, 2018

Mike Graham at the summit of Tumbling Run. -- August 1, 2018

Bythe Arnold-Scott at the summit of Tumbling Run. -- August 1, 2018

Alex Raymond and Emma Sadowski at the summit of Tumbling Run. -- August 1, 2018

Group pic before descending down Tumbling Run. -- Alex Raymond, Emma Sadowski, Blythe Arnold-Scott, Dave Raymond, and Mike Graham. -- August 1, 2018

Dave Raymond at the top of Tumbling Run.  Two days in a row in Michaux put a huge smile on my face. -- August 1, 2018

Two days in a row in Michaux...(man, that brings a smile to my face).  I can't help but wonder if the trails will be as tropical next week as they were last Tuesday.  Regardless, I know that it will be beautiful (as always)...and so much fun.

Tim, Matt, and I went for ice cream at Mountain Creek Campground after our ride on Tuesday...but on Wednesday, I took Mike, Alex, Emma, and Blythe to Mr. Ed's Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium.  After getting sugar highs on candy, we took a walk through Mr. Ed's enchanted forest.  Mike was searching for the ever elusive Big Foot...he didn't have much luck. -- August 1, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- August 5, 2018

Today we dropped Alex off for the start of his sophomore year in college.  I'm proud of you son...and always remember the ADVICE FROM A MOUNTAIN.  Love you! -- August 5, 2018

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from our two amazing days of mountain biking and hiking in Michaux State Forest.  

Happy riding and happy hiking!

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 NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.