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Thursday, November 15, 2018

SWEET TRAILS


People love Hershey, Pennsylvania.  It is, after all, designated as the "Sweetest Place on Earth."  Twice, within the past two weeks, I've made the thirty-ish mile trip from York to Hershey, to ride the area's sweetest new attraction...a brand new, super cool mountain bike trail system located directly behind the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

My Stumpjumper resting near trail W3 on the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trail System. -- November 3, 2018

Thanks to SAMBA (Susquehanna Area Mountain Bike Association)...the same group that put together the Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, PA...I now have another place to add to my list of local spots to mountain bike.  Tim and I made our first visit to the HMC Trail System two weeks ago.  Neither one of us knew exactly what to expect...but we  knew that this would be something special from the moment we left the parking lot.  The first thing we came across was an outdoor "lounge" equipped with chairs, recliners, a table, and trail maps.  The place brought a smile to our faces before we even got onto the single track!


Just a few feet out of the parking lot, you come across this super cool "lounge" just prior to jumping onto the single track. -- November 3, 2018

This ten mile trail system is compact, twisty, and just...fun.  Speaking for myself, the most surprising aspect of the trails was the condition that they were in.  I visited the HMC Trail System the past two Saturday mornings...each of those mornings came after days of torrential rain.  I (and I assume Tim, too) expected an absolute mud-fest.  That's not what we experienced though.  Any water that may have been there the day before had drained off leaving the trails in great condition...another testament to the trail building skills of SAMBA.  The trail system is split into the East and West side...with the trails on each side numbered 1-5.  We came across a few rock gardens...but, for the most part, Tim and I experienced nothing but fun, fast, twisty single track that was nicely marked, labeled, and expertly built into the surrounding landscape.  

A map of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trail System.  You can view and download the map HERE


The twisty trail system in incredibly well marked.  The trails are categorized as BEGINNER (green), ADVANCED (blue), and EXPERT (black).  --  November 3, 2018


The build-ups along the trail system are consistently perfect. -- November 3, 2018


Tim Sindlinger and I pedaling down the single track that is expertly carved into the landscape. -- November 3, 2018



Tim took this pic of me on the HMC Trail System. -- November 3, 2018


Tim Sindlinger navigating the leaf covered trails. -- November 3, 2018


Tim Sindlinger and Dave Raymond enjoying the HMC Trail System.  -- November 3, 218


My Stumpjumper blending into the surrounding landscape. -- November 10, 2018

Two weeks ago, our time schedule didn't allow for Tim and I to ride more than half of the HMC Trail System...so I headed back last week on my own to ride the rest of the trails.  What appeals to me the most about this new set of trails is that they are directional, well maintained, and meant for mountain biking.  I also noticed that the entire area was posted as NO HUNTING.  Please don't hate...(I'm not against hunting in any way, shape, or form)...but I am pretty excited to know that I  now have a local place for me to do my "thing" when the hunters are out doing their "thing."  And...if I have to drive to Hershey to do it...that's ok with me.  Those trails are pretty sweet.

Heading home after a sweet ride on the HMC Trail System. -- November 10, 2018


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- November 15, 2018


One of my favorite Hershey memories...back in 2013, my brother, sister-in-law, and my nieces & nephew were visiting from Arizona.  One of the must stops for the kids was Hershey's Chocolate World.  Left to right:  Jacob, Kristi, Isaac, David, Robin, Alex, Jackie, and Sophie Raymond.  -- July 5, 2013


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@mountnbiker73


Here's the GARMIN maps and data from my first two rides on the HMC TRAIL SYSTEM.  Happy biking!








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.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND OF THE YEAR (So Far)

As far back as I can remember, Fall has always been my favorite season of the year.  The summer time humidity has faded, the cool, crisp, Autumn air has taken a firm hold, and the leaves on the trees have begun to show their true colors.  We've had an abnormally wet and warm year around here...and, up until a week ago, most of the leaves on the trees were still green.  Finally, this past weekend, York County,  Pennsylvania landed in the sweet spot of the season...the convergence of beautiful weather and peak Fall foliage.  It was the perfect weekend to be outside and I was able to enjoy the amazing weather and soak in that all important Vitamin N with family, friends, and both of bikes.

This graphic has been posted each week for the past month by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Finally, York County is in the orange!  -- November 2, 2018


  Tim and I expected, after the deluge of rain that fell on Friday, a mud fest when we hit the trails on Saturday morning...but instead we found nothing but perfect conditions on our first-ever visit to the MILTON S. HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER TRAIL SYSTEM in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Other than briefly losing the trail (freshly covered by falling leaves) a couple of times...we enjoyed a super cool ride,  exploring a brand new trail system, and sharing the orange and yellow forest with local wild life.  It was the nicest Saturday we've had around here in a long while...and the perfect morning for mountain biking with a good friend.


My Stumpjumper on the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Trial System. -- November 3, 2018

Tim Sindlinger and I enjoying a beautiful day on the trails. -- November 3, 2018


Tim and I yielded the trail to this small herd of deer.  Only two are in the pic...but I counted seven.  So cool. -- November 3, 2018

Riding in the sun and through the leaves on the new trail system behind the Hershey Medical Center. -- November 3, 2018

 Sunday was a carbon copy of Saturday...the sun was out, the sky was blue, and the foliage was just about perfect.  After breakfast I got out for a hike at Rocky Ridge County Park with Robin, Alex, and Alex's girlfriend, Emma.  The park was far from empty when we arrived.  I find it encouraging to see just how many people were at the park the same time we were...some hiking and some mountain biking...all enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.  I'm always excited when I notice different things in the forest when hiking the trails that I normally mountain bike.  Just a couple of feet down the trail, the four of us came across a lean to that someone had build just next to a trail I frequently ride.  As we made our way down the ridge, the morning sun highlighted the colors of the forest, making this hike one of the more beautiful ones I've taken in a while.  Sharing the experience with my family made it all the more special...and beautiful.


Enjoying the weather and the Fall colors with Robin, Alex, and Emma Sadowski. -- November 4, 2018


Just a few feet off of the trail that I normally mountain bike, Robin, Alex, Emma, and I came across this lean to at Rocky Ridge County Park.  It's amazing what you can find when you slow things down a little bit. -- November 4, 2018

The morning sun shining through the Fall foliage at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 4, 2018


Robin and Emma S. making their way down the trail at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 4, 2018


So happy to be outside on a hike with this lady! -- November 4, 2018


Robin and David Raymond in Rocky Ridge County Park. -- November 4, 2018

Rocky Ridge County Park was amazingly beautiful this weekend. -- November 4, 2018

Saturday night Day Light Saving Time ended and our days are now shorter...but, before the sun set on Sunday, I managed to sneak out on my Roubaix for a quick road ride.  I didn't ride long or far...but I just wanted to get out one last time before the rains came on Monday.  The scenery on the back roads around the neighborhood and down by the river was absolutely spectacular...making this, hands down, the most beautiful weekend of 2018...so far.


The scenery was just as amazing on my road bike this week.  The Conewago Creek, near York Haven, Pennsylvania, lined by the beautiful Pennsylvania Fall foliage. -- November 4, 2018


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- November 6, 2018



Glad to have Donny Arnold (the world's best brother-in-law) up for a visit!  After my ride in Hershey, he and I chilled out at Smokin' Hogs in Manchester, PA...the best barbeque and corn bread I've ever had! -- November 3, 2018

Feel free to FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM @mountnbiker73


Here's the GARMIN maps and data from our ride on the MILTON S. HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER TRAIL SYSTEM, our hike at ROCKY RIDGE COUNTY PARK, and my end of the weekend road ride...Happy biking and hiking!








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.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin