A  huge smile came across my face as I was sitting in the passenger's seat of Ben Kelly's car.  The previous day was the last day of the school year (yep...year 24 of 8th grade is in the books) and the two of us, with our mountain bikes secured to the top of Ben's car, were headed to Michaux State Forest.  All winter long I had been studying the big map of Michaux that Jay Zech keeps under the counter at the bike shop looking new-to-me routes through the forest...and today, Ben and I were going to put that map to good use.  I couldn't think of a better way to officially kick off the summer of 2019!

Yes!  On the first day of my summer break I made it to my favorite vista in Michaux State Forest. -- June 6, 2019

Even after more than a dozen years of mountain biking in Michaux State Forest, it never ceases to amaze me how many trails and vistas and  super cool places are hidden in the forest that I've never been to.  They aren't, per se, new trails...just new-to-me.  After all these years of using the parking lot at Pine Grove Furnace as a trail head...I had no clue that Buck Ridge Trail cut diagonally up towards Ridge Road and Vista Trail....giving me access to Vista from the opposite direction that I normally ride.  Thus, for the first time ever...giving me the chance to ride DOWN Vista Trail (apparently, I've been riding it the wrong directions all this time). This, along with a few other offshoot trails, was our plan for the day.  

Ben Kelly navigating the mud and the muck on a lower section of Buck Ridge Trail. -- June 6, 2019

Taking a breather near the top of Buck Ridge Trail.  Ben and I would take an off-shoot trail not far from here. -- June 6, 2019

Not long after Ben and I began our way up Buck Ridge Trail, I started to notice other trails intersecting on both the left and the right...more stuff to explore on another day.  As we began our ascent, the trail got a little more muddy and swampy...then a lot more rocky.  The two of us began talking about how fun it would be end a ride by descending down this trail...but for the time being...up we went, looking for an offshoot to the left before we hit Ridge Road at the top.  The area that we found was recently logged and the trail seemed to disappear underneath the fallen timber.  For a brief while, Ben and I participated in a classic Hike-A-Bike until we finally found our trail again.  

Ben Kelly climbing one of the new-to-us trails that parallel Ridge Road in Michaux State Forest. -- June 6, 2019

You never know what you will find in Michaux.  Ben and I stumbled upon a vista that I had never been to before while exploring the trails below Ridge Road. -- June 6, 2019

 Ben taking in the view from the top of Vista Trail. -- June 6, 2019

What we found was extremely fun... a few miles of single track that cut back and forth along the top of the ridge.  At one point we even came to a super cool rock outcropping that neither of us had ever been to.  Eventually, we crossed over Ridge Road and made our way to some more familiar trails that would take us to Vista Trail and my favorite spot in the forest.  Before heading  the mountain I parked the bike, the helmet came off, and I sat down on on the rocks with the forest sprawled out below...and a whole summer of riding and hiking ahead of me.  What an amazing feeling.  I really do love it out here.

Relaxing and on my favorite rock on top of Vista Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- June 6, 2019

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- June 22, 2019

I bought these socks back in March (at a candy store in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, of all places). They completely sum up how I feel when in Michaux! -- June 6, 2019

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Here is the GARMIN map and data from our ride in Michaux.


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