Social distancing was introduced into the mainstream vocabulary over the past ten months...but concept has been actively pursued and enjoyed by people who love to hike for as long as there have been trails to explore. In 2020, my hiking boots traversed more trail than in any other year...just about 200 miles in total. Those hiking miles due, in one part, to a pandemic and the want (and need) to be out in nature and, in another part, a personal goal that I had set for myself. According to my Garmin stats, I have (up to this point in 2020) logged 40 hiking activities. Math isn't my strong point...but that averages about 5 miles per hike. I'm pretty proud of that. Looking back on the past year...I'm also pretty proud of these ten particular hikes. Thank you to my friends and family who accompanied me on these adventures. I hope that we continue to make some foot traffic together in the new year. Enjoy.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS HIKE IN MICHAUX -- MARCH 14, 2020
Just prior to our state-wide Covid-19 quarantine the Raymond's (Alex, Robin, and I) enjoyed a family and friends hike in Michaux State Forest
with the Graham family, Alex's girl friend, Emma, and our step-daughter, Blythe, and granddaughter, Freya. On this particular adventure we headed South on the Appalachian Trail and then circled back on Tom's Run Trail.
|Mike Graham, David Raymond, and Alex Raymond -- March 14, 2020|
|Kelly Graham, Robin Raymond, Mike Graham, Emma Sadowski, David Raymond, and Alex Raymond on the Appalachian Trail near Halfway Spring. -- March 14, 2020|
|Emma Sadowski, Alex Raymond, David Raymond, Robin Raymond, Kelly Graham, Mike Graham, Blythe Arnold-Scott, and Freya. -- March 14, 2020|
BELLAIRE WOODS -- MARCH 7, 2020
In early March, Robin located a new place for us to explore. In the weeks before we had any idea that the world would be altered due to a global pandemic, we traveled across the river to Lancaster County for a nice brunch in Elizabeth town and then a hike in Lancaster County's Bellaire Woods Nature Preserve
. What we found was about 3 miles of pristine and visually stimulating trail.
|Bellaire Woods Nature Preserve -- March 7, 2020|
|Enjoying Bellaire Woods with Robin -- March 7, 2020|
|Robin and David Raymond // Bellaire Woods Nature Preserve -- March 7, 2020|
CHICKIES ROCK -- JULY 2, 2020
One of the highlights of every summer is the week that my nieces and nephew come visit. I try to find something, every day, for us to do. On this particular day we spend some time exploring Chickies Rock
in Columbia, PA. The short, kid friendly hike provided a great view of the Susquehanna River...while satisfying Jackie, Shalice, Sophie, and Isaac's desire for a "big kid" adventure.
|Sophie, Isaac, Jackie, and David Raymond and Shalice Gull. -- July 2, 2020|
|David Raymond on Chickies Rock -- July 2, 2020|
ROCKS STATE PARK -- AUGUST 9, 2020
Rocks State Park
in Maryland is place that I don't visit nearly enough. The King and Queen Seat
, a huge rock outcropping that hovers nearly 200 feet above Deer Creek, is the centerpiece of the park. The view from the edge is breathtakingly spectacular. Back in August, Robin and I made our first trip to Rocks since 2014. The three mile loop was fun and rewarding.
|Taking in the view from the King and Queen Seat in Rocks State Park. -- August 9, 2020|
|Robin and David Raymond // Rocks State Park -- August 9, 2020|
|The King and Queen can have their seats...I'll claim this one. Rocks State Park. -- August 9, 2020|
POLE STEEPLE -- JULY 1, 2020
Pole Steeple trail in Michaux State Forest is one of more popular destinations for hikers of all ages who want an Instagram worthy view of the mountain ranges making up south-central Pennsylvania. The trail, which is incredibly well marked, climbs 600 feet in three quarters of mile. On the journey up, hikers can choose a "moderate" trail or a steep trail. What the hike lacks in distance it makes up for with shear beauty. I had a great time escorting my nieces, Jackie and Sophie...and my nephew, Isaac...to the vista at the top.
|Sophie and Jackie Raymond relaxing at the top of Pole Steeple. -- July 1, 2020|
|Isaac opting for the "steep" option to the top of Pole Steeple. -- July 1, 2020|
|Isaac and Sophie Raymond pausing for a break just before our final climb to the top of Pole Steeple. -- July 1, 2020|
|Sophie took this picture of me on top of Pole Steeple. -- July 1, 2020|
|Wrapping up our hike up Pole Steeple with a State Park picnic/tailgating cookout at the trail head. -- July 1, 2020|
MICHAUX WITH ROBIN AND ALEX -- MAY 23, 2020
With our Memorial Day weekend plans scuttled because of Covid...with lunches packed, Alex, Robin, and I headed to Michaux for a family hike. We hiked a combination of the Appalachian, Dead Woman's Hollow, and Blueberry Trails. The three of us enjoyed our lunch from the vista at the top of Blueberry Trail.
|Alex, David, and Robin Raymond. Blueberry Trail. -- May 23, 2020|
|Robin and David Raymond. -- May 23, 2020|
|Eating lunch on Blueberry Trail. Alex, David, and Robin Raymond. -- May 23, 2020|
|Near the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail, a hike will encounter the Covid Bear memorial. -- May 23, 2020 |
CAMP MICHAUX AND SUNSET ROCKS -- MARCH 26, 2020
With school closed down during the first week of the 2020 Pandemic, Mike Graham, Eric Gimbi, Alex and I made our way to Michaux for an incredibly nerdy hike on the Appalachian Trail and through Camp Michaux...a former CCC Camp and WWII Prisoner of War facility.
|Mike Graham, David Raymond, Alex Raymond, and Eric Gimbi. -- March 26, 2020|
|Mike Graham and David Raymond posing for a socially distant pic on Sunset Rocks in Michaux State Forest. -- March 26, 2020|
|Dave Raymond and Eric Gimbi checking out Tom's Run in Michaux State Forest. -- March 26, 2020|
|Eric Gimbi navigating the trail. -- March 26, 2020|
|At one point, Eric, Mike, and I found ourselves literally standing in a shit-hole (the remains of the septic area that makes up Camp Michaux. -- March 26, 2020|
|Alex and Eric checking out the remains of a swimming pool in Camp Michaux. -- March 26, 2020|
|Eating lunch on the remains of a dining hall which was, at one times, occupied by German POWs. -- March 26, 2020|
|Dave Raymond, Mike Graham, and Eric Gimbi using the facilities of a WWII era latrine. -- March 26, 2020|
OHIOPYLE STATE PARK -- JUNE 17
Our annual week-long trip to Ohiopyle is always one of the highlights of the year. This year, during our trip Alex, Jackie, Devin, Mike G, and I took a fun and challenging 6 mile hike through the gorges and past the many waterfalls that make up the landscapes of Ohiopyle State Park
|David Raymond, Alex Raymond, Devin Seiger, Mike Graham, and Jackie Raymond -- June 17, 2020|
|Jonathan Run waterfall. -- June 17, 2020|
|Dave Raymond at Jonathan Run falls in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 17, 2020|
|Jackie, Alex, and Mike climbing out of the Jonathan Run falls area. -- June 17, 2020|
|Mike Graham enjoying the peaceful setting near Jonathan Run falls. --June 17, 2020|
|A great pic of the entire group. Alex, David, Devin, Jackie, and Mike. -- June 17, 2020|
|A bad-ass pic of me, Devin, Alex, and Jackie -- June 17, 2020|
|Mike Graham and Dave Raymond doing what teachers do during summer vacation. -- June 17, 2020|
APPALACHIAN TRAIL WITH ALEX AND DEVIN -- MARCH 19, 2020
My longest hike of 2020 was an eight mile hike on a stretch of the Appalachian Trail and Sunset Rocks Trail. Alex and Devin were along for this fun afternoon in Michaux State Forest.
|Taking in the surrounding beauty on Sunset Rocks Trail -- March 19, 2020|
|Hiking on the AT. -- March 19, 2020|
|Devin Seiger, Alex Raymond, and David Raymond. -- March 19, 2020|
RICKETTS GLEN WITH ROBIN -- OCTOBER 17, 2020
If you are looking for a waterfall bucket list hike...look no further than Ricketts Glen State Park
. Robin and I have been wanting to hike this trail for a long time now. We had our opportunity while on a late October camping trip to Ricketts Glen. The nearly 6 mile hike through the Glen Natural Area (a National Natural Landmark) is highlighted by 22 separate waterfalls. The peak Fall foliage made this hike even more spectacular.
|Pausing for lunch with Robin along the trail in Ricketts Glen. -- October 17, 2020|
|Ricketts Glen State Park. -- October 17, 2020|
|Ricketts Glen State Park -- October 17, 2020|
|Ricketts Glen State Park -- October 17, 2020|
|David and Robin Raymond in Ricketts Glen State Park. -- October 17, 2020|
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- December 27, 2020
|Nothing like a post-hike cookout! Following our hike to the top of Pole Steeple I provided a tailgate style cookout for my nieces and nephew. -- July 1, 2020|
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