For Father’s Day, in 2021, my daughter purchased me a super cool hiking stick. I keep it in my truck…that way it is always there when I decide to go for a hike. Unfortunately, it didn’t get much use until recently. By the summer of 2021, it was becoming more and more obvious that I was headed towards another back surgery. Like my previous experiences with this, my ability to ride a bike wasn’t diminished at all…but my ability to stand a walk any distance was hindered greatly.
|Hiking in Michaux State Forest with the walking stick that my daughter gave me for Father's Day in 2021! -- December 27, 2022|
Now, on the other side of that life event, I can hike again.
But before I could hit the trails I had to just walk. For two months that’s all I did. After it was okayed by my surgeon I walked mile after mile. Most of the time by myself…but often with family and friends. I really appreciated their company and encouragement during my recovery.
|Walking with Mike Graham -- September 13, 2022|
|Walking with Eric Gimbi -- September 15, 2022|
|Walking with my son, Alex, and my college roommate, Chris "Rainman" Lowe -- September 17, 2022|
|Walking with my dad! -- September 19, 2022|
|Walking with my son, Alex -- September 21, 2022|
|Walking with my wife, Robin -- October 15, 2022|
By November, I ventured onto a trail for the first time and it felt so good. I pulled my hiking shoes and hiking stick out of the back of my truck for the first time in a long time and headed out into the woods for a peaceful, pain free, hike. With my bikes hung up in the garage until at least April I know that I will be on many more in the coming months. What follows are my favorite hikes of the past year. So come along with me and backtrack my favorite hikes of 2022. Happy New Year and I hope to cross paths with you on the trails in 2023!
GETTYSBURG WITH ROBIN – JANUARY 22, 2O22
I’m a history nerd, so yeah, I like going to Gettysburg. Usually, I am there in the late Spring or Summer…so going for a frozen winter hike on the battlefield with Robin was a different experience.
|Standing at the frozen base of Little Round Top at Gettysburg National Military Park -- January 22, 2022|
|David and Robin Raymond at Devil's Den -- January 22, 2022|
CATOCTIN MOUNTAIN WITH ROBIN – FEBRUARY 12, 2022
Just south of Gettysburg and across the Mason/Dixon Line is Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain. Its rocky landscape makes for a really fun hike. Robin and I ventured there in mid February for a six mile adventure.
|David and Robin Raymond hiking Catoctin Mountain -- February 12, 2022|
|David Raymond hiking the rocky terrain that makes up Catoctin Mountain -- February 12, 2022|
HIKING IN OHIOPYLE STATE PARK – JUNE 14//17, 2022
Hiking at Ohiopyle is always fun, but by June of 2022 my hiking ability was pretty much diminished. I did manage two hikes, one down to the amazingly beautiful Jonathan Run area of the park and the other to the breathe taking Cucumber Falls. Nothing could hold me back from making these hikes with my son and my nieces.
|Leading my niece, Sophie, and the rest of the crew down Jonathan Run Trail to the waterfalls. -- June 14, 2022|
|My niece, Jackie, navigating the tangled mess of mountain laurel to get to the bottom of the waterfalls around Jonathan Run. -- June 14, 2022|
|Alex, Devin, and Jackie at Jonathan Run -- June 14, 2022|
|David Raymond -- June 14, 2022|
|David Raymond, Devin Seiger, Alex Raymond, Sophie Raymond, Jackie Raymond -- June 14, 2022|
|Alex and David Raymond -- June 14, 2022|
|Alex watching carefully as Sophie makes her way out of the waterfall area of Jonathan Run -- June 14, 2022|
|Hiking behind Cucumber Falls with Sophie and Jackie -- June 17, 2022|
|Sophie and Jackie Raymond enjoying Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park -- June 17, 2022|
|David Raymond at Cucumber Falls -- June 17, 2022|
“HIKE” WITH MATT IN MICHAUX – OCTOBER 26, 2022
Okay...this was more a walk than a hike. I had not yet been cleared to be on trails so Matt met me in Michaux to take a walk on the gravel road that runs between Laurel and Fuller lakes in Michaux State Forest. Along the way, I took some amazing pictures of the peak Fall foliage.
|Dave Raymond and Matt Linnane in Michaux State Forest -- October 26, 2022|
|Laurel Lake -- October 26, 2022|
|Laurel Lake -- October 26, 2022|
|Fuller Lake -- October 26, 2022|
OREGON RIDGE – NOVEMBER 6, 2022
Back on the trails! I’ve never been to Oregon Ridge in northern Maryland. The opportunity arose when I needed to kill some time before meeting up with Robin to go out for lunch with my son and his fiancée. I had so much fun and I was so appreciative of the fact that I could, once again, take a hike in the woods!
|My first official trail hike in a long time! -- November 6, 2022|
|Happy to be back in the woods! -- November 6, 2022|
PINCHOT STATE PARK – NOVEMBER 24, 2022
Thanksgiving Day! Robin and I spent a couple hours hiking in Pinchot State Park. The weather was great…I was with my wife…and I had a lot of things to be thankful for.
|Thanksgiving Day hike at Pinchot State Park with Robin -- November 24, 2022|
JONATHAN DICKINSON STATE PARK – NOV 29//DEC 2, 2022
State Parks in southern Florida are remarkably different from State Parks in Pennsylvania. I took two hikes in Jonathan Dickinson State Park on a recent visit to Florida. The first with Robin and the second on my own. The sandy trail was lined with pines and palms…such a different terrain than I am used to. On the day that I hiked alone, I followed the green blazes for a 6-ish mile hike. I had a great time up until the last few hundred feet. The trail seemed to disappear into the edge of the nearby lake. Walking almost knee deep in (what I imagined was snake and gator infested) lake water did not make me happy. Regardless…99.9% of the hike was fun.
|David and Robin Raymond hiking in Jonathan Dickinson State Park -- November 29, 2022|
|Show me a prickly pear cactus and I'll try to touch it! -- November 29, 2022|
|For my solo hike in Jonathan Dickenson State Park I followed the green blaze for six miles. -- December 2, 2022|
|Jonathan Dickenson State Park -- December 2, 2022|
|Hobe Mountain, in Jonathan Dickenson State Park, is part of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, a series of dunes and hills that parallel the Southeastern Florida Coastline. The elevation of this "mountain" is 86 feet above sea level and is the highest natural point south of Lake Okeechobee. The observation tower on top of Hobe Mountain elevates you an additional 27 feet! -- December 2, 2022|
|The cool view from the top of the observation tower on Hobe Mountain...a whopping 113 feet above sea level! -- December 2, 2022|
|The green blazes led me past this pristine lake...which logically, I imagine, live gaters and snakes. -- December 2, 2022|
|Yes, this is the trail...surrounded on all sides by the overflowing lake. I'd rather run into a black bear in the mountains of Michaux than come across a gator. This was a 500 foot section of the trail that did not bring me joy. -- December 2, 2022|
UGLY SWEATER HIKE – DECEMBER 10, 2022
No ugly sweater mountain bike ride for me this year…so Matt and Tim accommodate me with an ugly sweater hike. We hiked around Laurel Lake, up to Pole Steeple, and then down a section of the Appalachian Trail for a five mile ugly sweater adventure.
|Our ugly sweater hike began at Laurel Lake in Michaux State Forest -- December 10, 2022|
|I borrowed my son's Thor ugly Christmas sweater for this hike. -- December 10, 2022|
|Pausing halfway up the trail to the vista at Pole Steeple. Matt Linnane, Tim Sindlinger, and Dave Raymond -- December 10, 2022|
|Do we take the "steep" or "moderate" route to the top? Definitely the STEEP route! -- December 10, 2022|
|Dave Raymond on top of Pole Steeple vista. -- December 10, 2022|
|Matt Linnane stripped down to the ugliest of ugly sweaters! -- December 10, 2022|
|Tim Sindlinger -- December 10, 2022|
|Headed off of the mountain via the Appalachian Trail -- December 10, 2022|
|We all had to pee! -- December 10, 2022|
MICHAUX WITH TIM – DECEMBER 27, 2022
Tim and I had quite the winter adventure on this hike in Michaux. We started at the base of Dead Woman’s Hollow Road and then connected onto Blueberry Trail. From there we climbed almost 800 feet in less than half a mile for our pay off…a spectacular view of the valley below from the enormous rock outcroppings at the top of the trail. Our chosen path down the mountain and back to the truck was ominously named “Wet Socks Trail.” The trail was beautiful, and even with the multiple stream crossings, our feet stayed dry. Quite the fun excursion!
|Our cold and icy hike began, and ended, on Dead Woman's Hollow Road. -- December 27, 2022|
|Dave Raymond and Tim Sindlinger hiking (and gaining altitude) on Blueberry Trail -- December 27, 2022|
|The hike up Blueberry Trail has a huge payoff. -- December 27, 2022|
|The beauty of Michaux State Forest -- December 27, 2022|
|Tim Singlinger and Dave Raymond -- December 27, 2022|
|Michaux State Forest -- December 27, 2022|
|The ice covered trails of Michaux -- December |
|Surrounded by endless mountain laurel! -- December 27, 2022|
|Wet Socks Trail didn't disappoint. Can't wait to come back next summer and mountain bike it! -- December 27, 2022|
LIFE IS A JOURNEY...NOT A DESTINATION
David A. Raymond – December 30, 2022
BACKTRACKING 2022, PART ONE -- SIGHTSEEING
BACKTRACKING 2022, PART TWO -- THE YEAR BEHIND BARS
|Post-hike ice cream with Jackie and Sophie in Ohiopyle! -- June 17, 2022|
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