Showing posts with label Harrisburg Green Belt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harrisburg Green Belt. Show all posts

Monday, November 30, 2020


 Thomas Jefferson described Meriwether Lewis (Jefferson's personal secretary and man chosen to lead the Corps of Discovery) as having undaunted courage and "firmness and perseverance of purpose which nothing but impossibilities could divert from it's direction..."  I tell kids that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were  ordinary people who did extraordinary things.  Their story is one of perseverance, determination, and courage.  For that reason, Lewis, Clark, and the Corps of Discovery has always been a favorite of my history students.  On a personal level, I enjoy the story of Lewis and Clark because it focuses on exploring, learning about, and enjoying the natural world around us.  There is a lot that we, over two hundred years later, can still learn from the Corps of Discovery.  Thanks, once again, to the good people at YOUR TRUE NATURE, those lessons can be learned through seven pieces of simple advice.  So here is my own personal take on the YOUR TRUE NATURES's ADVICE FROM LEWIS AND CLARK.  Enjoy!



Let's face it...Lewis and Clark knew less about their journey to the Pacific coast than Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins new about their trip to the moon.  At the very least, the crew of Apollo 11 had maps, pictures, and a whole ground crew to assist them.  Just about every single aspect of Lewis and Clark's journey was uncharted....heck, charting and mapping their route was one of the stated goals given to them by President Jefferson.  
I can't say that I've ever explored any type of uncharted territory.  The trails on which I ride or hike are already charted...that is, after all, how I found them.  However, searching out...or stumbling upon..."new to me" trails can be just as invigorating, exciting, and rewarding.

For sure, I'm not blazing anything new on the Appalachian Trail...but because of the Pandemic, I found myself hiking on the AT a lot this past year.  In the process, discovering "new to me" areas of Michaux State Forest that I never experienced while mountain biking.  -- March 19, 2020

Taking time to study the map and discover the already charted area that we wanted to hike.  Mike Graham, Dave Raymond, and Alex Raymond  -- March 14, 2020

I discovered the White Cliffs of Conoy in Marietta, Pennsylvania while riding my bike on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.  It is an ultra cool white rock feature overlooking the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  The cliffs are composed of byproduct from a nearby limestone quarry.  -- November 26, 2020

Bushwhacking, is not necessarily exploring uncharted territory...but there is a cool sense of adventure when hiking an area where the trail ceases to exist.  Mike Graham and Eric Gimbi in Michaux State Forest.  -- March 26, 2020

Exploring the remains of a swimming pool located in Camp Michaux in Michaux State Forest.  Mike Graham, Dave Raymond, and Alex Raymond -- March 26, 2020

On a day that we would normally be white water rafting our camping group decided to keep ourselves socially distanced from everyone else in Ohiopyle State Park.  The disappointment of not rafting soon dissipated as we explored a "new to us" area of the park around Cascade Falls.  Dave Raymond, Jackie Raymond, Alex Raymond, Devin Seiger, Chis Lowe, Mike Graham, and Shalice Gull.  -- June 16, 2020


Nothing beats the view from the top.  There are a few vistas that I frequently visit on my journeys.  They are some of the most peaceful and relaxing places that I know.  Vistas serve as the payoff and reward for the heart pounding hard work that it took to reach them.  Even though the journey you are on may seem long, or even difficult...pause at the vistas, discover new horizons, and take a moment to stand on top of the world...even if it is just for a little while. 

Enjoying the view from my favorite vista in Michaux State Forest.  Photo by Alex Raymond.  -- September 13, 2020

Taking in the breath taking view from the top of Evitts Summit.  I rode from my campground in Rocky Gap State Park, Maryland, up the mountain, past the Mason Dixon Line, and into Bedford County Pennsylvania.  The view was nothing short of amazing.  -- July 20, 2020

My wife, Robin, and I enjoying the view from Washington Monument State Park, Maryland.  -- July 22, 2020

A socially distant Mike Graham and Dave Raymond on Sunset Rocks in Michaux State Forest.  -- March 26, 2020

Enjoying the amazingly brilliant view of the Susquehanna River from Chickies Rock County Park.  -- July 2, 2020


Discover the source of the Missouri River.  Create detailed maps and charts.  Document new plant and wildlife species.  Observe the customs of the the native tribes.  Discover a passable route through the Rocky Mountains.  These were the five specific goals given to Lewis, Clark, and the Corps of Discovery by Thomas Jefferson.  Their mission was, for all intents and purposes, the first ever government funded "science project."  By the end of their years long journey, the Corps of Discovery had passed among dozens of native tribes (without whose help they would not have survived), created incredibly accurate maps of the area which they explored, and documents over two hundred new plant and animal species that were unknown to Americans at that time.  All of this opened up a new era to the American people.  Knowledge is power.  Stop along your journeys to gain as much knowledge as you can.

Visiting Washington's Headquarters and gaining a bit more knowledge of a young George Washington while on a bike ride in Cumberland, Maryland.  -- July 19, 2020

Exploring the interior of an old iron furnace along the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. -- November 25, 2020

Pausing on my bike ride in York City to spend a little time with the Marquis de Lafayette.  -- November 3, 2020

Checking out Codorus Furnace in York County, Pennsylvania.  A great example of the 18th and 19th century local iron industry. -- October 22, 2020


The journey can be hard, full of unanticipated obstacles, and sometimes a little daunting.  Regardless, always continue, never give up...and, with as much determination as possible, forge ahead.

Forging ahead on Dead Woman's Hollow of the toughest fire roads in Michaux State Forest.  The road climbs a whopping 900 feet in a mile and a half!  I paused for both a before (bottom) and after (top) pic on Dead Woman's Hollow Road.   -- May 25, 2020

My wonderful niece, Jackie, overcoming obstacles and forging ahead on Jonathan Run Trail in Ohiopyle State Park.  -- June 17, 2020

Overcoming obstacles also means overcoming inevitable mechanicals while mountain biking.  Ten miles into my ride with Matt my rear derailleur ceased to exist.  It took a little while...but I turned my Stumpjumper (temporarily) into a single speed. It worked and I managed to pedal my way out of the forest...instead of walking and carrying my bike out.  -- August 18, 2020


Lewis and Clark worked as a team.  There is absolutely no documented evidence of the two men arguing or disagreeing on anything.  I'm sure that they did...but as any good team they worked together and ultimately completed their journey with more success than anyone could have dreamed of.  Life is hard enough...don't try navigate it on your own.  Work as a team.

Matt Linnane and I taking time to check our progress (and our maps) on an unfamiliar trail in Michaux State Forest.  -- August 18, 2020

Using some teamwork (and some well placed rope) to climb up and out of the Jonathan Run waterfall area in Ohiopyle State Park. Jackie Raymond, Alex Raymond, Mike Graham.  -- June 17, 2020

Some bike shop teamwork at the Marysville Relay Race.  Ben Kelly, Dave Raymond, and Jay Zech.  -- April 7, 2019

Recently, my son, Alex has helped Mike Graham, Eric Gimbi, and me create super nerdy videos for our history (and Mike's science) classes.  We call them LESSONS ON THE ROAD.   Some really fun and nerdy teamwork.  -- November 27, 2020

My ultimate teammate is my wife, Robin.  I love all of our adventures together!  Ricketts Glen State Park. -- October 17, 2020


 Lewis and Clark persevered against odds that seemed to be overwhelmingly stacked against them.  They were ordinary people who, when faced with a huge challenge, stepped up and went the distance.  Finish what you started...not just on the trail...but in life.  Seeing things through, from beginning to end, brings a sense of accomplishment, pride, and respect.  So...go ahead and go the distance.
On a dreary Sunday morning, I set out to complete my first ever Century Ride...100 miles.  -- September 27, 2020

Crossing the Mason/Dixon Line from Pennsylvania into Maryland on my century ride. -- September 27, 2020

My halfway point on my Century Ride.  -- September 27, 2020

I went the a little more!  -- September 27, 2020


I can't think of a single act of courage that I have achieved that even comes close to those people in our society who have served as first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks, teachers, and any other people who have, day after day, continued to selflessly continued to do their jobs despite of the dangers of the reality of living in a global pandemic.  Their bravery, courage,  and unselfish behavior should be an inspiration to us all.  Thank you.

Mask up, America.  I found this incredibly appropriate painted rock along the Capital Area Greenbelt in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  -- October 24, 2020

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- November 30, 2020

Lewis and Clark have become an incredibly nerdy and fun part of my school year.  Each Spring, Eric Gimbi, Mike Graham, and I (with the incredibly professional help of my son, Alex) put together our cooking show COOKING WITH LEWIS & CLARK for our students.  You can check us out and join in on the fun on YouTube.

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Here are the GARMIN maps and data from my adventures featured in this post.

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

"Write something work reading or do something worth writing..." Ben Franklin

Saturday, December 30, 2017


This past week really has been "like Christmas" for me.  Mark and I both have the week off for Christmas vacation and, even though the wind chills have been in the single digits, we've managed to get out on our mountain bikes for a couple of very cold, but equally amazing, rides...both of which were in locations I had never ridden before.  Two super cool, and unexpected, presents.

The intersection of Old Farm Trail and Ridge Trail at Gifford Pinchot State Park. -- December 27, 2017 

That's been a theme for me in 2017.  Since April, when I was cleared by my doctor to begin riding my bike again, I've mountain biked in six new places:  Codorus State Park, Stony Valley RR Trail, The Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, Tuscarora State Forest, Gifford Pinchot State Park, and even in the City of York.  Over the past eight months I've also revisted trails that I haven't ridden for almost a the York County Heritage Rail Trail and Ohiopyle State Park.  When you add in one trip each to the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake and Swatara State Park...six trips to Michaux State Forest...twenty nine combined local rides at Rocky Ridge County Park and the Lakes...and thirty plus rides on my road bike...2017 was full of memorable rides.  Most importantly, throughout this past year, I've continued to be blessed with an amazing group of friends to share these trails and rides with...Mark Lentz, Glenn Medice, Timmy Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, Chris Keller, Brent Shirk, Mike Alicea, and yep, Mikey Nardelli...all of whom helped make every ride memorable.

So...with the year quickly coming to an end (and with much anticipation of all the rides and trails coming our way in 2018) I thought it would be fun to backtrack over 2017 and take a look at my ten favorite rides of the past year.  Enjoy!


(Riding York City and Gifford Pinchot State Park with Mark Lentz)  --  DECEMBER 26/27, 2017

Two rides...not one...are combined for the tenth spot on my list.  With the air temps hovering around 20 degrees, Mark and I set out on two rides that were completely new to me.  The first was a ten mile urban ride in the city of York, PA that consisted of about 60 percent pavement and 40 percent off road.  The second ride was in Gillford Pinchot State Park.  I've always been told that the riding there was minimal...but Mark and I spend a very cold hour riding single track that was incredibly cool.  

My Stumpjumper leaning on one of the many murals that line the streets of York, Pennsylvania. -- December 26, 2017

My first ride in Gifford Pinchot State Park.  Mark and I paused to check out the ruins of an old farm that is visible from Old Farm Trail. -- December 27, 2017


(Michaux State Forest with Mark Lentz)  --AUGUST 18, 2017

Mark was super stoked to show me the miles and miles of continuous single track in the Big Flat area of Michaux State Forest.  It was a day of just continuous riding on some of the best trails that Michaux has to offer.

Astronomy Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- August 18, 2017

Mark and I are all smiles after our last summer ride in Michaux. -- August 18, 2017


I rode the extremely challenging trails of Ohiopyle State Park for the first time since 2009.  Heading out solo, I tackled the Sugarloaf Trails and Baughman Trail (which descends 800 feet in nearly two miles).  As an added bonus, I spend some leisurely time on the Great Allegheny Passage and just soaked in the amazing scenery of Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands.

The last 100 yards of Baughman Trail.  A wild and crazy trail that descends nearly 800 feet in two miles! -- June 15, 2017

My son, Alex, took this shot of me on the Great Allegheny Passage with his drone.  -- June 15, 2017


(Michaux State Forest with Glenn Medice, Tim Sindlinger, and Matt Linnane) -- AUGUST 1, 2017

The Rockiest Ride of the Year makes my top ten list simply because it was extremely fun to revisit (for the first time in nearly ten years) one of the most challenging trails near Piney Mountain Ridge in Michaux State Forest...Fender Trail.  It also led us towards one of the more picturesque trails in the area...Bear Knob.  It was just really fun ride.

Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, Dave Raymond, and Glenn Medice taking a break on Bear Knob in Michaux State Forest. -- August 1, 2017

Descending Bear Knob in Michaux State Forest. -- August 1, 2017


(The Parkway Trails with Mark Lentz and Glenn Medice) -- JULY 26, 2017

The Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania have proved to be one of the coolest "local" trail systems around.  I've been there three times this past year...but the second of the three rides (with Mark and Glenn) was super amazing.  We had a blast zipping in and out of the mountain bike friendly single track put in place by SAMBA.  Urban mountain biking at it's best!

My Stumpjumper leaning on the South Harrisburg Wall Project.  One of the super cool things you will see while riding the Parkway Trails. -- July 26, 2017

Mark and Glenn crossing over the rail road tracks while riding the Parkway Trails. -- July 26, 2017

All smiles after a twisty single track on the Paxtang side of the Parkway Trails. -- July 26, 2017

Mark Lentz, Dave Raymond, and Glenn Medice wrapping up our ride on the Parkway Trails. -- July 26, 2017


(Michaux State Forest with Mark Lentz) -- July 31, 2017

Mark and I really did ride over the mountain in Michaux on the last day of July.  Not purposefully.  We were looking for a section of single track near Ridge Road.  What we got was a ride we will never forget.  After accidentally dropping down into King's Gap State Park, Mark and I did an impromptu road ride and then climbed fire road back up the mountain to Ridge Trail.  Along the way we encountered a black bear and ultimately found some really awesome single track (none of which was the trail we were originally looking for). 

Ridge Trail in Michaux State Forest is made up of super technical single track. -- July 31, 2017

Dave Raymond and Mark Lentz on Ridge Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- July 31, 2017

Looking west from the top of the mountain in Michaux State Forest just before accidentally dropping down into King's Gap State Park.  -- July 31, 2017

With the mountain  range off to our left, Mark and I had to ride about 6 miles of road to eventually get back over the mountain. -- July 31, 2017

Nothing like sharing the trail with a black bear. -- July 31, 2017


(With Mark Lentz) -- JUNE 5, 2017

The Stony Valley Rail Trail turned out to be the perfect ride for Mark and I the first week of summer vacation.  With a steady rain coming down for the enter 28 mile journey, Mark and I experienced, what I consider to be, the most visually stimulating ride of the summer.  Along the way we explored limestone diversion wells and the ruins of Cold Spring, a 19th Century resort town.

While riding the Stony Valley Rail Trail, Mark and I took a short detour to explore the ruins of  Cold Spring, a 19th century resort town, which is located in State Game Lands No. 221. -- June 5, 2017

Mark Lentz riding the Stony Valley Rail Trail. -- June 5, 2017


(Michaux state Forest with Glenn Medice and Matt Linnane) -- JULY 25, 2017

This ordinary "Tuesday in Michaux" ride really turned into something out of the ordinary.  The July humidity disappeared and the temperatures were low.  Glenn, Matt, and I explored "new to us" trails south of Woodrow Road and then headed towards Grave Ridge.  Riding south to north on Grave Ridge was one of more memorable rides of the summer.  It was a great Tuesday in Michaux.

Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice, and Matt Linnane taking a break on Gargamel's Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- July 25, 2017

Glenn Medice riding Gargamel's Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- July 25, 2017

Dave Raymond riding Gargamel's Trail in Michaux State Forest.  -- July 25, 2017

Matt Linnane taking on Grave Ridge in Michaux State Forest. -- July 25, 2017


(Tuscarora State Forest with Mark Lentz) -- JULY 6, 2017

Mark and I made a spur of moment decision to turn right towards Tuscarora State Forest instead of left towards Michaux.  The result was an epic, tropical, twenty nine mile ride that included a rattle snake sighting, an old CCC Camp, Doubling Gap Overlook, the grave of CCC worker who perished while creating the mountain roads on which we were riding, and nearly 4,000 feet of climbing!  Yeah...what a day we had!

Mark Lentz and Dave Raymond at the tail end of an epic, muddy, and tropical ride in Tuscarora State Forest. -- July 6, 2017

Mark Lentz riding in Tuscarora State Forest. -- July 6, 2017


(Manchester, Pennsylvania with Robin) -- APRIL 9, 2017

When I was given the green light to ride my back after my second back surgery within a year, I couldn't think of a better person to share my joy with than my wife, Robin.  I agree to take it easy.  We dropped my truck off at Northeastern High School for my son...and then Robin and I rode three glorious miles home!  It was the best three miles ever.

I have a look of excitement and my wife has a look of cautious happiness as we begin my first ride after back surgery. -- April 9, 2017

I couldn't hide my smile as I was about to embark on my first ride five months! -- April 9, 2017

This new year, I'm thankful for my family, my friends, and my health.  2018 presents me with the opportunity to ride all twelve months of the year for the first time since 2015.  Physically, I feel better than I have in a long no small part to my surgeon (who fixed my back) and to my wife (who rightfully encourages me to slow down a little bit).  I already have a few ideas in mind for 2018.  Along with exploring new trails, I'd like to revisit places I haven't been to in a long time...places like Blue Marsh, Fair Hill, Rattling Creek, and French Creek.  I'm sure my friends will buy into that...and I'm sure, that by the end of the year, I'll have plenty of rides to backtrack on.
Happy New Year!

I can't leave out the road rides I had this summer with my son, Alex.  I'm so happy he enjoys his bike and loves to use it to explore the Pittsburgh area when he is away at school. -- August 20, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 30, 2017
What was your favorite ride or hike of 2017?  Feel free to post your comments below.  Happy New Year! vote for favorite ice-cream stop of 2017 is the Glen Dairy Bar in Watkin's Glen, New York! -- July 20, 2017

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...

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 HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM and