Showing posts with label Raymond B. Winter State Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raymond B. Winter State Park. Show all posts

Saturday, March 11, 2017


A couple of years ago, Mark and I were mountain biking near State College, Pennsylvania.  We began our ride from a parking area in Penn Roosevelt State Park.  I'm not sure if Mark's car was the only car there when we began our ride...but for some reason, as we wrapped up our day on the trails, I took notice that it was.
Mark Lentz and David Raymond riding near State College, Pennsylvania.  We began this amazing ride in Penn Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

With the bikes on top of the car and with less sweaty clothes on, Mark and I walked down below the parking are to explore the near empty lake and the dam that contained it.  I remember Mark walking towards the lake and I headed out to the dam.  All around me I saw empty picnic tables and signs put up by the DCNR which were meant to educate the  public on the plant life and wildlife which is native to the area.  My mind raced back to my childhood and the amount of time my family spent at Shawnee State Park in Bedford County and Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County.  Memories of picnics, charcoal grills, hiking, exploring, and family time.  Again...the realization that our car was the only one there came to the front of my head...and I asked, out loud, if people still made use of the state parks like we did 20-30-40 years ago.  Was this park always this empty now...or is it possible that we just happened to be there late in the afternoon on a Tuesday?

My bike and Mark's bike in the parking area of Penn Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

Mark's Mini is the only car there -- June 28, 2014

An empty Penn-Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

 If you live in Pennsylvania then there's a pretty good chance that you are currently within 50 miles of one of the Commonwealth's 121 State Parks.  I'm not sure if that is most in the nation...but it's got to be near the top.  Combined, Pennsylvania's State Parks offer over 200,000 acres for hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, and yes....mountain biking!  From my house in Manchester, PA, I'm only 18 miles from Sam S. Lewis State Park, 22 miles from Gifford Pinchot State Park, 24 miles from Codorus State Park, 52 miles from Swatara State Park, and 57 miles from Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  That's pretty cool!

This map shows you the 4 regions in which Pennsylvania is divided and the locations of Pennsylvania's State Parks.  Click HERE to access the DCNR website that will help you locate a State Park near you!

Valley Forge State Park (now Valley Forge National Historical Park) was the first state park in Pennsylvania.  In 1893, Pennsylvania's governor, Robert E. Pattison, signed Act 130 "for the acquisition of ground at Valley Forge for a public park."  This act also created a commission that would work to acquire more land for public use.  In the early 20th century, Joseph T. Rothrock headed the Commission of Forestry.  As a medical doctor and a forester, Rothrock set up camps in the parks for people suffering from respiratory illnesses.  Following the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps established 113 CCC camps in Pennsylvana (2nd only to California) and, along with helping to fight fires and build roads, helped to create many of Pennsylvania's State Parks.  

Visiting Valley Forge Military Park -- May 2017

Hanging out with General "Mad Anthony" Wayne at Valley Forge Military Park -- May 2017

So...back to the question I had while exploring Penn Roosevelt with Mark on that June day in people still use the parks like they use to?  The answer, in my opinion, is a resounding YES...and here's the proof:  
  • I have no trouble remembering the first time Mark took Timmy and I to Michaux...Memorial Day weekend 2006.  After a hard mountain bike ride we passed through an extremely crowded Pine Grove Furnace State Park (I can still remember salivating when we pedaled through the smell of the hotdogs cooking over charcoal grills).  
  • I dare you to try to find a parking spot near the Natural Water Slide in Ohiopyle State Park on a Saturday or Sunday!
  • Go ahead, just try to find an empty camp site anywhere in Pennsylvania on Memorial Day weekend.  Good luck with that.
Over the past 40+ years I've been to a bunch of State Parks for a variety of reasons with a variety of people.  Here are (in no particular order) all the Pennsylvania State Parks I've been to (so far)*...with a few of my memories attached.  Hope you enjoy!


Penn Roosevelt State Park is a small, 41 acre park, located in the Seven Mountain Region near State College, PA.  All of the pictures are from a ride Mark Lentz and I took in Rothrock State Forest which surrounds the park -- June 28, 2014


For me, Pine Grove Furnace and mountain biking go hand-in-hand.  Since 2006, we've used the parking lot and picnic area of the park, as a launching point for 99% of our mountain bike excursions in Michaux State Forest.  This 696 acre park is located in an area known as South Mountain (the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains).

Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Our mountain biking gear after one of our first rides in Michaux (2006); Bill Graves and Mark Lentz washing up after a day of riding (2006); packing up the vehicles after our last summer ride (August 2016); Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz on a ridge overlooking Pine Grove Furnace (July 14, 2014); Post ride grilling (July 24, 2014)


I'm not sure where to begin!  Ohiopyle has been a family tradition for more than 70 years!  My parents began bringing my brother and I to Ohiopyle when we were very young.  I've made a point to continue the tradition and it's become a favorite place for both my wife, and my son.  Located on the Laurel Ridge in southwestern Pennsylvania, Ohiopyle State Park is 20,500 acres of pure awesomeness!  Hiking, camping, mountain biking, white water rafting...if you want's probably there!

Top to Bottom//Left To Right:  Me mountain biking Sugarloaf Trail (2006); Taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014); My son, Alex, and I near Cucumber Falls (July 14, 2015); Cooling off in the Yough! (2006); Hiking with my wife, Robin (May 24, 2015); Amazing pic of me near Cucumber Falls (July 14, 2015); Robin and I (July 20, 2014); A visit from Mary Jane and my Dad while camping (June 17, 2016); "Hiking" with my daughter, Emma, near Cucumber Falls (July 18, 2014); My son, Alex, taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014); and Alex skipping rocks (July 14, 2015)

Videos Below:  Taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014) and the main falls at Ohiopyle (July 19 & 20, 2014)
To see how much of a family tradition Ohiopyle has been be sure to read PASSING ON OHIOPYLE and OBSERVATIONS FROM OHIOPYLE.


Shawnee State Park is the park of my "growing up in Bedford" childhood.  I remember summer mornings, boarding a school bus, and heading out for swimming lessons at Shawnee Lake...the focal point of the the 3,983 acre park.  As an adult, I've ridden my road bike out there from my dad's house in Bedford and taken hikes with my wife, son, dad, and step-mom.

Left to Right:  My bike near Shawnee Lake (July 10, 2015); Fourth of July hike with dad, Mary Jane, Alex, and Robin (July 4, 2014)


Poe Valley State Park is a 620 acre park located near Bald Eagle State Forest in Centre County, Pennsylvania.  Mark and I were just a couple of "poe" boys mountain biking there on our last day of riding in the forests around State College, PA -- June 29, 2014


Point Park State Park is located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, PA.  Known as the "Forks of the Ohio" this ground was the site of France's Fort Duquesne and then Great Britain's Fort Pitt.  This strategic piece of North America was key to the control of the fur trade in North America and was fought over by the French and the British in what we know as the French and Indian War (globally known as the Seven Years War) -- July 2014


Encompassing 2,338 acres of land in York County, Gifford Pinchot State Park is ideal for boating, fishing, and camping.  I've ridden my road bike through the area numerous times.  I've been part of quite a few summer time "teacher debriefings" at Pinchot with colleagues.  My wife, Robin, and I also took my nieces Jackie and Sophie there on their first camping trip!

Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Mike Ritts & Pedro Mena winding down after a long school year (June 2013); Preparing dinner (June 2013); Mike Ritts & David Raymond (June 2013); Sophie, Aunt Robin, Jackie, and Uncle Dave enjoying the campfire (July 2014); Sophie & Jackie Raymond (July 2104); Robin and David Raymond (July 2014)
ADDED ON DECEMBER 27, 2017 -- Mark Lentz and David Raymond.  My first mountain bike ride at Gifford Pinchot State Park.  Loved the 20 degree weather!


Swatara State Park is a favorite mountain biking destination for the guys in our group.  Miles and miles of twisty, turny, fun single track!  The 3,520 acres that make up Swatara State Park are nestled in the Swatara Valley north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Top to Bottom:  David Raymond & Tim Sindlinger (July 1, 2014); David Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, and Brent Shirk (September 5, 2015)

Below:  Video of David Raymond & Tim Sindlinger mountain biking in Swatara State Park (2015)


Greenwood Furnace State Park is on the western edge of the Seven Mountains in northeastern Huntingdon County.  The park covers 423 acres, including a six-acre lake, campground, hiking trails, and a historic district. The park provides access to backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and fishing in the surrounding 80,000-acre Rothrock State Forest.  Mark and I passed through the park on multi-day mountain biking trip in the area around State College, Pennsylvania -- June 28, 2014.


Caledonia State Park straddles Adams and Franklin Counties.  The 1,125 acre park is surrounded by Michaux State Forest.  Just west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Caledonia is a favorite destination for hiking, camping, and picnicking.  Mark Lentz and I explored the area on our mountain bikes on Columbus Day 2015.

Left to Right:  Robin & David Raymond (Memorial Day Weekend 2012); My 2011 Stumpjumper resting on the Thaddeus Stevens Iron Furnace (October 2015)


I first experienced Trough Creek State Park as a kid.  My mom and dad took my brother and I there for a picnic after a day of riding the water slides near Raystown Lake.  The 541 acre park, which cuts through Terrace Mountain, includes some super kool attractions such as a balancing rock, water falls, an ice cave, and a swinging bridge.  I've revisited the park twice as an adult.  First with Mark and Mikey after mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake and then on a brief hiking trip with my wife, Robin.

Top to Bottom//Left to Right: David Raymond on the swinging bridge (August 8, 2015);  Robin and I hiking in Trough Creek State Park (August 8, 2015); David Raymond, Mark Lentz, & Mikey Nardelli next to the balancing rock (October 14, 2013)


Promised Land State Park includes approximately 3,000 acres and is located on the Pocono Plateau (about 1,800 feet above sea level).  I was only there once...and I don't remember much.  In June of 2009, Kristian Hains, Jay Zech, and I participated in the Cradle of Liberty 24-hour Adventure Race.  It began in Promised Land State Park and was one of the toughest events I've ever participated in!


French Creek State Park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington, D.C. and New York City.  Located in the Schuylkill Highlands, the 7,730-acre park is perfect for hiking, fishing, camping, and biking.  The mountain biking in French Creek is some of the toughest around and it was the sight of the French Creek Fling 2-man adventure race.

Top Right:  Dave Raymond mountain biking the trails in French Creek (2009); Remainder of the pics:  Bill Graves and David Raymond in the 2010 French Creek Fling Adventure Race (October 10, 2010); 


Mark Lentz, Mikey Nardelli, and I spent 3 fun days mountain biking and camping in Raymond B. Winter State Park in July of 2011.  This 695 acre park is located within the extreme eastern edge of Bald Eagle State Forest.

Below:  Mikey taking on a wooden bridge near Raymond B. Winter State Park


Okay...this one brings out the complete NERD within me!  Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park is an 18.5-acre park nestled in a gap of Tuscarora Mountain in Franklin County. It is the site of the the birthplace of our nation's 15th president, James Buchanan.  I visited the park just last week with my wife, Robin, on our way home from my dad's house in Bedford.  No mountain biking... this small State Park offers picnic areas, trout fishing in Buck Run, and a chance for history teachers, like me, to completely get their NERD on!

Pennsylvania's state parks have been such a big part of my life.  Ohiopyle has been, and continues to be, a family tradition.  Shawnee brings back so many childhood memories.  Pine Grove Furnace has become, for me, synonymous with mountain biking.  The parks are beautiful...they are convenient...and, best of all, they are free to the public (even for all of you out-of-staters)!  Today, they are run through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Improvements are constantly being made ( more smelly green bathroom at Pine Grove Furnace).  So...whether your thing is camping, or hunting, or hiking, or mountain biking...whether it's with your family, with your friends, or on your own...check out a state park near you.  The only money you'll need is for the ice cream on the way home because, in Pennsylvania, the OUTSIDE IS FREE!

Just me and Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park -- July 14, 2015 

Life is a journey...not a destination!

David A. Raymond -- March 11, 2017
Be sure to check out HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM and all my other posts at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM!

*State Parks that I visit after I post this will be added at the bottom.  Be sure to come back and check out other parks that I know I will eventually get to!

My mom, Kathy Raymond, helped PASSING ON OHIOPYLE to my brother and I -- November 1980

Here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:


Located in southwestern York County, near Hanover, Pennsylvania, the 3,500 acres of Codorus State Park have been traditionally known for boating on, and fishing in, Lake Marburg.  Recently; however, Codorus State Park has become more and more popular with mountain bikers.  With almost 15 miles of trails (which also network with XC-ski/snowmobile trails) it is possible to put together some crazy fun loops.  With minimal elevation change, you can expect a twisty and fun ride.  Bottom pictured:  Dave Raymond riding Codorus State Park -- May 9, 2017


Colonel Denning State Park is located in Doubling Gap (named for the turn in Blue Mountain as it doubles back on itself)...adjacent to Tuscarora State Forest.  Colonel Denning State Park is named for William Denning...a Revolutionary War Sergeant (no one knows who unofficially gave him the title of Colonel) who manufactured wrought iron cannons for the Continental Army.  William Denning is buried nearby in the Big Spring Presbyterian Church cemetery in Newville, Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, none of his cannons are still in existence.  Bottom picture:  Mark Lentz riding in nearby Tuscarora State Forest -- July 6, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017


The ride winds down...the bikes are loaded cream is on our minds...but the day's adventure isn't always over.  So many times we find ourselves mountain biking in locations that are full of history, beautiful scenery, and hidden surprises.  These post-ride field trips add to the mountain biking experience, form lasting memories, and strengthen bonds of friendship. They are proof that there is more to see beyond the trail and, just because the the ride has ended...the adventure doesn't have to.  Here are just a FEW of the excursions, sights, and "nerdiness" that have highlighted our mountain biking trips over the years.  Enjoy!

After riding some pretty swampy and humid trails (Plantation Trail comes to mind), Mikey, Glenn, Billy, Mark and I took in the sights of the waterfalls near our campsite at Blackwater Falls, West Virgina -- June 2008

Wrapping up a cold, January ride in Governor Dick park near Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, Mark and I took time to climb up the fire tower on top of the ridge.  So super cool! -- January 21, 2013

After riding in Governor Dick, Mark Lentz and I stumbled upon this ultra cook Eagle Scout project.  This young man made fiber glass reproductions of how local lumber was converted to charcoal for the iron furnaces -- April 1, 2013

Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith Shop is located in Caledonia State Park west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Thaddeus Stevens was a "Radical" Republican and on of Pennsylvania's members of the House of Representatives during and after the American Civil War.  He was a vocal voice for the rights of African Americans.  Mark Lentz and I checked out this area after a day of mountain biking in the southern part of Michaux State Forest -- October 12, 2015

If you ride anywhere in central Pennsylvania, chances are you will ride near an old iron furnace.  Greenwood Furnace is located in Greenwood Furnace State Park near State College, PA.  The remains of the furnace represent what is left of a thriving village that surrounded the iron furnace from 1834-1904. -- June 28, 2014

After riding in Ohiopyle State Park you cannot help but take time to go explore the main falls in the center of Ohiopyle.  Just up the road you can hike down and explore Cucumber Falls.  Any trip to Ohiopyle isn't complete without a ride through the natural waters slide. Check out the video below.  -- April 2009

Just down the road from Ohiopyle State Park is Fort Necessity National Battlefield.  It was here, in 1754, that a young George Washington was forced to surrender (the first and only time in his career) to an overwhelming French force -- April 2009

Left:  Glenn Medice and Mark Lentz exploring the covered bridge at the top of Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest, NC.  Right:  Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest, NC -- August 2008

During our ride in the Lehigh Valley, Kevin Hardy and I came across the "Star of Bethlehem" that sits on top of the mountain overlooking Bethlehem, Pennsylvania -- August 2010

Riding at Mount Penn near Reading, PA, Mark Lentz and I stumbled upon Kuechler's Roost.  Jacob Kuechler lived on top of Mount Penn in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  He would serve food, drink, and conversation with people who visited the area.  So cool! -- July 2, 2014

Mark and I also visited the Pagoda and fire tower which while riding in Mount Penn.  Both structures overlook the town of Reading, Pennsylvania -- July 2, 2014

Riding near Raymond B. Winter State Park, Mark Lentz, Mikey Nardelli, and I came across an ultra cool amphitheater (top) and a spring house.  Both located deep in the forest --  July 13 & 14, 2011

I've written about it so many times...but I cannot leave out our constant exploration of Camp Michaux located near Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Michaux State Forest.  It served as a CCC camp, a WWII prisoner of war camp, and a church camp.  What an awesome place to explore! -- July 24, 2014

Mark Lentz and I spent some time exploring Penn-Roosevelt Lake in Penn-Roosevelt State Park near State College, Pennsylvania.  The lake was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps -- June 27, 2014

After mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake, Mark Lentz, Mikey Nardelli and I picnicked in, and explored, Trough Creek State Park.  We found this really cool (literally) ice cave -- October 14, 2013

After the ice cave, Mark, Mikey, and I hike to the top of ridge to check out the balancing rock hovering over Trough Creek State Park -- October 14, 2013

Yep...taking time out after a ride at Chickies Rock in  Lancaster County, Pennsylvania! --April 13, 2014

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- February 3, 2017

It's not nature...nor is it historical...but it's pretty cool!  Welcome to Dillsburg, PA.  After a tough ride at Camp Tuckahoe, Mark Lentz and I made it a point stop and take a pic with the Dillsburg Pickle -- July 3, 2013

If you enjoyed reading all mean, please  tweet it!  

You can find all of our ride pics and trail maps on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website and, as always,  here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:

(January 21, 2013) Mountain biking at GOVERNOR DICK with Mark Lentz 

(October 14, 2013) Mountain biking the ALLEGRIPPIS TRAILS with Mark and Mikey

(July 2, 2014) Mountain biking at MOUNT PENN with Mark Lentz 

(June 27, 2014) Mountain biking in ROTHROCK STATE FOREST with Mark Lentz 

Saturday, January 21, 2017


There's a small section of trail located at the base of trail #7 at Rocky Ridge County Park that I have NEVER successfully ridden.  As a matter of fact, the only person that I've ever seen pedal over that rock garden is Mikey Nardelli...and he made it look like child's play.  There are some trails and obstacles just aren't worth it.  I think the older I get the more I appreciate my health, my body, my family, and life!  A good sense of fear can sometimes be a good thing and I find no shame in sometimes saying, "I'll hike this one."  

Riding a log build up at Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland -- July 19, 2011

Through the years, all of our skill levels have increased exponentially.  I can remember, years ago, watching Mark and Tim descend down hills that I never in my life would think were possible to ride. I've seen Kristian hop his mountain bike from obstacle to obstacle with incredible grace.  I've witnessed Mikey ride, as smooth as butter, some crazy cool rock gardens.  Me?  I tend, along with Mark, to lead the way...willing to let others in the group prove to me that something is rideable.  Logs.  Hills.  Rocks.  If you can think of's a pretty good bet that we've tried to ride it.

Mark, Mikey, and I came across this wooden bridge while riding in Bald Eagle State Forest near Raymond B. Winter State Park.  Mikey was the first to brave it. -- July 13, 2011

I was in awe of Kevin Hardy as he played effortlessly on this teeter-totter in the Lehigh Valley -- August 7, 2010

This steep hillside in Dupont State Forest, NC was scarier looking than it was scary.  I just put my chest on my seat and held on tight! -- August 2008

Kristian makes EVERYTHING look easy...especially these logs in Patapsco Valley State Park -- October 15, 2016

Near Cascade Falls Trail in Patapsco Valley State Park this steep cliff is now closed off...but before they rerouted the trail with these "mountain bike friendly" steps I would often ride down it...and then turn around and come back up! -- All pics taken in 2012

Nothing beats a well placed rock to make the ride a little easier.  Michaux State Forest -- April 7, 2012

This washed out mess next to an exclusion fence in Michaux State Forest made for some pretty tricky mountain biking -- May 8, 2010

Riding this dry creek bed (turned rock garden) in Michaux State Forest is a piece of cake for Kristian -- August 28, 2016

Well placed logs smooth out this section of the ride at Rocky Ridge County Park -- September 18, 2014

These table rocks at Rattling Creek are a natural part of the trail.  Clockwise starting top left: Dave Raymond, Mark Lentz, Tim Sindlinger, Kristian Hains -- March 7, 2009

Tim has no problems whatsoever with this pine tree build-up in Michaux State Forest -- June 28, 2016

Riding the rocks in Rocky Ridge County Park -- September 23, 2016

Look at Glenn go!  Not bad for a man who can use his AARP card to get us discounts on ice cream!  Michaux State Forest -- June 28, 2016

Often, it's best to stand back and watch how the guy in front of you gets through the rock garden.  Left:  Chris Keller in Michaux State Forest (August 25, 2015).  Right: Kevin Hardy in on Indian Trail in Bald Eagle State Forest (November 2008)

Common sense has long since replaced peer pressure.  It's an unwritten rule within the group that no one has to "drink the Pabst" and feel pressured ride what they aren't comfortable with.  We've all become pretty good at spotting "easy buttons" to get around the trickiest of trails.  Shortly after he began riding with us, Matt Linnane told Tim and I that he loved that our rides never turned into races or pissing contests.  It's one of my favorite things about the guys I ride with and it helps to make all of our rides rideable...for everyone involved.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- January 21, 2017

Not everything is rideable....just ask Timmy! -- July 12, 2016

If you enjoyed reading all mean, please tweet it!  As always,  here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:

Riding Michaux State Forest with Glenn and Timmy (June 28, 2016)
Riding Micahux State Forest with Kristian (August 28, 2016)
Riding Patapsco Valley State Park with Kristian (October 15, 2016)