Showing posts with label Swatara State Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Swatara State Park. Show all posts

Sunday, January 13, 2019


I first heard of REI's #OptOutside initiative back in November.  GUNG HO BIKES, the bike shop at which I work, followed REI's lead and decided to close its doors on Black Friday to host a series of rides.  What a great idea...encouraging more and more people to take a break from the stress of everyday life, disconnect from screen time, and enjoy time outdoors...reconnecting with nature and spending time with family and friends!  

The three inches of snow that fell overnight might keep me off my road bike...but it won't stop me from opting to be outside! -- January 13, 2019

The new year is a time for new resolutions.  Typically, I don't make them...but this year, at the suggestion of my wonderful wife, Robin, the two of us have one.  We are going to try to commit to doing 52 hikes in 2019.  That's at least one a week for the next year...and, as of right now, we are three for three:  three weeks in and three hikes in the book!  I don't want to stop there, though.  This year, I've decided to embrace "Opt Outside" as my theme and spend as much time as possible outdoors doing the things that I love with the people that I love!  So basically, my resolution for the new year isn't necessarily to do something drastically different with my's just to commit to doing the things I love, in the places that I love, with the people I love more often!  For me...that means making it a priority...regardless of whether or not I have to dodge rain drops or face wind opt outside as much as my schedule will allow.

Opting to start the year off with a hike at Gifford Pinchot State Park.  David Raymond, Robin Raymond, Alex Raymond, and Emma Sadowski. -- January 1, 2019

Despite the rain that fell all morning, Matt and I opted for some mountain biking at Swatara State Park. -- January 5, 2019

Matt riding in Swatara State Park. He shared with me, while riding last Saturday, that this year he plans to be on the bike as much as possible! -- January 5, 2019

Post ride pic of my bike at Swatara State Park.  -- January 5, 2019

Hiking Rocky Ridge County Park.  Alex, Robin, and David Raymond -- January 6, 2019

Alex, Robin, and bundled up and enjoy the sub-freezing temps for a fun hike at Chickies Rock County Park. -- January 12, 2019

David and Alex Raymond at Chickies Rock County Park. -- January 12, 2019

Love this pic of me at Chickies Rock County Park.  You can see the bend in the Susquehanna River as is snakes south between York and Lancaster Counties. -- January 12, 2019

The super cool thing is that I'm not the only person I know who is embracing this mantra.  Just yesterday, I got caught up in a text thread with Matt, Tim, and Glenn...sending each other pics of how we were spending this cold winter day.  Despite the sub-freezing temps we were all outside enjoying nature in our own ways.  My son, Alex, has joined my wife and I on our first three hikes of the year.  My neighbor, Mike Alicea, has set a goal of just getting out as much as possible to ride and enjoy natures best therapy!  Mike Graham, one of my best friends (and partner in crime at NMS) has committed to hitting the ski slopes at least seven times this winter.  He also has expressed interest in doing more and more hiking and exploring with me.  Ben Kelly (a former student and now a co-worker of mine) told me he would love to mountain bike as many different places as he can this year.  Randy Bennett, an old friend (who I haven't seen in a long time) mentioned to me that he has multiple hikes planned for the upcoming year....maybe one of these days we will run into each other in Michaux State Forest.  As long as we all opt outside as much as possible it is bound to happen sooner or later!  So...I'm proud to say that this year...I have a New Year Resolution that I hope will not only benefit me, but inspire others around me to put down their devices, turn off the screens, and make their own stories by simply opting to be outside.

With snow in the forecast, I opted for a quick road ride. -- January 12,  2019

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- January 13, 2019
To learn more about REI's #OptOutside initiative click HERE...feel free to share, in the comments, how you plan to Opt Outside this year.  

Yep...a happy boy.  Nothing beats the milkshakes at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, PA.  -- January 11, 2018

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

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 


Wednesday, December 26, 2018


There is a folder on my computer titled PICTURES. Currently, it contains (as of this writing) 1,919 sub folders which house ( of this writing) a total of 41,307 photographs...the oldest of which are some old family photos that I'd inherited from my mother.  Heck...just in the sub folder named 2018 there are 6,049 pictures! I love pictures and the memories that they contain.  Cell phones and muliple gig memory cards have made capturing memories easier than it has ever been.  Every once in a while, I'll manage to take a picture that really resonates with me. Not that I think that any of my photos are worthy of winning any photo contest...but because, by blind luck, I managed to do justice to what I was actually seeing, and feeling, in that moment as I pulled out the cell phone to capture the beauty surrounding me.  So...out of the over 6,000 pictures I took this past year...I think I found the twenty best from the past twelve months. Only one of the pics features another human being...the other nineteen capture ordinary places and objects in, I think, extraordinary ways...making these, in my opinion, my 20 best photographs of 2018. Enjoy. 

This picture was taken near the Visitor Center and underneath the bridge (that makes up a section of the Great Allegheny Passage) that crosses over the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.  I had just finished an amazing ride down Baughman Trail and was celebrating with an ice cream cone.  I thought that my bike, all covered in mud, looked super cool (and very appropriate) leaning against the mural of a mountain biker.  -- June 21, 2018

This pic of, the now drained, Lake Williams was taken from the Water Street bridge which  crosses over Lake Williams in York County, Pennsylvania.  I was most impressed with the man made structures (which are below the normal water lever of the lake) that can be seen in the extreme left and right of this photograph.  -- October 26, 2018

Normally, the view from the TOP of Pole Steeple in Michaux State Forest provides the best pics...but I love this pic of the early morning summer sun shining through the forest on our way up to the  Pole Steele Vista. -- August 1, 2018

Chris Keller and I rode in Swatara State Park shortly after a major wind storm ripped through the area...making the landscape look almost surreal.  --  April 7, 2018

A number of people have told me that this is my best pic of the year.  I'm not sure if it is the best, but this picture of  Tom's Run in Michaux State Forest...with the morning mist rising off of super cool. -- August 7, 2018

The view from Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park looks like this...a glistening sheet of water pouring off of the cliff above you.  -- June 30, 2018

The Hershey Medical Trail System was especially muddy on the day the Matt, Tim, Adam, and I chose to do our first (and hopefully annual) Ugly Sweater Ride.  I took this pic of my drive train after the ride.  I didn't expect it to be anything out of the ordinary...but it does a great job showing just how "peanut butter-like" the trails were on that particular day. -- December 2, 2018

While pedaling up Park Street in Manchester, Pennsylvania, I caught this glimpse of the the Autumn sun poking through the clouds hovering over the farm fields.  -- October 31, 2018

I find the desert captivating and incredibly beautiful.  I was fortunate enough to be able to take my brother's old Cannondale out for a ride while on my brief visit to Arizona this past summer.  Superstition Mountain can be seen in the background. -- June 10, 2018

In our little corner of the Earth, the Fall foliage is usually at it's peak during the first weekend of November.  This year didn't disappoint.  I took this pic of the forest...covered in yellows, oranges, and reds...while hiking at Rocky Ridge County Park  with Robin, Alex, and Emma. -- November 4, 2018

Ohiopyle State Park is known for it's waterfalls and the rapids of the Youghiogheny River...but after a torrential rainfall, the entire landscape  became a seemingly endless string of waterfalls.  I took this picture while hiking Beech Trail with Alex, Mike Graham, and Devin. -- June 20, 2018

The overcast skies couldn't dampen the colors of the fall foliage on either side of the Conewago Creek  near York Haven, Pennsylvania. -- October 28, 2018

One of my favorite pictures of 2018...I took this picture of a rhododendron plant in full bloom while riding on Gargamel's Trail in Michaux State Forest with Tim and Ben.  Mountain Creek is in the background. -- July 10, 2018

I honestly didn't think that the florescent orange color of my bike was also a color that naturally occurred in nature...but this large amount of orange fungi at Rocky Ridge County Park proved me to be incorrect. -- September 21, 2018

This my opinion...the best picture I took in 2018.  The forest surrounding McCune Trail in Ohiopyle State Park was totally engulfed in a heavy fog after an evening of heavy rain. -- June 21, 2018

Rocky Ridge County Park is known well in York County for it's Christmas Magic light display...but this festive tree was found deeper into the woods near trail #5. -- December 8, 2018

On what was possibly the coldest ride of 2018, I took my mountain bike on the trails behind the Bedford Springs Hotel in the single digit temps.  This picture of the frozen landscape was taken near Davey Lewis' Cave. -- January 14, 2018

Ben Kelly and I took a ride on the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg to celebrate the Winter Solstice.  My helmet and Stumpjumper seem to blend right in with the winter colors. -- December 21, 2018

December means short days in south central Pennsylvania.  I'm usually able to squeeze in an hours worth of riding after school before the the sun sets for the day.  I took this pic of the December sun setting just as I was wrapping up one of my afternoon rides. -- December 19, 2018

The only pic on  my top 20 list that another person in it...I took this picture of my niece, Jackie Raymond, on her first trip to Ohiopyle State Park.  I love her look of excitement and amazement as she experienced Cucumber Falls for the first time. -- June 30, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 26, 2018

As far as ice cream goes...the best surprise of the year was when I found out that the Bobcat Creamery had begun making their own homemade ice cream!  The black raspberry is amazing! -- December 8, 2018

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

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 


Sunday, December 2, 2018


We all need "me time," but nothing pulls me out of a seasonal depression funk better than time with family and friends.  I think about this a lot this time of year the sun sets earlier and the temps hover around the freezing point... the amount of time that I spend outdoors and the frequency that I am able to get together with friends to soak in some Vitamin N drastically decreases.  A little GROUP THERAPY can go a long doesn't matter if it's a hike in the woods with my family or hitting the trails with the guys in my mountain biking circle...togetherness feels amazing.  So yeah...nothing seems better for my mind and body than doing things that I love, in places that I love, with people that I love (yes...that includes you too, Glenn).  So, here are (in no particular order) some pics of recent group therapy spanning the past two years.  Enjoy!

Taken after we had just finished riding Grave Ridge Trail in Michaux State Forest...this photo ranks as one of my all-time favorite group pics.
 Back:  Tim Sindlinger, Glenn Medice, and  Matt Linnane.  Front:  Dave Raymond -- August 15, 2017

A rafting trip on the Youghiogheny River has become an annual's four-ish hours of of wild and fun group therapy!
 Left to right:  Devin Seiger, Alex Raymond, Chris Lowe, Dave Raymond, & Cliff the Guide. -- June 19, 2018

Local hikes at Rocky Ridge County Park provide easy access to Vitamin N and group therapy.
 Left to Right:  Alex Raymond, Emma Sadowski, Dave Raymond, & Robin Raymond. -- November 4, 2018

Taking a break along Gargamel's Trail in Michaux State Forest to listen to one of Glenn's stories.
 Left to Right:  Dave Raymond, Glenn Medice, and Matt Linnane -- July 25, 2017

Pausing during an extremely hot and humid hike on Beech Trail in Ohiopyle State Park.
 Left to Right:  Mike Graham, Alex Raymond, Dave Raymond, and Devin Seiger. -- June 20, 2018

Time for some extreme cold group therapy with my neighbors.  Mike Alicea, Brent Shirk, and I braved single digit temps to ride a few miles on the Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Our faces were frozen...but we were smiling on the inside! -- December 28, 2017

My kids are all I jump at the chance to share my love for the outdoors with my neices and nephew.  This past summer, Robin and I took them to Ohiopyle State Park for a weekend camping trip...which included a super cool hike down and around Cucumber Falls.
 Left to Right:  Sophie, Jackie, Isaac, Robin, and Dave Raymond.  -- June 30, 2018

Group Therapy comes in all forms...even in the form of fixing one of Tim's flat tires while riding in Michaux State Forest.
 Left to Right:  Ben Kelly, Tim Sindlinger, and Dave Raymond. -- July 10, 2018

Hiking to the top of Tumbling Run in Michaux State Forest is always a treat.  It was especially fun with this group.
 Left to right:  Alex Raymond, Emma Sadowski, Blythe Arnold-Scott, Dave Raymond, & Mike Graham. -- August 1, 2018

Dave Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, and Matt Linnane pausing for a pic in Swatara State Park at the exact spot in which Tim and I met Matt a few years prior.  -- June 6, 2017

Matt Linnane, Tim Sindliner, Adam Zeigler, and I were all smiles as we donned our best holiday attire for our first ever UGLY SWEATER RIDE.  Thanks to the never-ending rain, this ride on the HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER TRAIL SYSTEM was one of the muddiest recent memory!  -- December 2, 2018

Some post-adventure food and group therapy at our campsite in Ohiopyle State Park.  Good food and great friends!
  Left to Right:  Chris Lowe, Mike Graham, Alex Raymond, Dave Raymond, Devin Seiger, and Cliff the Guide. -- June 19, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- December 2, 2018

Some of the best group therapy happens at the GUNG HO BIKES.  Nothing beats fixing and selling bikes with the group of guys that I have the privilege to work with.  Left to right:  Jim Seevers, Dave Raymond, and Ben Kelly. -- November 29, 2018

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

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 YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, WHITE WATER ADVENTURES, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Friday, April 27, 2018


Recently, an article I was reading in a cycling magazine grabbed my attention.  It was all about the "why?"  Why do you ride your bike?  I read on as people from all over the country chimed in and shared their own personal "why."  It really got me thinking about all the reasons why I ride.  Narrowing it down to one overriding reason as to WHY I love to ride my bike...has proven difficult.  Some reasons why, like overall health, have been a constant and others, like training for races, have ceased to be important to me.

Enjoying the view at the top of Baughman Trail from Baughman Rock Overlook in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 13, 2017
I have this internal desire to ride my bike all of the time.  My brain is always trying to find a time slot in the day for me to turn the pedals.  Just this morning, prior to coming to school, I was in the rain putting my bike in the back of my truck, with the optimistic feeling that the weather would clear and the trails at Rocky Ridge would be open at 3PM.  But that "internal desire" doesn't answer the "why" question.  So, I sat down and made a list of all the reasons I ride...hoping to come up with a theme.  The list looks like this...

-Riding my bike makes me happy.
-Riding my bike keeps me focused.
-Riding my bike helps me to explore and enjoy nature.
-Riding my bike keeps me from getting too fat.
-Riding my bike allows me to enjoy time alone.
-Riding my bike allows me to enjoy time with friends.

I know I missed a few...but just creating that small list brings into focus the bigger "WHY."  It's clear that I ride my bike because it positively affects me both mentally and physically.  Cool...but what about my biking friends?  I wondered what their "WHY" was and I asked them to complete this sentence:

"I ride my bike to..."  

Here are their responses in the order in which I received them.  Thanks to all of my friends and family who helped me out with this one.  Enjoy!


Mike Alessandroni riding at the Gettysburg National Military Park. -- August 3, 2016

"...experience freedom." 


Jay Zech at the conclusion of the Cradle of Liberty Adventure Race. -- June 28, 2009.

" more happy."


Matt Linnane in riding in Michaux State Forest. -- August 15, 2017

" push my body and to work out OUTSIDE.  Oh...and I ride to pick up chicks, they love the spandex!"


Hanging out and riding the trails around Camp Tuckahoe with my fellow homo sapien, Mark Lentz. --  February 3, 2018

" have fun, hang out with other homo sapiens, and to be by myself."


Tim Sindlinger doing his best to avoid "cabin fever" by riding at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- October 14, 2016

" escape the indoors!  I catch cabin fever easily and I don't handle it well."


On  a ride with my beautiful wife, Robin, in West Palm Beach, Florida. -- December 1, 2017

"...for the pure joy I experienced in my youth--the freedom, the wind on my face, and the thrill of a downhill ride."


David Raymond and Chris Keller riding in Swatara State Park. -- April 7, 2018

"...exercise, relieve stress, and hang out with cool people."


Mike Alicea in Michaux State Forest. -- June 14, 2014

"...relieve stress.  When riding my mind is clear and the trails are wide.  In that moment, I leave behind the bustle of daily life."


Alex Raymond riding his bike through Point State Park in Pittsburgh, PA. -- October 2017

" get from point A to point's a fun way to do so.  It's a lot more challenging than driving and far more exciting because you have more time to think to yourself and get an awesome workout.  It also gives me the opportunity to sing to myself because I know that no one on the road will hear me."

Why do Mark and I ride?  So we can get back into shape! Mark Lentz and David Raymond at the Lakes. -- April 13, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- April 27, 2018
What is your "WHY?"  Feel free to post it in the comments below.  

One of the biggest reasons I ride is so that I don't feel so guilty going out for a deep-fried PBJ at Todd Conners in Fells Point, Maryland!  Left to right:  David M. Raymond, David A. Raymond, Robin Raymond, & Mary Jane Raymond -- April 21, 2018

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from a few of the rides featured in this post.   Happy riding!

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 the good folks at YOURTRUENATURE.COM and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.