Showing posts with label white water rafting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label white water rafting. Show all posts

Sunday, June 24, 2018


In 1754, frustrated with the tediously slow progress of his men as they hacked their way westward through the Appalachian Mountains to capture Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh), Colonel George Washington broke off from the main group and, along with a handful of men, began exploring the Youghiogheny River as a possible water route through the mountains.  The group made it as far as present day Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania where, legend has it, Colonel Washington stood on a rock overlooking a 40 foot waterfall and decided to abandon the plan when he came to the realization that the rapids of the Youghiogheny would not be a viable means of transporting men and artillery westward.  It's this very waterfall, and system of rapids, that makes the Youghiogheny River the focal point of any visit to Ohiopyle State Park.

My son, Alex, and I standing on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River...possibly the same rock that George Washington stood on in 1754. -- June 20, 2018

My parents first brought me to Ohiopyle State Park when I was a child.  Now it's become the place that my son, Alex, and I have chosen for our annual "guys camping trip."  Alex and I both look forward to our yearly excursion to Ohiopyle.  We treat ourselves to a week of nature, a week of adventure, and a week of bonding.  This year, Alex's best bud, Devin, came along with us...he is, after all, part of the family.  We were also blessed by visits from my college roommate, Chris "Rainman" Lowe, and my partner in crime at NMS, Mike Graham.  On any given day that we are camping at matter what activity we choose to do:  hiking, rafting, exploring, or mountain biking...the river is the center piece of it all.  

Alex took this pic of me on our last day at Ohiopyle.  The Youghiogheny River was running incredibly high from the torrential rains that hit the area last week. -- June 22, 2018

Our agenda for the week was and adventure (with a relaxation and good food added in for good measure).   I brought my mountain bike with me again this year.  I really got the itch to explore more of the park after I mountain biked there last summer for the first time in nearly ten years.  On this trip, I managed two rides...the first was on the Great Allegheny incredibly scenic ride for people of all skill levels.   My second ride of the week was a mud-fest ride for the ages which included Sugarloaf, McCune, and Baughman Trails.  We also managed to hike a lot more this year.  On Wednesday, Mike Graham joined Alex, Devin, and I as we explored and hiked Beech Trail.  We also explored the Ferncliff Penninsula which led us to the west bank of the Youghiogheny River and right to the big waterfall.  But, it's the white water rafting that we all look forward to the most.   I  first took Alex white water rafting in 2010 and it's become one of our favorite thinigs to do together.  This particular trip was probably my favorite ever...the river was high and fast, our guide was excellent, and the weather was beautiful...which made for a very exciting experience.

On the first evening in Ohiopyle, I snuck out for a ride on the Great Allegheny of the most visually stimulating and scenic trails you can ride a bike on. -- June 18, 2018

One of the high points of the week is our rafting trip on the Youghiogheny River.  George Washington might have had better luck on this river if he had Cliff from White Water Adventures as his guide. Left to right:  Devin Seiger, Alex Raymond, Chris Lowe, Dave Raymond, and Cliff the White Water Guide. -- June 19, 2018

After an afternoon of white water rafting, we took a hike down through Cucumber Falls.   My son, Alex Raymond, exploring the Cucumber Falls area. -- June 19, 2018

Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 19, 2018

Exploring BEHIND Cucumber Falls.  Left to Right:  Dave Raymond, Chris Lowe, Mike Graham, Alex Raymond, and Devin Seiger. -- June 19, 2018

The trail at Cucumber Falls leads down to the river.  It's one of our favorite spots to skip rocks and just hand out.  Left to Right:  Alex Raymond, Dave Raymond, Devin Seiger, Chris Lowe, and Mike Graham. -- June 19, 2018

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

Having fun while hiking Beech Trail in Ohiopyle State Park.  Left to Right:  Mike Graham, Alex Raymond, David Raymond, and Devin Seiger. -- June 20, 2018

After hiking Beech Trail, we explored the Ferncliff Penninsula.  The trail leads you down the west bank of the Youghiogheny River and to the big waterfall.  You can see the main observation decks on the other side of the river. -- June 20, 2018

Mountain biking McCune Trail in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 21,  2018

McCune Trail in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 21, 2018

The stream behind my bike isn't a stream at's Baughman Trail.  Even the trails became "rivers" after the heavy thunderstorms on Wednesday evening.  -- June 21, 2018

Alex took this pic of me as I came off of Baughman Trail into the town of Ohiopyle.  What an absolute mud-fest of a ride! -- June 21, 2018

Typically, when we camp in Ohiopyle State Park, our mornings and early afternoon are full of adventure...but the evenings are reserved for relaxation, good conversation around the fire,  and amazing camp food.  I'll admit, that as I've gotten older (and after multiple surgeries), it's harder for me to relax in tent.  I now go out of my way to reserve one of the small cabins in the campgrounds on the ridge above the river which offer a lot more comfort and a little bit more peace of mind when the inevitable summer thunderstorm rolls through the area.  The cabin and the campsite literally become our "home away from home" for the week.

Unloading wood for our evening campfire. --  June 21, 2018

One of our favorite campfire meals...beef and potato soup.  -- June 21, 2018

Breakfast consists of some Hungry Jack pancakes...the way my grandpap George Morosky made them for me when I was a kid. -- June 19, 2018

It's not breakfast without bacon and coffee! -- June 19, 2018

A little rain doesn't dampen our spirits at the campside.  We just moved the grill to the porch and continued on! -- June 20, 2018

Evening dinner aound the campfire.  As a thank you, we invited our rafting guide, Cliff, to come have dinner with us. Left to Right:  Chris Lowe, Mike Graham, Alex Raymond, David Raymond, Devin Seiger, and Cliff the White Water Guide. -- June 19, 2018

Packing up at the end of the week is bitter sweet.  I really hate to leave a place that I love so much and I really enjoy the time with my son...but I also miss my home, my bed, and most of all, my wife.  Alex and I have already decided to continue our tradition come back next year at the same time.   I'm so blessed to have a son who has some of the same passions that I have.  I'm even more blessed knowing that he enjoys spending this time with me.  The one thing that made packing up this year a little easier is knowing that, not only will he and I be back next year, but my wife and I will be camping at the same site in less than a week.  So...for at least one more weekend this summer...Ohiopyle State Park will be my "home away from home" one more time.

Alex and David Raymond.  Our last stop in the State Park before heading home...Baughman Rock Overlook provides a brilliant view of Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands. -- June 22, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

Yep...I stopped at the General Store in Ohiopyle for ice cream before I even finished my mud-fest mountain bike ride.  Still another 3 miles up the ridge to the campsite...but I just couldn't wait! -- June 21, 2018

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from all of our adventures in Ohiopyle State Park last week.  Happy rafting, hiking, biking, and exploring!

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 YOUR TRUE NATUREPA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION  and WHITE WATER ADVENTURES.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Visiting Ohiopyle State Park is a tradition that spans generations in my family...and I'm so happy to be able to keep the tradition alive.  It's quite possibly one of the most beautiful State Parks in Pennsylvania.  There's no doubt in my mind that it is probably the most unique of our State Parks.  The beauty and uniqueness of Ohiopyle can be observed around every corner, between every rock, over every rapid, and on every trail.  

After the riding up the most obnoxious hill ever...I took time to take in the view from just outside of Kentuck Campgrounds in Ohiopyle State Park -- June 15, 2017

Thursday morning I was relaxing on the banks of the Youghiogheny River when I decided to stretch my legs, take a walk, and check out the visitor center located near the main falls which makes up the heart of the town.  As I toured the visitor center my attention drifted towards a t-shirt with the words ADVICE FROM OHIOPYLE followed by seven short sentences meant to help you experience and appreciate your time in Ohiopyle.  I think these seven sentences are relevant, not just for Ohiopyle, but anywhere you are on the planet.


It's not hard to find nature in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.  The state park contains more than 20,000 acres of rugged forest...with the Youghiogheny River running through the heart of the park.

Taking in the view at Baughman Rocks Overlook before morning mountain bike ride in the Sugarloaf area of the park -- June 13, 2017

Taking things literally...nothing is more refreshing than immersing yourself in the Youghiogheny River after a morning of mountain biking in Ohiopyle -- June 13, 2017


The most relaxing part of my week in Ohiopyle came on Thursday.  After breakfast, I packed up my chair, a cooler, and a good book and headed to the falls area.  Two complete (and uninterrupted) hours of reading with nothing but the sound of the Youghiogheny raging just feet away.

Ohiopyle's name comes from "Ohiopehelle."  A combination of Native American words which translate to: "white, frothy water."  The main falls are all the indication you need that this translation is correct -- June 15, 2017

The spot I chose, just above the falls, to relax near the river and read -- June 15, 2017


You don't have to be on a mountain bike or a raft to enjoy and cherish the wilderness that makes up Ohiopyle.  Midway through our week, I took a nerdy hiking trip with Alex and Devin.  We trekked through an obscure part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield (just a few miles from Ohiopyle) to see the spot of George Washington's first military encounter...Jumonville Glen.  It's remote, beautiful, and seemingly untouched since young Mr. Washington was there!

Pausing to take in some nerdy history at Jumonville Rocks...part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield -- June 14, 2017

Alex and I took our first camping trip together back in 2009 when he was 10 years old.  It's become an annual event.  Last week, however, was the first time we had hiked down to Jumonville Rocks since that first trip -- June 14, 2017


After years of sleeping in tents and on the ground...I now opt for a little more creature comforts.  The mini-cabins in the Hickory loop of Kentuck Campgrounds are a perfect home away from home!

Relaxing by the fire and reading a nerdy history book -- June 13, 2017

Alex and I have been camping together since he was ten years old.  It's nice to get away and spend time with him -- June 13, 2017


I've never been one to want to ride "rail trail"...but the mind blowing beauty of the Great Allegheny Passage just took me completely by surprise.  So much so that I had Alex bring his new Go Pro and drone down to the river gorge to get some amazing video.  I will, no doubt, ride this rail trail again.  Can't wait to bring my wife, Robin, here! 

Pausing on the Great Allegheny Passage directly above the Youghiogheny River -- June 13, 2017


Nothing says "finding inspiration around every turn" like a mountain bike trip down (and yes...up) Baughman Trail.  I was able to get out on the trails twice last week.  Riding Sugarloaf and Baughman Trail on Tuesday...and then back to Baughman on Thursday.  The same rocks that line the river in the valley below can be found lining the trails up above.  

Alex took this shot of me as I navigated the final section of Baughman Trail -- June 15, 2017

I'll admit that I was pretty proud of myself for navigating the nearly 800 foot descent of the 2 mile long Baughman Trail.  Alex let me borrow his Go Pro and stabilizer for the ride.  The video I managed to get is amazing. -- June 15, 2017


It's impossible to go to Ohiopyle and not go white water rafting.  I ALWAYS choose White Water Adventure to guide our trip.  They are safe, reliable, and extremely friendly.  Our trip down the lower Yough was super fun because (being the middle of the work week) it only included two rafts.  Our guide, Seth, was great to hang with...and it was awesome to have my step-daughter, Mia, join us for the ride!

Rafting the lower Yough with White Water Adventures.  Left to right:  Alex Raymond, David Raymond, Mia Arnold-Scott, Devin Seiger, and "tour guide" Seth -- June 15, 2017

This amazing video of our week was created by my son Alex Raymond.  Check out his work on YouTube.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, these seven "observations" aren't my own creation.  I really did get the inspiration from a t-shirt in hanging in the Ohiopyle Visitor Center.  It doesn't matter what or who inspires just matters that you are inspired to get out and enjoy the nature and beauty that surrounds all of us.  I'm glad I saw the shirt.

The t-shirt design is credited to Your True Nature.  Check out their website:

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond June 21, 2017
Be sure to check out HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM!

My first trip down the lower Yough with White Water Adventures. helmets in 1995!
Front to back:  Jason Cole, David Raymond, Sean Turner, Beau Henderson, Jacob Raymond

Here are the GARMIN maps and stats from my rides and hikes featured in this post...