Thursday, April 8, 2010

Out of the Wild

The excitement and talk of Shippensburg: someone tried to use a drive-thru that wasn't there.

Karlee's first campsite

Why German the only translation that gets an exclamation point!

After four enjoyable days of banging around the Michaux State Forest of south central PA, I'm deep in the heart of civilization, visiting my friend Lora who is doing part of her time with Fish and Wildlife Service in DC, living across the Potomac in Arlington. I hadn't been to the big capitol since I was in elementary school, so this will be my first adult exploration, and with the increased mobility of a bike.

A cool tower on Ridge Rd. in Michaux State Forest

And a cool view from it.

Back to Michaux, and my attempt at mountain biking there. After leaving Shippensburg, I found Merv's Bike Shop (and Mervin) tucked away in an old steel garage out in the middle of rural farming land. He sold me a topo of Michaux and directed me to start riding from the ATV parking lot up the road from Pine Grove Furnace park, but I won't pass that recommendation on to others. What ensued from that lot was a couple hours of spiny, jagged rock thumping, which would have been fun for about maybe all of five minutes. However, all was not lost, and further up the ridge and to the west, I did find some riding more to my liking before descending back into the valley and crossing to the Blueberry hiking trail for a superbly good (and super steep--I didn't see any other mountain bike tracks) drop after climbing up a dirt road. Best off all, the trail concludes with a stream crossing before hitting the road, which was perfect for a cooling dip before pedaling back to the park.

While hiking high on a ridge in Michaux, I saw a view

And a rock that seemed like it had dropped from the sky

And a metal folding chair
And my shadow.

But wait there's more: While riding back up the paved main road, I notice two decidedly mountain bike-ish single tracks heading off from a roadside lot. A quick investigation, and yes, trails branching off in many directions on both sides of the road, and one that meandered be right back to the park, as luck would have it. I was already 5 or 6 hours into my ride at that point, so my exploration was minimal, but now I know where to head. For Wednesday, I did another hike further west in the forest and found more trails, including a lakeside ramble that would ride like a charm.

This is on the map as a reservoir, so I guess it is where they keep there reserve of plastic pipe in the ground.

Now this is is a reservoir spillway should look like.

This is the kind of mountain bike trail I found when I wasn't on a mountain bike.

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