Wintering

On Wednesday, Mother Nature dumped 16 inches of snow on Northeastern Pennsylvania. While the accumulation was significant, it was a bit less than originally forecasted.

Today, the first official day of winter, presented me with a window to go out and play. I grabbed the Karate Monkey and rode from home to the Delaware State Forest. The trail from my community to Five Mile Meadow Road was untouched and impossible to ride. I walked through and was surprised to see that Five Mile was groomed with snow machine tracks.

If you have ever pedaled on snow after a snow machine, you know what I’m talking about. The center of the tracks are similar to the rumble strips on the side of a roadway. This creates enough traction to ride in fairly deep snow. I made a right on Ben Bush Road, and connected over to Standing Stone Trail. Both are old logging roads, now mainly used by ATV’s and snow machines.

By Thursday, it should warm up enough and the thaw will remove most of the snow until the next winter weather event. Each storm brings us a different of snow. The powdery type is the easiest to push through, while the wet, sticky snow is another story. Both are worth layering up and getting outside.

Base camp

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Harry Chapin – A Better Place To Be

Upper Watershed

Every once and a while, I take the 25 mile drive down to the Port Jervis Watershed Trails, to traverse a bit more rugged landscape. While the entire park is beautiful and challenging, the upper section, near Reservoir three, is quite possibly one of the most picturesque places to ride a bicycle in the tri-state area.

On Friday, I met Mike at the parking lot on Box Baum Road for a late afternoon sampling of the lush green trails that make you feel like you have been magically transported to somewhere in the northwestern part of the country. We had about 90 minutes before sunset, so we wanted to make the most of the time we had.

We pedaled out of the parking lot and right on to Walt’s Keep, an easy trail that sends you west for about a mile before intersecting with Starcrawf, then loops back to the lot. Next, we headed down Box Baum Road and hopped on Holography. This is one of my favorite trails in the Watershed. What it lacks in distance, it makes up for in beauty. The views of the lake and incredible pine needle surface makes me forget any stress I might have carried into the park. I felt weightless as we tranistioned to Lost Bear, Mahackamack, Tufted and Delaware.

Somewhere up on Mahackamack, we ran into TC from Action Bikes and Outdoor. He was test riding a new demo bike. Both shops offer demos that are suitable for the most rugged terrain.

If your in town or looking for a beautiful place to ride, checkout this section of the Port Jervis Watershed, you won’t be dissappointed.

Hemlock Farms and Beyond

This past weekend, the warm November weather sent me outside for two full days. Unfortunately, not to ride, but to catch up on some yard work. The shed needed to be cleaned out and reorganized, patio furniture needed to be put away for the winter and firewood needed to be stacked and brought up to the porch.

I did manage to squeeze in a ride on Saturday. Conscious of the hunters in the Delaware State Forest (it’s rifle season), I opted for a road ride. I headed out at about 8am, down Rt. 739 towards Lord’s Valley. While freshly paved, Rt. 739 is by no means conducive to bicycles. The surface is narrow (no shoulder), with cars moving at around 50-60 mph. A steady cross wind was pushing me into traffic. A right on Rt. 434 provided me with a little more room to work with and the head wind, although brutal, was a lot safer. 434 is a roller coaster type road with 4 foot shoulders. A left on Rt. 6 (PA State Bicycle Route) and I found the cross wind again. Then it poured for about 25 minutes. Then the sun came out to play. Still undeterred, I made a left on Rt. 739 and finally I had the wind at my back, albeit for only a few miles.

I hung a right into the main entrance of Hemlock Farms and immediately began climbing past the gate and over the hump that is Hemlock Drive. I took a coffee break on a picnic bench at Elm Beach and enjoyed the sunshine and quiet. Refueled and ready to go, I took Forest Road back to Rt. 739 for the return trip. While a private community with a lot of security, I have never been stopped for riding my bike through. However, good luck trying to drive in if your not a resident.

What’s Playing (What am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Squeeze – If I Didn’t Love You