Monday, May 24, 2010

Traveling Different Trails for a Change

Two miles from home is PA Game Commission Parcel #264, a.k.a. Bear Valley. When I first started mountain biking, these game lands were to be my stomping grounds until just a year later, the PGC shut them down to mountain bikes, horses, and ATV (although ATVs were never permitted on there in the first place). Being so close to home, the convenience is oh-so-nice so today I put on the trail shoes and headed to the woods; and for a change it wasn't Weiser State Forest. The Game Commission obviously never patrols these woods because what I found were the most pristine 4-wheeler trails you could imagine. It appeared even the horses like them based on the horse prints and shit I found. The trails were smooth, well-traveled, and not a log or obstacle anywhere. The trails were very easy to follow -- just follow the smooth doubletrack. These lands are old mining country, so every now and then you'll find mining debris and at one point, someone propped up some wires that were falling across the trail. After the climb to the top of the mountain (1,100 ft ascend from my house), the trail followed the ridge top for about a mile and it was beautiful. Then you come to a "T" which split down either side of the mountain. I opted to double back and head home which gave me about an 11 mile loop total. It was slow going at spots and yes, I walked up the side of the mountain so no time records were set. I was hiking for about 2:20 minutes. I might try the right side into Bear Valley later in the week. At some point, I think that trail will hook up to the private land that is leased by a 4-wheeler club from a coal company. That could explain why the trail so worn in -- a renegade 4-wheeler or two probably sneak off onto the game lands every now and then. It was SO pretty up there - much prettier than the private land that is used hard by the 4-wheelers and dirt bikes. It's quite torn up. But the game lands remain pristine. And there are dozens and dozens of remnant trails from the coal mining era. I recall the locals saying they used to ride over there a lot years ago. They really should rethink letting mountain bikes on their existing trails again. How nice it would be.