Friday, September 3, 2010

Pine Creek Trail

I caught wind of this trail on my recumbent news group. It's a Rails To Trails in Tioga County in north central Pa and rated one of the 10 best. It is known as the Pine Creek Gorge, the Grand Canyon of Pa. It's 61 miles of hard packed crushed gravel with a 2% grade.
After a hearty breakfast I picked up a sandwich and 62oz of Gatorade for the ride. I got to the southern trail start, Jersey Shore, at 8am. Although it was predicted to be very hot it was a nice cool morning and I was psyched. I decided to take my time as I had reservations in Wellsboro and there was no need to arrive early. With camera in hand I was ready. The trail was flat as a pancake and the hard packed gravel easy on my trike. With the 3 tracks of the trike it was a bit slower so 9 mph was my easy exploring pace. I stopped everywhere taking in all it's beauty. Pine Creek with it's mountain views was just spectacular. Being Wednesday the trail was quiet, tranquil and serene. The area is known for rattle snakes and I was hoping to see one. I met up with an older gentlemen named Fred on his 3 wheeled bike. He was into following eagles and their nestings. He said he would be surprised if I didn't see a rattler, especially after Blackwells. At around mile marker 20, 41 miles into the ride, there it was in the middle of the trail. A 3-4 ft rattle snack. At first I thought it was dead, but then I saw it moving. Of course I took pictures from a distance. I made sure I got the rattle at the tail. I met up with some Dutch people and the father was quite intrigued with my trike. I finished that days ride with another 3 miles to Wellsboro. It was a great small town with lots of places to eat and drink. After a nice hearty breakfast I packed up and was on the trail by 7 am. It was cool with light fog. A good start to what would end up another hot day. I did notice I was 1-2 mph faster heading south so I guess that is were the 2% grade comes in. Most of the people I met on the trail were riding casual mountain bikes. Many older folks would park in some designated area and ride a few miles up and then back. It's such an easy trail to ride you could do it with any single speed bike. Besides the endless beauty the highlight of my ride back was seeing a gray fox dart out 20 feet in front of me. A rare sighting I was told.
I ended the ride with a grand total of 132 miles at an average of 9.3 mph. The trail is extremely well maintained with no ruts. It is carry in and carry out. I did not find 1 piece of garbage in all 132 miles. This is a must see and do trail to be added to you Bucket List.

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