Friday, November 7, 2014

Stuff's Happenin'

In the past several months a lot of good has happened on the trails at Raystown Lake- Aside from regular trail work being completed such as trimming, blowing, lopping, drain cleaning and the like....all this happened too.

Fawn Trail Deck Project
Photo Credit: Rob Sharer

Location: Approximately 3/4 down Fawn Trail just prior to the wooden bridge was a very long wet spot.
Issue: The large wet spot was armored with rock prior to the opening of the trail with IMBA guidance. Unfortunately, because the section of trail was built over several seeps in the hillside the spot was always problematic.

Resolution: It was decided last year that the best means to resolve this ongoing issue would be to build an elevated deck over the trail. So Project lead Ellis D was able to get the ball rolling and ultimately completed just before the leaves began to fall-


Eagle Trail Reroute
Photo Credit: Rob Sharer

Location: Just off of Susquehannock Road headed towards Hydro Loop was a very long stretch of trail area that had become progressively more gouged out and rutted.  original layout.
Issue: Prior to Dirt Fest this year plans had been laid to reroute this section high up on the hillside. Eliminating some of drainage issue associated with it's location. After the four inches of rain fell during the days prior to Dirt Fest, and some thousand plus passes across the trail during the weekend of the event. It became evident that this project couldn't be put off any longer.
Resolution: The original trail corridor was abandoned and a new trail constructed much higher on the ridge in a much dryer spot. The section adds some climbing to the end of the trail but eliminated the abrupt grade reversal that seemed to be problematic. No longer will riders have to search for the trail or become covered in mud trying to ride it.


Terrace Mountain Trail Efforts

Location: On the opposite ridge of Raystown Lake lies a trail that will span from just outside of Huntingdon all the way down past Trough Creek State Park to Saxton.
Issue: Terrace Mountain Trail was never truly finished. It has always been permissible to ride or hike but finding the trail was holding folks back. Additionally with so many downed tree across the trail it was nearly impassable in sections where blazes could be seen.
Resolution: In mid 2011 when the trail risked permanent closure myself and Ranger Gwinn went over and looked at sections in need of improvement. After outlining a plan of attack Gwinn was able to secure funding to hire a contractor to do some tread work that would greatly save volunteer time. During the summer of 2014 contract work was completed on numerous isolated sections of trail. With the machine work largely done the finish work is now underway. Re-blazing the trail is underway with a few end of the year work crews headed out in the coming weeks. With a little luck Spring of 2015 will be the formal re-opening.


Seven Points Skills Area

Location: Across Seven Points Road from the Visitors Center is a 3.4 acres field that has been approved for use by the Army Corps of Engineers for the purposes of constructing a mountain bicycle skills area.
Issue: Allegrippis is great but wouldn't it be even better if we had a skills area? Before we start putting features out on the trails we need riders to know how to ride them.
Resolution: In a partnership effort with the ACoE the Raystown Mountain Bicycling Association and Friends of Raystown Lake have begun the process of securing funding to develop the park. Planning and design work for the park is already underway. Dirt won't start moving until late 2015 in hopes of having the park open for the 2016 season!

We are stoked and hope you are too.

Helena and I getting ready to trim the southside (Photo: Bearica Quinn)

Monday, February 10, 2014

twICE as nICE

Twice as nICE-

The lake level at Raystown has been dropped 8.5ft below the regular level to allow for shoreline maintenance and rehabilitation, extending the shoreline up to 60ft into what is usually water. Meanwhile, the air temperature has dipped below zero numerous times with a near-constant freeze since the new year. These cool temps have caused large sections of the lake to freeze over, while the low level has opened up miles of rolling, rocky coastline. 

Click for Bigger 

The lake ice and rocky exposed coastlines are reminiscent of the frozen ice sheets of Greenland's fjords and the harsh red sandstone of Prince Edward Island. These places are not only magnificent for the features of the landscape but for the remote vibe that comes during the off-season. For it is rare to see another soul enjoying the lake this time of year. 

But why write about the lake ice and wonderfully-rocky coastlines in a section usually written about the Allegrippis Trails and mountain bicycling?  

The same main channel that serves as a speed-limitless raceway during July 4th weekend and those same rowdy coves that are home to the thirty pontoon late-summer parties are completely desolate. This wonderful desolation is one that draws a unique few to lake. In our case, a unique crew of fat-tired bicyclists. The coastlines have provided a formidable opponent, causing quite the frenzy to ride the first "section," or find a new "sweet line." Meanwhile, the 5-8-inch-thick ice has provided a wonderfully-challenging opportunity to think outside the box. 

For those of you who know the lake, consider bicycle rides such as Seven Points to Snyders Run, or perhaps Hesston to Trough Creek by way of Marklesburg and the old rail line. 

Riding on ice is inherently dangerous and potentially life threatening, however like anything in life if you are prepared it can be a truly exhilarating experience. The bottom line is- If you are not prepared to swim you should not be on the ice. 

Weird Ice

Things to keep in mind-
-Whenever riding on ice wear a coast guard approved life jacket-
-Make sure the ice is atleast three inches thick
-Bring Self Rescue Ice Awls no how to use them before you need them
-If you do break through stay calm-
-New ice is usually stronger than old ice. 
-Ice seldom freezes uniformly.
-There is no such thing as 100% safe ice.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Going Coastal-

As Raystown Lake is a Army Corps (ACOE) Flood Control Project, it is no surprise that the lake level can fluctuate upwards of fifteen feet in the course of the year, between ACoE hold backs during highwater on the mainstem of the Juniata or for shore line maintenance during the fall and winter. As Raystown is becoming increasingly more popular for the big boat crowd, the erosion of the shoreline as increased in recent years causing an almost annual draw down for repairs.

Sort of surreal- especially since we had just paddled here a few weeks prior

This year the draw down was greater than in years past, dropping the lake to nearly 8.5ft below regular level, exposing a red shaley coastline that extended up to a hundred feet out into the lake. This draw down opened up somewhere around 110 miles traversable terrain. 

Varying in consistency as you might imagine, there were sections of thick mud waist deep, downed trees that made sections nearly impassable, beaver dams that rose some ten feet above the riding surface, cliff faces that despite the drawdown were still cliffs, and just about everything in between. 

Those who know me know I love fat bikes and without them this draw down would have just made for some nice hikes, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, wanting to hike from access point to access point along the lake might make for some long walks... upwards of 15 miles in some cases. 

Here is a map of the one ride from Snyders Run Road over to Bakers Hollow Road. As you can see from the path of the line, there was need for several bushwhacking endeavours taking us up and over some nasty cliff faces. 

Very cool section to the south of Seven Points Marina

It wasn't always pretty but it was certainly worth ti

H- not overly thrilled about the 1/2 mile push uphill to avoid some cliffs

In one side of the inlet and out the other-

Riding the super smooth shoreline by Snyders Run Road

Thankful to be out of the woods and on to a passable sections of coast-

Rothrock Outfitters in Huntingdon, Pa. has Salsa Mukluks available for rent and sale. Stop in the check'm out.

Friday, June 21, 2013

fat fronts and other fun stuff

If you have been out to the trails recently you might have noticed a localized trend. To say it is a merely a trend is to not give it any credence as something that will stick around.


The fat front is a front end concept that first saw light locally when in 2010 Salsa Cycles released it's Enabler fork which allowed the geometry of a suspension corrected 29er frame to not be affected by the installation of a fat fork. Or a fork that allows the used of the 135mm spaced rear hub up front. The previously available Surly Pugsley fork dropped the front end to much to make it viable on the trails. So despite early iterations of the now popular fat front, using a Surly Pugsley fork it never really took off. Shortly after the 2010 release of the fork as an aftermarket option the ability to maintain the same axle to crown height while "enabling" the rider to run some serious meat up front, became available to the masses. 

Some people ride full suspension, some hard tails, others rigid, some with gears, some without, and the fat front just like all those options is simply that, another option.

Why not ride a full fat? Well I could say they are slow and cumbersome but that's not really the case. A fat front with a 29" rear allows the rider to still spin up to speed and maintain a somewhat lightweight set-up. As a fat front end can be within a quarter pound of nearly any other monetarily comparable front end set-up. 

photo cred: laura ashley photography

Throw a leg over one next time your sitting in the parking lot and you see one pull in. Or stop by the shop Rothrock Outfitters

You will soon be dreaming about riding on clouds

Monday, April 1, 2013

where were you this winter?

The winter has been a cold one. Perhaps to cold for some.

We've spent our time out riding in the Raystown region despite the inclement weather. Our plethora of snowmobile trails, lake ice, and heavily forested parks offers endless possibilities.

 Free Skiing in Petersburg
 Snowmobile Trails in Barree
 Just off of Snyders Run Boat Launch
 Heading into a cold inlet by the Raystown Dam
Cold wet rain at Raystown
 Out on the lake 
 High above Tyrone
 Petersburg Area 
 Tube O War!
 Frozen Fat 2013 at the Vista
 form and fashion 
 Hanging out at the Sidewinder Bridge on Allegrippis
 Everyone looks better in a dress
 en route 
 gettin rad in Rothrock
foggy wet snowy icey ride in Coopers Gap

 Free-riding fat down a stream above Tyrone

 Less Ice on Raystown 
 More Ice on Raystown
 Crazy Morning on Raystown

 Trough Creek Winter Run

Sell your rollers, get rid of the trainer, stop dieting, and just get outside. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November News

It is hard to believe it's already deer season and we are again closing the trails to users in hopes to "protect the integrity of the hunt," as part of a cooperative effort to encourage the multiple uses for public land. For two weeks every year the Allegrippis Trails System and much of the rest of Central Pa's woods close down to all other users and opens to deer season.

That said it has been a very busy year on the trails and prehap's it's best to give them and those that maintain them a well deserved break. With visitation reports topping out at a little over 6000 users to the Baker Hollow Parking Lot alone, the trails have seen an amazing amount of use. With the opening of the new VeeCee trail we have seen the south end develop tremendously as users ride these trails more than ever. The lines are starting to develop on even the furthest reaches of Allegheny suggesting more users are finally making it out to this, fairly unique for the system, trail.

With increased use comes the potential for increased injuries, fortunately the signage for the system has finally been completed to the point where it corresponds exactly with the Emergency Response Maps that we created over two years ago. This mapping/ signage system provides trail-users with a two letter site designation at all major intersections and road crossings, that makes accident sites a bit more easy to locate for responders. Another long project finally finished.

Other projects on the trail system have included the mapping and first phases of construction on the new connector (Ridge Spur-dotted line) from the entrance of Ridge Campground to the VeeCee Trail. This will allow users to connect up with the new rubberized walking trail that will ultimately follow a similar loop to Seven Points Road. Connecting the campgrounds, beach, visitors center, marina, and boat launch to each other. The trail is set to be completed for the early spring of 2013. This will be a tremendous addition to the facility and one that is long over due.

A smaller yet probably more apparent project was the completion of the new fencing around the Bakers Hollow Parking lot. The fencing that was originally installed was regular split rail and was only buried to a depth of about a foot. The new fencing is 6x6 timbers buried two feet a much more sturdy solution, now you might ding your bumper instead of just plowing the fence down.

The trails will re-open in just over a week just in time for a little bit of fat bike fun. As I am throughly convinced there is no better way to enjoy the wintertime on the trails than on a fatbike. Interested in trying one out? Stop by the shop.  
Jake and Ellis Preppin some fat tired bicycles last winter.