Saturday, August 31, 2013

when good rides are gone...

Scrub Mountain...5 or 6 years ago, this was a classic ride


Several minutes after this, we hit the "singletrack" and shit got downright ugly...

Overlooking the Lehigh during the Broad Mountain Loop

Trail pout...this used to be a super-fun stream crossing

It's weird to have been riding long enough to witness some remarkable changes out there in the woods, on the trails.
I've seen trails abandoned, shut down, developed, or overtaken by irreparable storm damage.
No surprise it's easier to accept the naturally occurring changes than the man-made ones...
Last week, I was saddened to experience a little bit of both while sneaking in a few rides during our family vacation in the Poconos. 

My dad pulled out his weathered guide book and we decided to introduce Bill to the tried and true out-and-back Scrub Mountain ride, killer downhill included.
Sadly, it became apparent in a matter of minutes that nobody is riding Scrub Mountain anymore.
The trails were completely washed out and unrecognizable, but we made the best of it and explored some offshoots from the main double track, weaving our way down, down, down into the valley.
Weather, time, and neglect had erased the ride my dad was so stoked about, but at least the three of us got to ride together (a rare treat these days).
A few days later, I anticipated some redemption over in Jim Thorpe.
Broad Mountain and Glen Onoko were my first rides on a mountain bike and my first taste of Jim Thorpe.
Ten years ago, on my dad's Bontrager, I navigated the rolling trail nervously and plunged into that stream crossing with naive abandon.
Such fun.
On that ride, I followed my dad determinedly for what seemed like hours (a relatively tame 10 mile ride).   
I was hooked, but had no idea just how greatly this new love for riding would shape my identity over the years to come.

I was all too happy to share the storied ride that started it all with my husband.
With our kids happily hanging out with Grammy and Grampy, Bill and I giddily set out for a late afternoon adventure.
It broke my heart, however, to find the Broad Mountain loop virtually "paved" with crushed stone and signs of actual pavement in some sections...
the whole. entire. loop.
Clearly, it's a different ride now (a loose, churn-y, crunchy, noisy ride) and not one I'll repeat any time soon.
Or ever, for that matter.
The scenic overlook is still beautiful, though, and can still only be reached by a small, tight, rocky trail (my first piece of single track, way back when).
"We could just go back and forth on this all day," Bill joked.
I wasn't about to let a virtual paved woodland highway spoil our time together, but it was quite jarring to find another good ride...gone.

Next time we're in Poconos, we'll forgo nostalgia and head straight to the American Standard.
(that hasn't changed, right?)  

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