Saturday I drove down and hit up Rattling Creek (aka:Weiser State Forest, Haldeman Tract) for the first time. Readers will know by now that I'm pretty game for any trail system at least once.
I was also psyched to have a large serving of singletrack, keeping off the dirt roads as much as possible. Much as I look back on favorably and enjoyed the ride in Rothrock last weekend, it WAS a mostly doubletrack ride. That issue with Rothrock will be fixed in a future installment.
I set out early in the morning with the thought of connecting with the Dangerous Danville Delinquents, alas my calendar was off (or I didn't get the TPS Report) and it ended up being a solo situation.
Whether this was smart or not I will not argue at this time.
But I gotta be me, so ride I did.
I parked at the lot by Rowland Picnic Area, nice to know there are toilets there if you need it after a day out, and possibly a place to change clothes in privacy.
The route that I traversed was something like...
- short cruise up the road from the car, enter forest by way of the Iron Mine TH
- left at the intersection with Deep Hollow
- ascend Iron Mine until it intersects with Matter trail
- gasp like land bound fish, recover
- right onto Matter trail
- right onto Rocky Ridge trail
- cruise Rocky Ridge
- pay attention to severely enjoy the sweet rock gardens
- left onto Wolf Pond trail
- continue across Wolf Pond Rd
- continue across Matter trail, even though That's Not The Plan
- left at the doubletrack after the creek crossing
- almost jump over the gravel pile
- left onto old Wolf Pond trail, completely missing the right
- walk the creek crossing, much like the horses before me
- cruise the mostly defunct Wolf Pond trail back to ..
- right onto Matter trail
- cruise easily all the way to Preserve Line, go right
- almost take a wrong turn, but in the end succeed to cruise across to ...
- go left onto Fawn Kill trail
- enjoy the serious rock gardens on Fawn Kill, fall off a couple
- be completely taken down by two trees double-whacking my h-bars, 3/4 through
- almost plow high-speed into the tree down, cruise on until ...
- going right after getting dumped onto Lykens Rd
- take 1st left into Doc Smith trail
- stay right on Doc Smith heading east, at intersection with Rattling Creek trail
- pause to respect wonderful rock-work with stream crossing through
- pause to clear offensive, sadly dead, tree from trail (finally, a use for my saw)
- cruise all the way to intersection with Lykens Rd, turn left
- note path going off to right, but continue to road to get bearings
- note entrance to parking area, go look at map
- go waggle around on street a bit looking for east loop th
- pause a moment, but decide to go up on Stone Cabin instead of down Rugged
- cruise easy, just get into rhythm when intersection with Rugged comes up
- go left onto Rugged
- whoop and holler a bit during Rugged, possibly the best trail in the area
- go right at intersection with Stone Cabin, back across road ...
- back-track Doc Smith to intersection with Ratting Creek trail, go right
- pause to enjoy beautiful moment with the creek, on the bridge
- start climbing out on Ratting Creek trail, this took a while
- get thrown from bike in last rock garden before hitting Dry Run trail
- turn right onto Dry Run, cruise until turning left into Shreffler trail
- why did this have to UP? I'm tired.
- turn left at Preserve Line (sharp left)
- bomb across Preserve Line, cross Lykens Rd, pass Fawn Kill, to ...
- turn right onto Shale Run trail
- yay, more climbing. snark.
- at the fork just before Minnich's Hit picnic area, go right
- bomb this fun downhill
- wish for the chainsaw at the one really cool root-drop that was blocked
- turn left onto Oak Rd, go up.
- duh. more climbing.
- turn left onto Grimm Rd, go just far enough to hit Shale Run
- decide against continuing up Grimm, name appropriate-ness or not, it's just not singletrack
- drop back and go left onto Oak Rd, go up.
- turn right onto Rim trail. Doubletrack, but not road, that's okay
- stop at intersection with Wolf Pond trail. Pause to consider. Fatigue vs Hour vs Singletrack
- Singletrack wins, hit it, tired legs, 37 pound bike, no care.
- Rock the rocks, really fun trail, this Wolf Pond thing.
- Take Wolf Pond trail to Matter trail, turn left
- Take Matter to the end, cross Wolf Pond rd and get onto Deep Hollow trail
- ahh. sweet sweet ripping downhill. Jeepers but a crash here would be bad.
- Turn left onto White Oak Rd
- cruise back to the car
- wait for ten minutes for sh*t eating grin to wipe off face
- leave with grin still in place
The total mileage for the day was a relatively big number, only about a half our non-moving time over the day. You don't want to know how much total vertical was dealt, let's just say that my 25# 29"-wheeled bike would have been a lot more appropriate to deal with that than my 37# 26"-wheeled bike that I took.
I didn't miss the clip-less pedals MUCH over the flats, but I did miss them some. I really didn't miss them when I was bailing or when crashing though. ;^)
I did have a couple really good wipeouts, too bad nobody was there to capture them. The best one was on Fawn Kill when I had a pretty good head of steam going at one point and was going to pass over a sharp edged rock right between two trees. I pulled up to manual through and let the rear suspension handle the rock (mostly), but in doing so I managed to pull a bit to the left and clipped the handlebar. This knocked me to the right, so the second tree could catch the other side of the handlebar. Whee, I can fly.....
I actually had to straighten my h-bars to match my front wheel after that. I took advantage of the break to munch some extra stuff, figuring my energies were a bit lower than best since I was making Bad Decisions (and here, only 3 hours or so into the ride).
This was the Singletrack Serving of the magnitude I was looking for LAST weekend, ah well, I have to go back to the other place sometime.
Starting from where I did and pedalling up Iron Mine was, aerobically, and to some degree mentally, TOUGH. I had to stop a couple times to give my legs a bit of a break. For people that look at this route and don't go "that's dumb" consider that you yourself may be in the "sick" category. My software tells me that the first two miles averages somewhere above 10% for the grade with much steeper sections.
Of course, the good bit is by coming down Deep Hollow you get an even longer pedal-free downhill to finish on. How CAN that be bad?
I was very happy to see the trail map on the kiosk at the parking area. Since I was counting others' leadership here this was crucial to covering the stupidity of me that I had no map of the area with me. I had a gps with a topo map in it, but that's no substitute if you're REALLY doing land-nav. So I took pictures of the map and consulted it on my camera's screen now and then. I also wrote down the trails I wanted to connect. This let me put together a really meaty ride which I was very happy with. I had a hard time finding map coverage on the www, but the DCNR has a pretty good one available over here. I don't know that it has everything, but it has plenty to keep you oriented - it's just not a topo map.
I've put together a moderately large scale topomap based upon my ride, links below.
Other random thoughts.
- IMO, The best singletrack is on the east side of the tract, park off Powells Valley Rd to center your looping best, IMO.
- Second runner up would be Minnich Hit Picnic Area, but that will take a lot longer to get into.
- Starting off on Rattling Creek trail where it hits Dry Run and going towards Doc Smith is probably more fun
- Doc Smith was great in both directions. I expect Rugged trail to be similar in feel.
- Rocks Ridge and Wolf Pond trails are a good workout by themselves, very rocky
- The rock-work done by the RCST is fabulous
- Some of this stuff is just World Class, in my view.
I think a great "loop" would be park on the east side just up the hill from the intersection of Lykens Rd and SR 4013 / Glen Park Rd / Powells Valley Rd (whatever it's really called) ...
- Doc Smith to Fawn Kill
- Left onto Preserve Line
- Right onto Shale Run
- Left on/up Oak Rd
- Right onto Rim Trail
- Right onto Wolf Pond Trail
- Right onto Rocks Ridge Trail
- Left onto Matter
- Right onto Shreffler
- Right onto Dry Run
- Left onto Rattling Creek
- Left onto Doc Smith
- back to start
- continuance: cross road and do Rugged / Stone Cabin loop
Rowland Picnic Area
N 40.53626 W 76.78306
- google map linky
East side parking area, off SR 4013 / Glen Park Rd / Powells Valley Rd
N 40.54452 W 76.68964
- google map linky
So, who'se going to show me what I missed, next time I'm down there? :P
Special Thanks to the Rattling Creek Singletrackers for a very, very, nice job.
Oh yeah, pixels, gotta have pixels...
HUGE Topo images : color or black and white or alternate black and white
Google Earth file of the ride
Topo map extract from the DCNR published PDF file (the PDF covers a LOT more ground), click for bigger version that may be more suitable for printing.
Iron Mine awaits.
The Bear is Ready for Singletrack
You don't see this sign too often on any trails, these days.
What tree-flower is this? They were popping all over, and were nice to see.
Best example of Rock Armored Stream Crossing I have ever seen.
Fear the Saw.
If you're a down, dead, tree that is.
I think this was my favorite trail (Rugged)
One must stop to appreciate the Rattling Creek, it was beautiful.
The water is just so clear I wanted to refill my camelbak from it. I wonder if that's safe?
When Good Bikes Go Bad (well, I did crash three times, maybe more, and y'all deserve SOMETHING)
Appropriately named, for the point in the day I hit it.
And again, I found myself racing the sun.
Okay, that last was cheating. I was off the trail and out of the forest by 6:30, the sun set at 7:30, it was just too pretty to waste IMO.
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