Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the big mountain fail

It's been hot, humid, and crowded in Ohiopyle for the last three days. People have been yelling for directions to the bathroom, asking how much this is and how much that is, and the little boys on Harley's have been ripping the throttles on their clattery engines. Colleen and I needed to escape other people's vacations for a night.

Since the top of Laurel Mountain is always cool and wonderful, I figured we could just drive up there and camp. It was such a nice night that we wouldn't even need a tent. I planned on riding for a few hours in the morning.

We got to the mountain top and set our thermarests outside the tiny convertible. The temperature was perfect. Then the first buzz. Slap. I smacked a mosquito against the side of my head. Then more came.

I got tired of hitting myself in the head, so I wrapped my jean jacket around my face. The bugs found a way under the jacket. Now I couldn't breathe because my mouth was clogged with denim, and I was still getting bit. After a couple hours we couldn't take anymore buzzing and bitting, so we retreated to the car.

There were mosquitoes in the car.

In the morning the bugs were just as bad. There was no way Colleen could sit around while I rode, so we headed back down the mountain and washed all the just-slept-in-a-car grime off in a stream:

Then we walked down and checked out the water slides:

The DCNR recently smoothed and expanded the trail back to the slides to make it easier for people to deposit their ice tea jugs and dirty ankle socks:

After some extreme gibbon impersonations, we pointed the tiny convertible south again.

We drove up another mountain and ate breakfast at Roaring Run. The bugs were not as ferocious as on Laurel, but they were still too bad for Colleen to sit around while I rode. But I did take advantage of the rare opportunity to use a well-lit-bathroom at Hidden Valley:

I followed some extremely slow driving tourists back into Ohiopyle. Then a wild Grizz appeared:

And disappeared:

Exhausted from the Grizz sighting and the 95 degree heat, I set up my hammock and took a three hour nap.

Once it cooled off, I finally got to ride for a couple hours. I rode in State Game Lands 51, which boarders the state park. It looks like I could link up a single track ride from Ohiopyle, into the game lands, and down White Tail Trail all the way to Quebec Run. That would be very cool.

And I have a final public service announcement about the Pisgah Blog Contest (which ends on Wednesday, and which I am currently losing), but I'll put that in a separate post.


Justin said...

My friend and I just bikepacked up to Laurel Mountain over the weekend. I almost didn't bring a mosquito net for under my tarp - I'm glad I did.

I killed a mosquito that landed on my arm while riding the Wolf Rocks trail - it had to have been the size of a small bird.

Montana said...

Nice. Did you guys ride up, ride a day, then ride home the next?

Justin said...

We rode up, hit some trails that afternoon, camped, rode a few more trails then came home.

I think having a whole day to ride would be cool and then camping again before coming home, but it was my first bigger ride this summer so by the time we were around 50 or 60 miles I felt beat.

We're thinking about a bigger trip out to Raystown, but at this point I think I would rather drive out and camp there so we have a ton more time to ride the trails there.