September 7th, 2011
By Maggie Adams
It was a beautiful day for our second leg of the Great Allegheny Passage ride! While the previous leg had been blisteringly hot, our second ride was cool and breezy. We left around 8:30a.m., riding south towards Rockwood. Personally, my favorite stretch of the trail is between Connellsville and Ohiopyle because of the cool forest shade and shining river beside. This gorgeous portion of the trail was perfect for the morning, setting a cheerful tone for the day’s ride.
Just outside of Connellsville, we crossed the tall bridges and passed our favorite swimming spots. It happened that the ladies all rode the first miles together on the way to Ohiopyle. We enjoyed the forested stretches by singing as we pedaled, our “1 2 3 4” Feist rendition was quite good. One of our favorite “tricks” to do while biking is to take your hand off the bars and pretend to march, so that it looks like you’re running really fast without touching the ground.
We saw the signs of Ohiopyle nearing as we passed kayakers on the river.
We were glad to see the high bridge and even stopped to take pictures.
In Ohiopyle, we stopped at Falls Market for snacks and Backyard Gardens to peruse the selection of local goods and produce.
Back on the trail to Confluence, our bike trip transformed into a Pennsylvanian safari as all kinds of wildlife appeared along the trail. First, we found a 3 in. long male Dobson fly (which I could only identify by searching “weird Pennsylvania bugs” through Google images) with extra long, overlapping pinchers and long wings.
After returning home, we researched the Dobson Fly and learned that they spend the majority of their lives (2-3 years) as larvae in streams and only live in the adult form (what we saw) for a few days, in which time they mate and then die. To learn more about these interesting bugs, check out the University of Florida’s entomology website. We also saw a wild turkey pecking alongside the trail and a few pairs of groundhogs.
We stopped at the Lucky Dog café in Confluence and had a delicious and filling lunch!
I continued my Great Allegheny Passage tradition of having a big, fried fish sandwich covered in tartar sauce for lunch each day. Boy, does one of those fill you up! While in Confluence, we also biked into town to visit Brad Smith of Confluence Cyclery with a couple of questions about our bikes.
The rest of the ride went swiftly through Harnedsville and Markelton. We enjoyed the wonderful weather and scenic winding of the trail. The Pinkerton High Bridge was a scenic highlight (pun intended).
Happily for our legs we soon found ourselves at the Rockwood Mill Shoppes with an ice cream cone of the ‘Rockwood’ flavor in hand. What a great way to finish a beautiful ride!
The SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps, an organization focusing on sustainable economic development in the towns along the Great Allegheny Passage supported by the Trail Town Program and the Student Conservation Association, rides the GAP each year to experience the journey that brings people from across the region, the country, and even the world to bicycle in the Laurel Highlands. Maggie Adams is a member of the SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps. Contact her at email@example.com
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TAGS: Backyard Gardens · Confluence · Confluence Cyclery · Connellsville · Falls Market · Great Allegheny Passage · Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network · Ohiopyle · Rockwood · SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps
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