Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Weekend Ride Report

Oh what a beautiful day -- the rains held out, the trails are in tremendous shape, no mechanicals, and a group of about 9 made for a perfect group ride day. Since the group was small, we all rode together and those that felt like they were done, headed back when they felt like it. The group was Ricky Brown, Keith Whitcomb, Brian Arnold, Andrea Strubhar, Mike Althouse, Joe Daversa, Emory (who actually went on his own with two folks unfamiliar with the trails), Rick Michael, and jill. There was a 9:00am crowd too - Rick Begley and company (why don't they ever ride with us????). Dale Shomper gets man-of-the-day recognition. He took the chainsaw while the rest of us were riding, and got down some of the nasty logs that have been hanging around for awhile -- mainly the one on the top of Rattling Creek that you had to crawl under and wondered when that sucker was going to fall on top of you. We can't thank Dale enough. That one required about a mile hike in with chainsaw in hand. Emory also did his deed on Doc Smith with a nice hand saw. Our club has some of the best members - thank you, thank you, thank you. The ride? Excellent. Its rare there are no mechanicals, but today was the day. The group started breaking apart at about mile marker 10, and two die-hards stuck it out the whole loop. Food awaited and the festivities of the welcome summer biker-picnic began. The 9:00 am crowd joined in on the socializing and all had a good time - thanks for coming out!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Coming Up - Memorial Weekend Ride, Sunday May 24

The RCST schedule has the annual Memorial weekend ride slated for Sunday, May 24 at 10:00 am. The ride starts at the Minnich Hit Picnic area -- plan to start RIDING at 10:00 am - not get there, change a flat, change your clothes, get your food/drink ready, then ride at 10:30. 10:00 AM SHARP the groups leave! If there's no one there at 10:01 a.m. when you arrive, don't say you weren't warned! The groups will be based on the turnout and who feels like riding what. Rick, for sure, will be taking a shorter, easier ride -- maybe 10-15 miles on the easiest trails with fireroad and snowmobile trail mixed in. I'm not sure what Keith is doing -- last year he didn't ride because of carpal tunnel surgery, but I'm not sure about this year. I'll do whatever folks want to do. I'm (jill) good for all the rocks and the entire loop if that's what people want to do. Don't expect any race pace though. For you racers, hopefully someone like Shawn Withers, or maybe even ANDY! will show up and you follow them through the woods. But we'll have to wait and see. Weather plays a huge factor. I'll try to keep you posted as it gets closer.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How RCST all BEGAN - circa 1990

The below is from 1995 - the club is not as active as prior years with trailbuilding and involvement with DCNR due to a change in leadership efforts. New leadership is always being sought out to continue the RCST legacy of building great trails).

The Club
RCST is a mountain bike club that rides and maintains a network of trails in Weiser State Forest and Lykens Borough Watershed, a Central Pennsylvania forest located near Elizabethville and Lykens. You can find a club member riding nearly every weekend in good weather (and some in bad weather too!). Any one of them would be happy to show you the trails. Club members are young, not-so-young, male, female, and all skill levels. Some race, some wish they could, and some just enjoy being in the woods and take their good old time on rides. Our AffiliationsAs an International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) affiliated club, RCST is dedicated to furthering the mission of each organization. IMBA's mission is to promote mountain bicycling opportunities that are environmentally sound and socially responsible. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trail work participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, and innovative trail management solutions. And DCNR is the state government agency who manages the state-owned forests -- one of our land managers. RCST initially was registered conservation volunteer group with DCNR . What that meant was RCST got a crew together on a regular basis and helped DCNR maintain the state forest where the singletrack is located by creating new trails and maintaining existing. Currently, general occassional maintenance includes removing fallen trees and fixing bike-related damaged areas. When we see erosion, the trail is rerouted to prevent more. By helping DCNR with the trails, RCST is spreading environment awareness to its members and other trail users, and doing their part in keeping Pennsylvania's forests in balance. Other parts of the DCNR conservation program include maintaining wildlife habitat and environmental education. The other land manager who works with us is the Lykens Borough Watershed.

The Trails
The RCST trails in the Haldeman Tract of Weiser State Forest in Central Pennsylvania are the result of five years of advocacy, planning, cooperation, volunteerism, and implementation maturing into sweet "world-class" single track trails of challenge, variety, exhilaration, stimulation and good old-fashioned fun for all mountain biking skill levels. Approx. 20+ miles of handcrafted single track were born through the enthusiasm of a couple guys with a great idea and the guidance of IMBA's trail building expertise. Having a thousand or more acres of public mountain land, cooperative land managers, and dedicated club members willing to help out, the trails have grown and are now maintained and the troops are cheering "atta boy!" The flowing single track trails wind through scenic Penn's woods, complete with 6 RCST club-built bridges, native out-cropping of rock gardens, switchback sections and tailored turns that guide the biker through forest. 40+ miles of snowmobile trail, gravel road, and single track trails crisscross at numerous points to produce a fantastic network of riding pleasure.The Rattling Creek Single Trackers Bike Club worked with the land managers every step of the way. Tourism is the state's #2 industry, and attracting bikers to state forests makes good economic sense and continues to be a priority of state government. The Pennsylvania State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Bureau of Forestry is delighted to have and welcomes the RCST club building trails in Haldeman Tract of Weiser State Forest. Tim Cusick, former PA State IMBA Representative talked about trail advocacy at the RCST 2nd annual Mountain Bike Bash, September 9, 2001 -- "It's critically important to work with the land managers in developing trails.... Keith and what the RCST members did here (in Lykens) is a great example. They talked to the Forestry and Lykens watershed folks while creating the single track, and you rode the results." Other trail user groups are also grateful for the creation and maintenance of the trails - a local hunting club made an unsolicited donation to the RCST, just as a token of appreciation. Turkey hunters need trails too!And the even better part of the trails? The ride, of course! They keep coming back for more - again and again and again. Perfectly placed rocks and turns through trees don't just happen on 20 miles of single track. It's obvious the trails were very well planned down to every placement of a stone and construction of bridges with approach ramps. After short climbs, the trails flow downward and have just the right amount of technical sections for the skilled to challenge themselves, yet allows the novice to learn. Every age level and skill group can enjoy themselves -- build speed on sloped sections, clean Rocks Ridge trail, or enjoy the scenery of native wildlife in the deep woods and the spectacular view of the hang-glider launch site. The combinations of snowmobile trail, fire road and singletrack, and everything else just mentioned, make these trails a memorable ride.

Directions to the Rattling Creek Trails

Where are we?
The RCST trails are located in PA, approx. 25 miles North of Harrisburg.  If using a GPS, plug in the address 2800 White Oak Road, Halifax, Pennsylvania.  This will get you to the DCNR Buildings just as you enter the forest from the East end.  Camp Muckleratz is about 1/4 west of this address.  There's a sign, "Camp Muckleratz."

From the East, South and South West:
Use major routes to the Harrisburg area and follow Route 322 West to Route 225 North (Halifax Exit). Proceed to Halifax. On Route 225 North in Halifax you will come to a stop sign at a 'T' intersection. Turn right and continue on Route 225 North for 8 miles toward Elizabethville. Turn right onto Quarry Road at the top of the Elizabethville Mountain just before the stone quarry. Quarry Road will bear onto Detrich Road (you have the right of way - no stop). Continue to a split (Y) in the road and bear right onto White Oak (gravel) Road. You will be entering Weiser State Forest. See below to trailheads.

From the West: Use Route 322 East to Route 147 North. Proceed to Halifax. Turn Left onto Route 225 North. On Route 225 North in Halifax you will come to a stop sign at a 'T' intersection. Turn right and continue on Route 225 North for 8 miles toward Elizabethville. Turn right onto Quarry Road at the top of the Elizabethville Mountain just before the stone quarry. Quarry Road will bear onto Detrich Road(you have the right of way- no stop). Continue to a split (Y) in the road and bear right onto White Oak (gravel) Road. You will be entering Weiser State Forest. See below to trailheads.

From the North: Using Interstate 81 South to Route 209 South (Tower City Exit). Proceed on 209 South to Elizabethville. At the light in Elizabethville, turn left continuing on Route 225 South approx. 1 mile to the top of the mountain and turn left onto Quarry Road (immediately after the stone quarry). Quarry Road will bear onto Detrich Road(you have the right of way- no stop). Continue to a split (Y) in the road and bear right onto White Oak (gravel) Road. You will be entering Weiser State Forest. See below to trailheads.


To start your ride with climbing: Just after entering Weiser State Forest (approx 1/4 mile) you can turn right into the Snowmobile Parking Lot. In the far upper corner of the parking lot you will find the start of Iron Mine Snowmobile Trail. It will intersect with Deep Hollow Snowmobile Trail within a few hundred yards. This is for those that like to climb! These two snowmobile trails, Iron Mine and Deep Hollow take you to the top of the Mountain, 800 ft ascent for 2 miles. One leads to the Hang Glider Launch area and the other leads to the top of the mountain near White Oak Road.

If you don't like climbing that much you can continue on White Oak Road to Minnich Hit Picnic Area. Approx 4 miles after entering Weiser State Forest. Along the way you will pass by Wolf Pond Road (leads out across the top of the mountain to the Hang Glider Launch - approx 2.5 miles), cross over the top of the mountain and down the other side, pass by Lykens (gravel) Road. A left turn onto Lykens Road will lead you to the Eastern end of the RCST trails. From White Oak Road you can access singletrack trail: Matter. Snowmobile trails: Deep Hollow, Schreffler, Matter, Minnich Hit, Grimm, Rim and Luke's. From Wolf Pond Road you can access singletrack trails: Rock's Ridge and Wolf Pond. Snowmobile trails: Iron Mine, Matter, Deep Hollow and Rim.From Lykens (gravel) Road you can access singletrack trails: Preserve Line, Fawn Kill and Doc Smith. Snowmobile trail: Preserve Line.

For the Bash, approx 1/2 mile after entering Weiser State Forest on White Oak Road turn left onto a dirt road marked by the green "Camp Muckleratz" sign. The Weiser State forest maps and the snowmobile maps available through the links below should be enough to get you to the area and onto the double track/snowmobile trails. The single track trails are marked with 4X4 sign posts but may still be hard to find.

State Forest Map
DCNR Snowmobile Trail Map