Saturday, November 7, 2009

Off-Season Activities

Since the mountain bike season is well over, Ray is not able to mountain bike, and well, because I enjoy it, i've been doing some trail running lately. Nothing crazy, just some nice mid-length trail runs. Ray has even joined in, despite the face that his body seems to reject it every time he starts to get into it. I digress. Two of my favorite areas to get a nice 1 - 1.5 hour trail run in are Boyd Bid Tree Preserve and Swatara State Park.

Boyd Big Tree is a conservation area that has about 12 miles of trails for hiking. Unfortunately, because of its "Conservation Area" classification, mountain biking is not permitted, but it is a great place to trail run. Most of the trails are doubletrack, with just enough rocky, technical singletrack to make things interesting. The park is basically located on the north side of Blue Mountain, which because of its location, offers several challenging climbs and descents.

Swatara State Park is a great, purely singletrack system of trails that also totals about 12 miles, however new trails are always in the works. These trails were designed and built by the Susquehanna Area Mountain Bike Association and make for a beginner-friendly, super-fast, twisty ride. Rocks are almost non-existent, however there are numerous logs which are good for practicing log hopping skills. As for running, the trails are perfect offering gentle grades with numerous options to do a short or longer run.

Boyd's Big Tree and Swatara State Park are both great places to enjoy fall's mild temperatures and central PA's beautiful fall foliage! Check 'em out!

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