I’d been to Rattling Creek, in Weiser State Forest, a couple months ago, and absolutely loved the rolling singletrack punctuated by fun rock gardens that the area offers. So, when some of our friends decided to head up that way again, I didn’t hesitate to tag along.
Lately, I haven’t been wandering too far from home. I’ve been busy with work, enjoying just spending time at our still-kind-of-new abode, and instead exploring new places close by. And so, despite the fact that Rattling Creek is only about 2 hours away, I looked upon this day trip with a childlike enthusiasm. We were going on a road trip.
This enthusiasm was heightened by the fact that we’d be making the drive in my friend Brent’s 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon, which he’d just fixed up with a new engine and is a seriously cool fun-bus. And so, at the crack of dawn, the Vanagon came rolling up my driveway and Brent, along with Brendan and Jake, came spilling out with cheerful greetings and excitement mirroring my own. We all piled in, and were off, over the mountain to Big Valley and then onto Rt. 22 east.
We met up with a couple more friends, the Mongolds, at a picnic area parking lot in Weiser SF, where they were jamming to some bluegrass tunes, as per usual. We gathered up our riding stuff, switched out pedals (Brent had forgotten his SPD shoes, so the Mongolds were able to bring a pair of flat pedals for him to ride), and started out climbing some gravel doubletrack.
Most of the trails we rode were the same as last time I was here, but in a different order. We started in the middle of the trail system this time, rather than on one end, so it broke up the uphill a little more (last time, it was mostly uphill for the first half and mostly downhill for the second), and the long downhill section was in the middle, not the end.
Shortly into the ride, we stopped to check out the hang glider launch at the top of the mountain. Brendan took this opportunity to replace the tube that had been giving him trouble (not 15 minutes into the ride, he got a flat), and I took the opportunity to take pictures.
After the hang-glider launch, we headed out the ridge along the aptly-named Rock’s Ridge Trail, which features a number of cool rock “bridges” of sorts that are fun to play on. We spent time at each of them, trying and re-trying to clean the line, in most cases successfully. I did get a couple scrapes out of Rock’s Ridge Trail, both of which happened in totally unimpressive ways (i.e. the ol’ clip in and fall over trick). But hey, it’s been at least a month since I’ve drawn blood while biking, so I guess I was due.
After the rocks, it was all downhill for a while, on Rattling Creek Trail, which winds down the mountain and ends up at its namesake stream. The trail was so much more grown in than last time we rode here, and the mountain laurel was in full bloom. The pink of its flowers contrasted with the lush green of the surrounding forest made for a beautiful sight.
At the creek, Jake decided to jump in, and the rest of us splashed water on our heads and faces to cool off in the heat of the day. Jake also attempted to catch some of the small fish we saw swimming around, but with no luck. We continued on our way, deciding to do a small extra loop that we hadn’t ridden last time on Rugged Trail, across the highway from the main trail system. By the time we completed those 3-ish miles, I was starting to get pretty exhausted, and it was time to pay for that nice, long downhill on Rattling Creek Trail. It was mostly uphill back to the car, with some pretty technical sections. I could tell I was getting sloppy, my lack of riding over the past few weeks becoming evident. But we made it back to the vehicles, and we determined that parking at the bottom of the downhill was indeed the way to go—get the uphill and more technical stuff out of the way when we’re fresh, and save the downhill and the stream for last.
After the ride, we hit up the Carsonville Hotel for burgers and a couple brews before piling back in the Vanagon for the trip home. Another great day of riding with great people.