Day 2's ride was Cammal to Wellsboro Junction and back. After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, I hit the trail around 10:30am heading north out of Cammal toward Wellsboro Junction.
I have a hard time putting into words the beauty that I experienced on this trail. Yesterday's ride to Jersey Shore was great, but the trail north of Cammal was even more incredibly scenic. Long, smooth stretches of shady trail, paralleling the peaceful Pine Creek for miles and miles.
I rode at a slower-than-usual pace; it felt like I was riding into a headwind, no matter which direction I was heading. As my mind wandered, I began to imagine that the air itself was saturated with the area's natural beauty like a thick mist, forcing me to slow down and absorb it.
There are a bunch of great little towns along the trail, filled with history. After returning from this trip I found about about a book called "Pine Creek Villages", by David Ira Kagan. I love learning about the history of trail towns, and I particularly I enjoy old photos of the towns -imagining how they looked 100+ years ago as I ride through on my bike. Can't wait to read this book before my next trip to the Pine Creek Rail Trail!
I saw a lot of wildlife on this section - friendly deer, a turtle, a rattlesnake, and even two bald eagles! The first eagle I saw was circling the area high above the creek at Cedar Run. It was very small in the sky but I could make out the white head and tail. The second bald eagle I saw near the campground at Tiadaghton, sitting along the bank of the creek. I only noticed because it briefly spread one of it's enormous wings.
Passing through the Pine Creek Gorge is magical. The steep walls of the gorge rise like a massive green tidal wave. Not quite as deep as the other Grand Canyon that I visited earlier this year, but every bit a wonder of the world!
I found the area around Aspah to be particularly scenic; wide open spaces and big rolling mountains. This area does not have as much shade as the rest of the trail, so by the time I reached Mile 0 in Wellsboro Junction I was very hot and tired. I was so happy to find Pag-Omar Farms Market - ice cream!
I had planned on riding 100 miles, but the heat of the day really took it out of me. I decided to settle for 84 miles. I headed back to Cammal and then drove back to civilization to get pizza and beer!
I had a very enjoyable night drinking beer and eating pizza, while watching Friday the 13th movies on my laptop outside next to the fire I built. My cabin had an awesome swing down by the creek, where I sat under the full moon. When I return to the Pine Creek Gorge I want to come during new moon so I can see the stars!