Saturday was Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's official kick-off to the 2016 cycling season - Opening Day for Trails!
We departed from Connellsville at 12:45pm and headed east toward Ohiopyle on our favorite rail trail, the Great Allegheny Passage. The weather was absolutely perfect; low/mid-70's and not single cloud in the sky! It was also opening day for fishing, so we encountered many people using the trail to access the Youghiogheny River. The trail was dry and firm, although strewn with little twigs and branches. Stopped about 5 miles in to snap the picture above before continuing on toward Ohiopyle. Saw a few deer walking high above on the steep mountainside, but wasn't able to capture a photo. Initially planned on riding all the way to Confluence, but decided to turn after 25 miles (about 4 miles from Confluence).
This time of year is a particularly interesting time to ride. With no leaves on the trees you get to see a lot of amazing sights that you aren't able to see during summer. This also means you won't find much shade on the trail, something I hadn't thought of considering the GAP is typically a shady corridor. After a few hours I could feel my neck getting a little burned, and was wishing I had brought the sunblock!
In recent years, Opening Day for Trails has been held about 2 weeks earlier in the season. Moving the date to mid-April seems to have been a smart move by RTC, as there were definitely more users on the trail, and the hashtag #RTCopeningday on Instagram had significantly more results this year. I probably spent an hour looking at everyone's great pictures. Got lots of new ideas for road trips!