It has been a long time since I have hiked or cycled the Stony Valley Rail Trail. My friend, Laura, was the one who first showed me this trail and we explored various sections – especially the abandoned town of Rausch Gap. The Appalachian Trail also goes through this area so there are miles of hiking and cycling that can be done. I have been looking for new places to take my nephew bike camping so Kevin and I grabbed our bikes one sunny day and headed out to see if there were any campsites near the trail that we could get to with our bikes.
We decided to bring JoJo in her Doggyride and parked at the Gold Mine Gate parking area. This was about 4 miles from Rausch Gap which I felt would be a good distance to see how hard is was to pull her (she IS a German Shep) and if she would stay in it for an extended period of time. 4 miles seemed like a reasonable distance that if something were to happen we could get back to the car fairly easily.
I took the first shift pulling Joey and she did seem to settle in after a bit. I always worry because she did jump out of it when I first got it, causing the whole thing to tip over. You may be wondering why we didn’t just have her run next to the bikes the whole time – well she is spoiled! Honestly she overheats easily and I worry that she will not be up to doing the mileage I want to do so getting her a Doggyride seemed like the best option – we can cart her around, hike a bit, and then get her back to the car. There are also pockets on it to put her leash and collapsible water bowl.
ANYWAY I began pulling Joey and was ok at first, but then we began a slight incline and it became tougher to pull her. I made it about 2 miles and then Kevin offered to pull her. It was very easy to switch the cart onto his bike because we bought a second hitch and had installed that on his bike at home. Joey was so good for the ride and sat the whole time with her head poking out the top enjoying the view.
We eventually arrived at Rausch Gap and hopped off our bikes to stretch and explore. We left our bikes and hiked down the trail to the old cemetery. Then we noticed a section of Appalachian trail that they were rerouting – we detoured onto this trail for a bit and came to a really lovely waterfall. I wanted to jump in because the humidity was getting very high! We seem to have skipped spring and went straight into summer here in Pennsylvania.
We continued north on the Appalachian trail and started looking for the Rausch Gap shelter. I quickly determined this would NOT be a good bike camping trip because it would be pretty hard to push your bike to the first campsite we came across (plus bikes are not supposed to be on the AT). We never did find the trail shelter, but it was a very pretty section of trail so we weren’t super disappointed!
We hiked about 3 miles when we arrived back at our bikes. It was really starting to get hot at this point so we made sure to take plenty of water breaks all the way back to the car.
I am hoping to check of more of the 20 miles on the Stony Valley Rail Trail soon – just keep in mind if you go it is pretty remote with no cell coverage where we were and no towns along the trail – except for the ghost town of Rausch Gap!
HAPPY TRAILS! 🙂