Old Man Winter seems to be moving a lot faster than I am, as I am now facing temperatures down in the 30’s at night. There is even mention of that “S-word” in the forecast before the end of the work week.
Someone once told me the easiest way to get through a winter is to get out and play in it. So that is exactly what I did this past weekend. Wool socks, two layers on the bottom, three layers on the top – two days off, and I was out to play!
Ohiopyle is a very unique place in that there are only 100 residents, yet there are at least four outdoor outfitters in town….more if you count all the bike shops. So there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor play of all types, even as winter approaches.
A beautiful cascade of the Youghiogheny River, or “Yough” for short, runs right through the main thoroughfare, with white water rafting put-in points up and down the main road. White water rafting tours are still taking place along the Class Three rapids, but I draw the line at having to rent a two-piece wetsuit to “ride the river wild!”
A more fitting form of entertainment for the season is the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, (GAP) a hike and bike trail that runs along an old rail bed on a 150 mile stretch from Pittsburg to Cumberland, MD. The irony is, I remember reading about this trail when I used to ride the similar Silver Comet trail from Atlanta to Alabama. I never actually thought I would get a chance to ride the GAP, until serendipity coincided with my bucket list visit to Fallingwater.
The bike trail runs alongside the Yough, passing beautiful geographical rock formations, tall beech forests, and scenic old railroad bridges. I managed 22 miles before my legs gave out and the afternoon rains moved in.
There are also 72 miles of hiking trails in and around Ohiopyle. On Sunday, I chose a combination of trails that started at Cucumber Falls.
The trail continued along the Yough River, and turned up one of the tributaries to a series of natural rock and stream formations called “The Waterslides.” Though there were no swimmers today, this area is supposedly packed in summer months as people shoot down the river from one pool to the next.
I love a loop trail, and this one turned at “The Cascades,” and circled back through the meadow for about six miles of gorgeous scenery.
Unfortunately for the hiking enthusiast, another popular outdoor activity in Ohiopyle is hunting. Deer hunting. Squirrel hunting. Pheasant hunting. Wild turkey hunting. As I crested the hill on one of my hikes to come face to face with two rifle-toting hunters, I realized it might be time to rethink my hiking gear.