E and Bo Go East- Collingwood-Ellicotville-State College . Stage 1: Trail Riding 

After being inspired by my recent road trip through Australia all I’ve had on my mind through these winter has been where, and when I can go on my next road trip adventure. The past two years I’ve gone down to Hatteras with a local Collingwood crew of kiters at the end of April. That time of year is always shoulder season at Blue, which makes it the perfect time to escape. My friend Laura (who also happens to be my kite wife) was finishing up her last exams at school, so we decided we’d take an extra week and hit as many kite/surf/bike spots we could swing in that time.
I’m definitely a free spirit when it comes to life but at this point I’ve had a bit of travel experience under my belt, and my golden rule is to always make a hit list of places you want to check off. So I downloaded trailforks, magic seaweed, Windfinder, and of course Roadtrippers apps to see what was out there. I also bought myself a fancy new bike for my birthday present and was keen to get out on some trails!

After taking a day to get ourselves packed and organized with my mom’s Pontiac Vibe aka #bluecrushadventuremoble (it has racks,a tule and a bike rack, score right?!!) we woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to hit the road. 

I had done quite a bit of research on bike trails and really wanted to hit Kingdom trails in Vermont, but when I called apparently everything was still covered in snow. Bummmmmmer. So, we decided to send it south to check out Ellicotville , also known as McCarthy State Forest, and Allegrippis trails and Pennsylvania. 

Bo (Laura) and I took our time down, stopped in to say bye to my Dad and Charlie in Orangeville and got on the QEW.  

We arrived in Ellicottville around noon and headed to the local bike shop called Bike and Bean for some tips. The guy who was there told us to hit McCarthy State forest . We scoped it out and decided to do connector to Black Trail to Rockys run, to Mutton Hollow, Yukon lunch to porcupine. The whole Trail section was super fun, and some of the techiest , rocky trails I’ve ridden. We stopped halfway through when we found a forest of wild leeks and picked some for dinner. I’d highly suggest spending more than an afternoon there to explore!

After a 15km ride through tough trails we got back in the car, had a pit stop at the supermarket then headed to State College, Pennsylvania. This is where things started to get interesting .

After a 5am start, 3 hours of Trail riding and 0 sleep for Laura the night before we hit that inevitable wall of exhaustion. Right around that 9pm I swapped driving with Laura, and of course Siri decided to tell us to take the ‘short cut’. Thats when the deer showed up. No shit, we passed 30 deer all over the pitch black sideroad through the Appalachian mountains. We were driving 30km/h honking the horn every 5 mins, sitting on the edge of our seats. What was a 3 hour drive became a 5 hour drive to the super cosy KOA campground. 

We passed a campsite at some point along the sketchy county road called yellow Snake Campground. I thought, hey why not stay there, free campsite. Laura wasn’t sold on it so we kept going, and about one click down the road we drove right by a state penitentiary. Yup, we were in sketchy central Pennsylvania at night beside a massive prison and we couldn’t even make a run for it with all the deer on the road. Winning!

Eventually we hooked back up to the highway and found a KOA campground. We pulled in and it was completely full of RVs, apparently Saturday night football in State College attracts tailgaters even miles out of town. Laura and I set up camp, solved a minor wet pillow meltdown, managed to squeeze both our air mattresses into the tent and passed out. 

We had full intentions to wake up early and get our trail ride in, then head to the coast. Well after our first day of adventure, and a night completely frozen in our tent, we woke up at the early hour of 10am. In my opinion a well deserved sleep. 

We cooked up some breaky on the camp stove , re-organized our gear and set off to Allegrippas Trails in Raystown. 

This trail system was amazing. Super fast, flowing long downhills and some solid climbs. The whole trail system weaves around Raystown lake with epic views of the mountains. We did 20k of trails that took about 3 hours. When we got back to the parking lot we cooked up a dinner of fritotta with the leeks we had picked the day before.

Now we’re tired, sore and on our way to the coast. Check back soon!


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