In September I spent time hiking, riding, and camping in Tioga and Elk Counties. During my time up north in Tioga I spent a morning riding part of the Pine Creek Rail Trail with my friend Judy. She’d never been to the trail, or to this part of PA, and so we rode ten miles on my favorite ‘introduction’ stretch – from just north of Ansonia to past Four Mile Run and back. I feel this ride gives a person a taste of the canyon and the 64 mile trail, and has some attractive views.

We started at Darling Run Trailhead, just inside the canyon, and headed south. The canyon was beautiful, as I’ve always found it to be. But Four Mile Run was a trickle, as unfortunately I’ve always found it to be. (I need to visit in the spring, not after a dry summer.) Judy seemed to enjoy the trail almost as much as I do. She brought her camera, and as she’s a better photographer than I am I’m using some of her photos in this post.

Considering I’d been riding infrequently I felt pretty good on my bike. It was too small, I was stiff, and I took five minutes to get going at Darling because I missed the right pedal a couple of time and got frustrated, but once underway the ride was easy. I had to work to keep up with Judy, but then I’m used to that. Spending three days camping and hiking in the gorge and surrounding area had me in a great mood, and the ride only added to it.

Just past Four Mile Run we encountered a group of riders staring at a porcupine crossing the trail. And crossing it again and again. Judy and I had the same thought as we watched the creature stagger – “Rabies.” One of the group decided to hike up the Turkey Trail, which runs alongside Four Mile Run up to the overlook at Leonard Harrison State Park, and contact the park staff so they could send an animal control officer. I didn’t see that panning out, but its what people wanted to do. Meanwhile the group of riders decided to ‘time’ their passing the porcupine when he was at the side of the trail and thus away from them. Judy and I turned around and headed out of the canyon.

We continued north, past the confluence of Pine and Marsh Creeks, past the church at Ansonia, and over the bridge at the equestrian trailhead. It was a good ten miles for the both of us. Once we’d packed up the bikes we headed up to Colton Point State Park to the main overlook, so Judy could see the canyon from above, and see where she just rode an hour before. I could have stayed all day at Colton, but Judy and I were off to the next stop on our itinerary, Hicks Run in Elk County, and we had to be going. I know I will be back to Pine Creek Gorge and the Pine Creek Rail Trail, and I’m sure Judy will be back too.