Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Perkiomen Trail

In the epoch of my life that existed before kids I had the chance to bike several segments of the Perkiomen Trail. It's a meandering 19-mile trail that follows an old railroad path through the center of Montgomery County. It makes for pleasant biking, travelling a level path mostly through woods but occasionally crossing the roadways up that valley. I drive by and over it quite a bit, in particular when I'm traveling back to Elverson to visit Mom and Dad. It's been a dream of mine to bike portions of it with the kids. But I knew that I had to wait until they were able to do so.

Sam has probably been ready to bike portions of it for a few years now. A month and a half ago I never would have guessed Caroline would be ready to do so too. However . . .

Taken during our return to the van. It brings me joy to see how far ahead of me they were. I had to hustle to catch up with them after getting the camera away. 
I didn't put much planning in to today's trip. While eating lunch I saw there was a break in the poor weather. So I quickly put the rack on the van, loaded up the bikes, and told the kids "We're going." When we arrived I simply asked Caroline to choose between right (the Schuylkill River Trail) or left (Perkiomen). She chose left, I told Sam to take the lead, and we were off.

Sam doesn't necessarily like surprises. He asked me early how far I thought we'd go and I said, "I guess about three miles." He surmised a six-mile round trip would be fine and we went with that purpose. He did give me a punch on the arm when we came across this marker, showing that we had gone further than intended.

Obligatory selfie. 
I'm not sure we entered the trail at mile marker 0. I think we started at about 0.5 miles in, so our round trip was likely 7 miles.

The biking was pretty smooth. It started with a paved path along the swollen Perkiomen Creek. It briefly took us uphill on pavement then crushed gravel. After that, it was a straight shot through the woods. At a few points there was erosion that meant we had to stay a bit to one side rather than stay religiously to the right. Certainly it was more easily navigable than the alleged trail I tried to take at Delaware Water Gap.

Sam's worried expression as we took the trail that didn't really exist at Delaware Water Gap back in May. 
Typically Sam was out front and Caroline and I followed. There was only one tricky part, coming down the hill about 0.5 miles from the parking lot. Sam actually clipped the pole at the bottom of the hill as he turned onto the final paved stretch. But he had his bike under control as he was coming down so he avoided falling. After he and I debriefed for a about a minute I saw Caroline had really gone quite a ways up the path and I had to hustle in my attempts to catch up with her.

The path spends about one mile in a rather impressive (for this area of the state) gorge. I hope this photo of Caroline captures some of the cliff faces.

I've been spending quite a bit of time teaching the kids about the concept of right of way. I like how this sign clarifies the matter.

During our return I stopped and took a few photos of the kids moving on down the path in front of me. Here's a repeat of the one starting this blog along with another, without the zoom.

This is my seventh summer at home with my two kids and it's hard to believe we're at the point where I can do an adventure like this. I see that photo of them way down the trail and I can't help but think I've got a precious amount of time here where they're big enough to do these adventures, small enough to think of them as an adventure, and young enough to think of doing this with their Dad as a great way to pass a summer day.

Next time we take Sherry.

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