July 31, 2018

We recently enjoyed the perfect blend of summer fun - eating ice cream and riding bike on the Pine Creek Rail Trail in North Central PA! This was the second annual Purple Lizard Ice Cream Tour, and we had a great experience! For background info of these ice cream tours, including rail trail details, milage, and ice cream locations, read last year's blog first, here, then come back and scroll through this blog to see how we adjusted for 2018!

Pine Creek Rail Trail

Photo credit: Drew Lehnerd

Some adjustments were made to the itinerary from 2017: We wanted to eat just as much ice cream as last year, but we needed more time in between stops to allow for digestion. In order to increase the ratio of miles biked to ice cream consumed, we went ahead and doubled the riding milage from last year while keeping the ice cream stops the same (5 stops). So it was decided that this year, we would ride from Jersey Shore upstream along the rail trail from mile 62 to mile 0, and then turn around and descend back down to Jersey Shore at mile 62 again. A 124 mile ride with 5 stops for ice cream. Much better than last year, right? Maybe.

Pine Creek Rail Trail PA

The average grade of this rail trail from near Wellsboro to Jersey Shore is 2%. Hikers, bikers, and horseback riders (allowed in a small section in PA Grand Canyon) can experience this trail, and of course a few lizard spots from our Pine Creek Lizard Map, too. Since this is a linear trail, explorers will either need to complete an 'out and back' journey or set up a shuttle system. We began our ride from the Caboose at Jersey Shore early in the morning to get a head start.

Pine Creek Rail Trail Jersey Shore, PA 

Photo credit: Drew Lehnerd

Riding all day, including early morning and late afternoon gave us a great chance to see wildlife along the creek. In fact, we spotted a lot of wildlife throughout the day, including a coyote! We also saw a few bald eagles, osprey, deer, blue heron, and several other bird species.

Bald Eagle Pine Creek Rail Trail PA 

The ride was going well, with many scoops of ice cream being consumed.

Pine Creek Rail Trail PA

We took a few breaks at particularly wonderful spots, especially those which are within Pine Creek Gorge (along the northern half of the trail). There were plenty of other walkers, cyclists, and equestrians that we saw throughout the day, but the trail definitely was not overcrowded. The shiny green Kona Rove NRB, which we were borrowing as a demo bike from Freeze Thaw Cycles, turned a lot of heads and started some good conversations with other cyclists, too!

Pine Creek Rail Trail PA

We made it to mile 0, the halfway point for our day, and enjoyed more ice cream and an actual meal to help fuel us for another 62 miles back to the car.

Eating Ice Cream along Pine Creek Rail Trail, PA

Photo credit: Drew Lehnerd

The riding was good for the next twenty miles, but rain began to hit us slowly with roughly 35 miles miles left in our day. We stopped at Cedar Run Store for a delicious ice cream cone, and to sit under the porch awning (out of the rain) for a few minutes. There were still some folks out and about, but most adventurers had gone inside for the day.

Pine Creek Rail Trail

Photo credit: Drew Lehnerd 

Needless to say, we didn't get anymore photos after the rain began to fall steadily. Luckily we had plenty of sugar and dairy in our blood to keep us warm (not really) and get us back to the car before dark. To be honest, we skipped the 5th ice cream stop at McConnells General Store and instead ordered some delicious hot sandwiches. We were shivering cold, soaking wet, and just not in the mood for more ice cream. Hot sandwiches hit the spot though, and we felt great for the final push back to Jersey Shore!

Pine Creek Rail Trail PA 

We made it back to the car just before dark; 12 hours after beginning the adventure. Everything, including our hair, ears, and teeth was filled with grit from the rail trail. But of course it was worth it to be able to spend another wonderful day in Pine Creek!

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