Day 3 was a gorgeous riding day, cool temperatures but clear skies. Although, we did not see much of the skies because of the thick forest canopy. We did experience rays of sunshine breaking through the tree cover.
Before we hit the trail, we had breakfast at a little bakery cafe. I ordered a bacon and egg sandwich on wheat berry bread. Well the bread was fantastic, but the egg, not so much. It’s a good thing I also ordered some oatmeal, because the eggs went into the trash bin. Bill, who does not share the same egg issues as me, ate his egg, but not enthusiastically. Well, enough of that.
After breakfast, we rode down to a park along the Youghiogheny River. At this point in the river, there are a series of falls, making for some very nice photos.
We are glad, we had the opportunity to check out the river. The previous day was a little rainy and we were tired, so we planned to check it out the next morning.
Shortly after getting underway, we passed this sign that relates how Otters have been reintroduced into the river.
For over 75 years, the river was unable to sustain the fish and insects necessary to support the otter population. But, in 1992, after years of cleanup efforts, otters were reintroduced to the area and continue to thrive. For me, it is a reminder that humans can destroy the environment, but also, with enough time and money and, most importantly, commitment, can fix the problems.
Here are a couple of pictures from the trail. You can see the sun shining through the canopy.
So during the ride, all the way from Pittsburgh, we have seen evidence that it is fall, with leaves ever present on the path, but what was missing, were the fall colors. We are hopeful that, as we get closer to Cumberland Gap, we will see some color. Today, we saw a little glimpse of what may come.
We had planned to stop for coffee in Confluence, named for the two rivers that merge there, the Youghiogheny and the Casselman. Well, that plan fell apart, when we couldn’t find a coffee shop or cafe open. I did take a pic of the town map. I wondered what Mae West had to do with this little town, since she has a road named after her, but did not find anything on the internet to suggest she passed through.
After leaving Confluence, we did experience a break in the forest canopy enough to take some pictures of the Casselman River.
Just a few more miles up the river, we arrived at the highlight of the day’s trip, the Pinkerton Tunnel and the two adjacent bridges, the Low Pinkerton and High Pinkerton bridges. Since the GAP trail opened in 1999, the path had to detour around the closed Pinkerton Tunnel. This 1.2 mile detour is a scenic ride along the river, but rail supporters had been wanting to restore the tunnel. The reconstruction of the nearby CSX rail tunnel gave rail supporters insight into how the trail tunnel might be economically restored. Finally, with funding in place, the tunnel restoration was scheduled for 2015, and the tunnel opened for trail use in September of that year. Riders now have the choice to take the tunnel or the scenic bypass.
One thing Bill and I have enjoyed on the ride, is the abundance of wild flowers along the path, most frequently, goldenrod, purple asters and sweet peas.
After over 40 miles on the trail, we approached our destination for the day, Meyersdale. We rode out from the forest canopy and had the first glimpse, for the day, of wide open fields and hills. You can even see some wind turbines off in the distance.
It had been a long day, we we enjoyed every moment. We arrived at our guest house, took a little nap and then went into town for a nice dinner at the Bistro operated by our hosts.
Today we will make our way to Cumberland, Maryland. It should be an exciting ride up through the Cumberland Gap, over the Eastern Continental Divide and across the Mason Dixon Line into Maryland.