That climb was brutal! - You CAN go home again - CycleBlaze

September 5, 2018

That climb was brutal!

Now I knew today would have a climb, but I didn’t realize it was going to be in full-sun. so, anyway, what as the day like? Good question.

I left the quality inn by 7:00 because I was meeting a longtime friend in White Haven, and it’s was about 45 miles to White Haven. But first I had to navigate the city streets of both Scranton and Wilkes Barre before I hit “the climb”

I make my way through the surface streets along with drivers in metal boxes on their way to work. I have to say, there’s a lot of respect with the drivers. I have no complaints. I find my way to the center of Scranton and try and find a memento from “The Office” as a location photo, but nothing. So I look back to the historic, which is in the central New Jersey RR station on the other side of the river.

Central New Jersey RR station in Scranton. Now abandoned
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I cross over and navigate to the Lackawanna river heritage trail, and instantly I’m impressed. Paved. Fast. Low traffic. This is what it’s all about. Sadly, it does go all the way to Wilkes Barre, but connects through other streets to get there. 

Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. Fast and paved :-)
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Then I’m through Susquehanna and onto the first historical site of the trip, the bloody rock. And I mean that in the most literal way. Queen Esther, following the battle of Wyoming (valley) murdered 14 or more revolutionary war soldiers by hammering their heads against this rock. Dark, I know. But history isn’t always bright. Happened during the 1700’s, so Queen Esther isn’t around today.

Queen Esther’s bloody Rock. In the middle of a residential street
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From there, it was a left here, a right there, connection with a trail here, an then I ran across the Levee trail. But the connection ended due to a detour because it was being repaved today. Of COURSE it was today when I was riding through.

Levee trail. Airport to the right
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Hey! That’s me along the levee trail!
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So then I’m through the surface streets, finished with the trails, and I hav to face “the climb”. This bad boy was about 1200’ in about 3.4 miles. Brutal. And in the full on sun. So to say it was unpleasant is an understatement. Still, I had to complete it, whether on the bike or walking. I chose the bike. I did stop with .8 miles to go and took a break in the shade just to recoup the feeling in my rear and my palms. Then I figured and found everything was soaked with sweat - my jersey, gloves, shorts. Ugh. Still, it was downhill from here to Jim thorpe before the climb to the camping resort.

Here’s I am at mountaintop. What about the name of the town, “Mountaintop” didn’t clue me in to a hellacious climb?
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I hit the D&H trail and I’m in heaven. Hard packed, and doubletrack all the way downhill into White Haven, rolling anout 17mph. For me, it was a treat.

RIl trail into White Haven. I was flying down this trail
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I meet my friend Kim in White Haven and the night we make our way south along the Lehigh Gorge. Within about 5 miles of trail, the skies open up and we are drenched. It’s pouring. The sky is light but we are soaked. And then it ends about 20 minutes later.

Maybe about 2 minutes before the pouring rain?
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So we roll into Jim Thorpe, and then have another climb into the camping resort, which, by the way, is a time the top of another 500’ climb, 2 mile climb. Made it, cooked some tortellini with pesto, and hitting the “sheets” for the night. Not really sheets, just plastic mattresses. But for now, I’m on the porch writing listening to the cicada concert by the wilderness insects.

Jim Thorpe, PA
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Home sweet home ( for the night )
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Today's ride: 75 miles (121 km)
Total: 272 miles (438 km)

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