I started working with Dirt Artisans trail building company at the end of August. Sam has been building with Dirt Artisans since the Spring, and I was able to join them for our current project at Jake’s Rocks in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. Dirt Artisans built ten miles of trail last year at Jake’s Rocks, and we are now creating an additional five.
We are building with excavators, and my job is to hand finish behind the machines—raking, root clipping, rock chucking, sawing, leaf blowing, etc. We spend our workdays in the woods, surrounded by plants and wildlife. Hard to beat!! I’ve had a bear walk ten feet from me while I was clipping, and I’ve seen multiple black squirrels and at least a million chipmunks.
Because there is already an established trail network, riding after work is easy and we go often. The road riding is beautiful too.
The area is known for its house and apartment size rocks, covered in ferns and moss. Sam always finds crazy alt lines! We have been actively including the rock in our trails—as wall rides, drops, gardens, or up-and-overs.
Warren, PA is about 20 minutes from Jake’s Rocks, and a growing cycling community has made giant strides in bettering the riding opportunities in the area. Besides bringing us in to build trail, they just had their first festival—Jake’s Witch Project—which had over 500 attendants. Our friend Sue Haywood came up to teach some clinics at the festival and ride with us!
When we aren’t working, riding, or cooking dinner, we’ve been fishing. We are still learning the area, but PA is known for many incredible trout streams and other fisheries. We have floated the Allegheny River with hopes of musky and walleye, but have brought neither into the boat yet! We’ve had a little luck though…
Hopefully we will be back at Jake’s Rocks next spring to build more trails, thus making the area even more of a destination for traveling riders. Besides Jake’s, check out the Rimrock
and Morrison trails nearby! There is plenty of camping in the forest, a nearby river beach, lots of hiking, and a great bike shop (Jamestown Cycle Shop) in downtown Warren, so a weekend trip is well worth it!
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I love spending time on a bike in beautiful places with my friends. I enjoy challenging myself with technical mountain biking and some racing, but the main reason I ride is to adventure in the mountains surrounding my hometown in the Shenandoah Valley. I look for trails with some history, either because they were CCC projects, or are old logging access roads since made into singletrack trails. Getting to pretty overlooks only accessible by bike or foot is always satisfying, and sharing those moments with all levels of riders and friends is very special.