North Branch Canal Trail - An early review.


AUTHORS NOTE

Well, it's done.  It's finally done, and I'm not so old that I need a Jazzy to power my old body down this long awaited trail!

This review is hopefully the first of many articles I will write about this trail in the coming years.  I want to write about the history, flora, fauna and ties to transportion.  But this is just a quick article about my impression of the trail on my preview ride this weekend.

I helped conceptualize the idea and get it started, and then others with much better skill sets, took it on to complete realization. Today I rode it as a preview to the official opening - end to end - and it felt like closure to an idea that took shape many, many years ago.  Below are some photos and some impressions of what the trail is, and what it is not.

Enjoy!


NBCT FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS:

  • It's mostly level - where possible.  And very flat by central PA standards.
  • It's narrow - only 60" is most places.  Wider in others.  But it's intimate.
  • It's bumpy - If you ride a bike, be prepared for constant minor bumps.
  • It's rustic - has some puddles, and roots, and other things found in nature.
  • It's mostly shaded - Great to get some shade when hiking, riding, etc. in summer.
  • It's grass and dirt - not the easiest for riding a bike.  Be forewarned.
  • It's beautiful - old growth forest on the banks of the Susquehanna.
  • It's representative - It's not a road. It's still honoring it's towpath heritage.

Who will like this trail:

  • Trail runners - will LOVE THIS TRAIL!  Perfect for training or just enjoying.  Not a hard run.
  • Certain cyclists - it can be ridden with any bike.  That being said, it's dirt, and it's uneven, and it's not a fast go.
  • Hikers - Great place for an easy hike.  No question.
  • Nature lovers - It's unbelievablly natural and scenic.
  • Groups (especially groups of average or better fitness)  It's got something for Scout groups, or history buffs, or nature enthusiast, or bird watchers, and many other types of groups.

Who will hate this trail:

  • Road runners - the surface is uneven.  We can just leave it there.  'Nuf said.
  • Many cyclists - If you are expecting a crushed limestone, or paved "rail trail" type experience when you show up to ride - you are going to be VERY DISAPPOINTED.  If that's your expectation, save your time, and don't come.  You'll hate it, and your kids will cry.
  • Roller bladers - (do people still rollerblade?)  If so, don't come here.  Not possible. It will be a run with uncomfortable, heavy, wheel-sneakers.
  • Cronic Grumps - If you are the type of person who likes to find fault, and make "suggestions" in bitchy terms (never offering to actually help), then you will find some material here.  But since this kind of person likes to be unhappy: maybe I should put "cronic grumps" in the "like" category?

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