'Bike Through History' on the
Northern Central Railroad Trail
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NOTES FROM THE 2007 PROGRAM...
The Bike Through History program was conducted by members of the NCR/Hereford Volunteers. Ten official rides were offered - plus one 'unofficial' ride- and then we had a picnic. The following notes were taken for each of the events:
MAY 23 -
Our first Bike Through History event for the year was a 'Get Reacquainted' ride, not on the official schedule, and we met at Sparks on a clear, spring-like evening. The ride was attended by three participants, two of whom were members of the Volunteers.
We departed at 6:30 P.M. and headed north, stopping for a few minutes at Corbett, Monkton, Blue Mount and White Hall before turning back.
At Blue Mount it was discovered that the beaver family that had been active beneath the Little Falls bridge just south of the crossing last year is no longer there.
We left from White Hall at 7:52 P.M. but stopped briefly just north of the crossing to check out the mound that had at one time been the train station, and we stopped briefly at Monkton, and we arrived back at Sparks beneath a clear, half moon at 8:45 P.M., after covering 14.5 miles in our round-trip.
Participants were Allen, Richard and Steve.
MAY 30 -
Our first official Bike Through History event for the year departed on time, 6:30 P.M., from Paper Mill Road with 28 participants, which included four staff members from the Bike Ride Committee.
We proceeded directly to the Gunpowder bridge for introductions, and each of the participants got a chance to say a few words about their interest in biking on the trail, etc.
We then stopped at Phoenix where one of the participants read aloud the sign.. We next arrived at Sparks about 7:05 P.M. where we were met by Duvall and Barbara Sollers and Park Service Associate Christina McCullough.
The Sollers were very gracious and informative hosts, with he giving us a talk about history pertaining to Sparks and the NCR, and she giving us a talk about the Nature Center.. We dwelled about 10 minutes longer following the talks for people to mill around the Nature Center to see the exhibits, and we left from Sparks at 7:45 P.M. and biked north to Glencoe.. It was here that Christina, who had joined us at Sparks, talked briefly about the NCR Trail and the park, and we left from Glencoe about 8:10 P.M. heading south to Ashland, Milepost Zero, where I spoke briefly on reminiscences of Ashland and the Parkton Local.
We then returned to Paper Mill Road and we were off the trail at 8:50 P.M.
Participants included: Nancy, Marty, Becky, John, Steve, Michelle, Kathy, Richard, Becky, Bob, Mary, Barbara, Rob, Steve, Elise, Bob, Eileen, Arb, Ruth, Pam, Marvin, Tammy, Diane, Shelly, Brian, Russ, David, Allen, & Christina (who joined at Sparks).
By all accounts, this was a very successful bike ride.
JUNE 6 -
Our second official Bike Through History event for 2007 left from Monkton Station on a perfectly delightful evening. In fact, it got a tad bit chilly as the evening wore on.
There were 30 participants, although at no time were all 30 of us together (being that two dropped out early on due to a flat tire and others showed up for the ride afterward). Four staff members are included in the total.
We biked southward to the Gunpowder bridge just north of Corbett for introductions, and then we went to Glencoe arriving 7:07PM where Lee Fleishman gave us some history of Glencoe, and then north to Corbett arriving 7:26PM where he gave us some history of Corbett.
Next we biked back to Monkton arriving 7:44PM where David Rusk (who did not ride with us) had opened the station. While at the station I gave a demonstration of the use of a train-order stick using three of the younger participants as locomotive engineers.
We then biked northward to the Little Falls bridge south of Blue Mount, where there are no longer any beavers, but Richard Anderson gave us a brief discussion on beavers anyway, and finally we arrived at our northern end point Hicks-Wilson Road with 23 of our participants (the rest had dropped out), arriving there at 8:22PM.
Following closing remarks and some questions, we returned to Monkton and were off the trail at 8:51PM.
Participants who rode with us, at least part way, were.. Todd, Mary, Ted, Carol, Elisa, Peg, Ruth, Steve, Dee, Sarah, Jeff, Marvin, Kelly, Brian, John, Becky, Ruth, Russ, Diane, Pam, Lee, Steve, Eliese, Ruth, Richard, Rosana, Liz, Nancy, Marty & Allen.
By all accounts, this was a very successful bike ride, and attendance of 30 participants sets a new record.
JUNE 13 -
Our Bike Through History this evening originating at White Hall with five people in attendance.
There had been heavy rain not long before the event, and this no doubt had an impact on the number of participants. Indeed, four of the participants had come from the east, and had followed the storm over to White Hall. I came from the west and went through a simply awful storm en route and arrived just a few minutes before meeting time.
We waited for nine minutes before leaving, thinking that perhaps someone else might arrive having been caught in the storm.
At Hicks-Wilson road we had a trivial quiz about Maryland symbols (tree, flower, bird, etc.), and then we biked back to White Hall, arriving 7:03 P.M., where Richard gave a wonderful demonstration about snakes.
We left from White Hall at 7:15 P.M. and headed to the snake pit. Little Falls was somewhat swollen at this point.
Next we biked to the millrace bridge north of Walker for a brief stop to discuss what a millrace was, and then we ended up at our destination MP 15 where we dwelled briefly and then biked south to Parkton.
We made two stops at Parkton - one each at the two signs - and then we got back to White Hall and off the trail at 8:40 P.M.
We were on the lookout for fallen limbs from the storm, but none were found on our ride - just some sticks. The trail seemed to have been spared any damage along the portion between Hicks-Wilson road and MP 15.
Participants included Steve, Elise, Richard, Michelle & Allen.
JUNE 20 -
We left from Bentley Springs southbound promptly at 6:30 P.M. on a lovely late spring evening and headed to MP-15 where we had introductions.
Twenty-two participants attended, including three committee staff members.
We then headed back to Bentley Springs where Richard gave us a show & tell about beavers which included two stuffed beavers.
We next biked to Freeland where we read the historical sign, and then to the state line.
It was here that we headed across the new footbridge and into the park along the east side of the trail, formed a semi-circle and 18 of our participants took turns reading sequential passages from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Heading south once again we stopped outside Camp Beetree and discussed the Union encampment that had been on the hill east of the railroad, discussed the camp itself & looked at the display map, and then Lee gave us a brief talk about bicycling.
We were back to Bentley Springs and off the trail at 8:33 P.M.
Participants were: Liz, Barbara, Richard, Marty, Mary, Allen, David, Don, Russell, Ruth, Lee, Michelle, Steve, Bob, Nancy, Becky, Nancy, Donna, Dan, Peg, Rosanna & Kay.
JUNE 27 -
We met at Freeland at 6:30pm for our fifth official Bike Through History ride for this season on a warm & humid evening with a threat of storms. In fact, the threat of storms later became reality.
Twenty-five participants including four staff & our local DNR park service associate left from Freeland at 6:40pm with our intended agenda of visiting the New Freedom Station Museum for 16 minutes and then heading north to Glen Rock for Italian ice.
We arrived New Freedom station at about 7:05pm, finding that the museum was closed (although it was scheduled to be open).
Almost at the very moment of our arrival we heard the rumbles of thunder, & then it began to rain rather heavily. Our best judgement was to remain on the porch & sheltered from the elements, & some of the participants visited the station restaurant which was open. In due time it became evident that we would not have enough time to continue riding to Glen Rock, & in the meantime rain continued for all of about 35 minutes.
Then a poll was taken amongst the participants who remained at the station (some had already left to go back to Freeland), & it was decided to bike back to Freeland, which those still with us (about half our group) did, stopping once briefly at Flickerville in order to point out the foundation of Flickerville Tower & to explain the origin of the name.
We arrived back at Freeland and we were off the trail by 8:20pm, except for two in the group who continued on their own southward in the direction of Bentley Springs saying they would be back later.
Participants were: Matt, Devon, Darrell, Steve, Lee, David, Christina, Richard, Don, Mary, Rosanna, Sterling, Lil, Liz, Marvin, Ruth, Alyson, Sally, Bessie, Barrett, K.C., Barbara, Lois, Kay & Allen.
This completes our first round of bike rides. They have been attended by 110 participants.
JULY 11 -
There was a 50 percent prediction of rain with some severe storms as we assembled for the first ride in the second round of Bike Through History at Paper Mill Road, and not many of us would have predicted that as many as 15 participants would join our group, but that what we had, and happily the weather remained rain-free for us & the ride was successful.
We began with a show & tell of squirrels by Richard Anderson. He brought along a mounted flying squirrel (misnamed, as they only 'glide' into air currents but cannot fly), and three other squirrels, including an all-black squirrel and an albino white squirrel. He explained that the black and albino squirrels are anomalies due to pigmentation imbalances, and albinos occur perhaps once in 10,000 births.
At 6:40 P.M. we left from Paper Mill and ventured north, stopping once about half-way between the Gunpowder bridge and Phoenix to show the alignment of a one-time third track that hugged the bank of the river for about a quarter of a mile, and then to Sparks where we read the historical sign.
From there we went onto Glencoe where Marvin Yaker gave us a history talk about the Northern Central.
We turned around at Glencoe and biked south to approximately the same spot we had made our first stop earlier and watched two beavers who were busily making beaver noises on the other side of the river, where they remained for several minutes until one of them dove into the water, and then the other one did the same several minutes later.
We then made another stop just north of Paper Mill to see a black rat snake, and finally arrived in Ashland to read the historical sign. We also saw a pair of deer just south of the Ashland parking lot.
We returned to Paper Mill and were off the trail by 8:40 P.M.
Participants were: Michelle, Richard, Patty, Kirsten, Marvin, Steve, Kay, Donna, Lauren, Jane, Nancy, Jerry, Christina, Brian & Allen.
JULY 18 -
In spite of a rather dismal weather forecast of 50 percent chance of storms, we had a rather successful biking event from Monkton July 18, which we enjoyed as part of the 50 percent chance that there would NOT be any storms, and there were 22 participants.
First, a warm welcome to Kay Merrick, the newest member of NCR/Hereford Volunteers and now a member of the Bike Ride Committee, she having joined us the previous evening at the July meeting at Monkton station and was biking along with us.
The ride began on time & 21 of us biked south to the Gunpowder bridge south of Corbett where we had introductions & the first part of a trivia quiz about the Chesapeake Bay region.
David Rusk had remained behind at Monkton station to see that it would be open for us when our group got back to Monkton on our ride northward.
The trivia quiz - which had been used by Brenda on a Bike Through History ride back in 2004 - asked which one of four species was native to the Chesapeake Bay area (with three of the named species having been imported from other places) with only one correct answer of the four; and the categories were Insects, Mammals, Plants, Birds and Trees. There were two bonus questions, one of which asked us to name the eight states comprising the Chesapeake Bay drainage area. The questions were asked but the answers would come later in the ride to give participants time to think of answers.
We then biked south to Glencoe where Lee Fleishman gave us a talk on biking safety, etc., with statistics about biking accidents & the effectiveness of wearing helmets.
Next we biked northward stopping at the bridge between Corbett and Monkton where I prepped everyone of what to look forward to seeing in Monkton station (the bench just inside the door) & a brief discription of my involvement with the station as a train passenger in the late 1950s.
Eleven minutes were slotted for our visit to Monkton station, & then we biked north with a stop at Pleasant Valley where Marvin Yaker read aloud the sign. Meanwhile, David Rusk biked with us, having tended to the affairs at the station, but about five participants had left us by that point although two of them later rejoined us.
Finally, we arrived at Hicks-Wilson road, & at this point we got to hear the answers to the trivia quiz.
We left Hick-Wilson at 8:30 P.M. and we were back to Monkton & off the trail by 8:40 P.M.
Participants were: Allen, Lee, Donna, Kay, Lee, Barbara, Sally, Betsy, Carol, Tim, Jerry, Lauren, Patty, Nancy, Kirsten, Marvin, Steve, Russell, Don, Pam, Valerie & David.
JULY 25 -
Twenty-one participants rode with us leaving from White Hall. This included five committee staffers and Assistant Park Manager Peyton Taylor.
We first biked south to Hicks-Wilson road where we had a brief trivia quiz followed by introductions. While this was happening, we encountered a trail-user who had just arrived onto the scene by car, was acting rather strangely, and Peyton saw to it that he was not the driver & that the fellow who was the driver move his car so it was not blocking the entrance to the trail.
We biked back to White Hall & were treated to a detailed show & tell by Richard Anderson about snakes.
Next we biked to the snake pit & it was here that Peyton Taylor explained the Gunpowder Global Warming Initiative. (Later she distributed copies of Gunpowder Currents to those attending.)
Our next stop was north of Parkton, near a large sycamore tree, and here we formed a circle of eight people, arms stretched out, to show how large a circumference a sycamore tree could be, & this demonstration has been a long-time Bike Through History tradition.
At Milepost 15 (its post newly added to the trail by our president, Tom Bryant) we had a discussion about park volunteerism in a Q&A session with Peyton. Our special thanks to Peyton for her wonderful input during this ride, and to Richard for bringing his collection of snakes.
Participants were: Richard, Patty, Kirsten, Liz, Rosana, Betty, Steve, Alan, Jerry, Lauren, Nancy, Cathy, Dan, Mary, Sheryl, Dot, Kay, Peyton, Allen, Marvin & David.
AUGUST 1 -
It was a warm but very pleasant evening at Bentley Springs as 21 participants, including six committee members, attended our ninth official Bike Through History for this year.
We began with a 15-minute talk about history by guest speaker Bill Schmalzer, station master at Monkton station, for which we greatly appreciated his wonderful input about the history of the NCR.
We then biked south to MP-15 where we had introductions and then returned back to Bentley Springs.
It was here that Richard Anderson presented some more of his mounted mammals - a red fox, two skunks, a coyote & a raccoon - and gave us a show & tell.. As always, this was a great treat to those in attendance.
We then biked north to Freeland, during which time the committee members voted en route to have a picnic at Monkton station on August 15. We stopped briefly at Freeland to allow stragglers to catch up & rest for the coming assault upon the grade to the state line, and to make our announcement about the picnic.
Next we biked to the state line where we had a trivia quiz about the states in the union - specifically how many of them are styled Commonwealth (there are four) of which Pennsylvania is one. To be extremely technical, there are only 46 states in the U.S. (but a commonwealth is generally regarded as a state). We also talked about the Mason-Dixon Line.
We returned back to Bentley Springs and were off the trail by 8:45 P.M.
Our participants were: Gary, Marvin, Don, David, Nancy, Jerry, Lauren, Alan, Lois, Michelle, Richard, Barbara, Peg, Lee, Kay, Carol, Tod, Steve, Patty, Kristan & Allen.
AUGUST 8 -
Our final ride of the 2007 season.
Our ride from Freeland was attended by eight participants on a very hot & humid evening with temps in the upper 90's at origin time.
We biked north to the state line where Lee Fleishman walked off a specific number of paces from Orwig Road to try & determine the precise location the state line crosses the trail, based upon the information he obtained on the internet, but the effort was inconclusive.
Next we stopped near Summit Grove to read a new history sign that had been placed alongside the trail within the past several weeks.
At New Freedom we were treated to a brief talk by Don Minogue, one of our regular riders who also attends the Sunset Scramble rides, about biking programs in York County and Pennsylvania, which was very interesting.
Being that it was so hot, the group then went to a nearby ice cream & snowball parlor for some treats, remaining about 25 minutes, and then we had just enough time to bike northward to Railroad Borough before turning back.
We arrived back in Freeland and were off the trail by 8:45 P.M., by which time it was rather dark.. In spite of the hot & humid weather, the ride was rather pleasant.
Nancy, one of our regular bikers who lives in Ashland, had brought some goodies for us to eat after the ride.. She will also bring a cake to our picnic next week.
Participants, including three committee staffers, were: Allen, Ruth, Jerry, Lauren, Kay, Lee, Don & Nancy.
This, then, ends our 2007 Bike Through History program (except for the picnic).
In the second round of biking we had 87 total participants (as compared to 44 total participants in the second round last year). Total for the season - both rounds combined - we had 197 participants (as compared to 148 total for the season last year). I believe our program this year was very successful.. Our minimum number of riders in any one official outing was five, and our maximum was 30.. These totals do not include the one unofficial ride we had preseason, nor did the 2006 totals include the two unofficial rides we had.
AUGUST 15 -
Our final event in the 2007 Bike Through History program was a picnic August 15 at Monkton station.
This was our very first effort at having a picnic, and all partipants in the program were invited to attend. Also invited were a number of others who were instrumental in making the program a success or were deserving of being invited for their involvement on the NCR.
We met at 6:30 P.M. and enjoyed the pleasant surroundings of the station and grounds on a very pleasant evening. Menu included a hot appetizer, deli sandwich & salad items, chips, soft drinks, cookies, watermelon & a cake.
(The cake was donated by Nancy, from Ashland, one of our regular bikers, who has donated goodies to us previously on our final ride of the year.)
There was wonderful fellowship & we also sang some songs.
Twenty-five people attended, and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Those attending included: Christina, Brian, David, Duvall, Barbara, Tom, Gary, Michelle, Carol, Richard, Jarred, Nancy, Marvin, Kay, Tina, Jimmy, Bill, Sandy, Larry, Robert, Ginger, Teresa, Paul, Peg & Allen
Much appreciation to all who made this year's program such a great success.
Here's looking forward to the 2008 season.
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Click Here for Program Notes from 2006
Click Here for Program Notes from 2005
Click Here for Program Notes from 2004
Click Here for Program Notes from 2003
Click Here for Program Notes from 2002