Sunday, June 24, 2007
Trim your beer belly here
The Yough River Trail is the greatest stress reliever that I have found since kicking cigarettes.
Within a few minutes after hitting the hiking and biking path along an abandoned rail line due south of Pittsburgh, my nerves settle into a tunnel of green and all the nature it affords. The quiet is occasionally broken by the exciting shrill of an Amtrak train that follows the rails on the opposite side of the Youghiogheny River.
We are fortunate in Southwestern Pennsylvania to be home to this park, which is part of the Great Allegheny Passage, a 316 mile trail that connects Cumberland, Md., and Pittsburgh. A newcomer should expect adventure, especially in the remote sections. One day, a squirrel fell out of a tree and landed in the spokes of my bicycle’s front tire. He was stunned, but his injuries did not appear to be life threatening. Another time, I had to turn back after scouting a rabid red fox about 50 yards ahead of my handlebars. You also can explore the village of Whitsett, where there are ancient Anica Mine and Coke Works buildings. One is surrounded with poisen ivy and leads to a scary, dangerous portal into the deep mine that should have been sealed a long time ago to keep out the kids.
This place, meanwhile, is home to wildflowers and butterflies in their natural settings rather than in some habitat garden built in a city park.
A dad sporting a mullet can take his son here to bond over some fishing.
You never know, you might even encounter a cowboy out of his element.
But, the best part.....