South Central PA Climbing

Pennsylvania is a huge state.  Residents of Philadelphia live in Philadelphia county, which is .31% of the state of Pennsylvania.  That leaves about 45,913 square feet of land left to explore.

A few weeks back, some friends and myself ventured west to pedal our mountain bikes around Rays Town Lake.  On our way out of town, we found some rocks to climb up.

Shaffer Rock – The Hermitage

Our first stop, Shaffer Rock , lies just off the Appalachian Trail in the Michaux State Forest.   Some many options here and tons of great photo opportunities.  The shots below are a sequence of Len sending it.
Shaffer Rock-475

James Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park

If you didn’t know, now you know: America’s worst president has a state park commemorating his birthplace.  Rumor has it the route we climbed was actually climbed by young Jimmy a long, long time ago.  This is Joe sacking up before paying tribute to James Buchanan by slaying this rock face.

James Buchanan Birthplace-477

Some More Photos

Shaffer Rock-416 Shaffer Rock-421 Shaffer Rock-424 Shaffer Rock-438 Shaffer Rock-439 Shaffer Rock-471 Shaffer Rock-473 Shaffer Rock-474


The Benjamin Franklin Bridge

The Ben Franklin Bridge

The Ben Franklin bridge, perpetually visible.

Photograph of The Ben Franklin Bridge: My Thoughts

When I am in Philadelphia, the Ben Franklin Bridge is always in view. From my desk, I look out over Kensington, over Fishtown, and across Northern Liberties to see Pennsylvanians and New Jersians traveling to and fro.

In the mornings, my runs take me underneath the bridge. Sometimes, my running route takes me across the bridge into Camden. Other times I stretch mid-run on Race Street Pier, which served as  the vantage point for this photograph.  All the while, staring at the Ben Franklin.

To sum it up, I spend a lot of time looking at this Bridge. ‘Bout time I photographed it.

The Ben Franklin Bridge Photograph:


History of The Benjamin Franklin Bridge

The Ben Franklin Bridge has spanned the Delaware for over 80 years.  Wow.  80 years.  How old is that in bridge years?

For time sake, I’ve quickly gathered the Wiki-history of this incredible Philadelphia landmark:

“The Benjamin Franklin Bridge — known informally as the Ben Franklin Bridge and originally named the Delaware River Bridge — is a suspension bridge across the Delaware River connecting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey. Owned and operated by the Delaware River Port Authority, it is one of four primary vehicular bridges between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, along with the Betsy Ross, Walt Whitman, and Tacony-Palmyra Bridges.

The chief engineer of the bridge was Polish-born Ralph Modjeski, its design engineer was Leon Moisseiff, and the supervising architect was Paul Philippe Cret. At its completion on July 1, 1926, its 1,750-foot (533-meter) span made it the world’s longest suspension bridge span, a distinction it would hold until the opening of the Ambassador Bridge in 1929.”  – borrowed from Wikipedia on 6/14/2013

Map of the Ben Franklin Bridge


Lake Tahoe

I captured these images back in 2006 at Lake Tahoe. Two friends and I ventured west to slide our shred-sticks down mountains. Twas my first time past doing so. This past week I scanned the negatives from that trip, converting them to digital files.

Many great photos exist amongst those digital negatives. Here are a few which could not wait to be published online.

Enjoy, until the shred returns.




El Fin


El fin, or the end, (for those who don’t understand foreign languages) implies a linear progression.  I don’t think of life as linear.  Therefore, I don’t think of life’s experiences as linear.  Yes, things begin that may not have existed before.  But, let’s get cosmic for a second: do experiences ever really end?

Snow falls, piles up, then it melts – it’s the hydrogen cycle baby! During the 3rd step of the cycle, evaporation, snowboarders go back to riding skateboards, swinging golf clubs, pedaling bikes, eating burritos, folkin’, and so on; but, the thoughts of last season always linger. Piling up like the snow did  last fall.  As seasons go by the end gets easier.  Perhaps that’s because it seems to occur later and later into the Spring as I squeeze every last drop from Winter.  In 2012, April 28 marked my final day strapping on a snowboard. In 2013, my final day was April 20th.

After 15 years of sliding sideways, I am growing more and more okay with the end.  Of course I always look forward to Winter and shredding,  but I rest assured knowing Winter will return, global warming or not. I’m done with whining about it being “over.”  Because it is not over. We’re just fasting.

So with this idea in mind I wrote this post as a tribute to my final indulgence before a 7-month fast from sliding sideways.

A brief summation of my final shred-session this season: a trip to Tuckerman’s Ravine:

– Leave Friday and climb a real rock for the first time. Camp in the backyard of a dude who had an elk rack on his house. Dude enjoys wine and climbing – both in equal excess.  His girlfriend  teaches outdoorsy stuff at a catholic, all-female college in Massachusetts.  She has 5  students visiting this same weekend.  The first thing she tells us is that they are all devote christians.

– Awake Saturday and found a great deal on bagels – eat 6 bagels all day.

– Begin hike up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at 8am.  Use the splitboard and make it  up the 2.5 trail in 1:45:00.

– Wicked thaw – freeze cycle has turned the ravine into bullet-proof ice; we hike up anyway.  Make 2 turns and slide down 300 ft on my ass.  Proceed to hang out in bowl with snow-margaritas, bourbon and other stuff. Have a fun, safe ride down the Sherburne trail on corn snow.

– Go to a parking lot somewhere in the Whites to cook fish, venison and sausage. Also, drink more bourbon.

-Fall asleep, wake up, check out a local crag, and drive home to a 70F Philadelphia.

And so, the fast has begun.

Down On The Farm

High school. I grew up in South Central Pennsylvania, about 45 minutes North of Baltimore. When people began leaving the cities – Baltimore, York, Harrisburg, Lancaster – Hanover made sense to start new families. The town is an hour from all these metros and nestled in a rural area of Southern PA and Northern MD. This left a good blend of the ‘burbs and the country.

A good friend of mine in highschool owned a farm. On his farm we spent many nights around fires in the field or on the front steps of the barn. This night, for whatever reason, we spent in the woods cutting down a tree. Luckily, I had my camera in tow.

chopping down a tree

20070409-DSC_0066Victory Pose Not Just for Males Yep

Christmas Skate

Kick Turn

Holidays bring us all together.  As I get older, it seems I only see my friends on select holidaze.  Christmas typically brings a snowboarding session full of roast beef grabs.

This year, however, the warm temps only allowed a concrete bowl session at Reid Menzer Memorial Park. Both are enjoyable, albeit I’d rather be shredding.  These are a few quick shots I snapped Joey Murphy riding the concrete wave.

Friday, It’s Friday

Friday Night Ping Pong

Every Friday the VIUS team unwinds with some ping-pong.