I managed to dry out by the morning, where the sun was shining once again. We packed up and biked into the town of Ohiopyle. We stopped by the Ohiopyle Bakery and Sandwich Shoppe for breakfast. Although everything looked delicious, I went with their famous oreo crème brownie. After repairing and completing some maintenance on our bikes, we took off for Rockwood. The morning was quite peaceful and even playful. My coworker and I were taking photos while trying not to wreck our bikes. There was one moment when I was behind the group and the leaves had a gentle hue of the changing fall colors and as my coworkers biked down the path, the leaves were swirling around them. It lasted only a moment, but it was a moment of pure contentment.
We came into Confluence around noon that day. We stopped to eat lunch and visit at The Confluence Cyclery. Brad and Maureen Smith, the owners of the shop, were assisting customers when we stopped in. After some light conversation over lunch, we left on our bikes to get to Rockwood in time for the Pirates game playing that night.
On our way to Rockwood, I saw my first owl ever. It is one thing to see an owl is an enclosed environment like the zoo. It is an entirely exhilarating experience to see an owl, or any wild animal for that matter, in its natural habitat. Initially it was far back in the woods but then swooped up to a branch almost right above my head. He cocked his head to the side as though he were posing for me and sat there while I took several pictures. He then flew over to another branch closer to me but I was afraid I was interfering with something and he was about to attack so I got on my bike and left. I love being in the woods but you must respect it in order to avoid being that person you hear about on the news.
I’d have to say some of the prettiest views during the fall season, at least in my opinion, of the GAP trail is in between Confluence and Rockwood, especially by the Pinkerton tunnel. The Casselman River was running especially low due to a lack of rain and you could see rocks peeping through the water. The water passing through the crevices of these rocks looked so still it looked as though it were black glass. You could see the reflection of the trees, including vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow leaves in the river too. This was another fleeting moment of pure contentment for me. There was nothing more important in that moment than watching the leaves fall and listening as the water trickled down the river.
As we got closer to Rockwood, I started to bike faster. The Pirates were playing the Wildcard game that night and I wanted to make sure we made it in time. We checked into the Hostel on Main, cleaned ourselves up, and walked down to Rock City Café. We ate dinner and watched the game until we realized the game was a total lost. That was a sad point. Overall though, we went to bed with a good day behind us.