I woke up this October morning thinking “What can I do on an overcast, somewhat drizzly, muggy, fall Sunday morning? Mountain bike riding with biking buddies Rob and Caleb couldn’t have been easier decision. The complicated question was where to ride in southeastern Pennsylvania.We – six of us usually – have ridden (and gotten hurt and broke bikes) on multiple trails throughout Valley Forge State Park, Marsh Creek State Park, and the Green Lane Park and Reservoir. Our local favorite, however challenging, was calling our names this morning. The pictures below do little justice to the beautiful, rugged, stream-studded creek gorge of Philadelphia’s 1800 acre Wissahickon Valley Park.Starting out with wonderful hot coffee at Caleb’s house on near Elbow Lane, just east of McCallum, we dropped in near Climber’s Rock, riding the eastern side down to Rittenhouse. From there, Forbidden Drive and the Blue Stone Bridge carried us over the creek and into the heart of the trails. The three of us, lead by local favorite jeweler Caleb Meyer, climbed the western side near Kitchens – on the yellow trail – for over 8 miles of switch backs, hilly rollers, large rocks and steep inclines. Ever cautious and hoping not to get hurt, we made our way through this fabulous Sunday morning ride.At Bell’s Mills and then Northwestern we saw the horses, forcing us to reckon with our approaching return trip home. We crossed back over at Dewees Rock and Germantown Pike. On this last 1/4 of the ride, worn and beaten down, we stopped several times to savor the scenery. Waterfalls, covered bridges, and my favorite, the Lenape Chief Tedyuscung Statue.The Indian Chief is always the highlight of my Wissahickon ride. It is a challenge to get there, a joy to see, and a true testament to what hard work can achieve. Leaving the Lenape Indian Chief behind, we headed east, picking our way back to Climbers Rock and Livesy Lane. I have not ridden this part of the trial. Each pedal stroke after 150 minutes in the saddle felt great, but exhausting.We were finishing the last up hill climb to Elbow Lane, looking forward to some fine October-fest libation, when we suffered our first and only casualty of the ride. Rob’s rear tire exploded with a hiss of exhaustion. The brief walk out could not dampen our spirits or take the air out our awesome Sunday morning ride. Thanks guys! 13.4 miles and 1500 elevation, 2.5 hours.