On Sunday (1/17/16) eighteen of us did a pleasant little 6M hike in the Woodstock area of the Patapsco Valley State Park. (Actually, the advertised 6 mile hike turned into a 7 miler. Normally, I'm pretty precise about mileage, knowing that an additional mile might be a mile too far for some people, but this time I got caught up in the excitement of the season's first snow shower. Mea culpa.) The Woodstock area is a good choice for hiking because ample parking is available and the area lends itself to a wide range of hikes, both because of the terrain and because some trails abut suburban neighborhoods. Also, sanctioned bikers have recently developed some new trails in the area, which allows for greater variety. On Sunday's hike, we used the new 1.2 mile bike trail, the one that rises above the Patapsco river and includes a professional looking bridge to cross one of the streams. We didn't use the other new mile bike trail (1/2 mile in length) because I save that one for other, different Woodstock hikes I lead.
As per usual, my "lovely wife" (Sharon) assumed the responsibilities of the sweep. She and I like leading 6M hikes because they are a good entry point for people who might be interested in our club but aren't sure if the club would be a good fit for them. 6M hikes also are great for club members who simply want to get in a short hike in the morning and then have the rest of the day to do chores or whatever. Sunday's hike was a perfect example of this: we had two guests, two club members who were brand new to Sharon and me, and a handful of club members we hadn't seen in months.
Even though this hike had only about 500 feet of climbing, there were a couple of grades involved, including the one pictured below