By Jim Koury
This hike was offered as a substitute for the Frederick Municipal Forest 10H hike Dan McQueen had to cancel because of the heavy snow that fell Saturday, 1/23. The primary problem in offering a hike after a snow storm is finding a place to park. We had that problem on this hike, even though I had scouted the parking area the day before and thought it was safe. Turns out, the Landing Road entrance to Rockburn Branch Park was closed today so they could more adequately clear the roads and parking areas. (The only reason the park was open the day before when I scouted it was because the gate was frozen open!) Fortunately, there was an adjacent school we could park at. It meant adding a total of .8 mile to our hike, but that wasn't a problem because I was able to modify the hike on the fly. We (Jenny Bowser, Bill Saunders, Barry Stoll, Dan McQueen, and Sharon and Jim Koury) ended up hiking 6.3 miles through snow that was anywhere from 18 to 48 inches deep. Jenny and Barry used snowshoes, Dan and Sharon used microspikes, and Bill and I went commando. Barry let me borrow his snowshoes for about a half a mile and, I have to say, I was quite impressed with the advantage they gave me over hiking boots. Our overall average speed was 1.3 mph and our moving average speed was 2.0 mph. We started the hike around 9:45 and finished at 2:30. The scenery was as peaceful and serene as it was beautiful. We had the entire park to ourselves, seeing only three other humans for a brief period. Great way to spend a half day.