What was the weather going to do? It rained all night, and the forecast gave a 100% probability of rain at noon – so do we hike, or do we sleep in?
Hike leader Deborah Flint made a decision at 8:00 and said “I’m coming!”. Eight of us met her though three of us were at the boat ramp, and five were at the boat house, but after a quick call and a short walk to meet up, we set off, clockwise, around Centennial Lake. There wasn’t much wildlife, though there was a good sighting of an Eastern Painted Turtle and a hawk – either a Sharp-Shinned, or a Cooper’s. (See the picture below - separating Sharp-Shinned Hawks from Cooper's Hawks is one of the classic birding challenges.) The hike was almost all on blacktop and the group maintained a surprisingly spry 3.0mph moving average with almost no stops.
As it turned out, the weather decision was a good one because the hiking conditions were perfect, yet within an hour of us finishing, the heavens opened and I drove home through one of the heaviest downpours I’ve experienced.
See below for a few pictures. (Click on each picture to see it in full size.) Also see the club's gallery page for a few more pictures.
Above I said:
...either a Sharp-Shinned, or a Cooper’s. (See the picture below - separating Sharp-Shinned Hawks from Cooper's Hawks is one of the classic birding challenges.)
I asked an expert, who said:
...Juvenile Cooper's Hawk. Rounded tail, white terminal band on tail, large head (as compared to SSHA). Adult would have rufous streaks on the chest and a dark cap on the head.
Mike O’Connor, Jim and Sharon Koury, Bill Saunders, Mary Thayer, Ann Roberts and I parked in a friendly park Catoctin Mountain Park ranger’s driveway, and in typical Mountain Club style the hike started with a steep climb. Hike leader Mike had promised a total of 1,300 feet of elevation, but my Garmim measured 1,711.
We enjoyed swishing through thick, slippery piles of fallen leaves that disguised the newly-blazed Gateway Trail. It connected with various park trails, and via some of those 1,700 feet of endless climbs, we went by Thurmont Vista, Wolf Rock, and our lunch location, Chimney Rock
See below for a few pictures. (Click on each picture to see it in full size.). Also see here for a few more pictures.
Per Backpacker magazine, these long, scenic trails cover anywhere from 100 to nearly 7,000 miles
CLICK HERE to view a map of almost 50 trails - it's interesting to see how they span right across the USA. The trails mapped include:
- Appalachian Trail
- Pacific Crest Trail
- Continental Divide Trail
- Tahoe Rim Trail
- North Country Trail
- Pacific Northwest Trail
The full article:
Background on the 50-Mile Walk
On February 9, 1963, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy walked from Great Falls, Maryland to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The journey was initialized by his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who had reiterated an earlier 50 mile military walking challenge of President Teddy Roosevelt.
Now, we've recreated the same walk at the same place and roughly the same time each year. This event is organized by the FreeWalkers, a social network of long distance walkers, that hosts spectacularly challenging national and international walking events. This event is a special one since it commemorates the significance of the "50-mile hike" started in 1963.
Bobby, ever the spark plug in an active administration, decided to take the challenge himself, long before the troops. So, three days after the initial idea was set in motion, the Attorney General set out with his staff on the most natural long trail in the area, the C&O Canal Towpath, and headed north to Harper's Ferry. It was more than they bargained for, and only one would make the distance. In dress Oxford shoes, no less. Guess who?
Thr full story here:
2,000 People Participate in First Day Hikes
Staff and volunteers hosted 33 guided hikes at 21 state parks on New Year’s Day. From beachside marshes to rocky cliffs, each park offered its own unique adventure and walk.
A total of 2,034 hikers logged 4,030 miles.
“First Day Hikes are becoming a New Year’s tradition with thousands of citizens starting the new year off immersed in the great outdoors,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton. “My family and I enjoyed a tremendous outing at Cedarville with a beautiful three-mile trek. We enjoyed some quality time together and made some lasting memories.”
Maryland takes part in the national First Day Hikes initiative, which for past six years has encouraged Americans to celebrate the outdoors on the first day of the year. Sponsored by America’s State Parks, the hikes highlight the value of public lands and state parks in providing year-round enjoyment, recreation and relaxation.
The rest of the story:
All are invited to kick-off the New Year with an invigorating First Day Hike at a nearby state park, as the Maryland Department of Natural Resources – once again – takes part in the national New Year’s Day event of outdoor exploration and recreation.
A record-breaking 2,177 people spent the first day of 2016 participating in a First Day Hike in Maryland with participants logging a total of 4,531 miles.
The rest of the story here.
There are 29 Guided Hikes Scheduled at 27 Maryland State Parks. A list of the first-day hikes here.
The Department of Natural Resources has several programs and special rates for military veterans, active duty service members, and prisoners of war. Click the link below for a brief summary, with links to more information.
Per the Department of Natural Resources:
Welcome to the Fall Foliage & Festival report for the weekend of October 8 and 9, brought to you by the Maryland Office of Tourism and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Well, the fall foliage is getting quite colorful in Garrett County and we’re getting word from Deep Creek Lake State Park that there is an abundance of gorgeous color to be had! The region is basking in the glow of Indian summer and if you’re planning to head west this weekend, you should meet with fantastic viewing conditions. In neighboring Allegany County, the leaves are still about a week-and-a-half from peak, with Washington and western Frederick counties expected to follow closely behind.
Reports from Green Ridge State Forest? in Allegany indicate current conditions there are simply glorious; the maples and dogwoods have turned vibrant red, the hickories a golden yellow, and the black gums, an orangish-red… Virginia creeper winding itself around the hickories is showing up a blazing scarlet, and the oaks are just now starting to change.
The weekend forecast shows showers Saturday giving way to sunshine on Sunday, with daytime highs near 60°F and overnight temperatures falling to around 40°F.
So pack a couple sweaters, a rain jacket and an umbrella and you’ll be all set for a weekend of sight-seeing!
Full story here: