Oh! The orange trail is the most fun at Sugarloaf! But I am getting ahead of myself…
At 6 pm I was sitting in my car at the Urbana park & ride waiting for Boomerang. Commuters were returning from the Washington, D.C. Area in cars, vans and busses. Everyone was moving, in transition from the work self to the home self. Transformed into lovely neighborhood types they waved and smiled to their fellow commuters then made their way to their cars and started home.
I used to commute also and remember the release I felt when I crested the last mountain into Frederick. The whole of me was exhausted. My work day used to start at 4:30 am and end at 6 pm. That all changed when I started working at the community college in Frederick. Now it is only a five minute commute! Most importantly, my time and energy are spent working for my own community, not one that is 40 miles away. I make less money…but I live a lot more life now! 🙂
Like right now…here I was going out for my second midweek hike!!!
Boomerang arrived and after getting the Sidekick Pauli welcome (initial suspicion & barking) we threw her pack in and headed south for Sugarloaf Mountain. Sugarloaf Mountain is a monolith; all of the surrounding mountains were worn away leaving it standing tall. Base elevation is 500 feet, while at the summit it is 1282 feet.
We parked at the foot of the mountain near the main entrance. After throwing our headlamps into our packs (just in case…it was already 6:40 pm) we headed up the white trail. This trail was steep, but not unbearably so, and woodsy as we made our way to the eastview parking lot at 900 feet.
The weather was amazing! It felt like an early autumn day with low humidity, bright blue skies and temperatures in the 70s. All those things that make climbing a mountain that much more pleasurable! 🙂
We reached the east view parking lot and the base of the orange trail without incident. After taking a short glance at the view from the lot, we turned into the woods and started the final climb to the summit on the orange trail. Now, this trail is my kind of trail!! Rocky, steep…STEEP!! 😀
Sidekick Pauli was a gem of a hiking partner as we climbed! She would step up a few paces then wait for me to climb up before continuing. She also kept checking to make sure Boomerang was still with us. Seems she has accepted Boomerang as part of the pack! 🙂
Oh, it was fun! Up and over rocks, so steep in places that I climbed with hands as well as feet! Loved it. It didn’t last long, however, and soon we were at the summit.
At the summit I was once again struck by the difference a season makes. I don’t know why foliage makes everything look totally different to me…but I felt this place anew.
After a few obligatory, and possibly narcissistic, photo snaps we descended by the red trail to the west view parking lot, then the white trail back down to our car. As we passed the parking lot we spotted a cute little fox…luckily Sidekick Pauli was looking the other way!
As daylight was fading we came across an old stone homestead down the white trail. I wouldn’t have noticed it if Sidekick Pauli hadn’t pulled me in that direction. sometimes that dog just knows where I need to go! Only the porch floor, chimney and an outbuilding were still standing, while blackberry bushes grew thick where the proper living space once stood. It was a beautiful moment.
We moved back to the trail and finished our hike by climbing through the gates to Sugarloaf, which had been closed and locked. It was 9 PM.