Okay, seriously, Spring? It was 18 degrees when I left my house at 7:30 AM! The saving grace was it was bright, sunny and no wind. Sidekick Pauli was eager to get outside and stretch her four legs. So after a quick stop at 7-Eleven for a block of cheese we headed for Gambrill SP in Frederick County, Maryland. The cheese is Sidekick Pauli’s favorite trail snack so we had to pick some up!
The sun was rising over the ridge as we started down the trail. This made the eastern side of the ridge nice and warm. The trees are still leafless and this allowed us to soak up the sun’s rays and take in the beautiful views of the ridge we were climbing down. Following the Black trail, we descended sharply downhill then rolled with the ups and downs that flank either side of South Mountain.
This is a route we have traveled many times before and I am always humored by the color coding of the trails. The Black and Blue trails converge and make up almost the entire first two miles of the hike…and they will make you feel black and blue if you are not in shape! Once on the Yellow trail the hike begins a more reasonable elevation differential. There are still ups and downs until the trail passes over the park road onto the western side of the park. The Yellow trail becomes pretty flat as it is along the ridge line (along with the road).
Before reaching the point where the Blue and Black diverge, we found a nice spring that was flowing. All the signs that warmer weather is on the way are here!
Then we climbed up, up, up! Last summer I would have described this trail as “not that bad”…today it was a little rough going up hill, down hill, up hill…evidence that this winter has been too long! Oh well, I had all day so I took my time. It is not that I cannot do it…it is just that it took me longer than it would have last summer! And I just want to say I am talking about 400 feet down and 600 feet up, then 500 down and roll around the mountain! The eastern side of the park on the Black and Blue is not for wimps!!!
So halfway up, since I had all day, I stopped with Sidekick Pauli and built some Zen for others coming up this big hill. 🙂 Feeling revived we powered on!
After about an hour, we reached the point where the Blue and Yellow trails split. Following the Yellow, we headed to the left. I decided to hike the 2.5 extension loop (more rolling) as the day was just gorgeous and I felt good. And seriously, tomorrow I will have one less day in my life so let’s just go for it!
About three hours in, whew! Break time! I instagrammed Sidekick Pauli, ate a quick snack, pulled my pack back on and continued down the trail…I wasn’t quite as warm sitting on a frozen log.
Soon after our break we passed the north Frederick overlook. It required crossing the park road to get to the overlook, but it was well worth it! A great place to sit and bask in the sunshine, and views to boot.
The upper Yellow trail continues along the ridge hugging the shoulder of the road. I don’t particularly like road walking…but I was already on the trail so just went with it! FYI…There is a lower part to the Yellow trail that is not along the road. 🙂
Getting back to the car was welcomed by both Sidekick Pauli and me! My legs were tired! I guess Sidekick Pauli’s were too because she would not jump up into the back of the Highlander like she normally does. So I helped her out and gave her the last of the cheese as a reward. She took it in one gulp then snuggled down into her sleeping bag. I was surprised to see it was only 12 noon and 25 degrees. It definitely felt later and warmer than that! A super kick off to Spring Break (even if it doesn’t really feel like spring yet…and supposed to snow tomorrow)! Hike on!! 🙂