Can Mother Nature cool her jets? Everyday brings a new level of heat disgust! My last hike was two weeks ago and we were chased back to our cars by a thunderstorm. Since then it has just been oppressive. I know it’s summer, yada, yada, yada…keep your logic to yourself!
I needed to get out, but also needed motivation. This is where being a hike leader with Trail Dames is so, so, personally satisfying. I scheduled an early morning hike at Little Bennett Regional Park in Maryland. And six other crazy women signed up…so at 6:20 AM I pulled into the Hyattstown Mill trail head parking lot in Hyattstown just across the street from the fire department. It was already a steamy 80 degrees, but otherwise a gorgeous morning that had surprised me with an amazing sunrise on the way down from Frederick.
As soon as everyone arrived, some still trying to wake up, we started down the road to pick up the trail. The trail used to be the old Hyattstown Road that went from Hyattstown to Clarksburg and it still resembles a road. Wide and paved with gravel it was an easy walk to the cut off for the Bennett Ridge trail.
There was a 10k going on in the park this morning. As such we navigated past water stations, yellow tape marking off trails, and eventually the runners. They had their work cut out for them on this muggy morning!
We followed the Bennett Ridge trail to the campground (pitstop), then backtracked to Beaver Valley. We headed downhill and encountered a bubble of runners from the 10k coming up. Oh! They looked a little whipped, but were in good spirits as they scuttled up the hill.
Beaver Valley winds around to the Western Piedmont trail, which we took back in the direction of Hyattstown. This is also part of the old road, so we were on flat, wide terrain again for a while. As we approached the section of trail where Pine Grove trail comes in, runners were exclaiming that they were getting stung. We slowly walked forward. I watched the next runner carefully, trying to spot the bees. Runner yelled, another win for the bees. I saw the bees and following their track I spotted the hive.
Holy moly! A huge hornet operation just above the heads of the poor defenseless runners! I looked around and decided this was a time when it was perfectly okay to go off trail. I led the women who chose to follow off, up, and around the nest…no stings. Hooray!
A few women had decided to take their chances and stay on trail…sucked for them, stung!
The final piece of adventure for this trail was wading across Little Bennett. I chose the deepest part, because, well, it was hot, and I mean seriously, if I’m taking the time to put on water shoes, then dang it, it better be worth it!! And it was! The water came up to the bottom of my shorts and felt so cold and ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
Long before the daily heat advisory went into effect, we were back at the cars and ready to head home for showers.
I looked forward to coffee and chilling out in the AC… Hike on!