Neighborhood Greenspace Jackpot

I must have won some kind of karma lottery because I have hit the jackpot of all neighborhoods! This little neighborhood gave me all the feels when I first drove into it with its mid-mod ranch and split levels. Brady bunch much? Literally, I was in love! I gazed out my car window at the azaleas, mountain laurel, and TREES with such longing that I knew this was it for me.

I have started to explore the neighborhood on foot now that I have depleted my savings by buying a livable ranch fixer built in 1962. And let me tell you…every neighborhood deserves greenspace like this. Every single person deserves to be able to walk out their door and into the woods.

We started the walk right behind my house and followed a well worn path up to the old water tower. Then we cut down to Sunset Drive, hung a right, and walked to the dead end, where the pavement ends and the adventure begins! Interestingly, this trail is on AllTrails…I guess you would have to park at either Bishop Walsh School or maybe Allegany High School to access the trail. Allegany HS is pretty new and was built on the grounds of the old Sacred Heart Hospital. This neighborhood was where many of the doctors that worked at the hospital lived back in the day. I believe the old hospital closed in 2009.

Looking back at the gate we passed through at the end of Sunset.

Moving on past the gate, we followed a dirt road to the very end of the Haystack Mountain ridge. This took us up to the western side of The Narrows, a deep gorge in Cumberland through which old highway 40, the train tracks, and Will’s Creek traverses.

Looking towards Corriganville, Maryland and Pennsylvania
Looking towards “Lover’s Leap” across the Cumberland Narrows

This is a lovely neighborhood! It is sad that at the moment I am tied to my computer by work and cannot take this walk every day! But the end of the semester is near!! Hike On!

I Think It May Be Spring!

Thank goodness, right? If your winter was anything like my winter…ugh.

Father Winter was a big tease with lots of potential, but no big exciting events. In Maryland, we would get icy mix, a little snow, then it would melt and we were left with a few damp, chilly days in the mid-40s. Brrr…rrr

Thank you Goddess of Spring for finally taking control!

Last weekend, I led a “newbie backpacker” trip. We had 4 new and 5 experienced backpackers. The newbies had completed two shakedown hikes prior and felt somewhat prepared.

We began our adventure at Shippensburg Road trailhead on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. Saturday started as winter…very cold and windy! We got moving!

As we hiked the seasons turned. A lovely day indeed!

In general, we took this stretch slower, and with more breaks than I would take if I were going alone. Which makes perfect sense for new backpackers. They had plenty of time for adjusting the pack, stretching, resting, and enjoying the woods!

We rolled into Tom’s Run Shelter mid-afternoon, plenty of time for the newbies to set up.

It was a cold night and one newbie had not brought the recommended 20 degree bag. She learned and will pack accordingly next time. Sometimes, we have to learn the hard way. 🙂

Spring rebounded on Sunday! The trail was a slight disaster with tons of water flowing down it and many blowdowns that had to be climbed over, under, or around! Our newbie, who hadn’t slept much due to being cold the night before, just about petered out on the last hill of the day. We got some extra food in her and took it slow…she was determined to finish! She dug deep and conquered the last hill!

Everyone finished sucessfully at Pine Grove Furnace State Park with smiles (and a few emotional tears). I am so proud of these women! We stick together, push through our fears, learn from our miscalculations, and always Hike On!

First Snow

The first snow is magical. We were only forecasted for rain and ice primarily…so when the soft, white flakes started to slowly drift lazily from sky to earth I felt my spirits soar.

The snow steadily filled my yard. Covering up mounds of mulch needing to be spread, the dry, dormant rose bushes, and gravel pathway. All was quiet. I lit a few candles and settled into winter.

Overnight, the skies, now empty, cleared to dark blue broken by long silvery gray-white clouds that moved with haste from west to east.

Morning is now. I greet this day, my day, my 51st anniversary with Mother Earth, with wonder.

Let the light in. Say a prayer of gratitude. Hike on.

The Red, White, and Blue Challenge! 7-4-2014

What the heck is the Red, White, and Blue  Challenge, you ask?

Okay, I totally made it up…so it is my own little challenge at the moment…but here is the plan.  Find a red blazed trail, a white blazed trail and a blue blazed trail to hike on the Fourth of July weekend! The constraint…the trails have to be in three different areas or parks and all have to be hiked on the same day. I love this idea! This is absolutely going to become a yearly tradition and maybe more people will join in…I can even see this as an event to raise money for programs that are dedicated to getting kids and teens out into nature!! Such a dreamer am I! 🙂 🙂 🙂

So here it is: Red Trail at Gambrill SP, White Trail, AT, from South Mountain Inn to Washington Monument (and back), Blue Trail at Sugarloaf Mountain.

Total mileage: ~10
Total Elevation: 2400-2700 feet (not sure about the Red Trail…it is short but on the side of a mountain…guessing 300 total for that leg of the hike)

I plan on starting early to beat the heat. Smart idea, right?! Sidekick Pauli is doing the challenge with me…my dog and favorite hiking companion!

So..Grab the holiday bandanas, we are going hiking! 🙂