East to Oregon Ridge

Sitting here in the house, riding out the wintry weather, doing a whole lot of nothing.  What started as beautiful snow this morning has now turned into an icy mess.  So, in order to feel productive, I’ve decided to share last weekend’s sojourn with Sidekick Pauli to Oregon Ridge .

One of my goals for 2018 was to hike a certain number of miles. A number, we will just call it x, since like a variable, it is currently in flux and will remain secret because my ACTUAL miles hiked in the month of January was a measly 38.3.  *sigh*

BUT, I thought, let me go get a couple of easy miles over north of Baltimore at Oregon Ridge. AND, I thought, Sidekick Pauli can tag along since it would be a shorter hike.

Off we went! A new place!

Oregon Ridge Nature Center seemed easy to find, but I was just following the directions being barked at me by the voice of the Google Maps Goddess, so who knows. 😀

It was a beautiful, weird, winter day with temps climbing into the 60s.  A great day to be out! Fun (and strange) fact: Oregon Ridge used to be a ski resort! Found this little gem on this blog.

Anyway, I pulled into the park and made my way up the hill.  Cars to the left of me, SUVs to my right, stuck in the middle with a sinking feeling of no parking spots in my head.  Ever the optimist, I plowed on.  I descended the hill, almost to the Nature Center, “dead end, great I will have to turn arou….YESSSSSSSS!” A car pulled out, and I swung my RAV4 neatly into the newly opened gate to Narnia. 🙂 🙂 🙂


Almost 11 years old and still loves her hikes 🙂

Sidekick Pauli voiced her impatience as I wrangled my pack, her water, my water, the leash…and SHAZAM! she was hooked up and we were headed around the lake on the aptly named “Lake Trail”.  I broke all rules for “appropriate” hikes for Sidekick Pauli with this trail choice as there were a few brief, but steep, ups and downs before we crossed the power line clearing to follow the “Loggers Trail”.  She was excited to be out and didn’t seem to have any trouble at all .  The Loggers Trail climbed moderately along a level path through the woods.  There were a few nice winter views through the trees. 🙂


View from the Lake Trail


A sweet little bench along the Loggers Trail

Warm days in the winter give way to ______________ happiness? freedom? cure for cabin fever? Yes, yes, and yes, but also to…you guessed it… muddy, mucky trails!  This was the case with the entire loop that we walked and by the time we headed down towards the Nature Center at the end of the loop, I was getting irritated with all the slipping and sliding!  Exasperated, I stopped, pulled Sidekick Pauli in close for a mini-break off the trail.  Scanning ahead, I saw pops of color in woods. What the heck?


That was the motivation I needed to keep walking down (sliding down) hill.  Pauli needed lunch, so I let her eat in the car while I checked out the Nature Center.  Then we ventured back uphill towards those colorful trees in what I now knew was called the Forest of Hope.

Incredible.  Here’s to healing in the trees. Hike on.



Trip to REI…and Stumbled Upon Centennial Park

We, as in LIttle Caesar and I, headed east to Columbia, Maryland to 1) return my hiking boots – yes, I am still in the middle of boot drama – and 2) Little Caesar wanted socks. And you know…to look at stuff, any stuff, camping stuff, backpacking stuff, and yes, hiking boots (or shoes)!

No drama with the return, REI is always awesome with that kind of thing.  So I headed on back to the shoe department.  Ah, a well worn path for me.  The anticipation of finding that “perfect” pair of hiking shoes.  The ones that will make my plantar fasciitis seem like a bad dream from the past.  There has to be a pair of shoes that will cushion my left foot so it doesn’t take vengeance on me everytime I hike more than 2 miles!  Entering the shoe department, I cautiously approach the women’s rack and focus in on reading all the same names of boots I have looked at before.  A salesman approaches, this is the same saleman that sold me my Merrills. The Merrils,which got me through 55 miles in rocky PA in 5 days without too much pain, have been pretty good boots.  My main complaint is that I have to wear liners + flex ankle brace + thick hiking socks to so the leather around my ankle doesn’t slip.  Otherwise fine.

Well, the salesman heard the words “plantar fasciitis” and “backpacking” and told me the Merrills I had were awful shoes and what I really needed was a rigid hiking boot for my ankles.  Um, hey dumbass, I respect your opinion, BUT I have hiked a lot of miles and pretty much have done the research that now says that the rigid hiking boot does not help your ankles, and could possibly create an injury due to the rigidity of the boot.  He was not listening to me anymore, but lecturing me.  Ok, done.  I will go back on another day or to another REI!!

Little Caesar was done shopping for socks at this point, so we made the purchase and left.  Heading home we stopped for coffee, then promptly got lost in this really cool neighborhood with awesome mid-century houses.  Had to check my Google map app to figure out where we were…and found a big blue spot on the map.  “Let’s go check this out!” I exclaimed.  and Little Caesar, who is very supportive of an impulsive adventure turned in the direction of the big blue spot.

This turned out to be Centennial Park in Ellicott City, Maryland.  It is not a huge park, but incredibly beautiful.  We sat by the lake drinking our coffee in the Autumn splendor that surrounded us.  There was evidence of past summer fun here with the canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats stacked up for the season. The sun was out and I was suddenly way too warm to sit out by the lake anymore so we headed up on to the paved path that circles the lake.

The day had started pretty chilly in Frederick, so we had on sweaters.  Not the best choice, but there was a breeze so when we entered the shady woods I was comfortable again! The loop around the lake is 2.4 miles long.  A very pleasant stroll and with the foliage starting to turn for fall, it was breathtaking.  Easy for families as was evident on the day we were there.  Many people take advantage of the park it seems, so if you are looking for solitude then visit during the week when everyone else is at work!

Hike on!