Labor Day at the Lake

Silly me forgot to block this day out for Office Hour appointments. Two in the morning and one late afternoon. I figured I would salvage my Labor Day with a hike around Lake Habeeb at Rocky Gap State Park in Maryland. Good call, if I do say so myself!

After hiking around half of the lake, I stopped under the shade of an oak tree near the shore. I stretched out my big red poncho, threw my shoes carelessly over into the grass, and leaned back to look up at the sky. Temperature in the upper seventies, blue skies, puffy clouds, a few yellow leaves littered the ground around me, and frequent breezes that kept the water splashing onto the bank.

As I sat there, two Jay’s started a heated discussion, accompanied by a chorus from the crickets. A family of kayakers floated past, father and small child closer to the bank; Mom chasing a dinosaur float toy that the wind was pushing just out of her reach. After several minutes she was successful in corralling Dino and all was well! In the background, like white noise, I could hear the joyous racket of children at the beach. Ahhh, the end of summer. It was absolute bliss!

In the woods, a variety of fungi lined the path. I felt beckoned to consider that I needed to let some things “die” to make room for new growth. Still thinking on that…

The breeze picked up…was that a chill? When did that dark cloud get here? Guess it was time to move on around the rest of the lake…and pick up my own pace! 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!