Trail on Tuesday!

Election Day for many, not here in my immediate area…but still a day off for me.  So I hooked up Sidekick Pauli with her leash, harness, and coat (35 degrees, brrr) and hit a trail down at Monocacy Battlefield!

Sidekick Pauli was elated!  She is now 12 years old and prefers hikes of under two miles so this was a perfect match.  We pulled into Worthington Farm, part of the battlefield, just after sunrise.  The colors on the trees, now past peak, cast a muted, dusty glow over the battlefield.  A low fog had risen before we arrived, but the dew was still heavy in the grassy areas, so I chose to head down the long driveway that splits the fields.

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Sidekick Pauli wanted to pull me off into the wet grass at every turn and judged me somewhat harshly for taking the path of least resistance.  Just look at her face…haha 😀

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Ohhhh, it was chilly…my ears and fingers were tingling.  I sped up to match Pauli’s pace and quickly warmed up.  Nothing like having a dog along to keep you moving.  Patience is not one of Pauli’s better qualities, so when I slowed down to look at a pretty leaf, and then the fungi, and then more pretty leaves, and then the river, and then at the sky…and then…and then…well, she wasn’t particularly pleased!

 

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20191105_090913.jpgI could not be hurried.  I breathed in the crisp air, reveling in the woody scent of Autumn.  The sun splashed warmth across the fields,  and I stood quietly and soaked it up (Pauli also enjoyed this).

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One of THOSE mornings when time sort of stops, when nothing else matters, and the world just seems okay.

Hike On!

Breaking Out of the February Funk!

Even though February is the shortest month, it certainly seems to last forever. As I wait for the daffodils to arrive, however, a gift arrived! A gift only Mother Nature could give to us winter weary Marylanders.  (seriously, our winter has been incredibly mild except for that outburst of sheer crazy a few weeks ago, so I don’t really know why it feels like we need to rush on to Spring …but it does!!)  Anyway, a gift! A weekend that tempted us with delightfully spring like weather.  The birds were singing, the ice was melting, rivers flooding, and I ran for the hills.

I jumped the gun a bit and headed out on Friday when the weather only hinted at warmth that would not come until Saturday.  The smell of fresh mud permeated my nostrils as soon as Sidekick Pauli and I exited the car at Worthington Farm, part of Monocacy National Battlefield.  However, heading up Brooks Hill we found snow and ice.  Not enough for traction devices on my boots, but enough to require picking our way along at a snail’s pace until we got about half way up the hill.  Then the trail was dry!

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View of Baker Valley from Brooks Hill

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Bottom of the Hill…Again with the snow!

Of course, we again encountered the tricky stuff on the way down, but the day was just gorgeous.  You know when the breezes are not quite as chilling and almost feel warm?  That is how it was!  We would be chilly, then rounding a bend in the trail meet with a warmish puff of air.  Very exciting!  After coming down Brooks Hill, we rounded Ford’s Loop by the Monocacy river.  Super gooey, suck your boots off muddy!  The river had just recently receded into its proper banks and left debris and mud on the trail.  A sure sign of Spring!!!

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Sidekick Pauli surveying the flood plain

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Still high water! Sidekick Pauli was not pleased…this is where her beach usually is!

So that was fun.  Saturday came the real delight though! 65 degrees!!!!!! Wazooo!  Oh my gawd, let’s all go hiking!!!  I had errands in the morning, so I set off for Cunningham Falls State Park at about 2:30 pm.  Parking my car at the Catoctin Furnace on the east side of route 15, Sidekick Pauli and I followed the Catoctin Furnace Trail through the woods and over the pedestrian bridge to pick up the Catoctin Trail up to Bob’s Hill overlook.

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Glad I didn’t have to cross Little Hunting Creek today!

This is not a long hike, but a steep one!  After crossing the pedestrian bridge follow the creek to the Catoctin Trail.  It is a right turn up the hill and steep right from the get go!  The trail was slushy, but not terribly difficult to maneuver.  The trail gives hikers nice breaks between the steep sections, leveling out for awhile where one can meander along as if no effort was needed at all to climb to such a height.  Then, of course, just as you get comfortable, the trail heads back up again!

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This was the perfect place to hike on this Spring preview day!  I only saw a handful of other hikers (and I bet Shenandoah NP was packed!)

But was I done with this weekend???? NOOOOOOOO! Even though it rained off and on come Sunday, I was not going to stay inside.  Okay, well, I was…but then as I came out of Joanne’s Fabrics down on 40, I glanced at the mountains. Their summits were so beautifully draped in fog that I could not resist!  I turned down 40 headed for Gambrill State Park hoping to walk through the woods with the mist swirling about me.

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CCC Memorial in Gambrill State Park

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I was ecstatic, just magical.

What an absolute wonderful gift this weekend has been. Almost March! Hike on!

Spring Spectacular! Two Hikes with the Maryland Trail Dames

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Spring is finally here! I welcome the blue skies, green grass, spring flowers, and happy birds more than ever after the crazy winter we have had here in Maryland. So with a literal spring in my step I have headed out more than a few times over the last couple of weeks to take it […]

3/29/14 Another Cancelled Hike for the Trail Dames? Argh!

Well…this has turned out to be a hiking week BUST!

I had two hikes planned this week for the Maryland Trail Dames, one for Dames looking for a challenge and one for beginning hikers.  Both, yes, both got cancelled due to the weather!

On Wednesday, I had scheduled an 8.5 mile loop hike at Catoctin Mountain Park.  This is a strenuous loop which allows hikers to visit Chimney Rocks, Wolf Rock, Thurmont Vista, Hog Rock, and Cunningham Falls.  It is a beautiful stretch of trail.  On Tuesday, like much of the eastern seaboard, a weather system brought in snow.  It wasn’t very much snow, like 3 inches, but it froze overnight when the temperatures dropped into the teens.  This would make the steep climbs absolutely horrendous for those of us without microspikes.  On Wednesday, winds also became a factor with wind chills dropping to near zero.  So SLASH, SLASH, and it was cancelled.  So disappointing. 😦

But this is what we would have seen if we would have been able to go! 🙂

 

Chimney Rocks

Chimney Rocks

Today, Saturday, I had planned a nice gentle hike for Dames at Worthington Farm (part of the Monocacy Battlefield). When I scheduled the hike I imagined warm spring breezes, sunshine and spring flowers popping up along the trail.  In my head I could see the river flowing in a lazy fashion while birds flitted about singing to each other as they built their nests.  But NO, we have to endure this outlandish rainy weather that has resulted in flood warnings!  Guess hiking next to the river was out of the question. SLASH! Another one bites the dust!

However, let me just give you a little glimpse of what delights awaited us if we could have gone!

View of Baker Valley

View of Baker Valley

 

I am so bummed!  Just itching to get out with the Dames on an adventure!  Our next hike is scheduled for April 12 at Sky Meadows SP in Virginia.

If you are on the trail that day and see a bunch of women having the time of their lives, then stop and say hi! Guaranteed that bunch would be us!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

But you know what would be even better (if you are a woman over 18)?  You could join us!  http://www.meetup.com/Maryland-Trail-Dames/

Hike on!

 

11/16/13 Worthington Farm: Hiking the Battlefield on My Birthday :)

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What do I want for my birthday, more than anything else? A sunrise hike. Luckily, I was able to set out with Sidekick Pauli this morning to explore the trails on Worthington Farm, part of the Monocacy National Battlefield, in Frederick, Maryland.  Too bad Little Caesar had to work 😦 or she could have come […]