4/5/2014 Saturday at Catoctin Mountain

Earlier in the week Bag Lady, yes…the same Bag Lady from the AT Maryland back pack last fall, put out an all points bulletin for a hiking partner this weekend.  She wanted to go face her nemesis from that trip…Lambs Knoll. She also wanted to train for an upcoming hiking trip in Alaska.

You just went “wow!” didn’t you? Me too….Alaska …Totally cool!

I was in! But turns out she wanted to shuttle so we didn’t have to do an out and back hike. I couldn’t do that as I wanted to bring Sidekick Pauli!  So we decided to hike a big loop at Catoctin Mountain Park instead.

Now this was probably more my desire than Bag Lady’s since my hike at Catoctin got cancelled last week because of an absolutely ridiculous late spring snowstorm. 😉

We met at the visitor center, then started down the trail at about 9:45am.  We were hiking an 8.5 mile loop with a stop at Chimney Rocks, the picnic area just before Hog Rock and the falls before trekking back to our cars.

The first mile went smoothly and soon we were climbing up the rocky trail to Chimney Rocks. Weather was decent with an occasional chilly breeze that made me happy that I had brought both a hat and my gloves!

On the way up we met a guy doing a training hike with a full pack.  He was training for Colorado!

Wow!  Everyone is going to hike someplace really neat this summer!!!

I was glad I didn’t have on a full pack! I was already sucking a little wind with a day pack.  Up, up, up…reached Chimney Rocks in good time.  We took a short break, then continued to Hog Rock.  Along the way we passed Wolf Rocks and Thurmont Vista.  We did not stop at either.  We were ridge walking now and it was nippy! Winds had picked up and it was no longer sunny.

A Short Break at Chimney Rocks

A Short Break at Chimney Rocks

As we walked I took in the destruction left by the ice storms.  The forest was littered with downed trees and widow makers were left along the trail. I silently mouthed “please don’t fall on me” every time I had to walk under one!

We took a nice sit down break at the picnic area before Hog Rock.  I ate my PB&J and put out water for Sidekick Pauli.  Bag Lady gave Sidekick Paulia slice of real meat (salami? Pepperoni?).

Sidekick Pauli makes friends with Bag Lady

Sidekick Pauli makes friends with Bag Lady

Oh good Lord.  The look on her face! I am vegetarian…well, not exactly…I eat fish…anyway the point is that she has never had real meat!  Sidekick Pauli definitely has a new best friend!

We finished lunch and headed across Park Central road to Hog Rock.  Supposedly you can see Chimney Rocks from Hog Rock but I have never spotted them and today was no different!  I looked a second time searching the opposite ridge…nope, couldn’t find them.  Maybe another day! Onward!

We crawled down the mountain, visited the falls, then took the rolling path back to the visitor center.  There we found out that there is a shelter you can reserve on the other side of the park where the trails are a bit more level.  We both thought about a Trail Dames beginner back pack!! Fun! Fun!

Hike on! 🙂

McAffee Falls

McAffee Falls

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!