3/14/2020 BDTITP trail – Old Ranger trail (blue) – No name trail – Old Ranger trail (blue) – No name trail – Old Ranger trail (blue) – Peaceful Pond trail (orange) – Old Ranger trail (blue) – No name trail – BDTITP – off trail next to Patapsco River
Elevation gain: 492 ft
Location: Old Frederick rd. at Johnnycake rd. – parking between the railroad tracks and the river – at green metal bridge.
Not that I was particularly looking for the trailhead but it definitely wasn’t visible from where we have parked even though it’s right there. No sign pointing it out though. So we ended up following the tracks and looking at AllTrails simultaneously. In about a quarter of a mile (maybe less) where there are two white signs/notices sticking out from the ballast we crossed the tracks and hooked up with the trail on our right after cutting through the vegetation.
Countless times I was wondering about – actually every time we cross on these bridges on I70 – what is down in that valley? While sitting in a car, even a truck, there is nothing I can see beyond the cement barrier except the top of the tree-line and houses on the hill. After 19 years living here I got my answer!
Below the amazingly high twin bridges there is Patapsco River and CXS railroad. And Mag and me now posing on a great little (impossible) wooden bridge!
The trail supposedly go under the towering bridges but first it winds away lazily from them to cross a small noname creek without enduring too much of an elevation change.
After the gorge we hike up on the trail to the left, up on the hill towards I70. Follow the airbrake sounds….
It is so cool to be under these structures! I took so many pictures of them that Mag was pulling me away…. Ok, ok. Right after we came across this pretty little creek which joins Patapsco River down below us.
Shortly after we cut through this clearing to join Patapsco South keeping to the left.
The path here becomes very rocky and running on the edge following the band of the river way down below.
We had encounter our first couple of people on this stretch just before we reached the information bulletin. We are officially on Ole Ranger trail. This is also a spot for one of the paying entrances to Patapsco. We are now also on North Patapsco which is hard to understand since we have just left South….
On AllTrails the name of this trail is – I guess – misspelled to Old Ranger trail.
However we headed up on the small hill, towards the Patapsco State Park offices. At the next “big” intersection to stay true to our slogan we take left towards the mysterious tower. Now that I am writing this and looking at this sign….it’s kind of confusing….it seems like we took the shorter route. That’s actually not true.
We yet again come in contact with the clearing and turn left to follow the now spacious trail until the red gate.
This is another dead end parking area close to Peaceful Pond. Keep to the right we jump on the trail mirroring the pond’s name.
It is indeed a beautiful and yes! peaceful small lake with a pair of Canadian Geese floating on its surface. We sat on the bench for a few, purposefully installed to enjoy this idyllic setting.
Even though we managed to get off the trail again between the lake and the tower we also found our way back. There was a small area that was burned, covering up the path. The tower is the starting point of the paved portion of the Ole Ranger trail which goes arrow straight for a bit.
We however – as usual – took the first left off trail to cut through the woods and hook back up to where we trailed off originally to the west to follow the river.
As soon as we are back at the clearing, instead of following the trail we descend down to the water, surfacing under the twin bridges onto the tracks.
Patapsco here takes a huge east bend Pickall trail visible on the other side. We both love rivers and drawn to them every time possible.
Taking the ballast trail to the north until we can yet again scoot down to the liquid we follow the bend to this sandy beach. This is our last stop at the river since the unofficial trail ends and we head back next to the railroad to find our way back to our trusty car waiting for us in the lot.
Here is our hiking map. I’ve stopped using ResQWalk to save as much battery power as possible until I get an external battery.
It felt more than 4.5 miles but maybe so because we had so much fun!
Get out there and enjoy nature! And don’t forget!
Better yet don’t take anything with you that’s plastic and so forth. And please use biodegradable poopy bags!
Thank you for stopping by. I hope our blog helps you in your ventures in these wonderful parks.
Even though I drove by here numerous times over the years the parking area is so small we’ve just missed it. It’s also right next to the railroad in a slight left turn (coming from I70). I saw it while taking that turn but it was too late to pull in with traffic behind me. No problem….I drove up the road, turned around safely and headed back to our target. Few minutes later we’ve pulled into the empty lot.
Today’s trailhead starts out after following the tracks for about 25ft, balancing on the ballast (the rocks holding the rail-tracks in place) on the right. It takes us down to the emerald green South Branch Patapsco River right away which we will follow until Henryton Rd.
I know now – when I am writing this – that this hike will be pretty much uneventful, so there will be lot more pictures than words.
It’s just us and nature for the most part. I spotted a cave on the other side though.
This trail just like others we’ve discovered around here, is sandwiched between the former B&O Railroad and Patapsco River. It’s windy but thankfully sunny, perfect for hiking/walking. A big tree down on the trail distracts my train (pun intended) of thoughts.
While maneuvering around it I notice Spring on a few delicate branches.
Since we had several rain storms throughout the winter months the trail is pretty muddy but not unmanageable. The surrounding grasses are also wet and heavy.
Where there is an opportunity to walk down to the beach we always do. Took this Pano at the edge….and some others as close to the water as possible. Sometimes a wish I could put a GoPro on Mag.
Climbing through all the pebbles to another beach revealed a bridge and with that the shift of the trail.
We had to cross the tracks….
….and even though the trail has no visible presence we head down to the river to worship nature.
We descend to another beach where we get a better view of the bridge. On this side it’s covered with trashy driftwood making the river slow down as it takes a break. Something catches Mag’s interest on the hill across, even though I don’t see anything. He tries to climb on a huge tree in the middle of the water but falls back, making me laugh.
Checking AllTrails again it turns out that we’ve missed the trail yet again since it crossed over the bridge and continued across the river. Well….that’s not gonna slow us down. I’ve decided to follow the river instead and catch up with our trail at the already mentioned Henryton Rd. I can actually see a sort of unofficial trail here which leads us to a sweet little spot….youngsters always know how to have fun. I don’t understand why we forget as we get older.
Following the band is a bit challenging but worth it. We also catch up to another trail, possibly made by the people who come here to have fun on those ropes.
Our next stop is in clearly a flood plain which I still call the beach, just ’cause it sounds nicer. Even though I am not a water baby there is just something about rivers.
There’s a huge fallen tree here with the roots still in the water….and it’s flowering. Such lovely surprise with the red punch of color.
Keep walking next to the river on this “invisible” trail we finally get to Henryton Rd. and this demolished/broken bridge. We sit down for a few to take in the surroundings.
At the end of the road there is some parking – have two cars here – so it’s possible to start your journey from here.
On our left we find the trailhead yet again.
It’s uphill from here a bit and since Mag caught a whiff of something he is pulling me up. When I spot this….
….I know what made him crazy. He knows they are ahead of us.
We do meet up with them in a huge left bend and I make a mistake putting Mag up on a huge boulder. Not knowing that horses are naturally afraid of things approaching from above. Even though he is sitting patiently, looking at those “big dogs”, I’ve learned something new!
Until their smell is in the air Mag keep acting like a loony bin. Thankfully we are closer to the end and I am hoping that he calms down once we are in the car.
After our little horse adventure the trail serpentines on the edge of the hill with plenty of fallen and also cut down trees.
We’ve also spotted this runaway haystack rolled down into the woods, stopped by a young tree.
At about 2.5 miles we have visual of the river and the railroad again from above.
The trail ends just before a private property and turns back onto the tracks. This picture is looking back on them.
Here are the ever not agreeing maps of our journey.
Not the longest walk but it is a very nice, relaxing trail. I dare you to try it!
I’ve looked it up and it turns out that there are three trailheads from this one spot!
Gorgeous weather today, sunny with clear skies. Still in the 40s at 10:45am but that is perfect for hiking.
Be careful crossing the road it is quite busy, surprisingly. Daniel Access trail starts out on the other side of the tracks, pretty steeply. I am already watching my breathing, through the nose, out the mouth. We are about 50 feet above the railroad and the green hued river.
On our left, yet again the so common cookie cutter a.k.a. mushroom houses on the top of the hill.
The trail on this side is very small (compared to Thru trail across the river) about 2 feet wide, winding through the forest. We have to step aside for oncoming traffic even so there are only a few bikers we encounter.
For me the scenery is beautiful with the all long shadows of the tower high trees. Certain American Sycamores stand out with their white bark and giant puppet like branches.
At 0.6 miles we reach the railroad again, the trail crossing a small creek below the tracks. We take a few minutes to climb up on them and take some pics. Trains are very scarce, we are lucky if we see one per hike, mostly missing them entirely.
Even though we are walking away from the cookie-cutter houses they still perch atop the hills in the distance, following us with their hollow stare.
If we look carefully spring is visible all around us already. Tiny green buds and leaves are emerging.
These markers help us identify our whereabouts. They can be found at certain spots along the trail.
We’ve been steadily walking uphill but at 0.75 miles – at the private property sign – we really start to feel that we are actually hiking until we get to the powerlines. The other side of the clearing is definitely private, we both hear their dog giving us fair warning.
After the tower we follow the generously wide trail until we get to the fenced in power buildings and I get a suspicion that we are off the trail. We missed a right turn. While cutting through the forest we scare off a herd of deer but find the path after a few minutes. A small wooden bridge gives it away. Carved numbers show it was built in 2015.
I’ve heard quite a few woodpeckers in the forest today, knocking away near and far. Even spotted elusive Pileated Woody in the distance at one point.
After turning onto Church Loop 3 it feels like we are on sort of a ridge, valleys are on both sides.
Stepping aside for a minute to let bikers pass us again, I notice a tick on Mag’s head. It’s really hard to squeeze it dead and I don’t have my trusty little bottle to take it out of the equation. I try my hardest to pop it between my fingernails than flick it away. Making mental note to recheck Mag in the car.
Going downhill for a bit leads us to Gary Memorial United Methodist Church but we turn right onto Church Loop 1 before reaching it. Built in 1879 to serve mill workers and village residents it has survived world wars and floods.
The trail continuous uphill like a snake again next to this disgusting junkyard looking thing. I don’t understand how these people get permits to have these nasty businesses next to our national parks and waterways. Signs permitting me to take pictures of it….
The river snakes about a hundred feet below us on our left with the railroad as its companion. The trail is covered on both sides with lush green moss and we just came upon a makeshift bench to look at the view. Off course I’m gonna try to get Mag on it.
We stirred up another pretty big herd of deer in the middle of the woods so Mag goes bananas as usual. I have to order him to sit down for a few minutes to calm down.
After the sharp left turn the trail becomes truck wide….
….and yet again we miss our next right turn. We got under the powerlines, which means one thing….we went too far again. What’s up with these giants and getting lost?We have to track back.
No wonder that we missed the trail there are no signs and it turns like 45° backwards invisible behind a tree. Back on track and crossing a pretty little creek with a tiny waterfall.
After crossing it we turn left to walk under the powerlines now in Patapsco South.
The trail from here follows the river and with that the train-track pretty closely, except for a little bit towards the end. I spot the heart island I’ve photographed from Thru trail….it’s the bigger piece of rock on this pick below. There are so many different types of fungus growing all over on trees in the forest but they really hard to shoot because of their mostly whitish color.
Here on the South side the path is much muddier because it stays in the shade. We both have to watch our steps on this edgy trail, would be easy to slip down into the “ditch” on our left. Soon we get back to the intersection of the North trail and after turning left we visit the small body of water that hides below the path. There are a lot of Eastern Skunk Cabbage growing out of the muddy pools.
At 3.7 miles I can already see the cars in the parking area so I take my last pic of the green river before getting back. No matter what season there are always colors to be found.
We’ve throughly enjoyed yet another great hike in Patapsco! What a wonderful State Park so close to the hustle and bustle.
Here are our maps. I always meet the mileage in the middle since they never agree….
Hope to see you’ll out there! Be safe and hike on!
And never forget! Do not leave a trail! Do not litter!
Another one of those trips when my hubby had some business to conduct nearby and I bargained for this hike to go with him.
We were driving on 15 towards South and took 77 West to W Main St. later Foxville Rd. If I drop a pin on the parking lot we’ve pulled over to, the address comes up as Catoctin Hollow Rd. but on the map it shows as Foxville Rd. I don’t have any clue why.
There is a beautiful trail going from the parking area next to Big Hunting Creek but it dead ends within 0.3 miles. I just got Mag to pose with the scenery.
While heading to our target trail across Foxville Rd. I’ve noticed this trail sign. We will be back to hike all these trails another day, my hubby is not built to endure this kind of adventure in the woods.
After crossing the road really fast and carefully, we start on Falls Nature trail towards the Visitor Center. We have perfect hiking weather, bit on the chilly side but sunny, however breezy.
The mostly rocky trail pretty much follows the road through slight elevation than drops back down before we reach the much bigger parking area at the Visitor Center. Since we’re only doing the shortest route this time, I make a mental note to park here when we’ll do a much bigger loop in the near future.
At the wooden sign we start climbing up on the stone steps towards Wolf Rock.
Even though we are leaving Foxville Rd. behind yet another paved surface follows our steps – Park Central Rd. on our West.
The trail is absolutely beautiful with a slight change in elevation. I love the browns of the slowly waking nature while the trail is framed with evergreen moss.
At the next sign we’re following the path towards Wolf Rock climbing even higher.
Within a few hundred feet the trail takes an abrupt 45 degree turn to the SE amidst sizable boulders.
We pass the branching towards Wolf Rock on the left and head down on the shorter path. Through the woods the Hunting Creek Lake shimmers gracefully.
After the view of the Lake the trail starts downhill and with that on our left more and more rocks surface. I am sure they provide wonderful hiding places to several critters like foxes and raccoons even though we don’t have any luck spotting them.
We must stop for a few minutes of chew time. Mag finds the perfect branch to munch on.
Downhill is stony and covered in dried leaves making it a bit more challenging to proceed. Even though they are not wet they are still sort of slippery, hiding small round things as well.
While we somehow miss following the trail just before getting back to our starting point cutting our walk even shorter through the woods, I take this wonderful picture of Mag. Sitting or climbing on tree stumps is one of his favorites.
It’s obviously on the map where we missed the path before connecting back to it just before crossing Foxville rd.
For Mag and me this was a short but sweet walk and Tommy got his exercise in as well. I cannot wait to make the drive back here to explore the surrounding trails as well.
2/2/2020 Shenandoah St. – The Point overlook – Lower Town trail – Harpers Ferry National Historic park – Shenandoah River shore
Elevation gain: 292ft
This hike is brought to you by: quick decision making. My husband had to drive to Winchester, VA. and I’ve figured might as well get dropped off here and take a walk. We pulled into a small parking lot right after crossing Shenandoah River, towards Harpers Ferry, under the bridge. After getting all set we’ve waved goodbye and started our adventure.
I spotted this small plaque at the stairs leading us out of the parking area. Helpful little compass to make a last minute plan.
Since I wanted to check out Harpers Ferry we took off on Shenandoah st. towards the small historical village (East). As soon as we hit the trail a freight train was coming through very slowly. I have missed the opportunity to take a pic not knowing it won’t happen again today.
There are a lot of ruins close to the river approaching the village, this particular one was a pulp factory back in the 1800’s. They were all part of the 1800s industrialist movement in Harpers Ferry.
The trail follows the road for about a mile but we take the first opportunity to get away from it. The massive lime stone wall next to the paved road is amazing. Further up on top of it is the Jefferson Rock.
We cross above Lake Quigley on a small wooden bridge built in 1974 to Virginius Island.
We cross the railroad before getting down to the beach. It was built in 1836 and was 32 miles long originally.
Even though there are a lot of debris and driftwood the beach is surprisingly sandy and full of shells. Here, we are overlooking the Staircase Rapids.
Continuing to the East, Mag takes a break on the ruins of the River wall close to the once operational Cotton mill and later a Civil War Hospital. The wall was built about 1848 as part of the hydraulic system for the mills and other shops downstream.
While crossing a small creek through yet another wooden bridge the Saint Peter’s Roman Catholic Church comes into full view on the top of the hill, beyond the elevated wooden Winchester & Potomac Railroad tracks. This wooden structure to me is a work of art and I found it magnificent.
While heading back towards the river we meet Moose a pit-lab mix who is soaking wet after a nice swim. Off course the two of them hit it off right away, but we have to part ways.
Finding this pretty big stump right at the edge overlooking Shenandoah River gives Mag the needed elevation to pose for a photo. The Potomac River bridge is in the distance. There are also two bridge carcasses here, one towards Loudoun Heights the other to Maryland Heights. 3 of the pillars have vegetation overtaking their tops.
We climb up the wooden stairs to The Point overlook where we could connect to the Appalachian Trail, however the Footbridge to C&O Canal and Maryland Heights is closed indefinitely.
3 trails meet here to provide endless miles of solitude. The Appalachian trail is about 2181 miles long. The C&O Canal trail is 184.5 mile- and the Potomac Heritage trail is 710 miles long.
Here is a bird view of Harpers Ferry to better understand the town and its surroundings.
We end up walking towards John Brown’s fort which like so many other buildings is a museum now. From here, we can see on our right, up on the hill the monument for the original Fort. Beyond that is the US Armory Site and the Train Station on Potomac Street.
“Outside the fire engine house, U.S. Marines, commanded by Robert E. Lee, ended the raid on October 18, 1859. Sixteen people died in the raid.”
We keep on Shenandoah street between beautiful historical houses. On our right there is the museum of John Brown across from Arsenal Square. The next block of buildings on our left is called Lower Town which gave the trail its name. It houses an information kiosk (present days), an 1800s Dry Goods Store, the Provost Marshal Office and Boarding house and A Place in Time. At the end there is a replica of a Hardware Store with a water level – flood measure. Throughout Harpers Ferry’s existence there were several major floods which eventually destroyed the factories and made life impossible here.
Leaving towards the bus stop, following the railroad on our left we also notice the Industry Museum across the street along with the Bookshop. Crossing The Green and passing by the Shuttle bus station – where Mag almost gets on one – we get to the Blacksmith Shop and this beautiful cottage.
FYI: the shuttle goes from here to the Historical Park Visitor Center. We rather climb there even though Mag needs reassurance.
So we take the Lower Town trail back to the small bridge towards the Appalachian trail bridge walking next to Shenandoah River. At one point we follow the splitting trail under the railroads then chose the middle path overshadowed by American Sycamores to round up under the huge pillars.
The trail goes straight as an arrow next to Shoreline dr. for what feels like a mile. Super windy down here, I am glad that the sun is out. We follow it until we see the Visitor Center sign.
After the crosswalk we have to hike pretty steep through lime stone rocks next to a small gorge. It’s beautiful.
The views are spectacular thanks to the nakey-nakey trees. Down below the timeless Shenandoah River billows gracefully in shades of green. Towards the West it shimmers like a silver fish, reflecting the rays of our Sun.
At the top the vista is broad, the parking area framed by fluffy white clouds. We take a 15 minute break, sitting in the grass, cuddling and watching the fast moving sheep up in the sky.
On the way down we stop to marvel about the small waterfalls, steadily fed by groundwater from above.
At the bottom, instead of following the trail sign sending us back the same way we keep straight. Crossing the tracks again takes us down to the shore.
The water is beautiful and inviting with its smaragd color and sandy, small pebbled beaches. The contrast is lovely with the blue of the sky. Canadian geese and Mallard ducks sunbathing on rocks in the middle.
Getting back to the bridge is not as easy as I thought on the shore. The trail disappears mid way and it is quite difficult to move through the stony surface with a dog without ending on my bum. Closer to the pillars we have to get on the railroad’s gravel and finally reach back to our starting point. My hubby is still about 20 minutes away so we take a seat on the wooden guardrail.
Time goes by a bit faster while we wait, we make friends with 3 guys asking about Mag. Turns out one of them has two pits and is heading to Hungary this summer. Small world.
Here is our adventure map. I didn’t use ResQWalk this time to yet again save battery power on my phone.
We really enjoyed this walk, packed with historical details.
We will be back to explore the Loudoun Heights trail, the Murphy-Chambers Farm trail and both of the Schoolhouse Ridge trails. There is also the Stone Fort trail in Maryland Heights, not even talking about the 3 major trails that meet here. Hopefully the footbridge will be open by then.
2/29/2020 Gwynns Falls trail – Elevation gain: 59 ft
Location: intersection of Milford Mill rd. and Scott’s Level rd.
Official signage at the entrance of the parking area. Just before I695 above.
Parking lot is small but today is cold and windy so only the brave is out walking anyway. There is only one car here but they actually pulling out as soon as I get Mag out of the car. The trail is all ours. It is tucked between the Baltimore Beltway and Gwynns Falls River.
We start out to the left and follow the paved bend. The first thing I notice is a board for volunteering through a rotary club. I’ve seen their work at other trails (another rotary club though) and it is great to know that they care about the environment.
Love that even though the highway is right here we still have a tiny patch of land to enjoy locally. If I follow Gwynns Falls on the map it goes from Glyndon to the Chesapeake Bay and throughout its journey a green footprint follows it.
I just saw a Kingfisher! But as usual it flew away….
We walk down to a pebble beach where Mag things it’s not too cold (32F) to miss out on going into the water.
After getting back on the trail I really pay attention and appreciate the sounds of several bird species. It’s like a little sanctuary for them here within the craziness of the “civilized” word. We come across a bench where – of course – Mag has to pose.
We also find a small area with muddy conditions. A small path now follows the main trail parallel to it to go around the muddy part. On our right I can see receding water from all the rain we have gotten lately.
I don’t know if only in Baltimore are the sewer lines follow the waterways but yet again I can smell them even in the strong winds and cold. While trying to get my mind off of angry thoughts, I notice some wonderful tree reflections on the wavy river.
It’s pretty chilly today but the sun is peaking through the forest and nature is inevitably in the process of waking up.
We have reached the Southern most point of our one mile walk and on the way back we are getting away from the river, walking uphill. I695 is getting closer and louder.
Mag noticed a few deer before on the other side of the trail but now they are running in front and behind us like they are being chased…. and yes….we just saw a black and white pitbull chasing a bunch them! I don’t know if he got away and he’s hungry or a dumbass walking their dog off leash. No wonder there are deer carcass in these residential parks around here.
Little bit up the path we meet up with an older guy but he doesn’t have any signs of a leash. He even stops to let us go with clear respect towards Mag. We proceed and sit on a stump for a picture.
Few minutes later we are approaching the end through a pretty long wooden bridge.
After crossing it, the parking area is visible along with the Beltway.
I am chilled so we run on the last hundred feet. Glad to be back at our car.
The results are in….
This is the first time that both apps show the same distance. Miracles exist!
Spring is around the corner so hopefully on our next walk I will not need gloves.
Since no one actually reads our blog I will not say anything else. If for nothing else, I will keep this charade up for our own enjoyment….
Took a short stroll on a new trail in Milford Mill in cold and wind, brrrrr. Thankfully the sun was playing peekaboo.
Later on in the afternoon we had an impromptu photo shoot in the kitchen. Models are: Mag, Toto and Puffy Rice.
Happy birthday to my husband of 17 years even though he is in California celebrating it.
Sunrise is back! We had so many gloomy days lately I haven’t had a sunrise photo since 2/12/2020!
Since our shop is moving we only have time for a quick walk at Silver Creek park. Here are some moments from there.
Rain, rain, rain….
We ended back at Meadowood in the morning.
Mag got new PJs and was sporting it in the evening. Little jailbird.
Blog post coming up about today’s long walk in Patapsco Valley State park.
I did some gardening in the afternoon, taking advantage of the nice, sunny weather. Mag took a nap.
We him to Meadowood for our evening walk and caught the sunset.
We are going to Alexandria, VA today to surprise my hubby on his upcoming birthday. While everyone else is celebrating we sneak out for a walk in the neighborhood.
Most houses in this area are well kept and have wonderful statues in their yards – outside and inside-.
Cat pics today. Pretty cold in the morning – in the 20s – so we skipped our walk. Uneventful evening walk but kitkats wanted to snuggle.
Today’s sunrise wasn’t as colorful as usual but I still enjoyed the wonderful cloud formations and contrails.
Several Silver Maple tree is in full bloom in Silver Creek park.
Narcissuses are almost ready to bloom in front of our cathouse.
Sunbathing dandelion on our morning walk. Smart flower! It feels so much better on the sun.
Mag cuddling in his travel carrier with his new dragon plushie.
We had to run out to get some rotisserie chicken on this lazy day and found this wonderful park next to Wegmans in Columbia. We are going to investigate this location at another time, within a blog post. Lake Elkhorn is on our list officially.
18F this morning. We took our time to get outside and walk, even though it was sunny. We warmed up by the end but still needed a hot latte to take off the chill.
Thug Mag Valentine.
Winter indeed, he finally had a chance to wear his Christmas present.
Windy, coldish, rainy, dreary, gloomy day. My little ray of sunshine in his blue raincoat is the only color today.
We are getting ready for our shop’srelocation so I dug out Mag’s travel carrier to have with us on site. With new plush dragon in place he is ready to hang out at the office more comfortably.
Having rain for days makes me appreciate today’s sunrise even more. I would love seeing this every morning. Less then half hour later it was overcast yet again.
Mag is ready for Valentine’s Day.
More rain but awesome wet shots.
Even though we did a quick supplies run and walked as well, since it was a rainy day I only have indoor photos. This is Simone letting it all hang out.
In bed all day with the flu. I still got a pic today. My hubby took this of Mag.
We were driving to Emmittsburg today to get a cap for our pickup truck and there were these gorgeous horses on location. Mag made friends with them right away.
We’ve decided on the way back to check out a short trail at Catoctin Mountain park.
Rain, rain and more rain. It seems like that’s going to be the motto for February.
Another rainy day. We got lucky and hit a window of dry hour to walk, thankfully.
We had heavy rain overnight so everything is covered with water droplets. I love the photo opportunity it gives.
Staying home for a day definitely has its perks. We headed over to Leakin park for a leisurely walk. I love the giant mosquito, praying mantis and the squirrel sculptures on display at the Nature Center.
In the afternoon I was checking on my Mahonia bushes and got surprised by the ample tiny yellow flowers and dozens of bees. I love these plants! So hardy, easy to maintain and they flower from January.
Wonderful day for our morning walk. Clear blue skies with contrails. This magnificent Sycamore tree is in Meadowood Regional park.
Sunday, funday started out with a mesmerizing sunrise over Baltimore.
Later on we were dropped of at Harpers Ferry while my hubby ran some errands close by. I was a bit worried about rain but we got lucky and had a wonderful walk for a few hours.
February started out chilly with overcast skies but this first day ended up being a pleasantly sunny day by the afternoon. Until it started to drizzle around 5PM.
Location: 5100 Deer Park rd. Owings Mills, MD 21117 – Nature Center
I like to park at the Nature Center but the gate’s opening time changes with the seasons. Even in the summer it opens late. We are coming from the South (Liberty rd.) and if I see that the gate is still closed (on our left) I just keep on driving. In another quarter of a mile in the overflow area there should be always a spot.
Getting Mag ready is super easy, since he knows a few minutes ahead of our arrival that we are close to the park. Meaning he is already milling around, ready for the tailgate to open. After packing the essentials (water!, chapstick!!) into our backpack we head NE, down on the rocky path.
The contrast between the savanna and the sky is wonderfully refreshing!
Even though we’ve just started out I am already in my happy place. Hiking with Mag gives me profound happiness.
Before we would turn into our first curve, getting closer to Deer Park rd. the trail starts showing its true, muddy face already. We had a lot of rain lately, this is not a normal occurrence.
Getting through the short forest is a bit challenging and I am super glad I am wearing my big girl boots! The mud is ridiculously thick. Before we would get to the overflow parking the trail comes up just a few feet to the road. I keep Mag on a short leash and make him sit to be able to cross to the other side. That’s where Choate Mine trail starts. There is a crossing and signs for the motorists but they barely slow down. We must be extremely careful when crossing here!
After the gate we have a short dry, rocky distance to climb but as soon as we turn the corner to the left the mud is back.
It keeps us entertained until we get to the meeting of the two trails (Choate and Dolfield). From here on we have a little bit of a break from the ankle grabbing muck since the trail has a tiny elevation.
At one point the trail is actually washed away and we have to cross knee high water. Thankfully the tall grass makes tiny fluffy islands for us to jump over the flooded creek. At several points I have to make crossing plans because there is just no place to step to. Balance is key!
This is how my feet look after making through the worst part yet.
Climbing up onto a small savanna, Mag enjoys a roll in the sunny grass while I take some pictures. He is DIRTY!
Reaching the southernmost corner of the trail, where the path is closest to Dolfield rd. we hit another challenging spot but handle it with whit and determination. Now on, we are heading upwards for about a mile so mud should not be on the menu.
I love this private driveway in the middle of our walk. It is always well kept and full of wonderful, flowering milkweed in the summer.
Even though we are walking slightly uphill it feel seamless. I cannot tell we are climbing, until we get really close to the houses on our right. The path gets a little more challenging for a few hundred feet until we reach another crossroad again. The trail from here becomes Red Run trail for just a bit.
I love looking through the forest in the winter, searching for photo opportunities with dancing shadows. Skyscraper trees looking over these fallen trees and pile of leaves taking the main focus here but I love those fluffy white clouds in the background.
Keeping straight down we get farther from the development heading towards the Unicorn meadow (not officially name). While descending, the forest gets totally quiet for 30 seconds. The wind had calm down, birds stopped chirping, no sound near and afar. Eery, cemetery like quiet. Loving it!
While down in the meadow, Mag takes a walk in the creek while we let a family pass us on the trail. Another few minutes for myself to take some pics.
Cannot wait to come back here in the spring when nature starts awakening. It’s truly a magical place.
We are almost out of the meadow when I smell smoke. It always makes me alert, especially in the forest but it turns out that the smell is coming from one of Soldiers Delight’s yearly, controlled fires to rejuvenate the Savannah.
As soon as we walk out from the coverage of trees it gets fairly windy. It’s 44F and feels quite chilly out here.
I have to mention that we have left Red Run trail and back to Choate trail from here.
There has to be a “road kill” around the perimeter of the forest because there are 4-5 buzzards circling around our heads. They all end up settling down on dead trees just at the edge. They such majestic birds to me. Not even talking about how helpful!
Continuing our windy path through the woods we get to Deer Park rd. within a couple of minutes. We cross it straight ahead with extra caution and turn right onto Serpentine trail.
I love the narrow path winding below mostly pine trees here, until we walk out into the power line’s clearing.
Cutting over a narrow forest buffer we are out on the big Savanna.
While we take a water break we also get passed by a couple and the sky opens up.
After our break we meet a couple of young people with a dogdog and after some conversing we catch up to the illegally speeding Russians on the NW. While they amateurly crossing Chimney Branch we take a quick pass on them wading through the water. Boots, boots, boots!
Uphill from here over rocky surface ’till the 90% left turn. We are back to mud territory here since the torrential rain floods through the path washing down the hill. On the top there are wonderful views of the north side. The cloud formations today are so lovely!
After passing the information board and the sign about the detour – rehabilitation area – we emerge to the power line clearing again. In the middle we turn right to Almart trail and hike up to yet another info board towards the left. The path here is very spacious and kind of straight until we came across another track. Keeping to the left, we walk up to the Red Dog Lodge. Not too shabby for an over 100 year old building. I haven’t seen it operational yet though.
We can see the Nature Center on our right and beyond that, our car. Before we could get to it we have to wait for a family to reach their car first. Baby girl bopping along a huge pit bull! Absolutely beautiful dog! Wow! Of course we start talking about our fur babies with wifey.
Well….few minutes later….here is our walk map. I didn’t use AllTrails to conserve battery power and now I regret it.
Love, love, love Soldiers Delight! It’s an absolute must to visit mud or not! You can tell we love it here, since this is our 4th post about it. All different though.
We always park in the West area since we approach from Route 40 through Centennial lane. All of the 5 parking lots (pic on the bottom of this post) around the lake are very spacious and easy to find.
After arriving at 11:25 am and getting ready for our stroll – it’s 30F so wearing 5 layers is a must for me – it starts snowing. Mag has to smell all the evergreen trees next to the tennis courts, then we are ready to follow the sign towards Lake loop.
Centennial park has amazing amenities on 337 acres! Perfect for families, to keep those little energizer bunnies busy. The 54 acre lake is actually man-made to attract wildlife.
At the West area there are 5 Tennis courts, 1 playground, a sandy volleyball court, 2 basketball courts, 2 Soccer fields and 3 baseball fields.
The South area actually has 3 separate parking areas which I call Southwest, South-middle and South (main). There are 2 more volleyball courts at the Southwest area along with a big playground. At South middle is the boathouse. South – main – has another volleyball court up on the hill.
The East area has 2 additional tennis courts, yet another volleyball court, a baseball field and a small paved court.
At the North area 2 more tennis courts, 2 baseball fields, a small playground and 3 pitching areas?
There are also 12 picnic pavilions around the lake.
I’ve never seen a park like this! I think it’s amazing! No wonder it’s hugely popular among people living around here and beyond.
Following the Lake loop sign, walking between the tennis courts, next to the basketball courts on the left, we turn onto the curve that leads us down to the lake. And bammmm! We would have proceeded to cross the bridge on the left at the end of the lake but it’s closed for maintenance!
Thankfully people coming from the other direction say we can bypass the temporary closure if we climb up onto Centennial lane. (If we would’ve known this when in parking area we could’ve just walk out to Centennial lane and turn right onto the small path after the bridge.) After the bridge we take the small path back to Lake loop.
The path around the lake is paved so no off roading here 😉. Right now the soil is also frozen meaning I don’t have to be worried about Mag getting muddy.
I find it interesting that there are help locators here even though I’ve never seen these at any other remote location we’ve visited. Good reason could be the presence of the bigger body of water. Safety first….
Since it’s cold and snowing there are very few people around.
We walk comfortably as the view of the Lake expands on the shores of a small beach. The surface water is mostly frozen. There is a huge flock of Canadian Geese stationed closer to the other side, lazily floating on the still liquid surface.
We have to keep moving because Mag seems to be cold.
There is another wonderful idea in this park….almost all the benches and lots of trees are dedicated to people who have passed on. They all marked with memory plaques with their families loving words.
Continuing our snowy walk alongside the lake we first reach the F. Leonard Dunn amphitheater which is naked right now, missing it’s cover for the winter season. They hold concerts here periodically.
I love this idea to have the trash cans covered. Since the lake’s open surface I think channels winds throughout, this little house makes sure that trash is not picked up and carried all over the park and beyond.
Across from the “concert hall” on a small hill there are some more benches, positioned to enjoy the performances or just the serene view of the lake. There is also plenty of green space to sit and maybe enjoy a picnic as well.
From here we can also see the “boathouse”, where in season we can rent kayaks and water bikes. From late spring through early fall, Adventure Shack & Rentals (410-313-7303) is open for concessions, boat rentals and general store items.
After rounding the corner beyond the boathouse we arrive to Centennial South. Just before the boat dock there is a wonderful little beach, where now a small flock of Canadian Geese floats around a Great Blue Heron. He is sitting on a rock trying to conserve as much heat as he possible can.
We walk out to the wooden pier and take some beautiful photographs of the stretched out lake in from of us. In nice weather we could sit here on covered, inviting benches. Some of the pavilions on the hill are also overlooking this serene panorama.
I took a video of these Canadian Geese at this spot.
While waiting for Mag to finish his rolling session I noticed some pink on trees framing the path. Getting closer I didn’t want to believe my eyes! Cherry blossoms.
After getting over my disbelief, we continue or walk up the hill where Mag sits on one of benches….
….while I am being entertained by Blue Jays having an argument up on some tall trees. Mag takes the opportunity to get into trouble, rolling into thistle berries.
Cleaning his hoodie takes a minute, then we are off towards the dam. I love how this panorama came out while kneeling under a lone tree overlooking the embankment and the East area.
Crossing the dam’s embankment leads us back into the woods on the North side. We are getting closer to the Lake’s arboretum and so the tree information plaques begin. This specimen American Beech tree is full of tattoos.
I feel solitude walking on the empty path slowly reaching towards the end of our walk.
I am actually not sure why this area is called the Arboretum since it doesn’t look any different than any other spot in the park. Maybe this small lagoon makes this stretch unreachable to the crowds since the path stays away from the shore. Somehow I’ve deleted the picture of the small bridge over the lagoon but I have these two images.
Mag has been acting a bit weird so we use the shortcut through the woods to make the final quarter of a mile even shorter. I think he is cold.
Even though we are approaching the parking lot there are still some pretty views to admire. One is of the boathouse the other is a small island in the middle of the lake.
We quickly climb up below the tennis courts passing by the volleyball court. Running through between the high fences we can already spot our car. It’s pretty easy since she almost looks lonely sitting there among just a handful of other vehicles.
Here is the conclusion to our walk. As always the length differs between the two apps.i end up titling it 2.7 mile, dab in the middle.
Here is a pick of the different parking areas to help visualize the locations. Addresses as follows.
West area – 4651 Centennial Ln. Ellicott City, MD 21042
South area (main) – 10000 Clarksville pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042
East area – 4800 Woodland Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042
North area – 9801 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042
We revisited on the 25th and walked the extended path, stretching the length to 3.5 miles. We could have done more if walking all the way up to the North area. I am planning to park there next time and start our walk from that spot.
East area was closed without explanation so I guess it’s good to check the park’s website for more info before heading here. Not that it’s a biggie to just drive down to the next area to park if closure would happen.
Weather was absolutely beautiful! Here are some of the pictures I’ve taken.
Well be back here! You all should follow suit. Such a wonderful place!
1/15/2020 Red Run Stream trail – Wetland Trail loop – Red Run Stream trail – Walnut Grove Trail loop – Nature trail – Red Run Stream trail
Location: 9283-9299 Dolfield rd. Owings Mills, MD 21117 (beginning of Dolfield rd. across from Residence Inn off of Red Run Blvd.). This side of Dolfield rd. is foot traffic only! Parking off street is very limited.
“The best way to be global is to be local.” – Alex Atala
I wanted to check this trail out for years! Probably 10 years. It hasn’t been always this organized but it has been here, hiding secretly under the ever growing infrastructure of this neighborhood. I’ve even ran passed it while training for a half-marathon a few years back.
I was trying to find a new local trail for today’s walk to link walking with accomplishing our daily chores. Then I’ve remembered this long forgotten – by me – hidden gem.
After overshooting the entrance, we had to turn around and drive back. Parking area was about half full so we didn’t have any issues with parking. Entrance is very inviting with safety zone posts, benches and bicycle stands.
This trail is a little paradise existing between residential and industrial areas. When building around this tiny valley, they thankfully recognized the importance of Red Run stream and the surrounding ecosystem. I’ve figured, originally Dolfield rd. was for car traffic, sort of a cut through so it’s paved but now it is closed off for foot traffic only. There are plenty of information boards teaching about the area. Closer to Dolfield Blvd. there are even manmade birdhouses to help the dozens of species living here.
At the first opportunity off the main trail we turned right onto Wetlands Trail Loop (0.19mile) and walked towards the boardwalk.
Even though the area was dry at this time, 8-9 feet high graceful golden grasses swayed in the light breeze above us, contrasting the clear blue sky.
It felt like spring and just to prove it a couple of chirping squirrels started chasing each other on the ground. Mag learned not to chase them so we were just bystanders in their interaction.
The first information board was here on the boardwalk about Greenways and Red Run Stream.
Mag was taking his time smelling everything as usual so it took us about 10 minutes to reach the end of this short loop. When back on the original trail, we turned right again after crossing Red Run Stream.
Shortly after, there was another fork at Walnut Grove trail loop (0.15mile).
And yet another onto the tiny Nature trail to Red Run overlook. We have taken the tiny path which led us to the stream.
Off course Mag thought the water was very inviting and took a dip. January’s low sun position provided with hundred of dancing shadows throughout the trees. While headed back on the path we noticed a bunch of turkey buzzards circling above us high in the sky.
Even though it was around noon, several parts of the trail were in shade caused by apartment buildings over-towering us from small hills.
When back on the sunny side again we’ve noticed an information board about a specimen tree.
It read: “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.” Alexander Bryan Johnson, 1841
It’s about the White oak in front of us. When this sign was made, it measured 44 inches in diameter or about 11 feet in circumference. In Baltimore County a tree is considered a specimen if it is 30 inches or more in diameter. Unfortunately it doesn’t say how old this tree is.
Few feet later we found a small path to the stream so we headed down for a drink.
Following our journey on Dolfield rd. we yet again kept right after this small metal bridge. The previous right would take us up to the office buildings and the main road.
In the distance, the Dolfield Boulevard overpass is visible on the above picture.
The official trail actually ends about 600ft beyond Dolfield Blvd. but we were curious and kept following an off road path. We kept going for another quarter of a mile, then turned back. It turns out that if we would’ve followed this trail, could have connected to Dolfield trail within Solders Delight. Awesome discovery!
On the way back Mag had to pose at this bench while overlooking passerby office workers.
We’ve also met Nike, a black lab on the way back, who was very sweet.
About a quarter of a mile before we would’ve reached our car there was yet another trail to the right so obviously we took the opportunity to take it. It sattles in the shadows of the apartment buildings, leading deep into the small valley, ending at Lakeside Blvd.
Instead of pavement our feet could finally enjoy real trail material. Gravel/stone/mud/multi surface. Red Run kept us in good company on our left, while the residential building complexes were hugging us on the right and beyond the stream on the left.
There were no less than 7 bridges on this short trail (0.75 mile).
Between bridges four and five the trail got very muddy but we came across deer, squirrels, a lot of different birds and on the way back a pair of Red-shouldered hawks.
Mag enjoyed the stream again one more time before we got to the end of this walk. The trail ended at the end of the apartment buildings so naturally we turned back.
We had a wonderful time in very unseasonably warm weather, under clear blue skies.
Unfortunately I forgot to turn off the app and only noticed that it is still on at our next stop. Mileage for our walk is incorrect. We have walked 4 miles total.
We encourage you all to stay local every once in a while instead of travel far and wide. Know your surroundings before open up your heart and mind to the world outside. You’re not gonna regret it!
1/12/2020 – Thru trail (white) – Unnammed cut through – Lower thru trail – Pain cave – Hell of the North – Double trouble – Thru trail – 9.7 miles
Elevation gain: 902ft
I was apprehensive about the location of this trail and was prepared to drive by if parking was only avail on the side of the road but even so the area is tiny (enough space for about 7 cars) it’s off street.
It feels a bit weird – to me at least – because we have to walk through/in front of somebody’s private property in order to get to the park’s actual entrance a few hundred feet away. I find it unsettling. I sort of feel like we are trespassing.
Thru trail looks lovely from the get go, lightly winding through the forest next to Patapsco river. I can hear hikers from the other side, beyond the railroad tracks. There is another trail on the hill but I’m happy that we are not on that side. It’s in the shade.
It’s suppose to be unseasonably warm today but still kind of chilly right now.
The forest is awful quiet this morning and makes me wonder what cases the birds to disappear from certain locations. Chirping is quintessential in the woods to me. Especially on a sunny day!
A couple catches up to us with a dog so we walk down to a tiny beach area a few feet from the trail to let them pass. Mag finds these rocks in the water very suspicious and gets stopped in his tracks, kind of mumbling – not yet barking – to himself. They sort of look like whales….
On our right, are a series of bigger rocks stretching through the river, one is marked with a graffiti heart. I would love to go over to take a closer look but the water is too high to hop over. I don’t want to take my chances with Mag in tow.
Jumping back on the trail we are heading towards a gorgeous rock wall and also find a tree trunk carpeted with lush moss and these handsome brown meaty fungi (Wild brown stew fungus?).
A beautiful view awaits us at the huge bend in the river, morning dew reflecting on the trees like diamond covered spiderwebs.
As we walk along the bend, bells start ringing from across Patapsco and I can see the bell-tower of a lovely little church. A bridge is also visible ahead of us in close proximity.
As we get closer, it becomes obvious that it carries only trains over the river.
As we walk away a CSX freight train crosses providing a lovely picture opportunity.
Lot of parks we’ve already visited had abandoned structures and old walls throughout and Patapsco Valley State park is no exception. We even come across this empty white – vandalized – building full of colorful graffiti. Maybe a church at one point?
After stopping at the water for a minute so Mag can cool off….
….we continue towards Daniels Dam. It is beautiful here and the sound of the thundering waterfall is therapeutic.
After climbing back on the trail we leave the last big bend behind. There are some Canadian geese hanging out at a small island. They obviously enjoying the climbing temperatures on this sunny day.
Within about a quarter of a mile we catch up with the railroad tracks but are forced to hurry up. A loud whistle letting us know there is another train coming. Keeping on the left we wait for the train to pass – video below – ….
….then keep on the trail, disappearing underneath. It’s pretty cavelike with excess water-droplets draining from above. I urge Mag to hurry up and we emerge quickly on the other side. Mag yet again takes a dip, this time in Brice Run.
Temperatures are climbing, just like us, following the cascading water on an elevated trail. As soon as I see Wrights Mill rd I know something is not right….even though there is a horse farm ahead which would make Mag very happy for hours to come. We spend about 5 minutes looking for the continuum of the trail but I am forced to turn back and scrutinize the map under magnifying glass to see where I made a mistake letting our trail wonder off….
I guess I was so mesmerized by the Run that I missed the now obvious map signage of the small loop we would’ve had to do by crossing the water.
I’ve tried! There is noooo way we can proceed through Brice Run! Water is way too high. So we actually going back to the railroad bridge and cross there, even though sign says it’s illegal. Blahblahblah.
Our trail continues in only about 20 feet beyond the bridge, taking us high above the tracks, overlooking Patapsco river.
MAN it’s hot! My double socked feet will likely catch on fire in my heavy boots.
We turn right at the first opportunity on the top of the hill following the white Thru trail.
The forest is spectacular! We have a wonderful view through naked trees and finally there are birds chirping.
Our next cross reference in the woods is a monstrosity of a house with a huge green container. The unfortunate fact is that we are getting closer to Granite aka developed area. We are on the edge of the state park. Beyond the house we turn left until we see a green gate where we follow the trail downhill to the right. Passing a couple, racing down in Mag’s fashion we cross a tiny noname creek at the bottom.
Our next stop is the clearing under the power lines where Mag takes a 10 minute rolling session. Yippee.
When he finally rolled enough we continue into the woods, climbing through the slaloming path. Reaching the top we get to a small – trail – intersection and to a view of cookie cutter monstrosities.
Keeping to the right the trail follows the development for quite a while, I would say for a mile? (That rhymed.) A slight descend will take us to another noname creek….
….with lots of birds jumping and flying around. Lovely location for a picnic. A little wren shows interest in us sitting on a dead tree stump.
Looking on the map I see that the trail circles around the “mushroom development”.
Two hours into our walk and it’s the first time that I hear a woodpecker at all, but this is my fave! Pileated Woody woodpecker. He is somewhere in the woods laughing at us. Oh, but now I see him! Waaaay toooo far to even pretend that I can take a photo. So we carry on around the fenced off houses yet again heading downhill.
I’ve decided earlier that we’ll take a shortcut on the bottom of this section to return to the river and head back on our loop. There is one problem. The trail shows on the map but not in the forest. It’s ok. We’ll improvise. Phone in hand we follow the invisible trail through the woods, looking at the map.
We’ve just scared a beautiful fox away. Mag is in hunting mode all the sudden.
Patapsco river is in front of us, lazily stretching through the forest, accompanying the railroad tracks.
I am forced to shut off ResQWalk at 4.71 miles to reserve battery power.
This is our turning point. As it’s visible on the pic above we’ll – for the most – keep next to the river. Before heading back Mag needs to model inside a huge tree for a pic. It doesn’t happen every day that he is able to sit inside a living tree.
Scenery yet again is gorgeous, there are a bunch of little islands in the river here. So pretty. We stop for a few minutes to test the waters.
Since we are heading back next to the river the walk is easy, it’s flat and Mag is eager to lead the way. Across the river there is a big beachy area and a family of four are playing rock skipping. Hidden from them on our side, behind an embankment is a little gem of cascades and generously covered mossy stones.
We are pinched between towing rock walls on our left and the river on our right. I can hear a Kingfisher somewhere above the river and can see the railroad bridge way ahead of us in the distance.
This trail still has some surprises for us, starting right about now.
Taking a turn to the left, we have to hop over a small creek and start climbing steeply uphill the trail like a snake winding underneath our feet. The wind also appears to have picked up and feels chilly since we are in the forest. Making it all the way up the view is wonderful but can not capture it through thousands of branches.
Heading downhill again for just a bit and crossing under the power-lines again, just going the opposite way.
I have to stop taking pictures at mile 6.8 otherwise my phone will die. I will have to invest in an outside battery.
While in the forest we have different trail options to follow and I am so talented that pick the most challenging one. Rocky, steep, full of fallen autumn leaves and overgrown….it’s more like an unmaintained water slide if you ask me but we are heading upwards on it. Finally at the top we have a breather and thankfully the trail goes back to normal, just winding lazily through the woods. After catching up with river we shortly return to our cut off after the bridge….
….blue dot on map. From here on we backtracking next to Patapsco river, encountering most of the ppl on our whole loop. I guess they slept in. It’s 2pm and they just starting their walk.
Mag catches scent of some horses and pulls me all the way from the dam to the car. He falls asleep within minutes.
Almost 10 miles in 4 hours in unseasonable heat. It was a great hike!
Recommend this trail wholeheartedly! Even though it’s winter and most pictures look brown and dreary that should not stop anyone to go for a hike. Nature looks so much better in person.
See you next week….
P.S.: parking area was full of cars when we got back, stretching onto the private driveway on one side. I guess there had to be 20+ cars.
Lovely but cold Saturday at Centennial park. Dramatic shots though.
Another one of those gorgeous morning sunrises.
Halo was ruling the cat bed at the kitchen door when we came downstairs. She seems to be enjoying the other cat’s companies lately. Here she is hiding behind the gray mountain aka Mag.
Brrr….cold and overcast but the sunrise is spectacular even so.
Since we work all week it’s our regular quick walk close to the shop. We ran into Magnum the gorgeous Doberman and his dad at the park. Forgot to take photo….but here is a pic of Mag working hard instead.
I love Knock out roses. It’s not just because they flower about 7-8 month out of the year it seems, but they always provide a good subject to photograph no matter what season it is.
Upper 20s but sunny with super blue clear skies. The contrast is wonderful between that blue and the browns of nature.
Snowdrops are in full bloom even though we only had about an inch of snow all winter and even that melted in a flash. They somehow still know it’s January and so they push through the dry and frozen soil and ground cover.
Exploding cattails and frost crystals at the park.
Mag cuddling with his daddy.
Meadowood Regional park is always a good idea in odd weather. It’s cold and windy today so people are staying away. We pretty much have the whole area for ourselves.
Toto needed some love after dinner. He can be very clingy sometimes.
We planned some family time together for today but our walk just turned into a quick visit to Sandymount park. Gusty winds and snow made us shorten our outside time. By the end of brunch the snow melted under even though the wind didn’t let off.
Halo and Mag both enjoying the rays in the afternoon.
Originally we didn’t plan to go out today but I figured we can beat the forecast for snow later on and visit Centennial Park in Ellicott city.
We got snowed in and got our booties frozen but enjoyed it throughout.
4 mile walk at Red Run …. I have been eyeing this trail for years! I used to see it from driving over it and always wondered how to get to it. Lovely, local park tucked away between residential and commercial buildings.
We still have some snow on the ground even though it’s already pretty mild. We’ll have upper 60s this weekend so it will go.
Mag feels most comfortable when he is upside down.
Cold days call for a comfy, warm nest.
Below 32 weather greeted us this morning with about an inch of snow. Our view from the bedroom is this pretty. Later on Mag was enjoying the powdery snow at the park where tree shadows danced around us.
We’ve woken for another beautiful sunrise.
Since temperatures hovered around 40F (5C), we planned to walk late morning into early afternoon. Today’s target was Loch Raven Reservoir because of the fact that we haven’t been there. The car’s GPS had me drive around for no reason but I eventually found a good starting spot. Glen Ellen trail.
The entrance here looks like a clustrofudge at the moment but at least right now it’s easy to spot.
Loch Raven is yet another beautiful area around Baltimore where we can probably do another 8 or 9 hiking trips with all the trails it has to offer.
Stretching is important in the morning!
We went to our regular park, Silver Creek but explored it beyond the light rail.
We had a late start to the day, being Sunday. Took this gorgeous sunrise pick at 8:47 am.
Lazy, cold, overcast Sunday calls for a long walk. While driving to our destination I’ve changed my mind and started to head in the direction of NCR to finish the last stretch of the MD miles. By the time we reached the trail the sun showed through the clouds.
Mag had loads of fun as usual. Found a raccoon, rolled in high grass, chased squirrels and ran free.
We leisurely walked more than 5 miles and we were home just in time for dinner.
I have made an appointment for Puffy Rice early this morning to see what’s our next step to see why he cannot breath. After taking x-rays, it seems that there is something making his airways closed up.Him being over 10 years old making any further steps unreasonable. We will wait and see how he does in the future.
Since it will be another rainy afternoon we are heading to Leakin park to beat thestorm. We are walking a variation of the Franklintown loop.
Somebody reallynice put Christmas ornaments on the newly planted trees in the middle of the woods. So lovely. Thank you!
The valley was under a thin fog cover above Dead Run. After descending it became invisible.
We rounded up to 3.3 miles.
Mild but rainy day. I wanted to try my new camera out so I didn’t take a bunch of photos with my phone like usually.
Since the forecast predicts rain for the weekend we headed to NCR trail today to pick up on our blog posts. Close to 6 miles on an almost empty trail made our day!
It doesn’t matter in what season, it always feels magical here to me. Very small area we actually cover here but that doesn’t mean that it’s not full of lovely, small surprises. We just have to listen and watch to detect them.
Since it’s a weekday not even mentioning it’s the last day of the year (ooops I just did)….I’ve decided to park at the very beginning of the park, right after we pulled in next to The Oregon Grill entrance (Kurtz lane). There is a small area here specifically kept for participants of the Community Garden but it’s winter. I figured it’ll be fine. Other times I wouldn’t do it.
We walk past the gardens while admiring someone’s gorgeous greens showing obvious signs of a mild winter. On our left the low set sun shines through a wall of fir trees.
After leaving the garden the area opens up to high grasses and wildflowers framed on both sides by different species of trees.
I could take thousands of photos just of the dried Black-eyed Susans. I think they are beautiful.
Following the trail around the grassland, I still peek into the birdhouse to see eggs. There a few of them. I guess they will be thrown out before spring arrives to accommodate new renters.
Getting closer to Oregon Branch the soil gets overly saturated with water and I am – as always – glad for wearing my trusty boots. Mag has a dilemma to cross the creek above or get wet. He will chose getting soaked….
Walking now on the other side of the therapeutic stream we head west, following it keeping on the edge of yet another meadow. Under some trees Mag cuts in and we end up at the Branch.
Coming back up to circle around towards the farm houses we notice the entrance to the archery range. I’ve never seen anyone shooting here so we brave ourselves into the woods. We notice a bee house and gorgeous tall trees reaching for the clouds, among information about one of the quarries.
We keep to the right, reaching the Forest of Hope. I try to take photos of different paintings every time.
When the trail splits into 4 branches we chose the left side and walk towards the birds enclosures straight ahead. On the right separated from the others is an injured hawk (in the summer there was an owl here). We walk slowly trying not to disturb his peace.
I don’t let Mag close to the other birds either, respecting them as well. Jumpy and over excited dogs (or kids) can be shocking for them as well. We rather walk through the kids educational playground since it’s empty. Mag is really good not leaving any surprises (pee/poo) at places like this. They also have a tiny area for kids to learn about gardening. Very cute!
Heading out from here to the left there is another fenced area across of mostly wildflowers to help bees do their extremely important work. I don’t take Mag in here.
There is also a big handmade bee house next to the trail.
Now we zig-zag through the meadow, until we get to the entrance of the small bog. It’s lined with easy to spot yellow-white bee hives. Amazingly they are buzzing around and Mag shows high interest in them. As soon as we are down at the water there is an awesome covered watching bench.
Coming out on the other side we are approaching the original miner buildings and the bridge beyond.
We have no other choice but to cross on the Kurtz lane bridge. Waiting for the right time to miss cars coming at the same time we are on it. It’s not heavy traffic since this road is only for the park but I feel more comfortable not having cars right by us on a small bridge like this one. I still manage to take a photo of the creek while crossing.
On our left, ahead, is a beautiful green pasture topped with fluffy white clouds.
While walking towards our car I get distracted by a Red-shouldered hawk sitting on pole in the middle of the field to our left. Off course we head towards him. He ends up flying away before we could reach there but the fir trees inviting me to take a photo of there sunny side now.
Enjoying our last few hundred yards I notice a cloud jumping dolphin up in the sky.
Circling around the Community garden we arrive back to our vehicle.
Here is the ResQWalk map with its zig-zagging orange line. 1.57 mile is quite a great accomplishment in such a small area. Elevation is minimal, just have to have boots on depending on the season.
Here is my hand drawn map on satellite image to see details. Not a 100% accurate but will do.
Hope to see you around one of these days out there!
Minebank Run trail – Lock Raven Drive trail – Sycamore path – Fire road – Barran’s trail – Baldwin trail – Barran’s trail – Willow Grove trail – Sherwood Farm trail – Minebank Run trail – Sherwood Farm trail.
Elevation gain 630ft
Address: 2002 Cromwell Bridge rd. Parkville, MD 21234 Willow Grove Nature Education Center. (A few steps from the parking area there are turkeys and chickens and the Center has a vegetable garden to the west.)
❤️💔❤️💔R.I.P. Flare 💔❤️💔❤️
I forgot to charge my phone twice in a row before hiking so we’ll see how long it will last.
Get here early at all times! This park is hugely popular among birders.
Starting our route to the east from the parking area (walking backwards towards the bridge), on Minebank Run trail….
….towards the kiln.
There are three different kilns here within one construction. Shanklin-, Risteau- and Jenifer. The path goes above/behind them to have a different point of view (as you can see it on the kiln pic). Next to the kiln is the Merrick Log house from 1797. It was constructed over a period of 200+ years and probably housed the kiln manager and his family.
Following Minebank Run we could do the birder’s loop but instead, we walk up on Lock Raven Drive trail, passing several wooden bird’s nests. It’s quite lovely here with all the nesting birds, come spring.
There are so many beautiful specimen American Sycamore in this park. This is just one wonderful example in the middle of this field.
Climbing up the small hill there is a remembrance bench waiting for us to take a minute to enjoy the view.
Back at the kiln two gentlemen with three dogs passed us and headed to the same direction we’ve chosen. Unfortunately we caught up to them and now have to shortcut our path, causing us to miss Loch Raven Dam on Gunpowder Falls on the lower loop of the Fire road.
The up and down winding Fire road trail eventually takes us above the Dam anyway so we end up taking some pictures of the watershed. There are thousands of ducks quacking on the calm water, floating by.
The trail takes a turn to the West after the Dam and is high above Towson-Branch Run. Looking down from this mossy ridge to lovely tiny cascades through tons of fallen leaves. It’s a very pretty view.
Few minutes of walking will gradually lower the edge towards the Run and we take a minute break so Mag can drink some of the chilly liquid.
A bald eagle just flew above our head yet again. I wonder when I am going to be able to photograph these majestic birds.
Here the trail splits and I feel strongly to follow the North fork but we would have to come back the same way since residential neighborhoods and Providence road divide the trail. I decide to follow the Run south towards the Barran’s-Baldwin trails.
The trail is very scenic here, thanks to keeping up with the creek. We reach the lowest point where we meet a lose white dog with friendly tail wagging, pointing towards some loud machinery in the woods. He takes off towards it.
A series of small bridges help us over the water. Right after we start climbing steep up on a hill (Barran’s trail). Trees here are marked with lime green paint.
On the top of the hill the trail becomes Baldwin trail and runs right next to private properties. Also clears out with an information board in the middle.
After reading the info and catching our breath we start to descend back where the small bridges rise above the Run. Mag is pretty much pulling me the whole way. I am trying not to tumble down….
I have to shut off my ResQwalk to conserve battery power. We are at mile 3 in our hike.
Reaching the very bottom there are 3 other trails to our right but all of them are dead ends. To be able to accomplish the most miles, we keep straight, uphill yet again.
On the top of the hill we meet the same white dog again with now his owner. After saying hi we continue our walk on Barran’s trail.
At one point the soil is like walking on shag carpet. Bit of a funky feeling.
On this side of the park we can already hear the distant sounds of 695. It should be about a mile away. We won’t reach it though. As soon as we see the source of the next little creek (I cannot locate a name) we turn left onto Sherwood Farm trail.
Keeping straight, passing the little bridge on our left and the above sign on our right. For additional mileage we could take this small loop but since it’s getting late we huddle toward Sherwood farm. I always like to go way around the farm, catching up to Minebank Run trail in the valley.
Mag loves sniffing around in this high grass area for mice and such. Unfortunately he starts limping after catching a wild rose thorn in his paw. Worse injury ever! You should see his face! I am able to save his life – thankfully – and we proceed like nothing has happened….
In the valley we cross the bridge over Minebank Run and turn left on the trail towards Marble Springs.
This trail goes under an alley of trees. Pretty, pretty, pretty. The Run is running – pun intended – on our left.
At one point we head down to the water and cut through its pebbly beach to take a look at Sherwood Cemetery. From here to the east we can already see the parking area. It’s jam packed.
We pass the vegetable gardens on our left and even hear the turkeys gobbling loudly in their enclosure.
I took this photo of the area’s birds just before getting back to our car, showcased on an info board.
It’s amazing to me that we had the opportunity to hike in the beginning of January! We had an amazing time! Come and discover this awesome Nature Center and park for yourselves. You won’t regret it!
See you next week. Have a wonderful weekend and lovely week ahead!
Glen Ellen trail– unnamed trail – back to Glen Ellen – unnamed again – Sams Grave trail – Glen Ellen trail – unnamed trail again – back on Glen Ellen trail.
Elevation gain 495ft.
AllTrails shows Glen Ellen as a blueline but we wondered off on the black a bunch of times, mostly keeping to the right when it was possible to make our loop the longest.
Location: Intersection of Providence rd. and Loch Raven drive, Lutherville Timonium, MD 21093
“Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.”
First I was relying on my GPS to take us to Loch Raven Reservoir. I thought if it’s listed in my car’s Parks list, it will direct us to a parking area. Like a visitor center. Thought wrong. We drove around on a huge loop, instead of just either navigating us on Seminary rd. or Providence rd.
To get to this particular trail easiest way is to take the Providence rd. exit (N/NE) off of 695. Drive till it ends and park on the left side in the makeshift parking area.
Entrance looks pretty rough right now but I guess they are working on making it more civilized and less muddy.
In a few hundred feet we took the first opportunity to turn right, off on a smaller trail (marked with black lines in AllTrails). This is a beautiful scenic trail in the winter when all the trees are naked and there’s pretty much no groundcover. It follows Loch Raven drive – winds along below us – until it takes us out to the very edge, where it end at the bridge above the Reservoir. Visible on this pic in the far distance in the middle.
While minding our own business, running through the woods, we encountered a pair of Bald eagles screaming above the road. Tried several times to record their voice but they resisted the urge to entertain us.
I took this pano on the ridge dividing the Reservoir’s Peterson Branch from Gunpowder Falls. The view is amazing here!
While we were watching every step we took – stony path – one of the bald eagles flew above our heads and weightlessly hovered above the water.
At the end of this portion of the trail we were on the very end of a rock formation, overlooking the bridge. Cars zoomed by us just about 20 feet away. We could have gone down to the edge of the water but I didn’t want Mag to get wet. It’s way too cold for that.
After enjoying a few minutes here, we headed back up and followed the sister trail about 10 feet away from the one we came on, keeping right when it was possible.
Not much later we found ourselves down at the waters edge. Mag ended up in the water anyway while I was taking pictures wowed by the scenery.
It was so serene and quiet there, I could actually hear Mag thinking….
Occasionally a few ducks cried out and I could hear planes zooming by ten thousand feet above us but that was it. It was awesome! It was – is – paradise. Give me a log cabin there….I am moving in!
And yet another Bald Eagle flew above our heads (could’ve been the same one, playing games with us). Its really hard to take a photo of a flying bird even as big as these fantastic creatures. I heard the sound they make cutting through the air first, then tried to focus locating the bird through the branches of the trees. By the time that happened, it was too far away to snap a pic.
The weather forecast predicted snow and I was waiting for the moment to capture the first flakes while in the middle of the woods. Now looking back on these pictures….I cannot see a single flake but I swear it was coming down pretty good. And it was magical!
I don’t like to put my face on social media – that’s the reason Mag has a Facebook page instead of me – but I’m utterly happy here! And you can actually see water droplets aka snow on his whiskers!
I don’t think it’s possible for me to love anything as much as I love hiking, except my family. It was cold, it was wet, it was muddy, snow started coming down pretty hard towards the end but it was also perfect! Just us in the woods….
I noticed this arborglyph from ’74 on a tree close to the end of our loop. It would be pretty neat to find the person who did it…. J.G.
By the time we got back to the car it really started coming down. Very wet snow but heavily falling nonetheless.
Mag got pretty wet so I bundled him up for a sec to dry him. His paw pads got super clean from walking in the snow for the last fifteen minutes. The top portion was a different story though. I am sure he was hoping to skip bath time….but that didn’t happen.
Here is our trail map with the starting point magnified.
Another lovely location added to our list of awesome local trails. We hope you all got the bug as well the check it out for yourself! You won’t regret it!
Just remember! Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time!