Solituday

NCR trail – Paper Mill rd to Phoenix rd

Love the sight of an almost empty parking lot on a Sunday morning. Thanks to the dreary weather today, people stayed in bed I guess.

This is sort of the beginning of NCR. The main parking lot is on the left side on Paper Mill rd. coming from Hunt Valley. However the 0 mile marker is about a half a mile further down on NCR towards the city – after crossing Paper Mill by foot – at Ashland rd. Parking is very limited, no sense even trying, except being dropped off.

Having a goal of completing the about 20 mile distance in MD and the additional 20 in PA from the beginning of NCR I still would park at the main parking area, walk back to warm up to the 0 mile and start my journey like that. Just an idea.

This is my version of solitude. No one’s on the trail for a half a mile behind or before us. Beautiful. Just Mag and me.

Definitely best to come in the morning, perhaps before 9am. On the weekends even earlier. Close proximity to Hunt Valley makes this location highly popular.

This Lime Kiln in the hillside was probably constructed in the late 1800’s.

We have just reached the 1 mile marker, before the bridge and it starts to sprinkle.

I hope it won’t become a bigger problem ’cause Mag is not a fan of getting wet. Soaked is not even an option.

I recall one day in our evening walk in our neighborhood. It started to pour without giving us a fair warning – overcast doesn’t always mean rain -. Mag had scooted under someone’s overgrown front foliage, pulling me with him. Not that it was good coverage. We were still getting soaked just not from direct rain. A neighbor driving by offered to take us home – two blocks away – but I rejected, thinking of her car getting dirty. I ended up pull-running (nice ring to a new Olympic sport) Mag home which must have been a sight.

Gunpowder Falls

Passing the bridge and yet again, like so many times, I can hear the elusive Pileated woodpecker’s laugh. It just took off from the tree above us, crossing the river. Bummer…. I don’t think I will be able to take a good pic of them….like ever!

I think he is laughing at me! Flew right back, landing on a tree above our heads. I can actually hear several of them in a few hundred feet radius. I am the laughing stock of woodpeckers. I still love these creatures though.

Corn chamomile, Red-bud leaf, dewy leaf, Yarrow

Walking pass the floodplain we can hear toads conversing about life. Mag finds their ribbiting rather amusing, freezes in deep concentration, trying to figure out what alien sound that could be.

Dame’s rocket, mossy twig, Hydrangea, Rose meadowsweet

By the time we reach the little rest area at mile 2 the rain let’s off a bit so I can take some nice pics of the flowing river. We made our loop for today so will be heading back. (Next time around we’ll be parking here, heading towards Monkton.)

Steps are slippery when wet!

Though the frogs are still super interesting on the way back, movement from the other shore is even more engaging. Mag has spotted a Canadian geese family with at least five chicks taking a break at the edge of the water. The chicks totally blend in with their surroundings, only the parents white head-markings visible – not on the photo though. (Where is Waldo? – see that circled black line in the middle? That’s momma perhaps. Babies towards the left from her.)

Continuing our walk I notice, it feels hot and humid but at the same time caused by the light drizzle, chilly as well. Such a weird feeling….

Driftwood overload under the bridge

These little creatures are also on the move, amusing Mag endlessly. The orange slug is the only one we come across from the gastropod family but plenty of tiny frogs crossing the path coming from the river. We save as many as we can mostly from bikers.

So I have counted 10 people all together this morning on the trail. Highly unusual thanks for the rain Even that parking lot has only a handful of cars.

We got super lucky. As soon as we get to the car it starts pouring again. Mag is pooped, even though we have only done 3.3 miles.

It’s time to clean him off and check for ticks.

He is falling asleep already….

Our drive home is about 30 minutes so he’ll have a little time to snooze.

Funny enough at the end of our driveway, after coming back from the wilderness 😻 this is what greets us….

That’s city living in Baltimore!

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