Leakin Park II

“It’s all about convenience. You have remote access to everything.” Kevin Marquess

Convenience = location close to home won out today.

We have parked at the main parking area again on Eagle dr.

There is a little path from here on the left side of the tennis courts.

But we are not going to use it today since they are still working on the BGE pipeline and it’s cutting through this little path. Looks quaint though.

Keeping on the left side of the loop like last time, we’ll go through this natural tunnel of branches.

This is the portion of the path with all the nature art displays. Nature inspired self-expression is very popular in Baltimore. I have seen art in the woods at several locations around here.

Nature art

At the wooden sign we keep left towards the Nature Center, keeping an eye out for all the critters we might come across.

Jane doe

At the end we turn right still heading towards the Nature Center. When reaching the praying mantis and the squirrel,

– cutting through the grass – “skulking” behind the building, searching for the direction post. There it is!

This track will lead us to the elevated wooden plank path through a green passageway.

Here we go!

It is the perfect height from the shallow swamp floor.

At the end of this portion of Wetland trail we end up on paved Hutton ave. Turning right onto Hutton, watch for traffic! This road right now has a lot of heavy load vehicles. When reached Wetheredsville rd. (next paved road across) we need to look for the trail sign to the right at the edge of the woods.

We are walking slightly uphill from here into the woods, following the blue diamonds painted on trees. Periodically crossing over wooden paths to elevate us from mud and wetland.

It’s good to keep an eye out for animals – mostly deer and birds – and awesome nature built structures….

Heading downhill now, it feels like we are in the middle of nowhere. Feels so remote even though we are in the city. I can hear the rushing water of Gwynn’s Falls and Dead run branch.

Pass the sign that says Ridge trail until the next one at the bottom. We will follow Stream trail this time around, almost immediately getting a look at the creek.

Over a hundred years old wall structure growing out of the water giving home to moss and fern. We spotted a Great blue heron gliding above the water looking for a nice landing spot but seeing us he kept going (🙁).

Around here – the water being so close – gets really muddy after a nice rainfall so I always recommend to wear boots and watch your steps! Feeling the remoteness of these woods also reminds me of warning you, that there are not a lot of people around. I haven’t seen anybody today so far since we have parked the car. Always tell someone where you are going and be safe!

While I was running my mouth we have reached the bridge at the bicycle path. Keep right on the paved road.

First time since we started out that there are some sign of life. Construction work noise cuts through the trees, coming from the little South located parking area. Dead run branch is almost running dry here or maybe its bed is just oversized.

Unfortunately the trail here looks in despair and abandoned even though the parking area is well kept on the other side of the water. I particularly like the bridge with its pretty railing. Looks old age quality work. Must have been a beautiful area back in the days.

We are stumbling over broken pavement pieces here, heading towards yet another sign….

and still to the right towards one of the history boards….

and a little further up to the Picnic grove.

Keeping right, walking through the little wooden bridge….

onto Ravine trail on top of the stone ruins.

From this point it slightly uphill. We’ll take Old Fort trail towards the Mansion.

This uphill hike feels good. Gets my old body’s juices flowing. Good to have Mag pulling me upwards a bit though. I have caught so many spiderwebs I probably look like a cotton candy.

Mossy old wood, ruins, Paulownia tomentosa, spider

Keep heading towards the Mansion to make our loop.

Right….I can tell we had good rain recently because the trail is washed out a little bit. Looking up though I rather marvel at the huge tulip trees. They are amazing!

To the right again….up to the parked cars.

Yay! Got to Orianda Mansion.

Reaching Eagle dr. we can head either way but we will turn left to face incoming traffic on this one way loop. I like to see if cars are coming even though there are not too many of them. Two of the original buildings are this way. One is the honeymoon cottage the other is the carriage house with a new extension. All of the buildings are used by the Outward Bound School.

Details of the carriage house

I love looking at the blooming chestnut trees, their flowers reminding me of fireworks. Their fragrance is pretty spectacular too.

Leaving the trees there is a weird structure close to the tree line. It’s some sort of exercise contraption for the outbound school. I have yet to see anyone on it….

Few hundred feet from the parking lot on the left is the Baltimore city bike unit’s station but on the right is the beautiful Winans chapel. It is under construction at the moment but I hope they will do justice to this amazing little building when finished.

We are almost back at the car, passing by the playground and the tennis courts.

Rounding up our walk today at 2.7 miles we are back at Yoda, patiently waiting for us.

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