10/19 Gwynn Falls/Leakin Park, 1981–1999 Eagle Dr., Gwynn Oak, MD 21207
(Note: unfortunately something happened to WordPress after the last update to my iPad and now I cannot make notes on pictures. Sorry.)
“Closeness has nothing to do with distance.” – Except today.
I have planned a new adventure for today but life (aka GPS) has interrupted….
We left early to visit Patapsco Valley State park, the Cascade trail in particular. It would have taken us about 30 minutes to get there but our ordeal lasted more then an hour.
My phone gave me this address – 5103–5113 Landing Rd., Elkridge, MD 21075 – which by the way is incorrect. Not knowing, we drove there. Parking here is limited and on the side of the road with barely any space to walk next to the parked cars to reach the trail’s entrance. I will not jeopardize our safety for a walk.
On the way there I have noticed a cool hanging bridge (actually called Railway bridge) when crossing over Patapsco river from River rd. to Ilchester rd. (name changes on the other side of Patapsco). Even though there is spacious parking on the side of the road, there are prohibition signs to do so. We had to keep going.
Then I thought we can go to Patapsco Valley State park in Ellicott city – 8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21043 (it’s a huge park as you see). Well….not so fast! This entrance only opens at 9 am. So….we couldn’t hike here either.
Frustrated and angry I have decided to go home and walk the Franklintown loop 5 minutes from our house in Leakin park. I’ve wished that I could have a crystal ball.
This time I figured it’s better to drive in on Eagle drive and park at the beginning of Franklintown loop. Saturdays can be crowded at the main parking lot.
After harnessing Mag and locking the car we head right, following the wooden sign. I have never encountered anyone on this portion of the Leakin trails. Looking forward to solitude for an hour or so.
Last time we walked this path the BGE pipeline project ruined part of it. We have actually got off of it, almost stepping on a yellowish colored snake and barely finding our way back.
Now it’s clearly marked and cleared. We have no problem following the blue paint markings on trees. Even though it touches the pipeline’s clearing, right after the small wooden bridge we turn left and get swallowed by the forest.
Cutting through the woods towards the bike trail, we are entertained by falling leaves and chattering chickadees. There is another sound….Franklintown rd. It’s below us on the right and it provides us with a different rhythm. Morning traffic. It’s a cut through to the city for most people living in the area.
Mag is in hunting mode, pulling me behind him. We have encountered so many deer already, their smell he cannot ignore.
The abandoned looking bicycle trail is on our right now as well, running from the beginning of I70. We hook up to it while looking down from about four story high. It’s gradually winds down like a serpent.
This portion of the bike trail is parallel to the road for less than a mile and gets right next to it after passing the first small metal bridge. There is also a cut through on the left before the bridge if we want peace and quiet.
There is traffic barrier between but I usually speed up to leave the traffic behind us.
Running to leave the busier Franklintown rd. behind us we quickly get to the next bridge.
If we keep right at the end of wooden fence, there is a small shortcut trail instead of using the bike serpentine down the hill. This little path will also take us to the old water wheel. Follow this sign.
We spend a few minutes at the wheel taking pictures and smelling everything. We also walk around the wheel on top of the stone surface. After all the wheel has to offer we get back to the path following the river until the next bridge appears ahead of us. Instead of crossing we head towards the small building and keep to the right with the water.
There are two options of trails to take when we reach yet again another bridge. To the left is Stream trail which will end up where the right trail is going but faster. Stream trail also has a fork in the woods which can be followed to end up at the junction of Wetheredsville and Hutton roads. However we will take the right path onto the bridge and then turn left to also end up just there but walking on paved surface instead of trail material.
You could not guess! Another bridge is just ahead us yet again!
Crossing this one will take us to Wetheredsville rd. aka bike trail. After the bridge there is the wooden passage up to Stream trail through the ridge on the small hill.
Gwynn’s Falls is shimmering across the road in the morning sun.
In about a quarter of a mile we could choose to go up on Hutton rd. towards Carrie Murray Nature Center but we walk right up the hill towards Windsor mill road to make our loop extra long through the end of Wetland trail.
When at Windsor Mill road we hook up to Wetland trail on the left and hike uphill for a bit.
It’s either my age or I am just out of shape. Huffing and puffing. There is a small clearing while crossing Hutton road but we jump back into the woods and on top of the planks of the other side of Wetland trail.
Thankfully Mag caught on a trail of smell and enthusiastically pulls me up the hill. Awesome! Within 5 or so minutes we reach the Nature Center. Take a look at the metal Squirrel and the Praying Mantis giant sculptures while here. There are several trail heads from here as well but we will cross Ridgetop road – leads to buildings – and hop on the Norman Reeves loop across from the parking area.
It only takes us a few minutes to get a view of the grassy field ahead. Walking across it towards the stone labyrinth and the Mansion I catch a deer frozen in time looking at us from the woods. Mag is clueless….
After Mag doing about 53534356227 rolls in the grass in front of the Mansion we get back on track and reach our car before I would grow a beard.
Here is our mapped trail. About 3.8 mile.
I love walking Leakin park. It’s really a nice loop for us on any morning. Hope to see you there!