Fall Color Hike @ Great Falls (MD)
(Sat); Jeff; Jireh(301) 775-9660; (562) 810-4411
Here’s a chance to work off a few calories before gorging ourselves at the Adventuring Fall Potluck this evening. Also, since Mother Nature was stingy with the colors in our Fall Color hike last week, we’re going to give her another chance to amaze us with autumnal splendor. This popular hike near Great Falls (MD) is a combination of the Billy Goat Trail Section A with its two oft-neglected but lovely cousins, Sections B and C. Each section is approximately 1.5 miles long, and each is of moderate difficulty, with Billy Goat A being the most difficult of the three. The total length of this hike, including the C&O Canal portion from the Carderock Recreational Area, is approximately 11 miles. Expect to see magnificent views of the rushing waters of the Potomac and a waterfall or two. Expect crowds and rock scrambles on Section A and a more relaxed Zen experience on Sections B & C; we’ll do A first to avoid the worst of the crowds. Hikers will have the option of only doing Section A or Sections A and B, but hopefully you’ll decide to do all three. Please meet either at 8:30 a.m. at the Tenleytown Metro near the exit on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue by the Panera, or else at 9:15 a.m. at the third and final parking lot of the Carderock Recreation Area (GPS Coordinates: 38°58'34.5"N 77°12'19.9"W; just cut and past into Google Maps). Bring water, lunch, bug spray, sturdy boots, and $2 for the trip fee, with an additional $2 to reimburse your driver if you’re carpooling from Tenleytown. Unfortunately, Fido is not welcome on this hike under National Park Service rules for Section A.
Fall Color & Winery Hike @ Snickers Gap
(Sun); Craig(202) 462-0535
Today's hike along the Appalachian Trail, at historic Snickers Gap where Route 7 crosses the Blue Ridge near Round Hill, VA, should coincide with near-peak fall colors. Our route will take us up and down the Appalachian Trail on a rough and rocky treadway to the grand Crescent Rocks overlook, where we'll lunch. We'll return via an easy roadwalk along Route 601, including a stop at the charming Twin Oaks Tavern Winery just before we reach our cars at Snickers Gap. Our moderate-to-strenuous circuit hike should total no more than 7 miles with about 1100 feet of cumulative elevation gain, spread over several sections. Bring beverages, lunch, sturdy boots and about $17 for transportation and trip fees. Meet at 8:30 a.m. in the Kiss & Ride lot of the East Falls Church Metro Station (to your right as you walk out of the station).
Powell Mountain-Naked Creek Hike
(Sat); Craig(202) 462-0535
Even though Powell Mountain is just a few miles south of Big Meadows in the heart of Shenandoah National Park, we haven't hiked it in years, if not decades, and we've never been to nearby Naked Creek at all. We'll correct that neglect today. Starting from Skyline Drive, we'll hike down the Powell Mountain Trail to its end at the Park boundary. Then we'll walk up a country road a short distance and re-enter the Park by bushwhacking along whatever's left of the Naked Creek Trail, officially abandoned years ago after it was washed out in a flood. They keep saying the trail is passable up to a small waterfall, so we'll test that hypothesis. Total length of this strenuous round-trip hike will not exceed 10 miles, with an elevation gain of about 2000 feet. Afterwards we'll dine at the Big Meadows Lodge to help mark its final weekend of the season (not to mention the final day of Daylight Savings Time). Bring beverages, lunch, sturdy boots and about $25 for fees, plus dinner money. Meet at 9 this morning in the Kiss & Ride lot of the East Falls Church Metro Station. We'll be back well after dark, but at least everybody gets an extra hour of sleep tonight as we Fall Back.
C&O Canal Hike @ Fort Frederick
(Tue); Craig(202) 462-0535
Observe this Veterans Day by hiking the C&O Canal near one of the oldest military sites in the country, Fort Frederick, a stone fort built near Williamsport, MD in 1756 after Braddock's Defeat near today's Pittsburg got the French & Indian War off to a bad start for the Brits. The fort was largely reconstructed by the CCC from its foundations during the 1930s, complete with 7-foot-thick walls, and is now an official Maryland State Park. The hike, co-sponsored with the Chrysalis Arts & Culture Group, will be an easy circuit of about 7.5 miles, much of it alongside Big Pool, a scenic attraction in its own right. We'll make this a loop hike by returning via the Western Maryland Railway Trail that parallels the Canal. Bring beverages, lunch, and about $12 for transportation and trip fees. We'll carpool at 9 a.m. from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station, where parking will be free all day because of the holiday.
Team DC Promotes LGBT Sports in DC Area
Team DC is a charitable organization providing information on the many LGBT sports and recreation groups in the Washington DC area, educating the LGBT community on the benefits of individual and team sports participation, and working within the broader community to dispel discrimination against LGBT people participating in sports. You can subscribe to their Sportsgram or find out more about LGBT sports and recreation in the DC area by visiting the Team DC website: teamdc.org
Pick the Place—Set the Pace—Be the Face
Have you ever wanted to be the one who decides where Adventuring goes? Have you ever thought, “I would like to set the pace?” Have you thought, “More people like me should be on this trip.” Become a Trip Leader, and you can pick the place, set the pace AND be the new face of Adventuring!
Adventuring’s volunteer Trip Leaders hone leadership skills while having fun with friends. Trip Leaders share practical tips with each other while serving Adventuring’s unique mission—opening up the Great Outdoors to the LGBT community!
Becoming a Trip Leader is easy and free. Contact the Program Coordinator in your area of interest listed at http://www.adventuring.org/about.htm , or simply contact Keith Bennett at email@example.com. You can also contact any one on our Operations Committee listed at http://www.adventuring.org/about.htm.
Adventuring will pair you with a current Trip Leader with similar interests, and the two of you will plan and conduct your first Adventure together. Once you are comfortable with the process—then you get to pick the place, set the pace and be the new face of Adventuring!
Oct. 25 - Fall Potluck Social
It's our social event of the fall, and you're invited! Come to Adventuring's Fall Potluck & Social and reminisce over a year of hiking, riding and splashing together.
This fall, Peter and Carlos are hosting on Capitol Hill. The event begins at 7:00 PM and is accessible by metro (Capitol South), bus, bike, or car (though we recommend metro). WE WILL SEND OUT THE ADDRESS TO THOSE WHO RSVPED FOR THE SOCIAL ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23.
Bring a dish to share with four fellow Adventurers. Beverages will be provided. Dish assignments based on surnames appear below.
* A through E: Main Course
* F through J: Desserts
* K through P: Salads
* Q through Z: Hors d'Oeuvres or Snacks
This is a free event (...as long as you bring your dish assignment), and guests are welcome. Please RSVP via MeetUp.com, or email Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can't make it, thank you for making this a great summer for Adventuring; and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
Overall Run Hike & Splash (Craig)
Even by Adventuring's lofty standards, this outing was a bear: 12 miles and 2600 feet of elevation gain spread over 7 hours on the trails. Yet somehow our select corps of eight managed to survive this Homeric odyssey more or less physically intact and perhaps even spiritually enhanced. Our one disappointment was our lunchtime view of Overall Run Falls, where the word "trickle" would be far too dignified a term to describe the few dewy drops that occasionally condescended to slouch down a very indifferent precipice. But at least the paucity of moisture made our various crossings of Overall Run blessedly less than interesting. Somehow there was still enough water in Paradise Pools to gratify those in our party who jumped in. We were all surprised by the number of others who joined us in enjoying the charms of Paradise Pools; if access from the bottom of the Blue Ridge is now technically illegal, it is a ban more honored in the breach than in the observance. We wisely decided not to retrace our steps back up the very steep trail next to Overall Run but instead chose to take the longer but more gradual circuit route via Beecher Ridge. Along the way back we spotted two bear, both adolescents, paying us no heed. Our final leg was conducted in the midst of a very kind mist that made the top of the Blue Ridge both cool and mysterious.
Wilson Bridge & Capital Wheel Hike (Craig)
With temperatures well into the 90s, this was probably the most summery weather we've had during these annual excursions across the Potomac. Perhaps not coincidentally, our turnout of 18 was somewhat below our usual Labor Day numbers. But our journey was unusual in several respects, starting with our visit to the very impressive and moving memorial at the Freedmen's Cemetery, where the dramatic fluidity of the central sculpture evoked Rodin. After a leisurely lunch at Jones Point Park and our stroll across the Wilson Bridge, we reached National Harbor and promptly adjourned to cool off inside Potbelly's. Most of our party begged off riding the 16-story-high Capital Wheel, citing the heat; yet the line was short, the cabs were comfortable and air-conditioned, and the views were fine (if sometimes disorienting) during the half-dozen revolutions we made over a 15-minute stretch. Try it next year, folks!
Antietam Battlefield Walking Tour (Craig)
A delightful company of 11 endured a brutally hot day of hiking mostly out in the open on what might have been the last truly summery day of the season. The strangest sight we witnessed as we hiked around the Cornfield was a man with an ungodly contraption towering above his back that looked like something from a sci-fi film. He told us he's filming Antietam's trails for Google Streetview, which is encouraging news on several fronts. After lunch in whatever shade we could conjure up behind Dunker Church, we drove to the Bloody Lane for a short stroll. Then we rode down to the picturesque Burnside Bridge, where an ill-timed shower discouraged any further serious hiking. We attempted to help one man who had locked himself out of his car and hoped we succeeded, little thanks to the Park Service, though. We ended with a long wait for ice cream at Nutters in Sharpsburg, but the yummy quality, generous scoops and incredibly low prices ($2.12 for two big scoops!) made it all worthwhile.
Cedar Run-Whiteoak Canyon Loop Hike (Jeff; Jay)
Nine bold Adventurers showed up for this strenuous hike, and we all finished strong in spite of the miles and 2200 feet of elevation gain. We set a good pace on our descent, and stopped about an hour or so in for lunch at one of the many small, enchanting waterfalls along Cedar Run. We then continued over to the big waterfalls near the base of Whiteoak Canyon. There, we switched into our swimming suits and jumped in for an hour-long soak in the pools, while we watched others rappel down the falls. The climb back out was steep and steady, and we made it back to the trailhead at approximately 6 p.m., tired but still going strong. Four Adventurers stopped off for a meal and blackberry ice cream at Big Meadows, while the others started the journey home. Thanks everyone for a great trip! Hope to see you all again soon on another hike.
Bull Run Mountain Hike (Jeff)
Mother Nature was up to her old tricks. When six Adventurers embarked on their hike to the White Rocks Overlook on Bull Run Mountain, the forecast was for intermittent showers. Those showers became much more than merely intermittent as we trudged our way up, but the steady rain didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for the 18th-century gravestones, the 19th-century ruins of a once-prosperous mill, and the spectacular rock outcroppings we encountered on the way. When we reached the summit, the clouds obscured the spectacular vistas, instead transporting us to the misty realms of Middle Earth (glorious in itself, but also providing an incentive to return to the mountain when weather conditions are more favorable). When we ended the hike and got back to our cars, that's when Mother Nature decided to reveal the sun, and it remained sunny the rest of the afternoon. As those of a certain age will remember from an old TV commercial: “It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature.”
Catoctin Mountain Hike (Jeff)
A glorious fall day. Two parks with spectacular views. And a delightfully fun group of 10 Adventurers. The Presidential retreat, Camp David, is located in the Catoctin Mountain Park and when we learned on Friday that President Obama was planning one of his infrequent weekend retreats at Camp David, we knew that part of the park would be off-limits. However, Catoctin and the neighboring Cunningham Falls State Park are so full wonders that we had more than enough to keep us happily exploring. Our first stop was the Cunningham Falls, which was a bit of a disappointment because there hasn’t been enough rain to replenish the falls. But from then on, it was one glorious high point after another: Thurmont Vista, Wolf Rock and the always-spectacular Chimney Rock. After Chimney Rock, half of the group decided it was time to go home, but the other half returned to the Cunningham Falls State Park to go up, up, up to the top of Cat Rock. After a day of scaling the heights, all 10 of us returned home somewhat exhausted and probably enjoyed a restful night of sleep.
Little Devils Stairs Hike (Jeff)
You know, there’s a reason why they call it Little DEVILS Stairs. At first, the ascent is gradual. Then it gets steeper. Then it gets steeper still. All that would be strenuous enough, but this demonic journey also provides rocks to climb and multiple streams to cross. Add it all together and you have one hell of a hike. But 16 Adventurers literally rose to the challenge as, after no little huffing and puffing, we made our way to the top of the devilish canyon. From there, our day was much more leisurely: A little hill here, a little hill there, with barely a rock in sight. Once our odyssey was concluded, most of us made our way to an Adventuring favorite, the strangely-named Pickle Bob’s, where we indulged ourselves with ice cream, shakes, and (for our one lactose-intolerant hiker) beef jerky from the satellite Sheetz.
Cape Henlopen Camping & Hiking Trip (Brett F or Jay D.)
The rains began at 5 pm Friday, just as our five Adventurers were arriving at the campsite. Fortunately our chef and resident Macgyver John C. had strung up a tarp, a blue millimeter-thick piece of plastic which saved our a**es and kept the dining hall (almost) completely dry during our stay. We begged John to cook under the tarp with one of the 3 camp stoves at hand, but he cried “Mais Non!! We have a fire ring and we will use it!” So, even while rain and smoke did their best to defeat him, he proceeded to cook two delicious breakfasts and an amazing dinner on the open fire as advertised. Despite Saturday’s rains, we were able to pull off two great hikes. The first, before lunch, was a trip to the historic Ft. Miles area where the Observation Tower, 1940’s cannons, and the (open) barracks were big hits. After lunch the hardiest of us donned raingear and set out on our loop hike, which included a visit to a Native American midden, the amazing new boardwalk through the bogs and dunes comprising the heart of the Park, and the Gordon’s Pond Trail, where we were captivated by a group of at least a dozen great egrets whose bright white plumage was perfect for the “film noir” ouvre of the day. We returned to camp via a beach walk, a full mile of walking directly into a 30 mph north wind, easily the windiest walk this trip leader has ever done in 12 years with Adventuring. The rain ended overnight; those who stayed for the Sunday activities enjoyed a trip to the Seaside Nature Center, where you could touch a live hermit crab and see sand sharks, and a gloriously sunny hike along Delaware Bay with stunning views of Lewes Harbor and the northern dunes. Even in the gloomy weather Cape Henlopen shined, and everyone agreed that that Adventuring should visit this spot much more often.
Southern Rock Creek Hike (Damon)
An astounding 16 intrepid hikers (and one enthusiastic pooch) showed up in gloomy, overcast weather for our annual Columbus Day hike around lower Rock Creek Park. By rescheduling to the afternoon we managed to miss the rain and finished just before the fog rolled in. But spirits were warmed by good conversation and by the trip leader's occasional quotations from the newly-published "History of Rock Creek Park" by park ranger Scott Einberger, including stories of high-level skinny-dipping during the Teddy Roosevelt administration and other interesting bits of park history. Afterward, a few of us repaired to Firehook Bakery for coffee and further socializing. A good time was had by all despite the weather.
Fall Color Hike @ Maryland Heights (Jeff)
Mother Nature was stingy with her colors for this Fall Color hike, with the only spectacularly colorful tree residing in the Visitors Center parking lot rather than on the trail. However, Maryland Heights and Harpers Ferry provide their own stunning wonders, so the delay of autumnal splendor was only slightly missed. Sixteen Adventurers trekked up steep Maryland Heights, most of us making it to the Stone Fort on the top and all indulging in the famous overlook with its one-of-a-kind view of the convergence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers with scenic Harpers Ferry in between. At the Overlook, we also ran into two would-be Adventurers who were planning to join our hike but who got lost on their way to the Harpers Ferry Visitors Center. With those two now added to our group, we made our way down the mountain. Most of our party left for home upon descent, but five of us managed to find a delightful café in a Harpers Ferry B&B where we feasted on pumpkin pie, cider and other seasonal treats.
Fall Color Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park (Craig)
Six Adventurers joined a throng of others jamming Sky Meadows State Park on an all-but-perfect fall day, with wall-to-wall sunshine and unlimited viewing conditions; we could even see the spires of Tysons Corner. Leaf colors were a bit short of peak, but at least most of the leaves were still on the trees and not on the ground. We took the longer but less steep South Ridge Trail to access the Appalachian Trail along the crest of the Blue Ridge, where we lunched while warding off the excessive affections of several pooches traveling with another group. We then took the so-called Old Trail (the path of the AT until it was rerouted some years back) down off the ridgeline through a heavily wooded area until it reconnected with the current AT in a couple of miles. Most of our return leg was out in the open, where we could enjoy the sweeping vistas despite the blustery winds. Once we were finished, most of us took a very interesting tour of the Park's historic Mount Bleak House, dating back to the mid-19th Century. Our only regrets were that more Adventurers weren't able to savor the day's splendor with us and that we would not to be able to stay in the Park at night to gape at the unlimited canopy of stars overhead.
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