Soldiers Delight Hike & A Wine Tasting
(Sat); Harris(443) 415-7856
Soldiers Delight Natural Environmental Area (http://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/NaturalAreas/Central/Soldiers-Delight.aspxis ), the largest preserved serpentine environment on the East Coast, is conveniently located in Owings Mills just northwest of Baltimore. The unique chemistry of its rocks and soil (high in magnesium and iron and very low in nutrients) makes the region inhospitable to most plants; as a result, a dozen or so rare species can be found here. The hike is an easy 5.4 mile circuit with less than 500 feet of elevation gain, and includes one stream crossing. With a little luck, our hike will coincide with the flowering of the lovely but endangered fringed gentian. We should be off the trail by about noon, whereupon we will carpool to the Old Westminster Winery and Vineyard. This winery has been tested by the trip leader’s best wino friends who have called their wines “simply mahvelous!” NOTE: This trip is limited to ten participants, so please intend to attend if you sign up. If your plans must change, make sure to update your RSVP promptly so others may take your spot.
We meet at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station at 8:30 a.m. and carpool to the park. Note the early time. Carpool and trip fees should be about $12. Because of the one small stream crossing, hiking boots are recommended. Also bring bug spray, a liter or two of water, snacks and a picnic lunch to eat at the winery. A leashed dog is OK, but ONLY on the hike. Fido is not welcome at the winery. Tasting flights feature five seasonal wines and cost $10. If you plan to drive to the trailhead, please contact the trip leader for the exact location.
Rose River Hike @ Graves Mountain Lodge
(Sun); Bill(443) 244-5495
This moderate hike along the Rose River Fire Road will begin by walking into Shenandoah National Park from the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We will explore the route of the Gordonsville-New Market Turnpike, completed in 1853 by the Blue Ridge Turnpike Company. This winding historic road, lined with fall foliage hopefully near its peak, follows the Rose River, with beautiful sections of falls and rapids. Dogs are very welcome, but a leash is required inside the Park.
We will park at the gorgeously situated Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, VA around noon and first grab a quick lunch at their Apple Harvest Festival. Then we will shuttle a few cars three miles down the road to the entrance to the Rose River Fire Road. We will stroll along this gently sloping road for as long as we want, as long as we return to Graves Mountain Lodge by 4:30 p.m. Everyone should bring beverages, lunch (or buy one at the Apple Harvest Festival), bug spray and about $15 for transportation and trip fees.
For those who wish, please stay and join me for their famous Sunday buffet dinner with fried chicken and country ham inside the Lodge; bring an additional $21.95 for this feast. While waiting for dinner to be served at 6 p.m., we can visit their orchard (bring home some fresh-picked fruit), warm up by the fire inside the Lodge, play with your dog out on the acres of grassy fields (the Lodge is dog-friendly), buy some old-fashioned homemade preserves at the Gift Shop or relax sitting on their porch with spectacular mountain views. Come and see nature’s way of blanketing the mountains with stunning color during October. You will feel like you are eating at Grandma’s house.
PLEASE NOTE: Those who plan to stay for the buffet dinner need to RSVP ASAP and answer the questions about the dinner included when you RSVP. http://www.gravesmountain.com/
Trayfoot Mountain-Paine Run Circuit Hike
(Sat); Harris(443) 415-7856
This is a demanding hike in the beautiful southern reaches of Shenandoah National Park. We stand a good chance of seeing a magnificent fall color display, so we’ll avoid the parking lot sometimes known as Skyline Drive entirely and start this trek at the western foot of the Blue Ridge. First we'll ascend Trayfoot Mountain, a long incline including an almost pure stand of witch hazel and punctuated by some outstanding scenic overlooks, one of which we’ll use as our lunch spot. At the top we’ll reach the spectacular rock outcrop known as Blackrock, where we’ll Lollygag Dynamically™ no little time while inhaling vast panoramas. The top of Blackrock provides a breathtaking 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and is reached with a scramble. After a brief stroll down the Appalachian Trail, most of our descent will be on the Paine Run Trail, which will allow us to ford more than one of its various slippery stream crossings. (Wardrobe hint: Leave a pair of dry socks and street shoes in the car.) Total length of this strenuous circuit hike is just under 10 miles, with 2200 feet of elevation gain. Bring beverages, lunch, sturdy boots, bug spray and about $20 for transportation and trip fees. Also bring money for dinner on the way back; we expect a late return, possibly 10 p.m. or later. Meet at 8:30 a.m. sharp at the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot. NOTE: Because of limited parking, attendance on this trip must be limited to a dozen experienced, aerobically fit hikers.
DC to Baltimore Bike Ride
(Sun); Jerry C.(703) 920-6871
You may already be familiar with this ride, but if you aren't be assured that there really is a decent way to bike from Washington DC to Baltimore without taking your life into your hands. I have led this one-way ride of approximately 50 miles many times now and I continue to enjoy it. The ride's terrain ranges from flat to moderately hilly. Although we will have some traffic to contend with along some portions of our route, many other parts are traffic-free and surprisingly pretty. We'll use the MARC Penn Line's Bike Car to get back to DC.
Click on this link for this ride's cue sheet in PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7zp84bnun6jpmrd/DC_to_Baltimore_6.pdf?dl=0. If you prefer a TCX Course (for Garmin GPS devices) click on this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/cqom1mhsqlg7ztc/DC_to_Baltimore_6.tcx?dl=0. Usually we ride together but I encourage everyone to have a cue sheet or TCX Course so you can find your way on your own if necessary. My average moving speed will be 11 MPH but you can ride faster if you like. Plan on a mid-afternoon lunch in downtown Baltimore followed by a short ride to the train station for our return to DC. Bring a water bottle and a snack (or you can buy a snack at our 7-11 stop around mile 30). As always, trip fee is $2.00. Cost of train ticket for you and your bike to return to DC is $8.00. Meet at 8:30 AM near the Columbia Island Marina building. If you're coming by car the Columbia Island parking lot can only be accessed from the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway. The closest Metro station, Pentagon, is about 1.5 miles away.
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 any one on our Program Coordinators (either Woods Coordinator or Other Coordinator) 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!
New Partnership with REI
Adventuring – LGBT Outdoors Club announced their decision to partner with recreational retailer REI for some joint special activities throughout 2016. Adventuring and REI kicked off their new partnership during the week after Capital Pride 2016 in Washington, DC with two great adventures right here in our Nation’s Capital. The DC BYOBike Tour was held on Wednesday, June 15th and the DC Monuments Sunset Kayak Tour was held on Friday, June 17th. More details and photos can be found on the Adventuring.org website or our Meetup and Facebook pages. Adventuring also held a Summer Happy Hour at the REI Community Space at Wunder Garden on Thursday, August 18th. We look forward to holding more of these co-promoted events in the future.
Adventuring continues it's partnership with the Capital Climbers (LGBT rock climbing group) http://www.capitalclimbers.com/ that began in 2015. One of the highlights of this partnership is the annual Big Meadows/Meteor Shower Weekend held in Shenandoah National Park in early August. The Capital Climbers reserve campground spaces while Adventuring reserves a block of rooms at Big Meadows Lodge which members from each group are welcome to stay at either location. Adventuring plans two days of hiking along the SNP trails while the Capital Climbers set out to scramble the face of Stony Man summit. In the evening they come together at the lodge for drinks at the Tap Room, dinner in the dining room and a late night hike to the meadows to view the annual Perseid meteor shower.
Blackberry Ice Cream Hike & Splash (Craig)
A dozen Adventurers made good time down from our parking lot at the the Hughes River Gap via the Nicholson Hollow Trail to historic Corbin Cabin in ideal, almost autumnal weather. After lunch here, we proceeded further downhill until our advance scouting party discovered a gorgeous swimming hole on the Hughes River, where one of us actually went swimming despite the chilly water temperature. After practicing our Dynamic Lolllygagging (TM) skills here a while, we turned around and soon caught the Corbin Cabin Cutoff Trail to take us up to Skyline Drive, which turned out to be a bit of a slog. When we reached the Drive and the nearby Appalachian Trail, we thought the day's ups-and-downs were over. No such luck, as the AT rose and fell a lot more on its way back to our parking lot than we had expected from the maps. The hike took longer than anticipated, so there was no room for us when we arrived at Skyland at prime dinnertime. But at least we were able to get some blackberry ice cream to go. Most of us then had a delightful dinner at an Irish pub in Warrenton.
Austin/Furnace Mountain Hike-NEW DATE (Peter)
After delaying the hike by one day to avoid all-day rain, seven Adventurers set out on a perfect late summer day to hike one of the loveliest and most scenic trails in Shenandoah National Park. Departing from Browns Gap in the southern section of the Park, our group hiked a short distance on the Appalachian Trail before turning onto the Austin Mountain Trail and the long descent to Madison Run. The many intermittent views afforded by the broken rock slopes along the way did not disappoint. After an easy stream crossing and lunch, we began the long slog up to the viewpoints at Furnace Mountain and Blackrock Summit (among the nicest views in the Park) and then back along the AT to Browns Gap. We hiked a little more than thirteen miles and climbed a total of nearly 2800 feet. After eight hours of hiking, we stopped for dinner at Giovanna's in Madison. We arrived just under the wire, minutes before their kitchen was scheduled to stop taking orders. The food was good, satisfying and cheap. What more can one ask for?
Old Town Alexandria-National Harbor Hike (Craig)
Two dozen Adventurers showed up on a pluperfect Labor Day for a thorough workout, a history lesson or two, and great scenic views. After zig-zagging through Old Town, we arrived for lunch at Jones Point Park precisely at noon. Our subsequent march across the Wilson Bridge was punctuated by a sighting of an eagle overhead on the MD end (not unexpected, since the area is an eagle sanctuary). We landed at National Harbor around 2:30. The water taxi back to Alexandria gave us a wonderful view of the handsome U.S. Coast Guard cutter "Eagle," which had just docked there. I was the only one who stuck around to check out the new MGM Hotel/Casino complex nearby. Much to my surprise, I was favorably impressed. But no Cher sightings, one of the day's few disappointments.
Big Schloss Hike (Peter)
Eleven Adventurers set out for Big Schloss in the George Washington National Forest along the Virginia-West Virginia border on a perfect late summer / early fall day. Our group was remarkably well matched. We stayed together on the trail throughout the entire 13-mile trek, including 2300 feet of climbing. It has been a great summer for Adventuring, with weekend after weekend of Northern California weather -- cool and dry -- in our local mountains. Let's hope that fall will be just as good.
C&O Canal @ Cumberland (MD) Hike (Craig)
Seven Adventurers found their way to the western terminus of the C&O Canal next to the historic railroad station and Canal Visitor Center. Our downstream hike began next to the re-watered Canal basin, where we admired a beautiful Irish Cross honoring the Irish workers who died while helping to construct the Canal. Our hike's highlight was a detour onto a new trail that crossed the Potomac into WV and immediately took us through a re-purposed railroad tunnel that was about a fifth of a mile long. This tunnel was quite intriguing: It was smoothly paved and even lit for much of its length, the exposed rock walls looked like a miniature Luray Caverns complete with incipient stalagmites, and water poured down in several spots both along the walls and upon our heads. It even sported some political slogans to pique the interest of future generations. We lunched at the shortest (and perhaps buggiest) aqueduct on the Canal before returning to our base and dining on seafood at Canal Place.
Whiteoak Canyon-Robertson Mountain Hike (Jackson)
It may have been a repeat, but it was no less successful than before. Despite the formidable difficulty, nine Adventurers completed the entire Whiteoak Canyon—Robertson Mountain hike. Even though challenged with stifling humidity, all of us topped Robertson Mountain the true (i.e., hard) way, earning for ourselves bragging rights of having conquered what is arguably the steepest trail in Shenandoah. We made it back to our cars under rapidly dusking skies, and headed for a much-deserved dinner at the faithful Northside 29, where Fish Reubens awaited.
Signal Knob Hike (Jackson)
On this uncommonly warm September Saturday, five Adventurers set forth to explore Signal Knob, which is ranked fourth on Hiking Upward's top hikes in Virginia. A completely cloudless day—not even a milky sheen of cirrostratus was visible—greeted the Adventurers in the northern end of the Massanutten Range. Despite its fame, Signal Knob was surprisingly devoid of hikers; but truth be told, all regular hikers can perhaps concur that there are many peaks in Virginia that offer better views than Signal Knob. Regardless, it was a nice day well spent.
Neighbor Mountain-Jeremys Run Hike (Jackson)
On a welcomely cool late-September day following two unseasonably warm weeks, four Adventurers found their feet wandering in northern Shenandoah, romping through the famous Jeremys Run trail where countless stream crossings await the adventurous soul. Last year's trek along Jeremys Run reported a tepid flow; this year, Jeremys Run was positively constipated due to the recent dry spell. Nevertheless, emergent fall colors and an unexpected but wondrous view of the valley midway through the hike provided much delight. All four Adventurers blazed through the hike with alacrity, completing the full 14.4 miles (including lunch and breaks) in an exemplary 6 hours.
Weverton Cliffs (MD) Hike (Matt)
Eight Adventurers began our day by taking in some of Gathland State Park's history, including the War Correspondents Memorial Arch, a monument dedicated to journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty. We proceeded through the rocky, wooded trails towards Weverton Cliffs, enjoying the changing foliage and jovial conversations along the way. The group stopped for a lovely picnic on the cliffs overlooking the Potomac before heading back to Gathland.
Strickler Knob-Duncan Knob Circuit Hike (Peter)
Five Adventurers set out on a perfect fall day in the George Washington National Forest. The rocky trail made for a more strenuous hike than the official distance and elevation gain -- 10.2 miles and 2,100 feet -- would indicate. The views, however, were among the best in the region and more than made up for the extra work it took to get to the two major rock outcroppings. Duncan Knob is the more scenic of the two but the route to Strickler Knob features a very fun half-mile rock scramble. It was one of the best hikes of the year and we will definitely be back.
ADVENTURING COMMITTEE CONTACTS
These are the people who are chosen by the Trip
Leaders to make Adventuring's activities tick. Please
call them if you have any ideas, questions about our
events, hikes, rides and splashes, or if you want to
volunteer your skills.