Hawksbill-Lewis Springs Falls Hike
(Sat); David(240) 938-0375.
This is a great though strenuous spring leg stretcher to celebrate the start of National Park Week. This lollipop-shaped hike showcases both waterfalls and views, two of Shenandoah National Park's natural beauties. We will start our hike at the Upper Hawksbill parking lot and ascend a short distance to lunch upon the Hawksbill summit, the highest point in the Park. Properly fueled and warmed up, we will travel south via the Appalachian Trail to the Big Meadows area, where we will descend steeply down a rugged trail towards Lewis Spring Falls. After some proper Dynamically Lollygagging,™ we will make a switch-backed ascent to meet the Appalachian Trail and retrace our steps. Along the way, we will stop off at the Blackrock overlook for one last vista before returning to the Upper Hawksbill parking lot. The total length of our hike will be around 13 miles with approximately 2500 feet of elevation gain, so this trek is recommended only for experienced hikers in good aerobic condition. For your consideration, some spots may be muddy and slick due to spring runoff.
Park admission is free in honor of National Park Week! Bring plenty of water, lunch/snacks, bug spray, sunscreen and about $16 for transportation and Adventuring trip fee. We will stop at the Sheetz in Warrenton on our way to the trailhead, where you may purchase made-to-order sandwiches for lunch. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot. An optional post-hike dinner meal stop may be made on the return trip to East Falls Church, at the wishes of the hike participants.
Arboretum Azaleas Ramble
(Sun); Philip; Peter Redding(202) 352-4796
(This sturdy perennial on the Adventuring calendar is one major part of the legacy left us by Damon Miller, who passed away in 2018 after decades of active participation and leadership. Accordingly, we will henceforward call this the Damon Miller Memorial Hike. Here is the trip description, based on Damon's own words.)
Cherry blossoms? Schmerry blossoms! The cherry trees get all the hype (and the crowds), but the azaleas at the National Arboretum provide the best underrated springtime display in D.C. as they blanket the hillside of Mount Hamilton at the National Arboretum. Threatened with destruction a few years ago by alleged budget constraints, public outrage and private philanthropy saved the azaleas, and they continue their springtime display. We will take an easy 5-mile hike around the Arboretum, a 446-acre hidden gem in the middle of Northeast D.C. We will visit not only the azaleas but also other seasonal displays (including dogwood, daffodils, magnolias, forsythias, Japanese quince and andromeda, early crabapples, flowering cherries, camellias, redbuds, and arisaemas). For good measure we'll also take in the Asian Gardens, meadows, forested areas and the famous original National Capitol Columns. All this will be followed by a picnic lunch. We'll gather at precisely 9 a.m. (don't forget the usual Metro weekend delays) at the top of the Q Street escalator at Dupont Circle Metro; we'll carpool from there, and should be back by 1:30 or 2 p.m. Those desiring to meet us at the Arboretum should arrive by 9:30 to assure a parking space, as the lot fills quickly, and gather in front of the Visitor Center, near the R Street NE entrance. Bring water, lunch, sunscreen and $5 for trip fee and driver reimbursement. Drivers needed.
(Sat); Jerry C.571-241-3787
This moderate one-way hike of about 8 miles with about 1000 feet of ascent is in Virginia's Thompson Wildlife Management Area on the Appalachian Trail north of Shenandoah Natl. Park. This area has been known for nearly a century as one of the densest concentrations of trilliums (an estimated 27 million!) in the eastern part of the country. Trip fee and transportation (for non-drivers) will be about $10. Pack a lunch and something to drink. This hike requires a car shuttle; those persons who will need a ride and anyone who can drive should inform me when responding. Meet by 8:30 AM near the entrance to the Pentagon Hayes St. Parking Lot which is on the north side of Army Navy Dr. between S. Hayes St. and S. Joyce St. The parking lot is about a 6-minute walk from the Pentagon City Metro station.
Instructions for purchasing the Daily Access Permit. Don't purchase your permit until I confirm on 4/26 that the hike will take place on 4/27 (the weather or the stage of the flowers may cause a date change). Go to this webpage to create your DGIF customer account: https://license.gooutdoorsvirginia.com/Licensing/CustomerLookup.aspx. After creating your account click on "Make a Purchase." Scroll down the page to the category labelled "Special Licenses." Locate "Access Permit - Daily" and click on "Add to Cart." The permit costs $4.00. On the next page click on the "Checkout Now" button near the top of the page. Be sure to fill in the Start Date for the permit (currently 4/27/19), complete the required survey, and then make your payment with a credit card.
Maryland Heights Hike
(Sun); Jeff(301) 775-9660
Maryland Heights is one of Adventuring’s most popular hikes, and it’s no wonder. The hike starts in the picturesque 19th-century town of Harpers Ferry, WV and provides spectacular views all along the way. One high point (pun intended) is the dramatic overlook directly above Harpers Ferry. However, be forewarned that this scenic and historic hike is also physically challenging. But for those able to make the climb, the rewards will be stupendous. After a lovely walk through the Lower Town of Harpers Ferry and then along the Potomac on the C&O Canal, we’ll begin the steep upward trek to the summit, where the remnants of the Civil War Stone Fort await. We’ll then descend to the magnificent Harpers Ferry Overlook. Once we return to Harpers Ferry, we can join in the festivities of the town’s Flip Flop Festival [flipflopfestival.org], which doesn’t refer to footwear but to a new way to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Total length of this strenuous outing should be about 7.5 miles, with 1700 feet of often-steep elevation gain. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, sturdy boots (no flip flops) and about $15 for transportation, admission and trip fees. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station. Those who want to drive directly should be at the shuttle bus waiting area of the Harpers Ferry Visitor’s Center by 10:45.
Spring Social & Potluck - Save the Date
(Sat); Philip Tracy202) 374-3425
Adventuring is celebrating 40 years of providing the LGBTQ+ community and allies of the Greater Washington DC area with opportunities for outdoor recreational activities in a supporting environment. In May 1979, Adventuring organized its first hike. On May 4, we will celebrate this anniversary with a party at home of Philip Tracy (one block away from the Potomac Avenue metro). As an added bonus, if Mother Nature is cooperative, we’ll be having the soiree on the rooftop terrace.
We’ll provide more details closer to the date of the event. For now, just mark it on your calendars so you can participate in what promises to be a grand time.
Dickey Ridge-Snead Farm Hike
(Sun); David(240) 938-0375.
This hike along the Dickey Ridge Trail is a slow uphill climb that follows Skyline Drive as it enters the Shenandoah National Park at Front Royal, VA, providing a unique perspective into the mountain’s mini ecosystems as the trail ascends. Our hike will also include two circuits through remnants of old farming homesteads and mountain life on the Fox Hollow and Snead Farm loops. After catching our breath and obtaining King/Queen of the Mountain status at the the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center overlook, we will retrace our steps down the mountain.
The total length of this strenuous hike will be under 15 miles with approximately 2700 feet of elevation gain. Bring plenty of water, lunch/snacks/victuals, bug spray, sunscreen and about $15 for transportation, park admission, and Adventuring trip fee. We will stop at the Sheetz in Haymarket on our way to the trailhead, where you may purchase made-to-order sandwiches for lunch. Meet at 9 a.m. at the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot.
Bird Knob-Emerald Pond Hike
(Sat); David; Joe(540) 535-5612; (202) 276-5521
Distance: 13.4 miles
Elevation gain: 2500 feet
Difficulty: **Very strenuous**
Located approximately 6 miles east of New Market, VA in the southern section of Virginia's Massanutten Range next to the New Market Gap, this 13-mile loop traverses some of the lesser-used trails in the region. This hike proceeds in a loop with moderate gains in elevation on occasionally steep slopes, offering a panoramic view out to the west over New Market with George Washington National Forest visible in the distance. Emerald Pond is another popular highlight on our itinerary.
Bring water, lunch, bug spray, sturdy footwear, and about $20 for transportation and trip fees. Hiking poles are a good idea to assist with the steep descents over rough and rocky terrain. A post-hike change of shirt is optional but usually recommended for your own comfort. The regular Sheetz stop en route will provide the opportunity to get your lunch and supplies. On the way home, we may stop for dinner. Because of the duration of the hike and its distance from the DC area, it is likely we will return to East Falls Church Metro Station after dark.
Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride Lot
40th Anniversary Hike Weekend
Overnight stay at Big Meadows Lodge.
Adventuring's very first expedition was a hike in May 1979 to Hoover Camp, a rustic fishing retreat built by Herbert Hoover, who donated the land and its cabins to Shenandoah National Park after he left the White House. We have made it our custom to revisit this scenic and historic spot each May. This year's journey will be led by the original trip leader and co-founder of Adventuring, Pete Kostik, who is coming out of retirement for this special weekend. Total length of this moderate round-trip hike is about 8 miles, with an option to stop at 5 miles and be picked up later. The elevation gain is about 800’ for the shorter version, and a few hundred feet more for the longer version.
MAKE YOUR OWN RESERVATIONS NOW for Saturday, May 18th. You are responsible for making your own lodging arrangements. If you need to find a roommate to share in the expense, it is suggested that you use Meetup or the Adventuring Facebook page to reach out to other members as potential roommate. There are only 12 rooms remaining at Big Meadows. There are other rooms available at the Skyland Lodge 10 miles to the north.
Follow this link to check out availability at Big Meadows Lodge or Skyland and to book your reservation: https://gc.synxis.com/?chain=398&template=SHCLT1&Dest=SHENAN&shell=SHECLS3&adult=2&_ga=2.97780767.144701397.1552317052-68589521.1549655077
If you’d prefer to camp, the Big Meadows campground is adjacent to the Lodge and says it has showers. Camping reservations may be available at recreation.gov or 877-444-6777. https://www.goshenandoah.com/lodging/camping
There are also cabins and campsites to rent nearby at Lewis Mountain - 7 miles away.
If both Big Meadows and Skyland are full you could try and find a Bed and Breakfast to stay in Luray. https://www.tripadvisor.com/SmartDeals-g60964-zft9190-Luray_Virginia-Hotel-Deals.html
Bring plenty of beverages, a bag lunch, bug spray and sunscreen. Transportation and trip fees should be under $20. Meet at 9 a.m. in the Kiss & Ride lot at the East Falls Church Metro Station. (Or meet us on Skyline Drive at the Milam Gap parking lot just south of Big Meadows in the 11:30-12:00 timeframe. Come prepared to pay the $2 trip fee to Bill Horten at that time.) We will be celebrating our big milestone up at the Big Meadows Lodge that evening.
The celebration will continue with a toast at the New Market Tap Room in the basement, dinner in the Dining Room and more! Perhaps a second hike on Sunday after breakfast. Stay tuned for more updates but make your lodge reservations now.
The first Adventuring hike to Hoover Camp took place on Sunday, May 7, 1979 and was co-led by trip coordinators Pete Kostik and Warren Potas. The meeting place for the carpooling was the Columbia Island Marina at LBJ Memorial Grove near the Pentagon. The first 10 hikers included Phil Mackall, Christian, John Zirpel, Mickey, Bill Lipset, Jack Engle, Steve Pond, Horst, Amous and Pete Kostik. Gas mileage was estimated at $1.25 per person ($5 per car with 4 persons in each car), $2.00 for mileage, and $0.50 park entrance fee (based on $2.00 per car)
Hiking Picos de Europa Nat. Park in Spain
(Sat-Sat); Joe(202) 276-5521
This 8-day, 7-night trip is a revival of an Adventuring tradition of hosting longer, more ambitious excursions domestically or internationally. The trip features multiple days of hiking Picos de Europa National Park in northern Spain and finishes up with coastal hikes in the area known as Green Spain. All of the accommodations, hiking routes, and luggage transfers between hotels are arranged by a tour operator that specializes in self-guided walking and biking adventures. The tour is listed as $985 per person, including shared accommodations and some meals. Airfare is additional. The hikes range in distance from about 6 to 14 miles and up to about 2000 feet of elevation gain. The length of the longer hikes, the elevation gain, and the overall itinerary of hiking 7 days in a row put this trip in the very strenuous category. Tentative dates are June 29 to July 6 but may be adjusted to fit the schedules of interested hikers. Check out the website for the tour if you want to find out more: https://www.macsadventure.com/us/tour-2377/picos-de-europa-to-the-coast#. I can't do justice to these amazing hikes in this short trip description! Once we have a small group of interested folks who have RSVP'd, we can discuss dates and logistics in greater detail and hopefully have plans finalized by mid-March. RSVPs are requested by February 28.
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!
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.
Buck Ridge-Marys Rock-Buck Hollow Hike (Peter)
We took advantage of the beautiful spring weather in February, ditched our planned hike, and headed straight for Old Rag Mountain — the best hike in the Mid-Atlantic region. Five hikers quickly ascended the mountain to enjoy nearly unimpeded fun (relatively few other hikers) on the Ridge Trail that traverses the boulder field atop Old Rag. It was a perfect day.
Big Schloss - Tibbet Knob Hike (Peter)
Three inches of newly fallen snow made this hike even more interesting and strenuous than usual for our four Adventurers. The total length and elevation gain were 7.7 miles and 1800 feet, but it felt like more. An heirloom watch belonging to one of the hikers was lost, then found but then lost again in snow that was several inches deep in places. The viewpoints at Tibbet Knob and Big Schloss were obscured by thick fog but winter scenery along the trail was beautiful.
Southern Gettysburg Battlefield Hike-NEW DATE (Craig)
What was originally supposed to be a mid-winter hike wound up getting postponed into March, but at least most of the ground was still snow-covered when we finally got there. What's more, temperatures never warmed up as much as predicted and skies stayed distinctly grey and murky as 15 Adventurers soldiered through crucial parts of the Gettysburg Battlefield. Our walk took exactly three hours, about as long as the actual fighting lasted on a hot July day in 1863. Quite a few other people were out touring the area besides ourselves, but Park Rangers were conspicuous by their absence, except in the cozy Visitors Center. Afterwards we divided ourselves for dinner between a couple of pubs downtown, both of which apparently handled our meal orders with grace and efficiency.
Double Bear Rocks Hike (Peter)
Eleven Adventurers set out from Route 211 outside Sperryville, VA on a sunny early spring day to ascend the Blue Ridge via the Pass Mountain Trail. The steady, moderate climb afforded lovely mountain views through the leafless forest. After connecting to the Appalachian Trail, the group proceeded to Double Bear Rocks, a small outcrop with an expansive view west across the Shenandoah Valley to New Market Gap, Massunutten Mountain and Great North Mountain. The 8.9-mile round trip included 1700 feet of elevation gain.
Browns Hollow Circuit Hike (Peter)
Eight hikers started out from the crest of New Market Gap on Virginia Route 211 to traverse a 12-mile circuit hike alongside of and then atop the ridge line of Massanutten Mountain. It was a beautiful sunny day and the trail was quite varied - in a good way. We enjoyed frequent mountain views through the leafless trees and one truly grand view from a rock overlook. One among our number was afflicted with debilitating back pain that struck seemingly out the blue. Accordingly, we walked gingerly down off of the ridge and back to the cars, finishing the hike as planned. Thankfully, our friend felt much better during the ride back home.
Furnace Mtn.-Austin Mtn. Circuit Hike (Peter)
Ten Adventurers crossed Madison Run and ascended to the summit of Furnace Mountain from the base of Shenandoah National Park, as the southern section of Skyline Drive was still closed because of fallen trees. From Furnace Mountain, we continued to Black Rock Summit, and then returned along the Appalachian, Rockytop and Austin Mountain Trails. This turned out to be a great way to do this classic loop, as the heavy-duty climbing came early in the hike. Also, the Furnace Mountain overlook turns out to be an ideal lunch spot. The day was nearly perfect for a long hike with significant elevation gain -- warm and partly sunny but not too hot. After completing the scenic and strenuous circuit hike, we tried out a Thai restaurant in Front Royal that everyone seemed to like.
Twilight Cherry Blossom Stroll (Jeff)
The National Park Service said that this year's peak bloom for the cherry blossoms would be April 1. Although this didn’t turn out to be an April Fool’s prank, Mother Nature decided to play a few tricks of her own. After a gorgeous spring weekend where many of us broke out the T-shirts and shorts, she turned the temperatures way down, so that winter coats were definitely back in fashion. This didn’t affect the blossoms any but did have the fortunate effect of limiting the size of the crowds that usually engulf the Tidal Basin when the blossoms first show their stuff. The 14 Adventurers who braved the cold were rewarded with seeing the blooms in their full glory. We also had two who planned to walk with us but couldn’t find the group, and one who was planning to check it out on his own ended up joining us. It was that sort of night – crazy and magical at the same time.
Calvert Cliffs State Park Hike (Joe)
Under a cloudy sky, 21 Adventurers started out on this hike at Calvert Cliffs State Park under cloudy skies, but at least the weather was rapidly improving. The boardwalk was a delight as we witnessed a vast marshland emerging from its winter sleep. The waterlilies are sprouting. The frogs are croaking. The turtles crowd on fallen logs for the long-awaited spring warmth. Soon, we reached the famous Calvert Cliffs where three intrepid hikers waited no time to take a dunk in the frigid but allegedly refreshing water and could not help thinking the rest looked on with admiration! (They denied it.) Time for lunch and a little fossil hunting. Some hikers found 10-23 million-year-old clamshells and were delighted when the park rangers said they could bring those home. One hiker believed he found a dinosaur vertebra. The group looked on with no little bemusement but, unfortunately, was not qualified to refute the claim.
Back at the parking lot, eight hikers decided to head back home. The rest decided to visit the nearby Flag Ponds Nature Park. This turned out to be a great idea. The hike offers a diversity of landscape from ponds and marshland to deciduous and pine forest. A glimpse of the coastline from the top did nothing to prepare the group for the stunning beach at the end, which appeared decidedly more Floridian. By now, it was hot. It was perfect beach weather. One hiker even swam a hundred feet out to the bay.
After Flag Ponds, four hikers decided to head home. The remaining nine went on to the beautiful Solomons Island for a delicious dinner. The sole blemish was that the ice-cream shop was closed by the time we got there. On the drive home, we watched sunset and reflected on what a gorgeous day it was!
Hawksbill-White Oak-Cedar Run Hike (Peter)
Six Adventurers ignored the forecast of constant rain showers and decided to hike regardless. Fog and drizzle enveloped the Blue Ridge in Shenandoah National Park above the 3,000 foot line. We chose to ditch plans to ascend to the summit of Hawksbill (no view to be had there) and headed down the Cedar Run Trail into the valley below. Once we were down out of the rain and fog, the conditions were surprisingly nice. The numerous waterfalls along Cedar Run and the White Oak Canyon Trail were in full force. The three major stream crossings on our route were made more challenging by high water. Once we got back up above 3,000 feet, it was a return to fog and rain. At the very end, right when we arrived back at our cars, the rain turned into deluge.
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.