Signal Knob Hike
(Sat); Devon(202) 368-3379
The Signal Knob Loop is a steep and strenuous 10.2-mile hike with 2400 feet of elevation gain at the northern end of Massanutten Mountain near Strasburg, VA. We'll enjoy outstanding views of Fort Valley, Shenandoah Valley and Great North Mountain as we proceed to the site of an important Union and Confederate signal outpost during the Civil War. The loop is composed of four trails: Signal Knob Trail (yellow blaze), Massanutten Mountain West Trail (orange blaze), Bear Wallow Trail (blue blaze) and the Bear Wallow Spur Trail (white blaze). Now the warning: PLEASE DON’T SIGN UP FOR THIS HIKE UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN HIKING A LOT RECENTLY. This is not a beginner's hike, nor is it suitable for dogs. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, bug spray and sturdy boots. Remember our traditional Adventuring mantra: Massanutten Mountain In March Means Mud. Costs should be around $22 ($2 for Adventuring and the rest to reimburse your driver). Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the East Falls Church Kiss & Ride lot (to your right as you exit the station).
Northern Rock Creek Hike
(Sun); Brett; Virginia(703) 914-1439; (512) 644-5221
Celebrate the impending end of our endless winter with this close-in loop hike, featuring both natural and man-made attractions in Rock Creek Park, one of the oldest National Parks in the entire country, dating back to the 1890s. Starting at the Silver Spring Metro station, we’ll first dodge some city traffic in order to take a peek at D.C’s historic Northern Cornerstone; a mini-bushwhack from that spot takes us into the Park proper. We will lunch creekside in the lovely Rapids Bridge area; afterwards, we’ll inspect the fish ladder at Milkhouse Ford. Total length of this moderate circuit hike is about 7 miles, with several climbs of 100’ or more. Meet at 9 a.m. inside the Silver Spring Metro station next to the station attendant's kiosk. We should be back at the Metro by 2:30. Bring water, a bag lunch, bug spray and our $2 trip fee.
Billy Goat Trails Hike
(Sun); Jeff(301) 775-9660
On March 8, Adventurers experienced the spectacular views of Great Falls from the Virginia side. Now with the official coming of spring (finally!), we’ll enjoy equally glorious vistas with our hiking boots firmly rooted in Maryland. This popular hike 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 12 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. Fido is not welcome on this hike under National Park Service rules for Section A. For those interested in celebrating the coming of spring in a more relaxed fashion, there will be an optional post-hike visit to the Old Angler’s Beer Garden for pub food and a variety of liquid refreshments.
Battle of Spotsylvania (VA) Walking Tour
(Sun); Craig(202) 462-0535
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, fought in May 1864 a few miles southwest of Fredericksburg, VA, was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. Here the irresistible force of Ulysses S. Grant's mighty Army of the Potomac struggled for nearly two weeks against the immovable object that was Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, resulting in an horrific stalemate. This easy-to-moderate walking tour, co-sponsored with the Chrysalis Arts & Culture Group, will cover 7 miles of trails over mostly level ground. We will hit most of the major highlights of this sprawling engagement, including the incredible Bloody Angle, where major elements of the two armies were locked in hand-to-hand combat for nearly 24 hours in a very small space during a driving rain. Bring beverages, a picnic lunch, bug spray and about $10 for transportation and trip fees. We'll carpool at 9 a.m. from the King Street Metro Station in Alexandria. We should be back by dinnertime.
Blackberry Ice Cream Hike: The Prequel
(Sat); Jeff(301) 775-9660
Normally we have our Blackberry Ice Cream hikes at the highest elevations of Shenandoah National Park to cool off during the unbearable heat of the summer. However, this spring version is by special request. Sarah Kumpf, our correspondent from Germany and fellow Adventurer, is returning to Deutschland in April and would like to hike with us one last time (as well as savor the sinful joys of Shenandoah’s famous blackberry ice cream). So if you want to bid Sarah auf wiedersehen (or even if you don’t know Sarah and just want to do a great hike with lots of fantastic vistas), come join us for a moderate round-trip trek of about 8.5 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain on the Appalachian Trail in northern Shenandoah. We'll start at Jewell Hollow Overlook on Skyline Drive and head up to the majestic overlook on Stony Man Summit, the second highest point in the entire Park at an elevation of just over 4,000 feet. After we retrace our steps to Jewell Hollow Overlook, we'll stop for dinner and that yummy blackberry ice cream at the Park's nearby Skyland Resort. Bring water, a bag lunch, bug spray, sunscreen, and about $20 for transportation, admission to the Park and trip fees (plus whatever you'd care to spend at Skyland). Meet at 9 a.m. in the Kiss & Ride lot at East Falls Church Metro.
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!
March 15 Brunch@Freddie's+Walking Tour
And now for something completely different - Adventuring is having a brunch event combined with our most urban hike - ever! You are invited to come to one or both of these events.
First the Brunch
We plan to gather from 11am to 1 p.m. at Freddie's Beach Bar & Restaurant, 555 23rd St. South, Arlington 22202. Map (http://www.freddiesbeachbar.com/map_directions.htm). Freddie’s has graciously reserved one side of the patio for Adventuring. When you arrive, simply ask to be directed to the Adventuring delegation. Adventuring event leader TJ Flavell will be glad to introduce you to others. No reservation required, but an RSVP is appreciated however so that he can give Freddie's a headcount.
Then the Walking Tour
Beginning at 1 p.m. (sharp) at Freddie's, TJ will lead a 3-mile low-impact scenic walking tour of the Crystal City Underground followed by a stroll to Pentagon City, where you may go shopping on your own or readily board Metro. For those of you who drove to Freddie's, the walking tour will officially conclude at Freddie's around 2:45 p.m., after a stroll past Virginia Highlands Park. There will be no trip fees for this walking tour.
Brunch and Walking Tour Leader: TJ Flavell
Phone: (202) 642-4072
What to Wear: Footwear ideal for Walking, sunglasses
Other things to Bring: Water bottle, camera to share tour photos on social media
Freddie’s is Metro-accessible. Crystal City Metro is the closest Metro stop. When you arrive and exit the fare card reader, go up the first escalator and enter the glass doors on your left. Follow the signs and walk through the underground shops to 23rd St, turn right and cross Eads and walk about a block up. Freddie's is on the right. Look for rainbow flags.
The Other Washington Monument Hike (Devon)
On a very cold Saturday morning nine Adventurers set out on the Appalachian Trail to enjoy a great but quick hike to the "other" Washington Monument overlooking Boonsboro, MD, completed 60 years before that overgrown obelisk on the Mall. As we hiked along the AT, we encountered other hikers and backpackers on the snow-covered trail. There is something to be said about hiking in the snow where the temperature and conditions are just right; the combination of very little ice and not a lot of snow on the trail makes for an enjoyable winter hike. Once we got to the Monument, we took pictures, ate lunch, and learned about the history of the Monument. Then as quickly as we arrived, we got back on the trail and were back to our cars before we knew it. It was a good, roughly 6.5-mile round trip.
Greenbelt Park Hike (David)
15 Adventurers and one convivial canine enjoyed a very brief respite from January’s historically cold polar vortex on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. After gathering at the College Park Metro, we transported ourselves to Greenbelt Park’s secret bat cave entrance, where we started our 5.5-mile hike around the Park’s perimeter trail. Despite being a warm and sunny 50-degree day, we encountered surprisingly few other hikers. We first hiked gently upwards to the Park’s official entrance. Nearby we came upon the Sweetgum Picnic Area, where we took our lunch break and soaked up the sun’s rays at the picnic tables, thereby breaking an Adventuring maxim to ‘never lunch anyplace where you could drive to.' Only halfway through our hike, we needed an extra motivational boost to leave the sunny warmth of the picnic tables as we practiced Dynamically Lollygagging (TM). After posing for our group picture, we set off to circle the remainder of the Park as we headed back towards our cars. Regrettably, we realized this kinder and gentler weather was about to be summarily evicted; a snowstorm was in the forecast for the next day, and bitter cold would be our fate after that. We left the Park with Old Man Winter chomping at our heels so we could stock up on toilet paper, milk, shovels, and ice melt, as all good Washingtonians are wont to do under wintry duress.
Buck Ridge-Marys Rock Hike (Rescheduled) (David)
Four otherwise-sane Adventurers escaped DC to visit extremely picturesque Shenandoah National Park in the very dead of winter. Because of the snow and ice, Skyline Drive was closed. Therefore, we planned to make our way into SNP from the outside. Throwing caution to the wind with enthusiastic chants in the car of “Let’s hike [Marys Rock] as advertised!”, we opted for the challenge. Having barely begun our trek, we quickly arrived at the Thornton River, donned in a deceptively attractive winter coating of snow and ice. Great Hiking Guru Craig had warned that this crossing might be tricky, and his words proved prophetic. A bridge of ice had formed across the rocks here, making our prospects for a dry crossing rather dodgy. Although the river nearly swallowed up our trip leader in the process, we managed to get safely across and headed upwards (a huge understatement) on the steep Buck Ridge Trail towards Skyline Drive. Foot-deep snow drifts made for slow going as we broke trail, i.e., no footprints had been made ahead of us in the snow on the trail.
We arrived at the Meadow Spring parking area on Skyline Drive and declared it a lunch spot, happy to have reached flat ground. Unfortunately, the trip leader neglected to arrange for a hot chocolate truck to rendezvous with us there in time. After a extremely rapid lunch break, we ascended via the southern Marys Rock trail and joined the Appalachian Trail on the crest of the Blue Ridge. Various bird calls echoed loudly through the empty forest. Going uphill again, we were warmed by our exertions, even as the temperature and wind chill plummeted.
After more than four hours of climbing, we arrived at our scenic reward, Marys Rock, under a beautifully mottled sky of blue, grey, white and purple. Looking down upon the mountain we had just conquered, we celebrated with other hikers who had crawled their way to the top and took photos of the snowy valleys and mountains.
On the seemingly-rapid way down from the top, we encountered beautiful ice sculptures along the river and at our few stream crossings, each a unique challenge in itself with small and large stones and deceptive mounds of snow and ice posing as rocks. The water beneath our feet was moving quickly, and the rocks were covered with a layer of ice and snow. Luckily, the crossings were not as tricky as they appeared; inasmuch as we were now experts in the arts & sciences of stream crossings, we suffered no further indignities of free baths. The sun was in its final stages of setting as we reached the end of our journey. After a quick refueling snack, we kept with our post-hike tradition and we dined at the Northside 29 Restaurant in New Baltimore to replace the approximately 3000 calories we had expended.
Wilderness Battlefield Hike (New Date) (Craig)
Nine Adventurers (including several longtime MIAs) and one sometimes-reluctant pooch took advantage of a delightful February thaw to tramp through the Wilderness Battlefield 15 miles west of Fredericksburg, VA. We began with a battleground background briefing at the Wilderness Sheetz at the historic intersection of the Germanna Ford Road (today's Route 3) with the Orange Turnpike (now Route 20); Union Army Commander Ulysses S. Grant used this critical area as his HQS, even though there was neither Sheetz nor Walmart there at the time. We began the hike at Saunders Field, where hostilities commenced in the early afternoon of May 5, 1864. After admiring the remaining Confederate trenches overlooking the field, we strolled a short distance to the official picnic area for lunch. Nearby we admired a scenic frozen pond, apparently made possible by the work of eager dam-building beavers along a tributary of Wilderness Run. We walked up the hill that once was the Higgerson farm, where a rising Rebel general brilliantly maneuvered his troops to prevent a Yankee breakthrough. After a couple more miles of strolling along the Park Service's Hill-Ewell Drive, we went to the site of the Chewning Farm; here a Yankee general blew his opportunity to strike a decisive blow against a Southern onslaught. Soon we were on the fields of the Widder Tapp, where Rebel reinforcements under James Longstreet arrived in the nick of time to save his colleague A. P. Hill's bacon on the morning of May 6. We wound up at the intersection of the Brock Road and the Orange Plank Road, a sobering spot where thousands died on both sides (including Yankee General Alexander Hays, the hard-drinking, lieutenant-kissing general of song & story) in a series of futile but bloody attacks and counterattacks. Many wounded soldiers perished here because of the uncontrollable fires that raged through the tangled dense woods.
Black Hills Regional Park (MD) Hike (Jeff)
The Black Hills Regional Park has a way of playing tricks on us. Last fall, there was a promise that hundreds of Monarch Butterflies would swarm through the Park, but very few decided to show up. This time, there were widespread predictions of snowfall, but you had to squint hard to see the few flakes that materialized, and even those only appeared near the very end of our jaunt. Nevertheless 10 human(and 1 canine) Adventurers explored the many facets of the park on a delightful winter morning. Highlights included the partially frozen Little Seneca Lake, which one of our group adventurously (or foolishly) attempted to walk on, despite the numerous unsubtle "Ice Never Safe" signs. Being Winter Olympics season, the gold medal for hiking endurance definitely went to our canine companion who, with her constant running to and fro, probably ended up hiking twice as far as we did (yet never appeared breathless). After a bracing hike in the winter chill, six of our number retired to the nearby Woodside Diner for a warm and hearty lunch.
Ice Hike (Devon)
Four Adventurers started the born-again Ice Hike on a cold Sunday morning in Shenandoah National Park, shrugging off forecasts of more snow. Although it had warmed up somewhat from previous weeks, we still saw plenty of ice and snow, and few other hikers on the trails. As we ascended the White Oak Canyon trail up to the base falls and onward to the upper falls, we encountered beautiful ice formations, partially frozen falls, and a little bit of snowfall. The view from the top of the uppermost falls was just amazing. As we progressed across the fire road towards Skyline Drive, our original goal was to get all the way to Hawksbill, the highest point in the Park. However, Mother Nature made us reconsider our plans, because we were losing light fast and there would not be enough time for us to get back to our starting point before sunset. Instead, we headed down the very icy and rocky Cedar Run Trail alongside the partially frozen stream. We finally got back to our parking area just as the sun was starting to set. Although we definitely took longer then anticipated, the views and experiences we enjoyed were definitely worth the extra time.
Rock Creek Hike: Dupont to Silver Spring (Devon)
On a beautiful Saturday morning nine Adventurers set out on a winter hike through Rock Creek Park. This was a day unlike most other February days, considering the amount of snow and how cold it had been for the past several weeks, and we took full advantage of today's sunshine and warmer temperatures. We encountered joggers, hikers, and trail runners. We hiked through urban areas at the beginning in Dupont Circle and at the end in Silver Spring; otherwise, we endured lots of ice, snow, and mud in the wilds of Rock Creek Park. It truly was a great adventure, although a little too muddy at times, but great conversations were had and new friendships were formed. Oh, did I mention that we came upon a gnomes' little home in a tree? You just had to be there!
C&O Canal @ Seneca Quarries Hike (Craig)
Ten Adventurers enjoyed a gorgeous late winter day with wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures around 60 degrees. The scenery was spectacular, as we often were walking right next to the raging Potomac (swollen by a rapid snowmelt) on one side and the Canal and dramatic cliffs on the other. Our boots paid the price for all this splendor, though, as the Canal towpath was uncommonly muddy. (One advantage of hiking in colder temperatures is that it's much easier to hike on frozen ground than through the kind of muck we endured today.) After a long, languid and Dynamically Lollygagging (TM) lunch at the mouth of Seneca Creek, we crossed the creek to the very interesting ruins of the Stone Cutting Mill that shaped the Red Seneca Sandstone used to build the Smithsonian Castle, Renwick Gallery and other public buildings in mid-19th Century Washington; we couldn't really see the nearby quarries themselves, however. We finished precisely at 3 p.m., right on schedule, leaving us plenty of time to get home at a leisurely pace to gird our loins for the next Polar Vortex.
Catoctin Mountain Hike (Devon)
Five Adventurers braved the cold, snow, and ice of Catoctin Mountain on a freezing winter day more suitable for January than March. Early on we stopped by to see the waterfalls at Cunningham Falls State Park, and they did not disappoint. There is just something so magical about frozen waterfalls. We then hiked up to the Hog Rock overlook, which because of the leafless trees and clear day we enjoyed one of the best views from that spot that I have ever encountered. Next we hiked to the service road (we were off of the trail and had to blaze our own path for a ways) and headed to the Blue Ridge Vista overlook, which was just beautiful. As we tried to hike towards Thurmont Vista, we encountered even more frozen snow and ice, and we were all slipping and falling. Since I was the only one in our party with traction gear, we all agreed that we should cut the hike short for safety reasons and walk back to the Visitor Center via the road. We still did an admirable 5 miles, which was great considering the wintry conditions we encountered. This was truly a good workout on a good day to hike.
Great Falls-Difficult Run Hike(Rescheduled) (Devon )
After being more than a little ornery and uncooperative for most of this endless winter, the Weather Gods looked down upon us benevolently again today and gave us an amazingly beautiful day. We did come across some leftover ice and snow, which required us to take our time. We also had mud and lots of it. Even our resident canine had to watch out while marching down the trail alongside Difficult Run. The views along the ridge overlooking Mather Gorge below Great Falls were just breath-taking. We also encountered other hikers, trail runners, and many families with their pets and kids. The three different views of the Falls at the end of our journey did not disappoint.
ADVENTURING COMMITTEE CONTACTS
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call them if you have any ideas, questions about our
events, hikes, rides and splashes, or if you want to
volunteer your skills.