Catoctin Mountain Park Hike
(Sat); Jeff(301) 775-9660
Forests, vistas, rocks, and waterfalls! Join us for a magnificent hike at the beautiful Catoctin Mountain Park, close to Camp David in Thurmont, MD. We were going to do this hike in October but had to change our plans because of the government shutdown. This moderate-to-strenuous 8.4-mile loop, with 1370 feet of elevation gain, includes some great views and attractions, with plenty of rocky hills to develop your hiking legs. Some of the interesting sights we’ll enjoy along the way include Cunningham Falls (highest in Maryland), Hog Rock overlook, Blue Ridge vista, Thurmont vista, the Wolf Rock formation, and Chimney Rock overlook. After working up an appetite (and you will), those interested can join the trip leader for an all-you-can-eat dinner at the wonderfully strange Cozy Restaurant in Thurmont. Bring plenty of layers (forecast is it’s going to be cold Saturday, but you’ll warm up quickly during the ascents), sturdy footwear, water, and lunch; we will make our usual pit-stop at a Sheetz en route. Costs will be about $12 for transportation and trip fees. We will meet at the Grovesnor-Strathmore Metro station at 9 a.m.
Signal Knob Hike (Rescheduled)
(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, sunscreen, bug spray and sturdy boots. Costs should be around $22 ($2 for Adventuring and the rest to reimburse your driver). Optional dinner follows. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the East Falls Church Kiss & Ride lot (to your right as you exit the station).
Caledonia State Park (PA) Hike
(Sat); Devon(202) 368-3379
This hike on South Mountain between Chambersburg and Gettysburg, PA will focus on Caledonia State Park, site of a famous ironworks owned by abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, a hero of last year's acclaimed "Lincoln" movie. We'll first climb Orebank Hill to join the Appalachian Trail and follow it into Michaux State Forest. Soon we'll descend to Hosack Run and Dark Hollow, an intensely dramatic rocky gorge studded with rhododendron and pines. Our return leg features a stop at the Quarry Gap shelters on the AT. Total length of this moderate-to-strenuous, figure-8-shaped hike is 7.6 miles with 820 feet of elevation gain. Bring sturdy boots, beverages, lunch, and about $15 for transportation and trip fees. We'll carpool at 8:30 in the morning from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station.
Adventuring Holiday Party
(Sun); John C & Brett F(703) 914-1439
Come celebrate another fabulous year of hiking, biking, camping, and tubing!
Place: Home of John Cybulski & Brett Ferber
6338 Beryl Road, Alexandria, VA 22312
(corner of Beryl & Sheldon, other side of Sheldon on the left)
Date: Sunday, December 22nd
Time: 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM
Adventuring will provide a holiday ham and all non-food items. Guests are asked to bring a beverage to share plus one of the following: an appetizer, salad, hot dish or dessert.
As is our tradition we will be collecting $5 at the door to support a worthwhile LGBT cause. As we did last year, all monies collected will be given to the Team DC Scholarship Fund.
Winter Solstice Poetry Hike
(Sun); Chris and Craig(304) 535-2886; (202) 462-0535
Celebrate the passing of the seasons and the return of the sun on Adventuring's Sixteenth Annual Sugarloaf Solstice/Poetry Hike. This moderate circuit hike of about 7 miles and 1700 feet of elevation gain will take us to a series of peaks on top of Maryland's Sugarloaf Mountain near Frederick, MD, one day after the winter solstice. Along the way, we will stop at the scenic White Rocks overlook to enjoy the view, have lunch, and share favorite poems in honor of the passing of another year. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station. Contact Craig if you're meeting at Grosvenor-Strathmore and/or if you can be a carpool driver. Those wishing to drive directly to Sugarloaf should contact Chris for directions and time. Bring a bag lunch, water, sturdy shoes, a few dollars for transportation and trip fees, and a poem to share (your own or someone else's).
The Great Cookie Hike
(Sat); Devon(202) 368-3379
If you've finished your holiday gift returns and will be in town just after Christmas, please join us for Adventuring's traditional year-end jaunt on the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Georgetown. To let us recuperate from all our seasonal stress, we won't gather until 11 a.m. atop the street-level escalators at the Bethesda Metro Station, at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Old Georgetown Road. We'll then stroll 7 easy miles along the Capital Crescent Trail to its terminus in Georgetown beneath Key Bridge; our hike shouldn't take much more than a couple of hours, as our pace should be as brisk as the temperatures. We'll warm up in a friendly Georgetown watering establishment before heading home. Bring beverages, a bag lunch, any calorie-heavy holiday goodies you'd care to share and the $2 trip fee, plus bus fare if you'll be riding Metrobus somewhere afterwards.
Great Falls (MD) Hike
(Wed); Craig(202) 462-0535
2014 being an even year, we'll be on the Maryland side of Great Falls for our annual New Years Day jaunt, starting with a walk down the C&O Canal from Great Falls Tavern to the Falls overlook. Then we'll head back past the Tavern and the parking lots onto some lightly-used woodsy trails taking us upstream towards what was once known as (we kid you not) the Glory Hole gold mine. Total length of this easy round-trip hike should not exceed 5 miles, with some hilly, rough and/or muddy terrain to negotiate en route. Bring beverages, lunch, and seasonally appropriate goodies to share, and dress in layers. Meet at 11 a.m. by the Dupont Circle Metro Station elevator entrance on Connecticut Avenue NW just south of Q Street, or else on the plaza between Great Falls Tavern and the pedestrian bridge over the C&O Canal at 11:45 a.m. Transportation and trip fees should be under $5. Please contact the trip leader in advance to say where you'll meet him and whether you can be a carpool driver (if you're meeting at the Dupont Circle Metro).
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!
TEAM DC HOLIDAY PARTY-December 13
In addition to the Adventuring Holiday Party on December 22, you are invited to the free Team DC party on Friday, December 13 from 6:30-8:30 PM. Location: Cobalt/30 Degrees, 1639 R Street, NW Washington DC. There will be plenty of free food and great Happy Hour drink specials and a chance to mix and mingle with friends from Adventuring and other sports clubs.
Federal Shutdown Hike: Dupont-Van Ness (Craig)
There were just five of us, but we had a good time enjoying each other's company on a cool and overcast though rain-free day. We first strolled down to Rock Creek Park via the P Street Bridge from Dupont Circle and headed north, passing historic Oak Hill Cemetery and a couple of construction projects. As we were about to leave the Park and detour up CT Avenue for a mile or so, we asked a passing jogger to take a group picture. Then we asked if she knew whether we could continue up Rock Creek either via the trail or the Zoo Tunnel. She said yes, so we changed our itinerary and soon tiptoed our way through the very narrow Zoo Tunnel, saving ourselves that long detour. We stayed on creekside trails all the way to Peirce Mill, where we lunched on a table next to our usual Summer Picnic pavilion, which was occupied by a rather large group, to our surprise. Our final leg was an uphill towards Van Ness via Hillside Estate & Gardens, which graciously allowed us to use their restrooms. We were at the Van Ness Metro by 2 p.m., ahead of schedule and ahead of the rains. We'll try to do more such Shutdown Hikes if this silly shutdown drags on.
Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail Bike Ride (Rescheduled) (Jerry C.)
After a somewhat chilly start the ride became more comfortable as we and the weather warmed up. The sun made welcome but infrequent appearances. This woodsy trail running alongside pretty streams with their riffles and rapids was a pleasure to cycle. We rode about a mile and a half into Pennsylvania to have lunch in New Freedom. There we saw a vintage steam train filled with passengers out for a fall excursion pull into the station. Our return trip on the Trail was a breeze since many miles of it was a very gradual descent. Although some distance from Washington DC I think the Torrey C. Brown Trail (formerly known as the Northern Central Trail) deserves more of our attention.
Cunningham Falls State Park Hike [NEW LOCATION] (Jeff H)
At least something good came from the government shutdown. Because we couldn’t enter the federally-owned Catoctin Mountain Park, five hardy Adventurers instead went next door to Maryland-owned Cunningham Falls State Park and discovered a glorious trail to which we intend to return. We trudged the steep climb to the top of Bob’s Hill, where there were breathtaking views from the north and south. We then made our way to Cat Rock, where most of us acted like so many kids in a jungle gym to scramble our way to the rocky summit. Our final stop was the 78-foot McAfee Falls, where the water was gushing down more furiously than normal because of the Noachian deluges we had endured the week before. After our exhausting 11-mile hike, we retired to the all-you-can-eat buffet at Cozy’s Restaurant in nearby Thurmont, where we more than made up for the any calories we might have burned. Here we watched in awe as three busloads of middle school students suddenly arrived and turned what had been a quiet dinner into a lunchroom free-for-all.
Fall Color Hike @ Maryland Heights (Devon)
What an amazing day for a Fall Color Hike! We divided ourselves into two groups (one for the relatively shorter and easier route, the other for the longer and more challenging itinerary) to venture up Maryland Heights to savor the fall foliage. Although the colors were not at peak, the views were stupendous for both groups. Once we all arrived at the outstanding scenic overview above Harpers Ferry, we lunched and had great conversations.
Big Schloss Hike (Devon)
As we set off on our long and challenging hike towards Big Schloss (German for "castle"), we took note of the delightful fall colors throughout the surrounding George Washington National Forest. The initial part of our hike was rigorous because of the incline to the ridgeline of Great North Mountain, which was approximately 3 miles up. After we got to the top, we ate lunch by Sugar Knob Cabin. On our stroll along the crest we arrived at one unnamed vista which should have been named "Amazing," because the views from here were truly breath-taking. When we finally arrived at the Big Schloss rock outcrop itself, there was a collective sigh at the beauty of it all. The brilliant fall foliage and the approaching sunset accented the sweeping vista over the lovely Trout Run Valley towards Long Mountain. In the end, though we were some very tired souls, we were just overwhelmed by the awesomeness of Big Schloss!
Glover-Archbold Park Hike (Rescheduled) (Damon)
Overcast skies gave way to brilliant sunshine as 12 Adventurers (including two from Noo Yawk) hiked the little-known Glover-Archbold Park trail. We picked up the trail behind the MacDonald's at Wisconsin and Van Ness and trekked through the leafy park, bordering the residential areas and condo buildings of Northwest D.C. Our itinerary had us going under an abandoned trolley trestle, tunneling under the C & O Canal (who knew?) and ending up on the Potomac at the Capital Crescent Trail near Georgetown University. We then lunched at the Georgetown Waterfront Park while enjoying the water traffic (including a water boarder and some kayakers), while a panhandling pooch assisted us in keeping the area clean of dropped edibles. Most of us then walked a ways up Wisconsin Avenue behind several nattily-dressed English choir boys, in town for a concert, and caught buses back to our starting point. All in all, a pleasant way to spend a delightful October Sunday.
C&O Canal @ Little Orleans Hike (Rescheduled) (Craig)
It was bright and sunny when nine Adventurers arrived at Little Orleans, but it quickly clouded over once we got underway. Temperatures were seasonably comfortable, and wind was seldom a problem. Scenic values were enhanced both because we were right next to the Potomac for most of our 10-mile trek and because there was still plenty of fall color around even up there in the mountains. The aqueduct carrying the Canal over Sideling Hill Creek was unusually interesting because of its asymmetrical arch. (At the end of our hike we found the identical quirk on an aqueduct near our parking lot.) We lunched at our turnaround spot in the not-quite-ghosttown of Pearre, where an interpretive sign told us that a local hunting club used to ship bison in by the now-defunct Western Maryland Railroad so members could shoot them; hardly sounds very sporting. Here we found the western terminus of the 23-mile-long hiker/biker trail that stretches beyond Hancock; portions of this trail might come in handy on future hikes on the Canal in this region. The highlight of our return leg was our discovery of the entrance to the Indigo Tunnel, an abandoned mile-long railroad tunnel we all reached by climbing a short but steep and treacherous embankment on the other side of the Canal. Our intrepid Harris later found the other end of the tunnel on his own. Afterwards all of us spent a fun hour at Bill's, the legendary tavern/restaurant/convenience store that is pretty much all there is of Little Orleans.
Billy Goats Gruff Hike (Rescheduled) (Devon)
Throughout our 12.5-mile hike, we endured the crowds who were also out to enjoy the C&O Canal and the Maryland side of Great Falls. We encountered many families and individuals on the Billy Goat Trail, especially the challenging Section A. After we climbed the wall of rocks on Billy Goat A, we lunched on a rock on the beach of Bear Island. Along the way today we saw deer, mallard ducks, egrets, and other wildlife. All in all, we had one amazing time on this hike.
Trip Leader Retreat (John C.)
A good time was had by all at our first Trip Leaders’ retreat in five years. Special thanks go to: 1) John and Brett for organizing the delightful weekend and for preparing all the delicious food; 2) Karen for literally keeping the home fires burning and for providing special treats like honey-laced bourbon; 3) Craig for organizing the Saturday afternoon hike and the visits to where George Washington was born and where John Wilkes Booth met his maker; 4) Joe Marx for recommending we meet at Westmoreland State Park (even though he couldn’t be there himself); and 5) to everyone who participated in the retreat for their productive contributions during our Saturday evening meeting and for their wonderful fellowship throughout the weekend.
Prince William Forest Hike (Rescheduled) (Devon)
There is nothing like hiking after a good rain in the fall. The smell of the air is crisp, and the fall foliage on the ground just makes a colorful canvas. As we started our hike we encountered several other hikers on the trail, along with two groups of Boy Scouts. As we four Adventurers sat by the stream and ate our lunches, we talked about the stream and the foliage. After lunch we started back on the trail, enjoying the rock formations and scenery along the way. It was a beautiful day for a hike indeed.
Old Rag @ Sunrise: Night Hike (Rescheduled) (Devon)
History was made tonight, because this was the first time that Adventuring has done a sunrise hike at Old Rag (or anywhere else, for that matter). As the five of us started out at 3:30 a.m., our expectations were high to see the full moon and the sunrise. However, things did not work out the way we imagined it. The forecast called for no precipitation, just some light fog, with temperatures around 50 degrees. What we encountered instead was dense fog and temperatures closer to 60 degrees. The heavy fog left lots of moisture everywhere, which made our hike wet as we were negotiating slippery and muddy rocks. We never did see the full moon, and because of the tricky conditions, we took more time to negotiate Old Rag's famed rock scrambles.
Though the hike was not what we expected, it still exceeded our expectations. Having done this hike at night two other times (once in the winter with snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, and the other in summer with warm temperatures and an awe-inspiring sunrise), I was disappointed that we would not be able to experience what I had seen before. But something amazing happened on this hike that had not happened on the others: We Adventurers overcame our fears and worked as a team to help each other get through the process. In the end, we did see the sun once the fog blew away and burned off in the early morning.
As we walked down from the summit tired, muddy, and confident, we chatted with other hikers who were surprised that we had started so early in the morning. We will definitely do this hike again, but next time in the summer.
Hiking Pickett's Charge (Craig)
Mad Dogs & Adventurers go out into an Arctic blast, it seems, as 10 Adventurers braved the abrupt onset of winter to visit the fabled battlefield one last time this year. Wind chills in the teens if not single digits stung us most keenly as we marched along the Union lines on Cemetery Ridge into the teeth of the gales for about an hour before we charged into the not-so-historic McDonald's across the street to lunch and thaw out. Conditions improved a bit during our afternoon session, if only because the wind was mostly at our backs instead of in our faces. As we reached the Emmitsburg Road while reenacting Pickett's Charge, we detoured back to Mickey D's for a pit stop (cold weather will do that to you). We ended by reenacting the lesser-known Pettigrew-Trimble Charge, which was no better for the Rebels than Pickett's. After having our group photo taken by the statue of General Alexander Hayes (who was so excited by the Union victory that he kissed his 18-year-old aide squarely on the lips as thousands cheered), we repaired to the Gettysburg Hotel for Irish Coffee and other refreshments.
Little Devils Stairs Hike-NEW PLAN (Devon)
After Skyline Drive was closed because of an early winter storm, we could no longer do our originally scheduled hike in northern Shenandoah and needed an alternative stat. Our solution was to climb Little Devils Stairs, continuing on up to Hogback Overlook for lunch and then back, for a total of 10.5 miles. Of the 11 Adventurers who braved the cold weather, ice, and snow, only myself and another had dared this trail before. The great thing about this trip was that we had a lot of new members who where enthusiastic about handling the strenuous ascent up the Little Devils Stairs. As we climbed past the beautiful waterfalls and crisscrossed the little stream, we encountered progressively colder temperatures. We first hiked through ice and at the top of the Stairs we finally saw the snow. At a crucial trail junction, I provided an option to take a shorter circuit of 5.7 miles, an opportunity which two of our party took. I was happy that all of us had by then completed the most strenuous part of the hike unscathed and in great spirits.
As the remaining nine of us braved the cold, ice, and snow all the way up to Hogback Rock, we shared stories about our previous hiking adventures. We ate lunch on the Appalachian Trail in a grouping of rocks that actually overlooked the Hogback Mountain Overlook on Skyline Drive, in order to shield ourselves from the freezing wind. Lunch was short (to say the least). We took our group picture here and headed back down the trail. For most of us, this was the first hike of the season under wintry conditions, and yet Mother Nature's charms did not disappoint us, what with several Blue Jays flying around, the snow-covered trails and trees, and the beautiful frozen streams and ice formations. What a great day for a winter hike indeed!
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.