RESCHEDULED Fort Foote via Wilson Bridge Ride
(Sat); John C.703-914-1439
- 8:45 AM – Van Dorn Metro Bus Loop (26 mile ride)
- 9:30 AM – King Street Metro Kiss & Ride (18 mile ride)
- 10:15 AM – M-NCPPC Police Substation 01 at Harborview Ave. (10 mile ride)
Enjoy a leisurely spring ride over the Wilson Bridge to scenic Fort Foote Park, lunch on the Potomac River at National Harbor, and return through Old Town Alexandria.
Adventuring will ride down the Eisenhower Valley along Cameron Run, passing wading birds and Holmes Run Park, before stopping at King Street Metro to pick up our Alexandria riders. Next, we ride across the Wilson Bridge to the outskirts of the National Harbor complex to pick up our Maryland riders.
With our full compliment, we then make our way to Fort Foote, a remarkably intact Civil War fort on the Potomac River. After stopping for a while to wander through the ruins of Fort Foote, we will loop back to National Harbor where we will have lunch on the water at McLoone’s Pier House.
After a leisurely lunch, we will re-cross the Wilson Bridge and make our way through beautiful Old Town Alexandria back to the Metros. Those exiting at King Street Metro will finish around 1:30 PM. Van Dorn riders will be done around 2:00 PM.
All riders will need to bring the $2 Adventuring trip fee. The prices for lunch may be found at McLoone’s Pier House Menu. Lunch costs are in addition to the trip fee and are the responsibility of each individual rider.
The Trip Leader, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-914-1439, will be using a hybrid bike and anticipates speeds averaging 10 mph. The total distance is approximately 26 miles, with the longest segment between stops being roughly 5 miles.
The segment from the M-NCPPC Police Substation 01 to Fort Foote has a short but steep incline at Kerby Hill. Riders are welcome to walk their bikes over this section, and an experienced rider will walk with you to get you to the park safely.
Otherwise, the approaches to the Wilson Bridge--coming and going--have inclines that make this a moderately difficult ride requiring extensive use of the lower gears.
Riders departing from / returning to Van Dorn Metro are required by Fairfax County ordinance to wear bicycle helmets. Adventuring requires riders under the age of 18 to be accompanied by an adult, and all municipalities visited during this ride require minors to wear helmets.
Shen. River SP Hike-NEW MEETING PLACE
(Sat); Devon; Charles(202) 368-3379
(The meeting place for this hike has been changed to the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station because our original meeting place, East Falls Church, will be closed throughout Memorial Day Weekend.)The land for Shenandoah River State Park, one of Virginia's newest, was purchased with funds from the 1992 General Obligation Bond. Located just down river from Bentonville, the Park boasts five miles of river frontage and 1,504 acres of rolling pastures, quiet forest, and beautiful vistas. Wildlife you are likely to see during your visit may include raccoon, black bear, wild turkey, white tailed deer, bobcat, fox, beaver, opossums, and skunks, just to name a few. In addition there are many types of insects, birds of prey, snakes, fish, trees and wildflowers.
We will start at the base of Bear Bottom Loop, then change to Big Oak Trail, loop around the amazing vista on Red Tail Ridge Trail (where we should have a light lunch), and then loop back down the other side of Bear Bottom Loop. It is roughly 7-7.5 miles with minor elevation and is a moderate hike. The Park charges $3 to get in and works on an honor system, so bring dollar bills and a writing utensil if you are driving, just in case. Bring beverages, lunch, bug spray, and about $15 for transportation and trip fees. Meet at 8:45 a.m. at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station for those that will be carpooling. Those that want to meet us at the trailhead should aim to arrive by at 10:45 a.m. at 350 Daughter of Stars Drive Bentonville, VA 22610. After the Entrance, take first left to the Horse Trailer parking lot, where we will all meet. After you pay at the Entrance, you will see a brown sign, it will have a Horse Trailer Lot with a left arrow, follow that. After that turn, you will see the lot on your left. For further information contact Devon (202)368-3379 or email@example.com, or Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hoover Camp Hike-NEW MEETING PLACE
(Sun); Craig(202) 462-0535
(The meeting place for this trip has been changed to the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station because our original meeting place, East Falls Church, will be closed throughout the Memorial Day Weekend.) Adventuring's very first trip ever was a May 1979 excursion to Hoover Camp, a rustic retreat and prototype for Camp David, built in the 1920s for President Herbert Hoover in what is now the heart of Shenandoah National Park. To commemorate that historic outing, each May we revisit Hoover Camp by a different route, since there are so many ways to get there. This year we'll do a moderate 7-mile circuit, with no more than 1500 feet of elevation gain, during Memorial Day Weekend. We'll start from Milam Gap south of Big Meadows and proceed down to the Camp via Mill Prong, eat at the Camp and hopefully tour the main cabin, a.k.a. the Brown House (as distinguished from the White House), and then return to Milam Gap via the Laurel Prong and Appalachian Trails. Afterwards we'll stop at the charming Big Meadows Lodge for their addictive blackberry ice cream or other fare. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, bug spray, sturdy boots and about $20 for fees. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station.
DC to Baltimore Bike Ride
(Sat); Jerry(703) 920-6871
Overview: As unlikely as it seems there really is a decent way to bike from Washington DC to Baltimore without taking your life into your hands! This is a one-way ride of approximately 48 miles and, to my knowledge, the first time Adventuring has ever done a bike ride to Baltimore. Although we will have some traffic to contend with along some stretches of our route, other parts are downright pleasant. Plan on a late lunch/early dinner in downtown Baltimore and then we'll carpool back to DC (more about that under "Logistics").
Terrain, pace, and group dynamics: The terrain ranges from flat to moderately hilly. Everyone will be provided with a cue sheet so they can ride at their own pace. If our group is small we'll probably stay together throughout the ride. If the group is larger we'll probably coalesce into faster and slower subgroups and regroup when we pause for breaks. Although I'm your "leader" in name I'll probably be near the back of the pack since I favor a more leisurely pace (meaning an average moving speed of 10-11 MPH).
Logistics: From among the people who want to go on this ride I'll need some volunteers who have cars capable of carrying bikes. Volunteer drivers will take their cars to Baltimore Friday evening, park them near the Amtrak station, and then take the MARC back to DC (one-way fare is $7). Our volunteers will use their cars to get us back to DC the following day after we complete the ride. Transportation costs (including the MARC fare) will be shared among the driver and passengers of each car. Estimated transportation cost per person is about $16. Trip fee is $2. Bring a water bottle and budget some money for our meal in Baltimore.
Mountain Laurel Hike @ Gambrill State Park,
(Sun); Craig(202) 462-0535
Running along the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains just outside of Frederick, Maryland's Gambrill State Park features an explosion of mountain laurel blossoms early each June. Their astonishing profusion, supplemented by any number of other wildflowers, makes this trek an annual Adventuring favorite. We'll be following the Yellow Poplar Trail, which is the longest (10 miles) of the 6 trails in the Park but is still only moderately difficult. Cumulative elevation gain is about 1000 feet. Gambrill State Park offers visitors dramatic views of farmland and forest from stone overlooks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Our trail's best overlook offers a birds-eye view of Frederick and Sugarloaf Mountain. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, bug spray, and a bag lunch. Transportation and trip fees should be under $10. We'll carpool at 9 a.m. from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station.
Rocky Mount-Gap Run Hike
(Sun); Devon(202) 368-3379
Rocky Mount-Gap Run is a strenuous/borderline very strenuous 9.8-mile circuit hike in Shenandoah National Park's remote South District, with an optional post-hike dinner. This is one of the Park's most difficult hikes through an untamed wilderness, but one that also provides spectacular views. If you like wilderness hiking in solitude, take this ambitious loop. Leave the main crest of the Blue Ridge to access the summit of Rocky Mount. Rocky Mount’s western flank is a demanding climb of 1,000 feet in about one mile. If you’re not breathless at the top, the view will steal what breath is left. A series of ridges and peaks intersect and rise in succession to the limitless horizon. A return hike on Gap Run Trail takes you from soaring heights into shaded forest. Rocky Mount is one of a few 9+ mile circuit hikes in Shenandoah's southern section. With three different ascents, the last being at the end of the hike, this loop of nearly 10 miles with 2840 feet of cumulative elevation gain can feel longer and higher than it actually is. The reward is the great panoramic view from the Rocky Mount summit. Afterwards, if you would like, you can participate in a meal at Northside 29 Diner on the way home. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, bug spray, sunscreen and about $20 for fees (assuming each car has one person with a Park Pass). Meet at the East Falls Church Metro Station Kiss & Ride lot at 8:30 a.m.; note the early meeting time. We plan to leave as close to 8:30 as possible. For those wishing to meet us at the trailhead, be at the Two Mile Run Overlook on Skyline Drive (Mile Marker 76.4), about 11 miles south of the Swift Run Gap entrance at Route 33, by 10:50 a.m. so we can step off promptly on our trek at 11.
Racer Camp Hollow-White Rocks Hike
(Sat); Craig(202) 462-0535
This will be a strenuous 9-mile circuit hike on Great North Mountain at the VA-WV border near Wardensville, WV, with 1800 feet of elevation gain, some steep and rough trail sections, and 9 stream crossings (most of them supposedly "shallow"). The major payoff will be the stupendous vista from the White Rocks outcrop overlooking several ridges and valleys to the east. We'll begin in the secluded Wilson Cove, cross a couple of runs (supposedly on rocks), and soon start climbing Great North Mountain towards White Rocks, where we'll lunch. We'll continue uphill on the Tuscarora Trail a bit before descending towards Wilson Cove via the Racer Camp Hollow Trail, with several of those "shallow" stream crossings. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, bug spray, sunscreen, sturdy boots and about $20 for fees. Meet at the early time of 8:30 a.m. at the East Falls Church Metro Station Kiss & Ride lot.
RESCHEDULED - Ride Around DC - the Other
This is a 3 hour, 28.5 mile ride around DC going counter clockwise. It is a moderate ride on multi use paths, city streets and sidewalks. There are two short steep hills at Fort Totten and making the final climb to Chevy Chase. The last half of the ride is downhill from Chevy Chase all the way to the Potomac.
The ride starts in North Rosslyn at the trip leader’s home on the Custis Trail. We’ll pass the Marine Corp Memorial, a few Smithsonian buildings including the Castle, Art’s and Industries Building and the Air and Space Museum. We pick up the Metropolitan Branch Trail near Union Station. We’ll ride north past Catholic University to Fort Totten turning west to cross the city and pick up the Rock Creek Trail and Beach Drive at the Brightwood Recreation Area. We’ll ride north on the RCT passed the Meadowbrook Stables to the Georgetown Branch Trail turning west to ride the Capital Crescent Trail back to the Key Bridge and Rosslyn.
Departure is at 11:00 am from the trip leader’s home. Parking is plentiful. The address will be distributed well in advance. Contact trip leader for additional details.
Bring $2 in singles for the Adventuring fee, a helmet and whatever is necessary to make yourself comfortable.
Bring whatever you ride and wear whatever you want...road bike, hybrid, unicycle, whatever...lycra, jeans and a wife beater, whatever, we don't care, though truly unique people may suffer some friendly teasing.
The trip leader will call riders if weather, invasion from outer space, drama or pestilence forces a cancellation.
Caledonia State Park (PA) Hike
(Sun); Devon(202) 368-3379
This hike will be on South Mountain between Chambersburg and Gettysburg, PA. Starting from Caledonia State Park, site of a famous ironworks owned by abolitionist Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (a hero of the recent "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, bug spray and about $15 for transportation and trip fees. We'll carpool at 9 this morning from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station.
Tobacco Barns - Chesapeake Bay Ride
This is a very popular 44-mile ride in northern Calvert and southern Ann Arundel counties, Maryland. The scenery is a combination of cornfields, weathered tobacco barns, sweeping views of the Chesapeake Bay, a formerly shabby beach town experiencing a renaissance, a few shady country lanes, and the occasional clump of McMansions sprouting from old tobacco or corn fields. All in all this is pleasant ride on flat and rolling terrain with relatively light traffic. However, please note that there are some challenging hills on this ride. We will enjoy a fabulous waterside lunch at a quaint dockside seafood restaurant.
Estimated transportation cost for non-drivers is about $11.00. Trip fee is $2.00. Bring plenty of water, your helmet and money for lunch. We'll meet at 8:00 AM near Pentagon City to carpool to the starting point of the ride.
Contact the ride leader to find out the carpool meetup location (at 0800)... or for those wishing to drive directly to the ride location in Maryland (rendezvous at 0830) contact the ride leader for directions to the ride starting point in Owings Maryland.
Blackberry Ice Cream Hike I
(Sat); Craig(202) 462-0535
This edition of Adventuring's now-famed Blackberry Ice Cream Hikes in Shenandoah National Park will be a bit more strenuous than the others. We'll have to walk all the way from the crest of the Blue Ridge down to its base and then back up again, using an old, well-graded road now known as the Crusher Ridge Trail. At the foot of the mountain we'll wander over to see a couple of the Potomac Aoppalachian Trail Conference's rental cabins, one quite historic, the other almost brand new. After we return to our parking area along Skyline Drive at the Stony Man Overlook, we'll drive down a few miles to Skyland to indulge in blackberry ice cream or other treats. Total length of this strenuous round-trip hike will be 6.2 miles, with about 1800 feet of elevation gain. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, bug spray, sturdy boots and about $20 for fees. We'll carpool at 9 a.m. from the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot.
Great Falls (MD) Holiday Ride
(Thu); Keith B(703) 859-0268
This is a 30 mi round trip from the ride leader’s home in North Rosslyn to the Great Falls National Park. The ride is primarily on paved or improved bike paths and bicycle-friendly residential and rural streets. The pace will be leisurely.
We'll take the Capital Crescent Trail and MacArthur Blvd. At Great Falls National Park we’ll rendezvous around noon with a contingent of Adventuring hikers for a picnic table lunch and to take in the scenic outlook. Great photo opportunities! Pack your own lunch or take advantage of the refreshments concession at the park.
Bring a helmet, $2 in singles for the Adventuring fee and whatever you need to be comfortable. Departure time is 10:00am from 1634 21st Street N in Rosslyn, Virginia. There is free unrestricted parking and it is only 4 blocks from the Rosslyn Metro. Arrive by 9:30am to sign in, pump up tires and meet your fellow riders.
Pop me an e-mail or call if you need directions or have questions about Adventuring. Cheers!
Great Falls (MD) Holiday Hike
(Thu); Damon(202) 213-4592
Join us for the 4th annual Independence Day hiker/biker rendezvous at Great Falls, Maryland. Hikers will carpool to historic Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center for an easy 5-mile hike along some of the scenic trails in the area, including a portion of the C & O Canal towpath. (Note: We will not do the Billy Goat trail--if you want that, sign up for one of our frequent trips dedicated to that trail.) We will end at the popular Falls overlook on Bear Island, where we can watch foolish kayakers fling themselves into the whitewater (and hopefully emerge). We will also conduct our annual Adventuring wildlife tally, seeing how many deer, geese, turtles, snakes, great blue heron and other species we can spy. Our plan is then to rendezvous for a picnic lunch with a group of Adventuring bikers pedaling in from Virginia. Bring your own lunch (recommended), or buy one at the park concession area (which sells health food such as hot dogs, BBQ beef, pizza, beverages and snacks). Bring water, bug spray, sunscreen, and about $5-7 for transportation and trip fees (one dollar bills appreciated). Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the top of the east escalator at Tenleytown Metro (in front of Panera Bread). We should return to the same location between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Beginners and newcomers are especially welcome; drivers also needed! Contact Damon, the trip leader, at (202)213-4592 with any questions.
Blackberry Ice Cream Hike Part Deux
(Sat); Jeff(301) 775-9660
The easiest way to beat the heat in July is to get to the highest elevations around and just stay there, which we will do in spades today as we hike between the only two peaks above 4000 feet in Shenandoah National Park. Temperatures at such exalted heights should be 10-15 degrees cooler than down in the sweltering flatlands. Plus, we'll enjoy one spectacular overlook after another along the way. We'll begin by marching from Skyline Drive to Hawksbill (4050 feet), where we'll lunch with unobstructed views in almost every direction. Then we'll bump along the Appalachian Trail a few miles north to the lofty summit of Stony Man (4010 feet), with a breathtaking view across the Shenandoah Valley. Our day will end at Skyland Resort below Stony Man, featuring Shenandoah's notorious blackberry ice cream and other treats. Total length of this moderate barbell-shaped hike (with loops at both ends) is 8 miles, with less than 1500 feet of cumulative elevation gain. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, bug spray, sunscreen, and about $20 for admission, transportation and trip fees. No pets allowed on the Stony Man Nature Trail. Veteran Adventurers may remember our abortive attempt of this same itinerary two summers ago. This time we hope for neither a tropical downpour nor any additional drama. Meet at 9 a.m. in the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot.
Ride to Gay Day at Hillwood Museum
(Sat); Keith B(703) 859-0268
This is a bicycle ride to attend Gay Day at Hillwood Museum and Gardens. We will take the self-guided tour which is $12 at the door.
Meet at Soho Tea and Coffee at 22nd and P Street at 11:00 and depart at 11:30am. This is a ride straight up Connecticut Ave past the Zoo. It is ALL uphill.
We are expected at Hillwood at noon. There is no designated departure time and will be individually decided.
Bring a helmet, a bicycle lock and $2.00 for the Adventuring trip fee. Admittance to Hillwood is $12 and is an individual responsibility.
The trip leader will cancel the bicycle ride in case of inclement weather. If this happens each individual will be responsible for their own transportation to Hillwood.
Honoring Craig Howell as a Trailblazer
Here is the statement the Adventuring Board sent to Team DC to nominate Craig Howell for its Trailblazer Award:
Craig Howell is a “Trailblazer” for Adventuring in every sense of the term. He became an Adventurer in 1985 and started leading hikes in 1987. Since that time, Craig has led more hikes than anyone can count – averaging a couple dozen per year. Those hikes have ranged from strenuous climbs to the peaks of the Shenandoah National Park to more relaxing strolls along the Potomac (with sufficient time always to engage in what Craig personally trademarked as “dynamic lollygagging”). In addition, Craig has led hikes to Civil War battlefields – allowing Adventurers to benefit from his encyclopedic knowledge of “The Late Unpleasantness.”
When he isn’t leading men and women down narrow paths through dark forests, Craig performs yeoman duty to the keep the administrative side of Adventuring moving forward. Craig served as President for 8 years and has been our Woods Coordinator for 13 years (and counting). As the Woods Coordinator, Craig not only makes sure we have hikes scheduled for most weekends of the year, but he has mentored numerous Adventurers to become fellow Trip Leaders. Many of the activities that we now think of as Adventuring traditions came originally from the nimble mind of Mr. Howell.
For taking us to the peaks and valleys (as well as all the Sheetz and streams) in the areas around Washington and beyond, we would like to honor Craig Howell as our Adventuring Trailblazer.
9th Annual Cherry Blossom Hike (John C.)
An energetic group of 23 Adventurers stepped off into a perfect day and crossed Key Bridge to begin our adventure amongst the witch hazel and daffodils in full bloom in Georgetown.
We followed a (shockingly) fast-flowing C&O Canal to the Tidelock and ambled with golden horses to the MLK and FDR Memorials.
After an hour of individual exploration through the cherry groves, we crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge and made our way to the only Stalinist memorial along the Potomac. Thoroughly photographed with Teddy, we traversed boardwalks and primeval cypress swamps to emerge back into civilization: Rosslyn!
Shout-outs to Brandon and the gang for bringing the bricks, Theresa for her amazing photography, Jeff H. and Jeff O. for joining Brett and me for margarita's afterwards, and all the gang for spending their free time with our Adventuring family.
Next year--cherry blossoms!
C&O Canal @ Dam No. 5-Four Locks Hike (Craig)
A steady though gentle rain only slightly dampened the spirits of five Adventurers today. After a talk about Stonewall Jackson's unsuccessful efforts to destroy the Canal's Dam No. 5 during the disastrous Romney Campaign (of 1861), we set out along a section of the Canal sometimes called Little Slackwater. Here the cliffs ran right into the Potomac with room enough along the shore only for the towpath, thereby forcing canal boats into the river for a brief stretch. We lunched at a picnic ground along a very picturesque bend of the Potomac where the Four Locks sit back-to-back-to-back-to-back. Several historic structures here, including an old lockkeeper's house now refurbished and being rented out on weekends, add to this spot's scenic allure. After lunch we maintained a good clip to our turnaround spot at McCoy's Ferry, where Jeb Stuart started an October 1862 raid that helped to end George McClellan's military career. We made it back to Dam No. 5 in less than 90 minutes.
Jeremys Run Lariat Hike (Rescheduled) (David)
Narrowly escaping the DC area one step ahead of the exploding cherry blossom hype, eight Adventurers headed to Shenandoah National Park instead. Spring was just beginning to don its colors, complemented by a cloudless blue sky. Starting at the Elkwallow Picnic Area, we saddled over to the Knob Mountain Trail and went on an undulating climb along the crest to the summit, where we had a relaxed lunch in the warm sun. Now refueled, we descended from the Knob Mountain summit via switchbacks through the pine trees. This portion of the Knob Mountain Trail afforded us some tantalizing views of the Shenandoah Valley, vindicating the guidebook’s claim that this area was one of Shenandoah’s most scenic areas.
We could hear the rapidly rushing water as we approached Jeremy’s Run, while simultaneously navigating through several pine trees that had succumbed to the heavy snows here last month. Arriving at the foot of Knob Mountain, we finally encountered Jeremy’s Run itself. We explored the stream banks to determine if hiking Jeremy’s Run Trail was even feasible with the higher water level. The water was knee deep, as its springtime high level created a shortage of quality stepping stones to cross the stream. As we strategized, a Mourning Cloak butterfly (one of spring’s first harbingers) circled o'er our group. As genuine Adventurers, we accepted the challenge of the stream crossings. With excellent team spirit and effort, we were able to navigate all of the trail’s 14 stream crossings. The group employed a humorous medley of stream-crossing techniques, such as hopping, leaping, wading, crawling, and scooting over stones and tree trunks. By the end of the hike, some of us had earned black belts in stream-crossing techniques. Though a few of us became a little damp to as we briefly dipped into the stream, most of our group remained dry. With evening approaching, we made our final ascent from the stream valley back to the Elkwallow Wayside area, completing an unusually full but rewarding day. Having survived 14.5 miles of hiking, we found that the usual stop at the Roadside 29 Restaurant more than adequately satisfied our hungry stomachs.
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary Hike (Eric D.)
This was really beautiful hike, through marshes, along the Patuxent River, and through woods, with lunch at a picnic area along Jug Bay. It was a great day, with early spring flowers and no bugs.
Spending a day hiking along the water is always wonderful, and seeing herons, terns, osprey, blue-wing martins, red wing blackbirds, black capped chickadees, frogs, turtles and beavers made it all that much more special.
Billy Goat Trail Section A Hike (Devon)
"Nature's Jungle Gym" is an understatement of our trek in Great Falls, MD when we did the Billy Goat Trail Section A. We started with 11 hikers and ended with 11 hikers, which, considering the varying degree of experiences with a hike of this difficulty, was a good thing. The day was beautiful and sunny, with a fair number of people enjoying the Falls and the trails. We began with an amazing view of the Falls with the powerful sound of the rushing water in the background, and then started our trek down the C&O Canal towpath. As we headed towards the entrance to Billy Goat A, I learned that several in the group who had never experienced this section before were a little apprehensive, but were willing to try.
We started the trail and viewed the rushing water, kayakers, and other people along the ridge line of the trail. We had amazing views of the Virginia side of the Mather Gorge where some were rock climbing. As we climbed, skipped, and hopped over rocks, we just enjoyed the challenge of the trail. When we got to the base of the dreaded rock climb up a sheer rock face, each member of our crew chose a path that was best for them. When the 11th and final person ascended to the top, we all applauded ourselves for the hard work we had accomplished. On the last part of the hike we ate a snack on the beach and watched the fast-moving waters pass us by. As we proceeded to hike some more, we observed patches of purple plants and a variety of other plants in bloom, along with some ducks and geese. The day could not have been more perfect for such a challenging hike.
Calvert Cliffs State Park Hike (Devon)
What an amazing day for a hike in the woods. We started out with six Adventurers, supplemented by one latecomer who caught up with us along the way. We decided to take the Orange Trail first, then head to Calvert Cliffs Beach via the Red Trail. This was the first time hiking with the group by some, so we took the time to take in the beautiful sights and to get to know each other. We found teachable moments along the way to discuss trail safety and how the trails were blazed. The day was cool and the sun was bright with clear skies. The trails were muddy after our recent rains, which we all seemed to enjoy.
We ate lunch on the beach while watching the amazing views of the cliffs and the calm waters of Chesapeake Bay. After lunch we spent time walking along the beach looking for artifacts. Unfortunately we did not find any ancient sharks teeth, but we did come across an amazing artifact of fossilized rock, which we left on the beach! Once we finished our hunt on the beach we headed back onto the trails, where we passed a beaver dam, witnessed a snake having a quick meal, and saw many birds. All in all it was an absolutely beautiful day on the beach, and the mud did not seem to bother anyone at all!
Margaritaville via Two Lakes Hike (Jeff)
In Adventuring's first joint outing with Montgomery Men, 13 hikers trekked 10 miles around Lakes Frank and Needwood in the upper reaches of Rock Creek Regional Park. We started at the park surrounding Lake Frank, which surprisingly was largely empty of other outdoor revelers even though the weather that spring day was gorgeous. While circling Lake Frank, we managed to cross two streams without anyone getting wet. When we came upon another stream crossing at Lake Needwood next door, all 13 of us decided to cross it, even though there was an option for going around it; and again, marvelous to report, no one fell in. We stayed dry all the way until we reached Rockville's Mi Rancho, where we joined a number of the more sedentary members of Montgomery Men for margaritas and dinner. Here the drinks were generous and the fattening dinner was especially satisfying for our lucky 13 who had trekked the full 10 miles.
Arboretum Azaleas Ramble (Damon)
A sunny, almost cloudless day greeted 27 Adventurers who attended our annual Spring outing to the National Arboretum, a 446-acre green enclave in the middle of Northeast D.C. Despite a late start due to a road closure and massive traffic tie-up on New York Avenue, the group finally assembled and headed off to Mount Hamilton to pay homage to the seasonal azalea display, established in the 1940s by the Arboretum's first director, the bachelor Benjamin Y. Morrison. After taking in the view of downtown D.C. from the mountain, our large group trekked to the eastern edge of the park to view the dogwood and other flowering trees, the Asian garden and pagoda, the Fern Valley, and finally the iconic National Capitol columns. A convivial lunch followed at a little-known picnic area behind the gift shop, attended by almost the same number who started. A great day for newcomers and veterans alike to become reacquainted with this often overlooked Washington treasure.
Catoctin Mountain Park Hike ( Jeff)
This was a hike full of surprises. We dozen Adventurers should have known we were in for something out of the ordinary when a tree came crashing down just after we began. This was followed by a confused Trip Leader getting us temporarily lost and by a languid black snake that made an exit that would have made Tallulah Bankhead proud. In between these episodes, we enjoyed playing on the natural jungle gym known as Wolf Rock and eating lunch while taking in the spectacular views from Chimney Rock. When we arrived at the base of our steepest climb, Cat Rock, half our group decided that they had experienced enough of Nature for one day and made their way back to the cars. The other half began the climb just as the forecast 20% chance of rain suddenly became 100%. We trekked on anyway and when we reached Cat Rock itself, we didn’t let a few very wet boulders stop us from scrambling our way to the summit. We finished the hike exhausted and wet. Three of us then made our way to the Cozy Restaurant in nearby Thurmont for a well-deserved all-you-can-eat buffet, where a middle-aged woman made a very blatant pass at one of our (male) hikers. It was an appropriately weird ending to a day of surprises.
Sugarloaf in Springtime Hike (David)
A delightfully crisp, bright morning and a cloudless sky saluted 16 Adventurers to begin the day at the Sugarloaf Mountain trailhead. Strong sunbeams warmed the air very quickly as we conquered numerous undulating hills, leaping across a few spring runoff-fed brooks and dodging the thick mud. We found many photogenic signs of spring, including colorful azaleas. We lunched noonish at the White Rocks, which opened to a beautiful panorama of the Piedmont between our Monadnock and the Catoctin Mountains. After lunch, we descended quickly down the mountain, only to climb back up again until we arrived back at the parking lot. After a short rest, most of us resolved to confront the steep climb up the stairs to the 1,282-foot summit. When we reached the top, our feelings of accomplishment quickly morphed into a happy laziness brought on by the cloudless beautiful day. The farmland below materialized in bright colors, almost appearing in high definition. On our ride back to town, some Adventurers in the carpool were treated to a ride in the country in a convertible with the top down. What a way to end a perfect spring day!
Trillium Hike (Jerry)
It was trilliums we wanted and boy did we get them! This showy white flower that fades to pink was in abundance once the nine of us ascended to the Appalachian Trail. Leah was the first to spot a patch of them, but after a while you couldn't miss them no matter where you looked. This is not to say there weren't other pretty flowers along the trails such as rue anemone, violets, star chickweed, and wild geranium, but the trilliums stole the show. At one point I feared that some of our group who had gotten ahead of me had gone down the wrong trail, so a special thanks to Mary for taking off her pack and running down the trail to make sure no one had gone astray! Prior to the hike I had hounded everyone to make sure they had purchased their daily access permits from Virginia. I had also taken the precaution of applying for a special use permit from Virginia in case the size of our group exceeded 11. So I was a little miffed that there didn't appear to be any state officials enforcing the rules at the Wildlife Management Area where we hiked. Oh well, better safe than sorry. I finished the hike by harvesting leaves from ubiquitous but invasive and unwelcome garlic mustard plants. I plan to sauté them in some olive oil with some garlic, balsamic vinegar, and water. The Post's Urban Jungle column assures me that sautéing the leaves greatly reduces the cyanide level in the leaves. Hope it's right!
Battle of Chancellorsville Walking Tour (Craig)
Seven Adventurers and/or Chrysalians, plus one Lucky dog, participated in this very full day-long tour of Chancellorsville just after the battle's sesquicentennial. The day was sunny and rather April-like, sometimes cool and breezy, other times quite warm. Despite the previous evening's downpours, the air was still choked with pollen, leaving most of us hacking, sneezing, wheezing, etc. It was certainly a good day for bugs, including ticks and the first sightings of still-silent cicadas from the newly-emerging brood. We covered a lot of ground, both by driving and by hiking the three major hiking trails within the battlefield. We finished with dinner at the Blarney Stone, our favorite Irish pub in downtown Fredericksburg.
Jubal Early/Rock Creek Hike-RESCHEDULED (Craig)
The weather was kind of icky for mid-May, but at least none of the predicted showers hit us and temperatures were mild. The seven other Adventurers got more than they bargained for as I interlaced tales from the Civil War with lots of my own personal history growing up in the Silver Spring/Fort Stevens area. Interpretive stops included Acorn Park (site of the original Silver Spring), Jesup Blair Park (where I spent my summer days as a kid), the scene of the so-called "DC Snipers'" only murder in DC, the old Walter Reed grounds, Battleground Cemetery, and Fort Stevens itself. A couple of our crew bailed out as we headed into Rock Creek Park to lunch at the Miller Cabin. Our trek up Rock Creek Park was delightful since none of us had ever been on that scenic stretch of the Valley Trail before, most of it right next to the Creek. We returned to Silver Spring Metro just before 2, on schedule.
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