Catoctin Mountain 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’ve been spending so much time in Virginia these last few months that it’s about time we explore one of the many glorious sites in Maryland. 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. Depending on how we feel near the end of this loop, we can add in the Cat Rock extension, which adds an extra 2.4 miles and 800 feet of elevation gain to our now-strenuous journey. Bring lunch, 3 liters of water, bug spray, sunscreen, and sturdy hiking boots. Costs will be about $12 for transportation and trip fees. We will meet at the Grovesnor-Strathmore Metro station at 9 a.m.
Little Devils Stairs Hike
(Sun); Jeff(301) 775-9660
2014 is turning out to be a year when we visit some glorious waterfalls, and this will be the next in the series. One of the hiking websites calls Little Devils Stairs “one of the most fun hikes in the entire Shenandoah National Park.” That is, if your idea of “fun” is ascending 1000 feet in less than a mile, scrambling up some deceptively slippery boulders, and making about 20 interesting stream crossings. However, the scramble is worth it for the spectacular views; on a good day you can see more 30 cascades & waterfalls. Though the rest of this moderate-to-strenuous trek is relatively relaxing, be prepared to hike 7.5 miles with a total of 1800 feet of elevation gain. Bring lunch, 3 liters of water, bug spray, sunscreen, and good hiking boots. Transportation, admission and trip fees should come to about $25. We'll carpool at 9 a.m. from the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot.
Hiking Old Rag on a School Day
(Tue); Jeff(301) 775-9660
If you’re a regular hiker around Washington, it’s de rigueur that you summit Old Rag at least once. Although this circuit hike is not terribly long (9.2 miles) and the elevation gain (2500 feet) is not excessive by Shenandoah National Park standards, it is still rated as strenuous because of all the huffing and puffing you'll do while negotiating your way up, down and around the massive boulder field for a mile along the crest. However, when you go on a weekend, you’ll be negotiating those boulders with a few hundred of your best friends, which often results in aggravating waits. Old Rag on a weekday (in our case, the day after Columbus Day, which should be nearly ideal for fall colors) is a completely different experience, and it’s time that we Adventurers experience it. PLEASE DON’T SIGN UP FOR THIS HIKE UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN HIKING A LOT RECENTLY AND THOSE HIKES HAVE INCLUDED STEEP UPWARD CLIMBS. This is not a beginner's hike. Bring lunch, at least 3 liters of water, bug spray, sunscreen, and sturdy boots. However, do not bring your dog as they are prohibited by the Park Service on Old Rag. Transportation, admission and trip costs should be around $25. We'll carpool at 9 a.m. from the Vienna Metro North Kiss & Ride lot. Because it’s a weekday, those who park their cars at Vienna all day will have to pay, and those driving to and from Old Rag can look forward to I-66 at rush hour (though at least we’ll be going against traffic). Drivers should coordinate with Jeff to minimize if not eliminate the need to leave any cars at Vienna all day.
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!
Oct 9-New Appalachian Trail Film
Discover the unique history of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) in theaters this fall! The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's annual Membership Drive - now in its fourth year - will feature the never-before-seen film The Appalachian Trail: An American Legacy in addition to exciting speakers, limited-edition prizes and more.
Guest speakers include: Guy Gardner "AstroGuy", Retired NASA Astronaut and 2014 A.T. Thru-hiker; Ron Tipton, ATC's Executive Director/CEO and 2,000-miler; Javier Folgar, ATC's Director of Marketing and Communications.
• Watch the film “The Appalachian Trail: An American Legacy” on the big screen
• Hear amazing stories of the men and women who volunteer on the Trail
• Interact with people who have hiked the whole 2,180-mile Trail
• Receive a 1-year membership or gift membership to the ATC (a $40 value!) that includes an ATC decal, patch, and a subscription to A.T. Journeys, the official magazine of the A.T.
• Win cool prizes such as an ATC ENO™ Hammock
• Make new friends in the outdoor and hiking community
• Protect an irreplaceable treasure: the A.T.!
Washington, D.C. - Avalon Theatre
5612 Connecticut Avenue NW,
October 09, 2014 from 8:00pm - 10:00pm
To purchase tickets visit www.appalachiantrail.org/relive.
Be sure to enter promo code "MEETUP14" for $5 off each ticket.
Doyles River Falls Circuit Hike (Craig)
Another outstanding excursion that went even better than expected for our 10 Adventurers. We headed down from Browns Gap via the historic road (couldn't find the grave of that Confederate veteran, though) to the Upper Doyles River Falls, where we lunched in tight quarters. We continued downriver to the confluence with Jones Run, where we encountered two lively young men who cheerfully reported that crossing Jones Run would not be any great deal for us. So we were able to get across Jones Run without any trouble and complete the fabled loop as we had originally hoped after all, though we had feared the crossing would be impassable. Oddly, water levels in Jones Run seemed to be far below those of Doyles River. Eventually we reached the day's scenic masterpiece, the Jones Run Falls, where we lollygagged dynamically (TM) no little time. Despite the day's relatively mild temperatures and humidity, we still glistened profusely all the way up to the Appalachian Trail. After catching our breath we strolled the AT to Browns Gap, discovering en route that the old Dundo Group Campground, closed several years ago, has been born again as the Dundo Picnic Grounds. A delicious, ridiculously affordable dinner at Giovannas ended our great day.
C&O Canal Above Little Orleans Hike (Craig)
Ho, hum. Just another typical Mid-Atlantic summer day of sensational weather from wire to wire for our 13 Adventurers. Promises of an unusually scenic itinerary were fully met, as we were just slightly above the lovely Potomac most of the way. Throughout the day we saw more people on the water in a wide variety of rivercraft (paddleboats, tubes, canoes, kayacks, etc.) than on the dry land of the towpath. Near an abandoned railroad bridge across the river (eventually to be incorporated into a hiker/biker trail, we hope), we were able to get down to the Potomac itself for a group photo and general frolicking. After lunch at Lock 58, we continued upstream to our turnaround point near the top of one of the numerous loops the river makes as it cuts through the Appalachian ridges. On our return leg we lollygagged dynamically (TM) at one of the Canal's hiker/biker camps with direct access to the river. Here we found some abandoned Ruby Slippers (or Ruby Sandals) that we repurposed to aid a couple of our party wade through the warm Potomac waters. Upon finishing our 9-mile round trip, we adjourned for an hour or so to Bill's Place in Little Orleans (greatly beloved by some of us, not so much by others) before finishing our fantastic day with a very filling meal at Weaver's in Hancock.
Blackberry Ice Cream Hike & Splash (Craig)
Once again the Weather Gods smiled benevolently on Adventuring, rewarding our band of five with a better-than-average summer day even though the pros had been predicting storms all week. We headed directly from Skyline Drive down to the historic Corbin Cabin and continued down Nicholson Hollow to our lunch spot where the trail crosses the Hughes River. Certainly a pretty spot to linger at, but our plans to splash around in its inviting pool were dashed when the water proved to be too chilly for wading, much less sitting and/or splashing. We encountered a charming and quite docile rattlesnake near Corbin Cabin as we hiked back uphill. Our return to our cars went more slowly than normal, but we were in no rush. Our deliberate speed provided more time to build up appetites for dinner at Skyland's Mountain Taproom afterwards. Here we ate so much that we barely left room to fit in the blackberry ice cream that was the supposed "raison d'etre" for the day's whole escapade.
Blackberry Ice Cream Hike w/ Waterfalls (Jeff)
Temperature in the 70’s. No humidity. Can this really be August in Virginia? A lucky 13 Adventurers got to enjoy this rare summer phenomenon as we savored the sight of two waterfalls and one spectacular vista on August 16. Early in our hike, we beheld the 81-foot Lewis Falls, the fourth highest in Shenandoah. While most of our group were content to enjoy the falls from an observation deck above, four of us tiptoed down a rocky and steep path to see the falls up close and personal. Once these four climbed back up to rejoin the rest of our group, we all undertook a rocky climb to the Blackrock vista, where we had lunch with a grand view of the Luray Valley below. Most of the group then proceeded to Waterfall No. 2, Dark Hollow Falls. Here we first made our way downhill to the base of the falls and (after looking in vain for the Up escalator) begrudgingly trudged our way back up. But at least this final wave of exertion guaranteed one group of hungry and thirsty Adventurers as we proceeded to Big Meadows Lodge for food, drinks, and most especially blackberry ice cream desserts. A fitting end to a lovely day.
Big Meadows Weekend (Craig)
The Weather Gods were up to their old tricks again, as on so many other similar Big Meadows weekends in earlier years. Saturday's weather was incredibly foggy and gloomy, but the few rain showers we endured gave way to halfway decent conditions as the afternoon wore on. The loop hike on Turk Branch and Moormans River was never too steep or rocky, and a few stream crossings were interesting enough to hold our attention; hiking poles proved themselves invaluable once again here. Saturday night's dinner at Big Meadows Lodge was lavish, and we all had a tres-fabulous time afterwards downstairs in the New Market Taproom with Debbie and her homies. A very generous breakfast buffet Sunday morning fortified all of us for the day's hike, only half as long and strenuous as what we had done the day before. The weather started as badly as Saturday's but improved steadily as we marched down to South River Falls, a sensational Shenandoah Shangri-La bathed in glorious sunlight by the time we arrived. We even had a rare daytime sighting of an owl perched on a tree branch as we neared the falls. 11 Adventurers participated to one extent or another in this year's Big Meadows Weekend expedition, including old friends Arthur & Joe, who drove all the way from MI just to be with us. It is worth noting that, unlike most previous such weekends, everybody who was booked into the Lodge enjoyed the festivities in the Taproom Saturday night (i.e., nobody crashed in exhaustion right after dinner), and everybody joined in Sunday's hike (i.e., nobody had to rush home early for some pressing engagement); much appreciated, my friends.
Overall Run Hike & Splash (Craig)
Even by Adventuring's lofty standards, this outing was a bear: 12 miles and 2600 feet of elevation gain spread over 7 hours on the trails. Yet somehow our select corps of eight managed to survive this Homeric odyssey more or less physically intact and perhaps even spiritually enhanced. Our one disappointment was our lunchtime view of Overall Run Falls, where the word "trickle" would be far too dignified a term to describe the few dewy drops that occasionally condescended to slouch down a very indifferent precipice. But at least the paucity of moisture made our various crossings of Overall Run blessedly less than interesting. Somehow there was still enough water in Paradise Pools to gratify those in our party who jumped in. We were all surprised by the number of others who joined us in enjoying the charms of Paradise Pools; if access from the bottom of the Blue Ridge is now technically illegal, it is a ban more honored in the breach than in the observance. We wisely decided not to retrace our steps back up the very steep trail next to Overall Run but instead chose to take the longer but more gradual circuit route via Beecher Ridge. Along the way back we spotted two bear, both adolescents, paying us no heed. Our final leg was conducted in the midst of a very kind mist that made the top of the Blue Ridge both cool and mysterious.
Wilson Bridge & Capital Wheel Hike (Craig)
With temperatures well into the 90s, this was probably the most summery weather we've had during these annual excursions across the Potomac. Perhaps not coincidentally, our turnout of 18 was somewhat below our usual Labor Day numbers. But our journey was unusual in several respects, starting with our visit to the very impressive and moving memorial at the Freedmen's Cemetery, where the dramatic fluidity of the central sculpture evoked Rodin. After a leisurely lunch at Jones Point Park and our stroll across the Wilson Bridge, we reached National Harbor and promptly adjourned to cool off inside Potbelly's. Most of our party begged off riding the 16-story-high Capital Wheel, citing the heat; yet the line was short, the cabs were comfortable and air-conditioned, and the views were fine (if sometimes disorienting) during the half-dozen revolutions we made over a 15-minute stretch. Try it next year, folks!
Antietam Battlefield Walking Tour (Craig)
A delightful company of 11 endured a brutally hot day of hiking mostly out in the open on what might have been the last truly summery day of the season. The strangest sight we witnessed as we hiked around the Cornfield was a man with an ungodly contraption towering above his back that looked like something from a sci-fi film. He told us he's filming Antietam's trails for Google Streetview, which is encouraging news on several fronts. After lunch in whatever shade we could conjure up behind Dunker Church, we drove to the Bloody Lane for a short stroll. Then we rode down to the picturesque Burnside Bridge, where an ill-timed shower discouraged any further serious hiking. We attempted to help one man who had locked himself out of his car and hoped we succeeded, little thanks to the Park Service, though. We ended with a long wait for ice cream at Nutters in Sharpsburg, but the yummy quality, generous scoops and incredibly low prices ($2.12 for two big scoops!) made it all worthwhile.
Cedar Run-Whiteoak Canyon Loop Hike (Jeff; Jay)
Nine bold Adventurers showed up for this strenuous hike, and we all finished strong in spite of the miles and 2200 feet of elevation gain. We set a good pace on our descent, and stopped about an hour or so in for lunch at one of the many small, enchanting waterfalls along Cedar Run. We then continued over to the big waterfalls near the base of Whiteoak Canyon. There, we switched into our swimming suits and jumped in for an hour-long soak in the pools, while we watched others rappel down the falls. The climb back out was steep and steady, and we made it back to the trailhead at approximately 6 p.m., tired but still going strong. Four Adventurers stopped off for a meal and blackberry ice cream at Big Meadows, while the others started the journey home. Thanks everyone for a great trip! Hope to see you all again soon on another hike.
Bull Run Mountain Hike (Jeff)
Mother Nature was up to her old tricks. When six Adventurers embarked on their hike to the White Rocks Overlook on Bull Run Mountain, the forecast was for intermittent showers. Those showers became much more than merely intermittent as we trudged our way up, but the steady rain didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for the 18th-century gravestones, the 19th-century ruins of a once-prosperous mill, and the spectacular rock outcroppings we encountered on the way. When we reached the summit, the clouds obscured the spectacular vistas, instead transporting us to the misty realms of Middle Earth (glorious in itself, but also providing an incentive to return to the mountain when weather conditions are more favorable). When we ended the hike and got back to our cars, that's when Mother Nature decided to reveal the sun, and it remained sunny the rest of the afternoon. As those of a certain age will remember from an old TV commercial: “It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature.”
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
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