Announcement: Spring Potluck Social
(Sat); John C.703-914-1439
It's our social event of the spring, and you're invited! Come to Adventuring's Spring Potluck & Social, rain or shine, and anticipate a year of hiking, riding and splashing together.
This spring, Brett and John are opening their property to us on the Fairfax County side of Alexandria. The event begins at 4:00 PM and is accessible by bike, bus (Van Dorn Metro Station) and car. The event wraps-up at 8:00 PM.
Bring a dish to share with four fellow Adventurers and enjoy conversation by the koi pond, on the bridge or in the shadow of the bamboo grove. Adventuring provides the beverages. Dish assignments based on surnames appear below. A gas grill is available for those with main dish assignments, and ice will be provided for chilled contributions.
* A through E: Hors d'Oeuvres or Snacks
* F through J: Main Course
* K through P: Desserts
* Q through Z: Salads
This is a free event (...as long as you bring your dish assignment), and guests are welcome. Please RSVP via MeetUp.com, or click the "I'm interested" link on the right side of this announcement to email John directly. Directions will be provided to those who RSVP.
If you can't make it, we look forward to hiking, riding and splashing with you in 2014!
The Great Washington Loop Bike Ride
(Sun); Jerry C.703-920-6871
This 33-mile circuit through Washington and the Maryland suburbs is a pleasant ride mostly on bike paths and lightly-travelled residential streets. The ride incorporates the Capital Crescent, Georgetown Branch, Sligo Creek, Northwest Branch, and Metropolitan Branch trails. There are a few short stretches on busier streets. The trails are mostly paved, but the Georgetown Branch has a few miles of unpaved surface. I encourage every rider to ride at the pace that he or she prefers, but that often means we get spread out since some like to ride faster than others. If that happens we usually regroup at points along the way and for lunch. Pack a lunch or buy something to eat along our route with a way of carrying it to wherever we stop to eat, Bring a water bottle and $2 for the trip fee. Please let me know if you're planning to come so I can notify you if I need to reschedule or cancel due to weather. Meet at 11 AM in the Columbia Island Marina parking lot. Look for us at the south end of the parking lot (near the marina building). Drivers can only access the parking lot from the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway. The closest Metro station, Pentagon, is about 1.5 miles away.
W&OD Trail Bike Ride
(Sat); Jerry C.703-920-6871
This round-trip ride of 40 miles will take us to Herndon and back. Since the W&OD is a rail-trail the incline going out to Herndon is very gradual. The nice thing about this ride is that, except for street crossings, it is entirely automobile-free. Don't let your guard down, though, because other trail users can be less predictable than cars on the road!
We'll have lunch in Herndon so pack something or pick up something at one of Herndon's eateries. As with all my bike rides I encourage everyone to ride at a pace that he or she is comfortable with. In practice, though, this may mean that the entire group won't be together all the time since some like to ride faster than others. When this happens we usually pause and regroup along the way or at least regroup at lunchtime. My own average moving speed is a relatively low 11 MPH. Bring a water bottle and $2 for the trip fee. If you're planning to come let me know so I can contact you in case I need to reschedule or cancel due to weather. Meet at 10 AM at the W&OD Trailhead at the intersection of S. Four Mile Run Dr. and S. Shirlington Rd. in Arlington, VA.
Hoover Camp/Adventuring's 35th Anniversary Hike
(Sun); Pete; Craig(703) 525-7680; (202) 462-0535
The hike to President Herbert Hoover’s rustic retreat (often called Hoover Camp) in the heart of Shenandoah National Park is a lovely walk in the Spring and is the one picked for Adventuring’s first activity in May of 1979. Today, 35 years later, we will re-enact that pioneering trek, complete with the very same trip leader, Pete Kostik. This is a fairly moderate one-way hike of about five miles, with some climbing both at the beginning and the end. We’ll start at Bootens Gap on Skyline Drive a few miles south of Big Meadows, and end at Milam Gap, climbing at the end less than we descended at the beginning. With any luck we'll be able to tour Hoover Camp's main surviving building, the Brown House (as opposed to the White House), with one of the Park Rangers. We'll lunch on the Brown House porch and allow time to view other surviving buildings and ruins on the very scenic grounds, where Laurel Prong and Mill Prong merge to form the Rapidan River. The estimated cost for transportation, admission and trip fees should be about $25, not including a possible restaurant meal afterwards. Bring lunch, water, bug spray, sunscreen and rain protection. Meet at 9 a.m. in the Kiss and Ride lot of East Falls Church Metro station (to your right as you walk out the station's only exit).
DC CCW Loop Ride
(Sun); Keith B(703) 859-0268
This is a 3 hour, 30 mile ride around DC. It is a moderate ride on multi use paths, city streets and sidewalks. There are two short steep hills at Fort Totten and Chevy Chase. The last half of the ride is downhill from Chevy Chase 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 and get a view of DC before crossing into Washington over the Memorial Bridge. Riding across the Mall we will pass many of the Smithsonian Museums including the Castle and Art’s and Industries Building and the Capital Building before picking 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 past 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 Adventuring fee, a helmet and whatever is necessary to make yourself comfortable.
The trip leader will communicate via Meetup if weather, invasion from outer space, drama or pestilence forces a cancellation.
Please only RSVP if you are riding with us. RSVP's of No are not necessary and minimize the junk mail.
Arboretum Azaleas Ramble
(Sat); Damon(202) 213-4592
Cherry blossoms? Schmerry blossoms! Although the cherry trees get all the hype (and the crowds), the in-crowd knows that the azaleas at the National Arboretum provide the best springtime display as they blanket the hillside of Mount Hamilton at the National Arboretum. Although threatened with destruction a couple of years ago by alleged budget constraints, public outrage (and private philanthropy) saved the azaleas, and they continue their springtime display. We will take an easy 5-mile hike around the Arboretum, a 446-acre hidden gem in the middle of Northeast D.C. We will visit not only the azaleas but also other seasonal displays (including dogwood, daffodils, magnolias, forsythias, Japanese quince and andromeda, early crabapples, flowering cherries, camellias, redbuds, and arisaemas). For good measure we'll also take in the Asian Gardens, meadows, forested areas and the famous original National Capitol Columns. All this will be followed by a picnic lunch. Look for the trip leader's orange cap at precisely 9 a.m.(don't forget the usual Metro weekend delays) at the top of the Q Street escalator at Dupont Circle Metro; we'll carpool from there, and should be back by 1:30 or 2:00. Those desiring to meet us at the Arboretum should arrive by 9:30 to assure a parking space, as the lot fills quickly, and gather at the tram ticket booth. Bring water, lunch, sunscreen and about $5 for trip fee and driver reimbursement. (There are food trucks, but their quality is spotty, and they tend to sell out quickly.) Drivers needed.
Bike Ride to Ft. Washington
(Sat); Jerry C.703-920-6871
About 47 miles round-trip and the first time Adventuring has ever done a bike ride to Ft. Washington. It's an interesting historical site on the Maryland side of the Potomac River and it commands a lovely view of the river and the Virginia shoreline. Our route will follow the Mt. Vernon Trail to Wilson Bridge, National Harbor and then down suburban Prince George's County roads and streets to Ft. Washington. Given the length of this ride, a few stretches of busy road, and a long climb as we approach the Fort this ride should be considered intermediate to advanced. My average moving speed is 11 MPH, but you're welcome to ride at the speed you're comfortable with. All riders will be given a cue sheet. Pack a lunch or pick up something to eat as we pass through Old Town. Bring a water bottle and $2 for the trip fee. Please contact me if you're planning to come so I can contact you if I need to make any last-minute changes due to weather. Meet at 9 AM in the parking lot of the Columbia Island Marina Look for us at the south end of the parking lot (near the marina building). Drivers can only access the parking lot from the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway. The closest Metro station, Pentagon, is about 1.5 miles away.
Cedarville State Forest Hike (Rescheduled)
(Sat); Eric D.(240) 538-7328
(Rescheduled from April 26.) Cedarville State Forest in Brandywine, MD contains the headwaters of the largest freshwater bog in Maryland, Zekiah Swamp, which is up to a mile wide and serves as a major haven for wildlife. Cedarville is forested with over 50 species of trees, including white and loblolly pine plantations. Dirt footpaths and old forest roads traverse a heavily wooded area, with short stretches through the watershed of two major streams. Unlike most parts of Maryland there are few rocks and roots (which we call ankle twisters), so you can really take in the view and not have to watch your feet at every step. Our moderate but level hike of about 12 miles will break for lunch at the Cedarville pond. Bring beverages, lunch, bug spray and the $2 trip fee, plus a few bucks for your driver if you're a passenger in the carpool. We'll form carpools at the south side Kiss & Ride lot of the Branch Avenue Metro station (near the bus stops) at the end of the Green Line at 10 a.m. You can also meet us at 10:30 in the main parking lot at the State Forest, 10201 Bee Oak Road in Brandywine, MD. Since each car with a MD license plate must pay a $3 entrance fee and cars with out-of-state plates must pay $4, carpooling from Branch Avenue Metro should be an attractive option.
DC to Baltimore Bike Ride
(Sat); Jerry C.703-920-6871
This has become one of my favorite local rides. 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 49 miles with several options for getting back to DC. Meet at 8:30 AM in the parking lot of the Columbia Island Marina. Look for us at the south end of the parking lot (near the marina building). Drivers can only access the parking lot from the southbound lanes of the GW Parkway. The closest Metro station, Pentagon, is about 1.5 miles away.
The Ride. The terrain ranges from flat to moderately hilly. Although we will have some traffic to contend with along some segments of our route, many other parts are downright pleasant. 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 11 MPH in bike-speak). Plan on a late lunch or early dinner in downtown Baltimore upon completion of the ride. Trip fee is $2. Bring a water bottle, something to snack on along the way, some money for our meal in Baltimore and your transportation back to DC.
Getting Back to DC. There are several options for getting back to DC.
(1) Park your car in Baltimore the night before the ride and take the MARC Penn Line back to DC. One-way fare is $7. Your car is waiting for you when you bike into Baltimore the next day. If you're willing to offer another rider and their bike a ride back to DC you can split the transportation cost (including your rail fare) with that rider.
(2) If you have a folding bike (as several of us do) you can fold it up and take the MARC Penn Line back to DC's Union Station. One-way fare is $7.
(3) There's another public transit way of getting back to DC. It's a little more time-consuming but it works. From downtown Baltimore take the light rail to BWI Airport (bikes are permitted on the light rail), transfer to Metrobus B30 which runs between BWI and the Greenbelt Metro station, and then from Greenbelt Metro station take Metro or ride your bike home.
(4) Spend the night in Baltimore and bike back the next day.
Gambrill State Park Hike
(Sat); John D.(240) 654-9897
Gambrill State Park, overlooking Frederick, MD along the ridge of Catoctin Mountain, features a torrent of dogwood blooms at the end of May, quickly followed by an explosion of mountain laurel blossoms at the beginning of June. With luck (and perhaps in honor of National Trails Day), we might catch both in full glory on this Yellow Poplar Trail circuit hike. At 10 miles, it is the longest of the 6 trails in the Park, yet it is only moderately difficult. Cumulative elevation gain should be 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, and 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 meet at 9 a.m. inside the Shady Grove Metro Station by the station attendant's kiosk; try to park in the station's East Kiss & Ride lot. Contact the trip leader (preferably by email) for further details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
April 19 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.
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.
Signal Knob Hike (Devon)
It was a Saturday like we had not had in a long while. Temperatures were in the mid 60’s, and with the breeze it felt like a nice fall day. Once we started we found a set-up for a 50K run on part of the trails we would be using; however, we did not see any runners on the trails. Five of us began our hike up the rocky terrain to Signal Knob, where we ate our lunches and enjoyed the panoramic views. While hiking back down the trail we met one of our fellow Adventurers, who had started out early on the same route we were following. Once we finished the hike, we finally encountered the super-athletic trail runners, chugging their beers and wolfing down their food! Saturday was a beautiful day indeed for a hike.
Northern Rock Creek Hike (Brett; Virginia)
Five Adventurers braved chilly weather to partake in our combination hike/tour of Northern Rock Creek Park. We saw the official signs warning of “deer control operations,” which may explain why we saw dozens of beautiful dogs and horses but no deer anywhere, not even at Fort DeRussy, where we put on our Confederate Grey and stormed the fortifications; we usually surprise any number of deer in the fort, but none this time. Thanks to a wrong turn, we ended up lunching at the poet Joaquin Miller's Cabin. At least this misnavigation gave us more time to get those smartphones searching for Miller poems to share during lunch. The strangest thing we saw on the hike was what appeared to be a dog’s colorful burial plot, on the Valley Trail a little ways north of Milkhouse Ford. This added one more touch of strangeness to the already strange current events, like an impending late-March snowstorm, and the continued mystery of that Singapore Airlines flight, still not resolved as of this post.
Billy Goat Trails Hike (Jeff)
The good news is: Spring made a fleeting appearance this weekend! The bad news is: It occurred the day before our hike. But 13 Adventurers came out anyway to begin our wintry trek of all three sections of the Billy Goat Trail on the MD side of Great Falls. As always, Billy Goat's Section A gave us our share of rocky ups and downs, combined with spectacular views of the Potomac. When we reached Billy Goat B, one of our number decided it was time to go home, leaving us with a dozen hikers. We picked as our lunch spot a lovely rocky area near the river, where we were entertained by two Stand Up Paddleboarders (SUPs) who somehow maneuvered their boards to remain in one place as the rapids rushed against them. We ran into the paddleboarders afterwards; one of whom turned out to be an instructor (and quite a marketer) who said he could turn anyone into a first-class SUP and invited anyone from Adventuring to take a class with him. After Billy Goat B, we lost 6 more of our number (going right past the parking lot must have been too much temptation), so we were left with a half-dozen to hike Billy Goat C. All in all, a great if exhausting day.
Harpers Ferry Hike (Rescheduled) (Jeff; Heather)
While the steep ascent of Maryland Heights is always a challenge, this time 11 Adventurers had to brave the winds as well as the precipitous climb to reach the summit. There, in the ruins of a Civil War fort, none other than our own resident Civil War veteran, General Craig Howell, gave us a blow-by-blow description of the September 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry. We then made our way to lunch at the justly famous Overlook with its spectacular views of Harpers Ferry, as well as the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. After our descent, half our number returned to Washington while the rest of us explored the historical wonders of Harpers Ferry, including Craig's summary of John Brown's Raid in October 1859 that polarized the nation so badly. We somehow found the energy to climb another steep though thankfully short hill to Jefferson’s Rock, where the future President once enthusiastically claimed that the view was "worth a trip across the Atlantic." We finished our eventful day with an early dinner at a restaurant that was reopening to the public Under New Management that very day. They passed their audition.
Spotsylvania (VA) Walking Tour (Rescheduled) (Craig)
Long-overdue perfect springtime weather, an engaged group of a dozen Adventurers and/or Chrysalians, and an interesting if sobering place added up to another fine outing. The Park Service has spruced up the battlefield in preparation for the 150th anniversary of the battle in a few weeks. There are new trails, new bouncy coverings on existing trails, new monuments, and improved restrooms, for example, while old exhibits past their expiration dates have been removed. (The nearest Visitors Center, unfortunately, has not yet finished its exhibit renovations because of government shutdowns, uncooperative weather and funding problems.) The ground was not as muddy as we had feared despite lots of recent rains and snows, so we had no trouble completing our circuit hike on schedule. Our only complaint was that spring has been delayed so much this year that the battlefield has not yet exploded into bloom; ordinarily, springtime at Spotsylvania is nothing short of spectacular.
Blackberry Ice Cream Hike: The Prequel (Jeff)
After a long winter of discontent, Mother Nature provided us with one of the most glorious spring days imaginable for the special German edition of one of our Blackberry Ice Cream hikes. A lucky 13 Adventurers trekked up the Appalachian Trail and then around Stony Man Mountain, where each vista appeared more spectacular than the last. However, for one of our group, the curse of the 13 reared its ugly head about halfway through, when his soles decided to secede from the rest of his boots. But despite his Wardrobe Malfunction, he made it to the finish with a little -shoestring, some ancient Boy Scout knot-tying skills, and a lot of perseverance. And what a great finish it was, as most of our party retired to nearby Skyland Lodge for the main attraction of the day: Getting our fill of Shenandoah’s justly famous blackberry ice cream. Alas, the ice cream came at a price. We also had to say farewell to Sarah, who is returning to Germany after a year-long stay on our side of the pond. We’ll miss you, Sarah, and hope to see you again sometime soon.
C&O Canal Hike: Great Falls-Pennyfield Lock (Craig)
Our lovely (if somewhat chilly) day on the Canal began on the River Trail next to the Potomac, a scenic little trail which somehow I had never been on before despite having been hiking around Great Falls for decades. Once on the Canal towpath, we had it pretty much to to ourselves in the morning, but by afternoon it was quite crowded, especially with cyclists. Both Swains Lock and Pennyfield Lock (where we lunched at our turnaround spot) looked very well kept up. When we finished hiking, we found the huge parking lot back at Great Falls Tavern was filled to overflowing, something you hardly ever get to see. A breakdown in communications (including an inexplicable loss of cell service) left our small party split at the end of the day. Luckily, we eventually reunited as we watched the Canal boat lock through in front of the Tavern on its way upstream, complete with historically-correct mules and re-enactors.
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.