Blackberry Delight Hike
(Sat); Jeff(301) 775-9660
Adventuring has become infamous for its Blackberry Ice Cream hikes throughout the summer. However, on Saturday July 23, we are going to get especially decadent and take advantage of Shenandoah National Park's Blackberry Delight Festival, where “Skyland chefs create special blackberry-infused dishes” to “celebrate the sweet-tart fruit in all its glory.” But before dessert, we’re going to do some work and celebrate Shenandoah's more natural glories by hiking between (and to the top of) the only two peaks above 4000 feet in the entire 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 start at Hawksbill (4050 feet), where we’ll enjoy unobstructed views in almost every direction. Then we’ll bump along the Appalachian Trail to Stony Man (4010 feet). Once we’ve burned up all those calories, we’ll instantly put them back on with Blackberry delights. Total length of this moderate-to-strenuous one-way hike is 8 miles, with about 1400 feet of cumulative elevation gain. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, sturdy boots, bug spray, sunscreen, about $20 for admission, transportation and trip fees, and as much as you'd like to splurge for dinner and dessert afterwards. Sorry, no pets allowed on the Stony Man Nature Trail. Meet at 8:30 a.m. in the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot.
Riprap Hollow-Wildcat Ridge Hike &Splash
(Sat); Jeff(301) 775-9660
Note the earlier than usual start time: 8 a.m. from East Falls Church Metro Station.
This STRENUOUS hike in the southern section of Shenandoah National Park offers good views from Chimney Rock, Calvary Rocks and along Wildcat Ridge. A section of the trail follows Meadow Run and features a gentle waterfall and excellent swimming hole. The 9.5 mile circuit hike with approximately 2300 feet of elevation gain is for experienced hikers only. Bring plenty of water (at least 3 liters), lunch, bug spray, sunscreen, a swimsuit & towel, and about $20 for transportation, admission and trip fees. We will stop at the Sheetz in Madison on our way to the trailhead, where you can buy made-to-order sandwiches for lunch. Optional dinner on the way home.
The Metro system doesn’t begin operations until 7 a.m. and some Adventurers may have trouble getting to East Falls Church by Metro in time for the 8 a.m. start time. Please tell the trip leader if you are driving from DC and can provide rides to East Falls Church for hikers who don't have a car.
Due to the length of the both the hike and the drive down, we likely will not get back to the East Falls Church Metro until very late.
Hot-Short Mountain Hike (New Date)
(Sun); Craig(202) 462-0535
(Postponed from July 24 because of excessive heat.) This will be a challenging but rewarding hike in the central section of Shenandoah National Park. Starting from the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the large but incredibly popular Old Rag Parking Lot, we'll quickly find the well-shaded Nicholson Hollow Trail, which runs alongside the charming Hughes River. Soon we'll start our major ascent of the day on the sometimes steep and rocky Hot-Short Mountain Trail, which will deliver us to the edge of Hazel Country. Then we'll retrace our steps back downhill to the Nicholson Hollow Trail. We'll take this path upstream to its crossing of the Hughes River, where we can cool our feet off. On our adventure's final leg we'll follow the river out of the Park back to our cars. Total length of this strenuous hike will be about 10 miles, with roughly 2000 feet of elevation gain. Only experienced hikers in good aerobic shape should undertake this trip. Bring plenty of beverages, lunch, sturdy boots, bug spray, a towel and about $15 for fees. We'll have dinner near Warrenton on the way home; please don't make any other evening plans. We'll carpool at 8:30 a.m. from the East Falls Church Metro Kiss & Ride lot; we need an early start to have any chance of finding space in the Old Rag Parking Lot on Labor Day Weekend.
Hiking Canaan Valley (WV) Weekend
(Fri-Sun); Craig(202) 462-0535
We've had two highly successful weekends of hiking in West By God Virginia in the last year, so now let's make it three. This time I've rented a 4 BR cabin in Blackwater Falls State Park near Davis, WV for the weekend after Labor Day, leaving the DC area on Friday September 9 and returning Sunday the 11th. Mostly we'll be doing a series of moderate hikes in Blackwater Falls State Park and nearby Canaan Valley State Park, over rolling and sometimes boggy or muddy terrain, with some elevation changes but hopefully nothing too steep. Blackwater Falls ranks as the highest waterfall in the state (there's a movement to make the area a National Park), and Canaan Valley is the highest valley east of the Mississippi River. (BTW, it's pronounced "Ka-NANE.") Our most strenuous outing will be a 2.2-mile round-trip with about 900 feet of elevation gain to Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain, the highest peak in Maryland, which can only be approached via this trail in WV. While we're in the neighborhood, we'll take a side trip to the historic Fairfax Stone, location of a spring determined to be the "furthest fountain" of the Potomac. This spring, which once defined the far southwestern corner of MD, is now completely within WV. If time permits on our journey back to DC, I'd like to detour into Garrett County MD to see scenic Swallow Falls and adjacent Muddy Creek Falls.
Our cabin has two rooms with a queen-sized bed in each, and two rooms with two twin beds, so theoretically the cabin can sleep up to 8. It has full kitchen facilities and a wood-burning fireplace. It's very close to the main lodge of Blackwater Falls State Park. Eating arrangements? Carpool arrangements? TBD.
The only way to secure your spot for this Almost Heavenly weekend is to send me a $55 deposit check per person. Make your check payable to "Craig Howell" and mail it to my home: 1825 T Street NW, Unit 206, Washington, DC 20009. Your deposit is refundable (minus any fees I might incur) if you cancel by Thursday September 1. There will be a Wait List, but you'll still have to send me your deposit to qualify.
This excursion will not be cancelled by inclement weather. If it's rainy or otherwise not suitable for hiking, I will convert the trip into Craig's Magical History Tour; there are lots of interesting historic sites worth visiting within range of the Canaan Valley.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Adventuring Joining w/ Capital Climbers
Adventuring announces its partnership with the Capital Climbers (formerly known as the DC Rock Jocks). At a recent Team DC Holiday party, leaders of both Adventuring and the Rock Jocks agreed to work together in 2015 on ways that would mutually benefit both groups. The idea is during the winter months (and beyond) Adventuring would encourage its members who are interested in learning and/or getting in shape for rock climbing to join their frequently scheduled "Open Climbs" or take an "Intro to Rock Climbing" course with their members at two of the DC area rock climbing gyms. The Rock Jocks have planned some of their own outdoor rock climbing trips in the past but were excited at the idea of joining future Adventuring trips benefiting from our carpool coordination experience. In the spring, Adventuring will begin offering outdoor rock climbing trips planned by our very own Dale Stevick who is also a member of the DC Rock Jocks. Both groups have committed to promote each others activities through their websites and social media.
Adventuring recommends that those Adventurers who have expressed interest in our upcoming trips, get in touch with the DC Rock Jocks to learn and practice with them indoors and obtain the proper equipment needed for our future outdoor climbs. Please contact Dale with Adventuring or Bryan Yamasaki with the DC Jocks for more information.
Information on the weekly Open Climbs at Earth Treks climbing center (www.earthtreks.com) in Rockville, Maryland.
DC Rock Jocks climb every Monday and Wednesday from 6:00pm-9:00pm. Bryan says that as long as people can metro out to the gym (one county block from the Rockville Metro Station), then there is a high possibility that one of our climbers that drives and lives in DC will be able to carpool 1-4 people back with them. Also their is a Sunday Open Climb from 2:00pm-5:00pm....maybe until 6:00pm followed by grabbing food, usually Chipotle or cheap Chinese food.
$22.00 - Day Pass
$05.00 - Harness Rental
$05.00 - Shoe Rental
To reduce costs, Livingsocial has this:
The Sportrock group of DC Rock Jocks (at the rock climbing center in Alexandria, VA) has selected Wednesday evenings as their meet up time for Open Climbing with majority of the members arriving between 6:30 and 7:00 PM. J Aron Hinson, Jonathan Plante, Ben Smith are regular attendees and good people to get to know.
The DC Rock Jocks are hoping to plan two intro rock climbing classes for Adventuring soon. The cost of the one at Earth Treks climbing center in Rockville would be $39 per person but there could be a discount if 10 – 15 people sign up. The cost of the one at Sportrock climbing center in Alexandria would be $35 per person which covers the total cost of the $18 entrance/$10 shoes and harness rental, plus a free pass to come back to climb and take your belay certification test. For more information about Earth Treks in Rockville contact Bryan Yamasaki at 240-603-2215 or more information at Sportrock in Alexandria contact Aron Hinson at 504-704-7091. Adventurers who are interested should link to the following Rock Jocks survey and submit so they can measure your interest level:
Make ROCK CLIMBING of your New Year's Resolutions. Use these winter months to prepare along with our friends at the DC Rock Jocks!
New Partnership with REI
Adventuring – LGBT Outdoors Club is excited to announce their decision to partner with recreational retailer REI for some joint special activities throughout the year. Adventuring and REI will kick off their new partnership during the week after Capital Pride 2016 in Washington, DC with two great adventures right here in our Nation’s Capital. The DC BYOBike Tour will be held on Wednesday, June 15th and the DC Monuments Sunset Kayak Tour will be held on Friday, June 17th. More details can be found on the Adventuring.org website or our Meetup and Facebook pages, with a link to REI’s registration website where the required prepayment can be made. Adventuring will also be holding a Summer Happy Hour at the REI Community Space at Wunder Garden on Thursday, August 18th. Attendance to these events requires payment in advance online – no additional Adventuring trip fees are needed for these special activities since REI will be donating the proceeds of each activity to Adventuring. For descriptions, costs, locations, and link to register, please check on www.adventuring.org or join our Adventuring – LGBT Outdoors Group on Meetup or Facebook.
Hoover Camp Hike (Craig)
Tropical Storm Bonnie or no Bonnie, eight Adventurers gathered at Milam Gap on Skyline Drive determined to complete the 9.6-mile Hoover Camp loop hike as advertised. We reached Hoover Camp in about an hour, negotiating the trickier-than-usual crossing of Mill Prong without too much drama. We lunched by the Brown House before getting a superb tour of its interior by the resident Park Ranger, who emphasized Herbert Hoover's inspiring contributions throughout his life as a humanitarian who refused to accept any compensation, even as President, for his services once he had become wealthy. Our crossing of Laurel Prong at the foot of the Fork Mountain Trail was relatively hazardous in the wake of May's unrelenting rains, but the only damage suffered was a few waterlogged boots. Our real adventures began once we reached the crest at The Sag. After initially missing the Jones Mountain Trail we wanted, we wound up traversing the same section of it three times as we floundered around in search of the elusive Cat Knob Trail, which we feared might have been eliminated. We were only saved from having to retrace our steps back to Hoover Camp by the timely appearance of another hiker, whom I dubbed "Clarence," who had just come off the Cat Knob Trail and assured us it does still indeed exist. Once we discovered the (Cheshire) Cat Knob Trail, we immediately had to work our way carefully down a very steep and treacherous slope to Laurel Gap. The rest of our loop was relatively uneventful, except that Bonnie finally made her presence known, albeit with just light showers. The total length of our circuit proved to be 11.5 miles, 2 miles longer than planned. Afterwards we dined at the New Market Taproom in Big Meadows Lodge, where for reasons that escape us they've cut down the menu drastically: Worst of all, no more blackberry ice cream! But at least they make great pizzas.
Mountain Laurel Hike (Jeff)
The hike more than lived up to its name as the blossoms of the mountain laurel were at their peak and blooming everywhere. An alternate name was the Rainbow Hike (just in time for Pride Month) since in addition to the pink and white blossoms, we traversed the Yellow Poplar, the Green Ash, the (Blue) Catoctin, the Red Maple, and the Black Locust trails (each with a blaze of the appropriate color). Despite warnings of severe thundershowers, we didn’t experience a drop (though we did experience high heat and humidity). After the hike, half of our group of 12 made our way to the nearby (and picturesque) Middletown where we beat the heat by indulging ourselves in copious quantities of the delicious local ice cream on the patio of an old home complete with American Flag bunting.
Rose River Loop Hike (Craig)
33 Adventurers, including a couple of old friends from the Desert Southwest, enjoyed a pluperfect Last Day of Spring while hiking the classic Rose River Loop in Shenandoah National Park. Things got off to a rough start when one of our party took a fall, but his injury was quickly tended to by our resident nurse and all turned out well. We waved to a hefty-sized but preoccupied bear as we headed down to Rose River Falls, where there were enough rocks for everybody to sit down for lunch with a view. Several of our group took a quick dip in the inviting pool at the base of the falls. We Lollygagged Dynamically (TM) at a couple of exceptionally scenic spots during our ascent of Hogcamp Branch towards Dark Hollow Falls. When we were done, most of us headed off to Skyland's Mountain Taproom in hopes of indulging in Shenandoah's scrumptious blackberry ice cream, which was MIA on our recent excursion to the New Market Taproom at Big Meadows Lodge. I'm happy to report that this time our reconnaissance was successful, and we expect to return to Skyland several more times before the year is out.
Prince William Forest Park Hike (Jerry)
Prince William Forest Park's 15,000 forested acres is a mere 32 miles south of DC but it is often overlooked by us in favor of the more distant and far more famous Shenandoah National Park to the west. That's a shame because PWFP offers 37 miles of trails to explore in a terrain of gentle hills and streams. Sun-dappled meadows of ferns were one of the highlights of this hike for me. Although the day was warm the shade of the forest kept us comfortable throughout the hike. We ate our lunch on some shaded rocks beside a rippling stream. Our group of six completed this 7.1-mile hike in 4 hours and were back in town by 3 PM.
Upper Whiteoak Canyon Falls Hike (Craig)
Fortune Favored The Brave once more today, as 18 Adventurers discovered on a cool, overcast but virtually rain-free day in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It took us just over an hour to get from Skyline Drive down to our lunch spot overlooking the Upper Whiteoak Canyon Falls. We understandably set a slower pace as we headed back uphill on a horse trail but resumed more normal speeds once the steep sections were behind us. As we neared the Drive, we paused to remember the two lesbians who were murdered while camping in that very area 20 years ago. The final leg of our circuit along the Appalachian Trail was the most eventful, as we encountered in just a one-mile stretch: (1) a party of equestrians illegally defiling the Sacred Soil of the hiker-only AT; (2) three folks who were nearing the end of their quest to hike half the AT this year; and (3) an AT thru-hiker who had started from GA in late March and who still hopes to reach ME before the snows begin to fly. Before we returned to our cars, we recalled the critical role of the late Elie Wiesel in assuring that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum would remember the gay victims of Nazi persecution. Once the hike was done, we descended en masse upon nearby Skyland Resort, which opened a section of their Dining Room just for us before their normal business hours so we could indulge our cravings for their luscious blackberry ice cream and Prohibition-themed beverage concoctions.
Great Falls (MD) Independence Day Hike (Jeff)
A perfectly planned outing, as a large (yet still manageable) crowd showed up under unusually cool conditions for Independence Day. We had plenty of company as we savored the view of the Falls from the Overlook before continuing down the Canal towpath towards Old Anglers Inn. Luckily the rains held off until we got there, so we hiked the return leg on the tree-protected Berma Road in a light rain. Then somehow the Weather Gods relented at the end just long enough so we could have our picnic without getting soaked. By the time we left, the rains were back and the Park was all but deserted. Great timing all around, Jeff; much appreciated! (Trip Report filed by Craig Howell.)
Billy Goat Trail Hike (Jeff)
For better or worse, this will be a hike we'll all remember. Spectacular views, a great workout, and a friendly group - but I don’t think any of us would have complained if Mother Nature had lowered the thermostat a bit.
Harpers Ferry-Loudoun Heights Hike (Jerry C.)
There's no denying it, the weather was hot, and traffic on the way to Harpers Ferry was nightmarish, but those problems faded from mind as our congenial group of 16 men and women made its way along the heights of Harpers Ferry, across the Shenandoah River, and up the Appalachian Trail to Loudoun Heights. The shade of the forest helped to make the heat tolerable. We ate our lunch at Split Rock, an overlook offering stunning views of Harpers Ferry and the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Occasional rumbles of thunder made us a little nervous as we retraced our steps to Harpers Ferry, but we made it back before the downpour and the group decided to celebrate by visiting a nearby ice cream shop. It rained cats and dogs shortly thereafter. Special thanks to Roy for serving as our sweep.
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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