Saturday, January 25, 2014

January Hike

Laura, center, and Paula, right,
with Paula's adorable dog,
Quetzel, join me on a vigorous
hike through Gunpowder Falls
State Park
The sky was mostly clear, the landscape primarily snow-free and the ground almost not muddy.  What else to do on a recent Sunday than to pile on the layers and venture out into the frosty air, which reached no more than 45 degrees Fahrenheit on the 12th – a veritable heat wave for the Baltimore region of the United States this month.

I wasn’t able to join my colleagues at the Maryland Park Service on one of the increasingly popular “First Day” hikes taking place in national parks across the country on the first day of this new year (see my post about last year’s “First Day” hike), so I was eager for this chance to burn off some holiday poundage by joining my dear friends Paula Becker, biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Heritage Service, and Laura Van Scoyoc, president of the Friends group for Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area in northwestern Baltimore County, Maryland, for an energetic few hours expending calories in the great outdoors.

The trees didn't seem to mind the
rocky terrain
Paula needed to walk her beautiful Belgian Malinois shepherd, Quetzel, and I was badly in need of exercise, having been on an ill-advised hiatus from the gym for the past several weeks because of a super busy schedule. It was a win-win opportunity for we friends to reconnect after the holidays, extinguish some fat cells and engage in lively discourse about recent developments at Soldiers Delight, a unique ecosystem and wildland habitat dear to the three of us, which we have worked very hard together to protect, conserve and restore over the past decade.

The Gunpowder river,
behind us, was flowing
Paula selected our hiking venue: a robust romp up and down rocky trails through the aptly named “Sweathouse Branch” wildlands area of Gunpowder Falls State Park in neighboring Harford County. The area features several loop trails through hardwood forest along the banks of the Big Gunpowder river.  The alternating steep terrain and wide flat paths offered stunning vistas of winter landscape beside the fast-flowing water.  We covered a little more than four miles before calling it a day. Paula reported later that her peppy little dog slept the whole way home.  What a great way to spend an early Sunday afternoon!

No comments:

Post a Comment