Maryland Outdoor Club
Sun, May 30 2004 - Moderate Day Hike in PA and BBQ (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jesse Allen
Participants:Jesse Allen, Chris Whalen, Kim Kidwell, Michael Haendel, Margie de Marcaida, Rob Koeckert, Colette Went, Steven Ruzicka, Joseph Rybowicz, thiago pires, Rita Fabian, Vera Bjurstrom

Write Up:
Our hike got off to a good start with everyone attending at the car pool location right on time... except for the organizer who dribbled in last! After brief introductions, getting car pool set ups, and directions to Caledonia State Park from Frederick (and calling a few intended attendees to find out they were ill and not coming), we headed off. The drive was straightforward and uneventful, though we did all see a huge rally of motor bikes going the Rolling Thunder rally in Washington.

Once on site at Caledonia State Park, Jesse experienced minor panic when Kim, Colette, and Steve did not appear with the rest of us, but they had apparently stopped for coffee on the way in and made it to the parking lot while others were off in search of the bathroom/attitude improvement facilities. Michael and Pam also found us without trouble (at least that they admitted to) and once all together, we set off into the woods.

The park is a beautiful location with native evergreens in places, several streams all of which were quite full and babbling happily with running water from recent rains, as well as large stands of native rhodedron which will be blooming in the middle of June. Even without the blooms, it was quite beautiful.

After a first half mile or so along the side of a stream in the forest, we turned and climbed our first (and only substantial) hill of the day. The trail appeared to be more a streambed than a trail, and that had running water on it rather recently, but it was not muddy at all and got us to the ridgeline where we hiked in to the Appalachian Trail and on to the Quarry Gap Shelter where the natural sound of cicadas was drowned out by the PATC trail manager with his weedwhacker clearing the area around the shelter. We took a break here for lunch and chatterd for a while. The shelter is on a beautiful location right on the edge of a stream with fresh clean water and even potted begonias which were in the stream getting a little drink while we were there. Some other day hikers came through with their dog who was quite happy and friendly, but convinced that the PATC cabin manager was a grave threat to his owners and barked at him the whole time even while wagging his tail for attention or enjoying a nice petting from Pam.

After lunch, Rita and Vera were chomping at the bit to get going, so we headed off further up the Appalchian Trail across the stream and up the hill and around to the far end of our figure of eight shaped trail. On the way back along on this side trail, we had a much more wide stream crossing to ford, where those of us in Gortex boots got to stomp through the stream without getting wet while the rest tried to find rocks and tree roots to step all the way across.

We also passed a number of fenced off areas in the park here where the rangers are experimenting with deer exclusion zones. Due to absence of predators, deer numbers are much higher than the historical norm in the area, and their overpopulation results in much of the ground cover being stripped away. It was quite surprising to see just how much the vegetation changed in the areas surrounded by protection fencing!

Our loop brought us back around to the Appalachian Trail and back down the same hill we had climbed earlier, but coming into the park from a different direction on the second loop of the figure of eight path. Dropped at the far end of the park by the trail, we got to hike through families out for a Memorial Day weekend picnic, of which there were quite a few. Many of us were quite tempted to shed our hiking shoes and wiggle our toes in the wonderful running streams on the way back, but held off on the promise until we got back to the car and secured a picnic table for ourselves. The fresh cool stream water was wonderful

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