Sun, Apr 17 2005 - Mod. Day Hike in GFSP & Wine Tasting (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Amy Pickwick, Carrie Graff, Linda Wilkens, Tracy Monson, H. Tran, Angela Grillo, Aaron Firoved, Rebecca Firoved, Laura Hustead, Mark Lundin, Megan Hamilton, Patrick Pelletier, Kate Copanic, Kristina Kavaliunas, Shelley Hintz, John Hintz, David Ni, Colin Babb, Ronit Fix|
We couldn’t have asked for a better day or group of participants for our first, of what we hope to be many, Hike-N-Wine events. The temperature was in the mid-70’s, and with two dogs in tow, 21 of us took to the Hereford Wildlands area of Gunpower Falls State Park, to complete a 2-hour, 4.2-mile slightly moderate hike.
The hike began along the Big Gunpowder Falls’ flood plain, on the white-blazed Gunpowder South Trail. Hiking along this trail for 0.9 miles, we came across a beautiful tributary on the other side of the river, called Raven Rock Falls. Around this area we began to see much of the damage from the beavers in the area. Numerous gnawed and felled trees abound.
While we stopped to take in the Raven Rock Falls view, and some photos, Carrie picked up a stick and flicked it in the water down below our 7’-or-so tall cliff. Next thing you know, her dog Shadow is off into the deep (but clear) water, to fetch the stick. She got it, but the river got her! She began floating down in the middle of the river and Carrie is like “do you think she’ll be able to get out?” I darned hoped so! So, Shadow started swimming to the side of the quickly-moving water and attempted to climb the cliff three or four times, each time sliding back down the hill. Eventually she made it back up. But, that didn’t stop us from wanting to see a reenactment and throwing another stick in the water…
After climbing some slopes alongside the river, and passing a marshy/muddy area, we reached the blue-blazed Panther Branch Trail to our right. Following this trail up and over a ridge, we followed the scenic Panther Branch upstream out of the Big Gunpowder Falls’ river valley.
The dogs (Shadow & Zena) especially loved this water-source as it was shallow enough for them to play in. Rumor is, the stream is named for a panther that lived in a cave in this area a long time ago. The stream valley has the remains of several mill wheel pits, earth dams and fieldstone buildings. We found three or four remnants of these former settlements. These old stone foundations may be the ruins of a gristmill and gunpowder mill that blew up on July 7, 1874.
After climbing up the Panther Branch drainage, (and checking out the spot I hit my head while doing the scouting two weeks ago), we meandered across a field where the sun beat down on us, went through a patch of woods, and then another field and dirt road, all the while sticking to the blazes. After passing hedgerows, pine plantations, and hardwoods, we spotted the cars down below and in the distance…
But, not only that…we could see the winery, Woodhall Winecellars! And it was calling our names.
Woodhall Winecellars allowed us to sample about ten different wines, and have half glasses of our two favorites each. We also had a sampling of Maryland cheeses for $10/person (each weekend, they rotate their complimentary items: sausages, cheeses, mushrooms, etc.) I think the group consensus was that the Smoked Cheddar from Cecil County was the winner. And, we all loved our wines to go with it! For those of you interested in purchasing this cheese, contact Mooo Over Cheeses LLC at either 410-398-4811 or 410-658-9731.
After our afternoon snack, we walked through the cellars to take a look around at the aging wine. The winemaker came to join us and answer our questions. A majority of their wines are from grapes grown across the state of Maryland, as he pointed out that their vineyard was very small. He delightfully answered all of our questions, before we got on our way (with some cheese and wine purchases in tow) at about 3 PM.
Thank you everyone for making this such a great event. I’m looking forward to more Hike-N-Wine events to come. If you are interested in putting one together, e-mail me, and I can help co-organize or you can read the Organizer Area
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