Sat, May 21 2005 - Easy Day Hike in the Wetlands (North Point SP) (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Matt Toerper, Lori Bowes, Gavin Haentjens, Wayne Clement, Danielle Cayea, Shelly Work, Lisa Bartee, Lauren Silberman, Paula Valese, Laura Bennett, James Hamilton|
From 1906 to 1947, what is now North Point State Park was a resort/beach area known as Bay Shore Park. During this period, it was a popular getaway destination for Baltimore residents. People would take the trolley to the park, spend all day there, and go back to the city at night. It was quite elaborate and featured water slides, diving platforms, roller coasters, dance halls, and several other attractions. In 1947, the land was bought out by Bethlehem Steel, which had a factory nearby. Hoping to prepare the area for a new plant, Bethlehem Steel demolished most of the Bay Shore Park's buildings. The new factory was never built, however, and the wilderness returned. In 1987, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources bought the land and established it as a public park. Today it includes more than 1320 acres, 667 of which are state-protected wildlands. A few of the old Bay Shore Park structures remain, including two piers, a fountain, and the trolley station.
What a lovely day for a hike this was! Temperatures were in the low 70s, the sun was out, and we were caressed by a cool bay breeze. I don't think I could have imagined a more ideal climate.
We met at the parking lot in late morning and had a great turnout despite some nasty weather the previous day. I was pleasantly surprised to see several new faces. After reviewing the attendance list, I noticed nearly all the participants were on their first MOC hike!
We started down the trail only to discover the heavy rain the day before had turned it into a wetland! Luckily, there was another trail that ran parallel and we were able to take a quick detour. After a few minutes, we encountered another surprise: a five-foot-long black snake in the middle of our path! It seemed either very lethargic or too scared to move, and we were able to get some great photographs. Luckily the trail was pretty wide at this point, and we were able to move past him without incident.
Our first rendezvous point was an observation deck that overlooked a large area of tidal marsh. The view was dazzling and we passed around binoculars to get a better look at some of the wildlife. After the observation deck, the trail became much more narrow. A few parts were almost totally blocked by overturned trees. We continued, however, and were rewarded for our struggles when we finally emerged at a secluded, undeveloped beach that gave us another gorgeous view of the tidal marsh and a wonderful look at the Chesapeake Bay. We stayed there for a while, snapping photographs, lounging, and watching the many boats on the water, including a crabbing vessel.
After what seemed like an hour, we reluctantly re-entered the thick forest. A few minutes later, we encountered an old power house, which had been
overgrown by vegetation. After checking this out, we proceeded through even more wetland areas and had some more spectacular views of the marshes.
At the halfway point, we visited the developed area of the park, which includes another beach, the visitor's center, a spectacular pier, and the old Bay Shore Park Trolley station. We took a much-needed break at the visitor's center and marveled over the many old photographs of Bay Shore Park. It was hard to believe this mostly wild area was once a premier leisure resort.
The second half of the trail was a bit less interesting and went much faster. We finally arrived at our cars a whopping four hours after we had started--quite possibly a record for the slowest four miles ever on a flat MOC hike! In a place like this, however, you definitely want to take your time.
After the hike, six of us met for some lunch and conversation at the famous Matthew's Pizzeria in Canton. The food was absolutely delicious, and we cheerfully reminisced about our favorite musical "guilty pleasures." One individual whose identity I will mercifully protect admitted to owning an entire album by the band A-Ha. We also
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