Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Oct 29 2005 - Moderate Day Hike at Soldier's Delight (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Matt Toerper
Participants:Matt Toerper, Jennifer Hansen, Amy Hatfield, Kelly Thomas, Kristen Larson, Jen A, Jason Zach, Alice Chan, Tom Reichelderfer, John Fogle, Nicholas Cirri, Maria Maranto Dickey, randi gordon, Christine Edell, gwen hirsch, Leo Seung, Aimee Morris, Cynthia Hildenbrand

Write Up:
On a rather chilly late October morning, we gathered in the parking lot of Soldier's Delight. During introductions, I suggested we each describe the best Halloween costume we had ever witnessed. Most of the responses were very unique and creative, and I must admit I was quite envious of their ingenuity (especially given my own very banal costume idea).

Once we started down the trail, we soon noticed that the terrain was much more rugged and barren than usual. The reason for this is the bedrock underneath the soil, which is known as serpentine. Serpentine is low in plant nutrients and cannot support the typical deciduous forest. Instead, it gives rise to prairie-like grasslands.

During our travels, we encountered a small mine, which was used to extract the serpentine rock and refine it into chromium ore. This mine was in operation from 1818-1888. Some of the more audacious hikers got pretty "up close and personal" with it and were able to get some good photos.

We also spotted several tree stumps along the trail. A few participants were curious about their presence. According to the park website, they are a result of the current five-year effort by park staff to remove invading pine trees that are not native to the area and that threaten the rare indigenous plants.

After the hike's conclusion, nine of us drove to the nearby Red Robin in Owings Mills. We shared some lively conversation about our Halloween party plans, and I revealed my very spartan and quite lame costume idea. Fortunately, by the time I returned home following a subsequent BSSC football game, I was worn out by the day's activities and elected to stay there for the evening, thus avoiding further embarrassment.

Thanks to everyone who joined me on the trail. Hopefully we can do this again in the summer, when more of the plants are in bloom.

--Matt Toerper

Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Amy Lipsius at Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.