Sun, Mar 25 2007 - Honeymoon Hike #3 (View Original Event Details)|
Jackie Putman, John Putman
|Participants:||Jackie Putman, John Putman, Tom Reichelderfer, Sarah Davis, Ronit Fix, Laura Paszkiewicz, Ruwan Alwis, Sandra Stabler, Kimberly Engle, Eileen Barry, glenn ramey, Tracy Ward Wright, Ian Wright|
Despite seemingly endless inclines, a last minute overhaul of the entire hike itinerary and the ever-present possibility of being shot by Secret Service agents, the group survived the visit to Catoctin Mountain Park .
You see, within the confines of Catoctin Mountain Park lies the private retreat of the President of the United States , Camp David . Upon arrival to the Park Visitors' Center, we learned that President Bush himself was spending the weekend at Camp David . The Park staff had understandably neglected to mention this when I called them earlier in the week. I guess I didn't "need to know." At any rate, the President's presence required the closing off of one of the main trails in the park; the trail we had planned on taking. We weren't going to argue but did have to make a quick change in plans. After speaking to the Ranger and conferring amongst the co-organizers, we planned a new route and headed off.
We had to essentially hike what we could of the mountain in the direction opposite of what was originally planned. We decided to take on the Hills of Catoctin first. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Up we went. The early-hike euphoria wore off quickly as we began panting. We were eventually rewarded with the sight of Wolf Rock. A massive wall of rock, easily 20 feet high towered above us. The majority of the group went around the side and climbed up. The view down upon the valley was impressive.
Next was Chimney rock. We settled in here for a bit and had snack time. The view here was really impressive. There were also some more massive rock formations upon which we sat. We enjoyed these vistas so much it was a shame we had to skip the three other peaks: Blue Ridge Summit, Thurmont Vista and Hog Rock.
One would think that the rest of the way would be downhill since we had just visited a peak. Wrong. We did go downward for a while but then the path from the Park Headquarters took a steep turn to the right. This turned into the longest uphill of the day. Being late in the day, the group was already tired and the trail just kept going up and up. Even Tyler , the unofficial MOC canine mascot was running out of steam. We became pretty dispirited every time we looked up the hill in front of us. After a couple of breaks and much murmuring, we reached the top and began the gentle downward slope back to the Visitors' Center.
We took another break at the Visitors' Center then moved on to the final portion of the trip. One of the organizers, who will remain nameless, claimed that the trail to Cunningham Falls was flat. Wrong again. The trail started with a steep incline that was followed with another steady climb. After talk of mutiny, we finally made it to the falls and had a nice long rest against the scenic backdrop. The trip back over that same trail to the Visitors' Center was refreshingly easy. We got back to our cars and headed to Mountain Gate Family Restaurant for the best buffet in Thurmont.
Although the overall length of the hike had to be shortened, we still got a good workout thanks to the accursed hills. I hope everyone had a good time or can at least forgive me for taking the group up all those steep inclines. See you at Honeymoon Hike Number 4.
-Jackie Maffei and John Putman
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