Sat, Nov 22 2008 - Diff AT Hike:Partial HAM (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||John Fogle, michael thomey, Douglas Boorstein, Diane Mock, Nils Olson, Misty Borst, Tara Moore, Virginia Geckler, Christopher Faro|
Freezing temperatures. Darkened skies. Sporadic wind gusts. Snow cover on the forest floor. Sound like the quintessential conditions for a mid-winter hike, don't they? But in reality, the calendar hadn't yet reached Thanksgiving...
Unseasonably cold weather failed to deter the MOC from completing Saturday's "Quarter-HAM" shuttle hike. Our goal was to hike 10 miles from Wolfsville Road to the MD / PA state line: one quarter of the Appalachian Trail's Maryland portion. Nine MOCers met at Pen Mar Park near the state line, subsequently piled into two of our four vehicles, and drove south to the AT's Wolfsville Road access point just east of Smithsburg. We began the actual hike at 9:50 AM. The group was composed of strong hikers and we made excellent time over rocky hills and snowy forest floor. Snow cover was nowhere more than about an inch, but coupled with cold temps and largely overcast skies it gave our surroundings a very winter-like feel.
We stopped for lunch break near Raven Rocks, then continued northward. A few peeks of sunshine finally began to break through the clouds. Things were going so smoothly that by the time we reached High Rock Overlook on Quirak Mountain, I'd begun to wonder if I'd overstated the hike's difficulty level. However, the steep and rocky descent down from the overlook had to be negotiated carefully. There was enough snow and leaf litter among the rocks to substantially increase the hazards of descent. Our group sustained a few minor slips along the way, but luckily nothing serious.
At a little after 3 PM we reached Pen Mar Park, where our two remaining shuttle vehicles awaited. However, before leaving we continued to hike a short distance downhill from the park in order to reach the PA state line. This accomplished, we returned uphill, once again piled nine hikers into two cars, and drove back to Wolfsville Road to complete the shuttle.
I'm grateful to all of you who participated, braved the cold, and humored me on the shuttle logistics. Particular kudos to Mike and Chris, who not only attended this event but also accompanied me on my previous "Quarter HAM" segments earlier in the year.
-- John Fogle
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