|Approx 7:45 a.m. Sun rising over|
the I- 95 bridge
Today I went to Susquehanna State Park in Maryland. It's about an hour drive south on 95. It sounds
far because it's in another state but the drive was only a few minutes more than driving out to French Creek SP in PA. I wanted to visit this park after seeing Destrie, an MLC trail runner, posting about it. Great views and lots of climbing. I need the climbing to get ready for super hike and great views are always a plus.
As soon as I was on the trail I could see why Destrie likes the ridge trail so much. It is a narrow tree lined trail that climbs and descends repeatedly opening up at times to provide awesome views of the river. There quite a few views through the trees but those will disappear in Spring and Summer. I look forward to seeing the trail then, too.
A short way in I came to the junction with the white blazed Land of Promise Trail. I made a mental note of where I was. My plan was to follow the ridge trail to the northern end of the park at the Deer Creek picnic area then follow the Farm Road Trail back to the grist mill and then the Land of Promise Trail back to this spot. That was the plan, anyway.
The ridge trail descended to the road just before the grist mill. I discovered a historic walking trail and decided to take that. I figured it probably went around the Rock Run Historic Area and would bring me back to the street eventually. It did and on the way I got a nice tour of the area. I also found the connection to the Land of Promise Trail which I would need to know for later.
Back at the street and the mill I tried to resume my hike on the ridge trail. I found the red blazes on two trees along the road and then - poof - they disappeared. I went back and forth a couple of times but found no marker indicating a turn. I followed the road for a bit knowing that I really wanted to be up there...
|In real life it was steeper|
than it looks here. The photo begins
partway up the hill
So instead I followed the Mason Dixon Trail which was now following the river. This meant much more flatland than I had anticipated but it was better than no hike at all. I figured I'd follow this for a couple of miles and if I didn't find the Deer Creek picnic area I would simply turn around and retrace my steps back to the car. A few miles later I came to a trail and bridge that went across a creek away from the Mason Dixon Trail. No signage except for a Susquehanna Heritage Trail sign similar to the ones I had seen back at the Grist Mill town. I have to admit that I pulled up the GPS on my phone here to see if I could tell where the Deer Creek picnic area was. It looked like this spur trail went in the general direction of the picnic area so I decided to try it.
I found a map kiosk and determined where the trails back to the Grist Mill went off. I found the junction of the Farm Road Trail and the Ridge Trail. I decided to go back on the Ridge Trail so I could find out where it meets up with the Grist Mill village. Well,it turns out the Ridge Trail follows a road to the left just past the Mill for a short distance and then descends to cross the creek and head back up to the ridge. When I got to the road I looked again....and there is no clear indication of that in terms of trail blazes. I suppose if I had a park trail map I might have found it but I didn't.
I passed on the creek crossing here. I got half way across and realized I was going to end up IN the creek no matter what and I just wasn't in the mood for it. I had a towel and dry socks in my pack but still opted to cut off on a trail that others had blazed back out to the street and cross the creek on the bridge. Wimpy perhaps but that water was going to be very cold.
Also, as I approached the village I stopped to look down at the road where I had contemplated climbing up. Now that I knew for certain the trail was at the top, I think I could have made it. But it was a smart move to skip that adventure without that knowledge.
I found the Land of Promise trail and followed it around to the ridge trail and back to my car. The ridge trail has great views but I think the Land of Promise trail had more climbing. I'll look at my Garmin info more closely later to see of that's true or if it just felt that way because I was nearing the end of a 4 hour hike.
Keep smiling and keep moving,