Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Testing the Limit

On Sunday I set out to do a 10 mile hike along the Mason Dixon Trail in White Clay Creek Preserve(PA)/State Park(DE). I wondered before I even started if I could manage 10 miles after being off for so long. I went for it anyway knowing that it might hurt at the end but it wouldn't kill me. In the end the total was 9.7 miles. I definitely felt it in the final miles but I never felt defeated. My legs were a bit sore yesterday but today they feel fine. So it was a good call.

This hike is sort of my second section of the Mason Dixon Trail. On the first attempt Candy and I lost the trail and took a different unplanned adventure. So I'll have to try the section(s) between Chadds Ford and White Clay Creek again another day. This time I studied the M-D maps; matched them to the White Clay Creek maps and carried them in my hand for the first half of my hike. It turned out I didn't really need all that as the trail was much better marked in the park.

It was a very nice hike. Although it was cool - 35-40 degrees the whole time - the sun was shining brightly which made all the difference. The M-D here hugs the shore of White Clay Creek popping in and out of the woods. I was treated to birdsong as well as frogs (or toads? I never know which) in the shallower wetlands. The trees creaked in the light breeze. And best of all the sound of the creek rushing over the rocks. If it had been a little warmer I could have pulled up for a nap.

At the five mile mark (more or less) I planned to turn around. Just west of the turn around was the Arc Corner Monument. If you are familiar with a map of the border of PA and DE you recall the border is not straight but rather an arc around New Castle /Wilmington before straightening out for about a mile to join the MD - PA border. The Arc Corner Monument marks the spot where the arc joins the straight line. The monument was less than half a mile from where I would have turned around so I went for it.

I was puzzled that there was no sign pointing to it. I knew where to turn off the trail only because it was mentioned in the M-D trail guide and in another  hiking blog I enjoy reading. Otherwise I never would have known it was there. Even when I arrived at the spot there was nothing telling me what this was.

On this side it says Pennsylvania
and on the other side Delaware. 

To take this photo of the top of the monument I had to move the log you see in the photo above it and stand on it. Even then I could not tell if the camera caught the image until after I took it, #Shortpeopleproblems

About a mile down the road from here is the Tri State Marker where the three state boundaries meet. I will have to visit that another day. I didn't want to add two miles to a hike that I believed was already long enough for the day. 

I took Hopkins Road back to the trail to cut off a bit of distance. This turned out not to be the brightest idea as there is very little shoulder. But I survived. I took another short cut on a different park trail as well and despite the extra distance to the Arc Monument my total for the day ended up being just under 10. 

Here is a link to the Garmin stats.  The little blip around mile 5 was the trail leading to the Arc Monument. Other than that the route was almost completely flat along the creek. 

- Keep smiling and keep moving

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