Saturday, June 20, 2015

SSH West Side of the River - Mason Dixon Trail

I arrived at Holtwood Recreation Area around 8:30.The 25K option for the Super Hike starts here. My plan was to go as far as I could go in 3 hours and turn around. I followed road for 2.5 miles from  Holtwood to Lock 12. This route was clearly marked with Orange blazes. However, I think it may be an alternate route for the Conestoga Trail because what I experienced does not match the course description. It would be good if I did make a mistake here because that was too much road for hiking shoes. The return trip especially was torture.

Trail goes under and around this
Except for this road portion the rest of the hike was so beautiful and a lot of fun. Once across the river I followed the Mason Dixon Trail. I had my M-D maps with me and used them twice when the blazes were few and far between. The trail here is less steep and less technical than the Conestoga on the east side of the river. The switchbacks going up to the power line break and back down the other side were challenging though. Very narrow and changing direction pretty sharply and quickly. I was grateful for the poles. The drop off was not the kind that paralyzes me but the poles gave me a bit more confidence. They were very useful on the lower portions near the water which were rocky and wet. My feet tried to slide out from under me twice but the poles kept me from landing on my hip one time and face planting the other.

The day was mostly overcast. Tropical Storm Bill is due to hit later in the day. The humidity was the highest for any hike I've done in over a year. Last summer was so mild. Today was not. My hiking pants were soaked when I got back to the car and it wasn't from rain or plowing through wet growth. I always bring extra socks and a shirt for the ride home. If this keeps up I should pack pants too!

I had planned to turn around at 3 hours. At 2.5 though I hit a thick grove of Rhododendren. They were plentiful all along trail and up the hill. The blooms were dying and mostly fallen off. But in this spot there were still quite a bit and the bees buzzing in my ear were getting on my nerves. Plus I lost the blazes. So I decided it was as good a time as any to turn around.

I had a good time today. The hike was fun, beautiful and I made it home before an thunderstorms. In July I'll start at Otter Creek and come south on the M-D Trail to see what that end of the course looks like.

Here's today's maps and stats. The map is boring (out and back) but the elevation is kinda impressive if I do say so myself. You can see how I slow down A LOT on the downs. Still managed a good overall average pace so I should be fine.

So peaceful.

Keep smiling and keep moving
-Paula

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Sweating Paradox

A haiku. Maybe not a good one but I give myself A for effort. This is dedicated to my husband who is always ready to celebrate my stuff- big and small. Is it proper to dedicate a haiku? Well I just did, deal with it. ;)


I workout, I sweat
Feeling good. Ready to take on
the day. Don't hug me.


Keep smiling and keep moving (and hug AFTER the shower)
-Paula

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Breaking the Rules

It is a sunshine on my shoulder kind of day today. After a week of gray and clouds the sun played peek-a-boo yesterday and finally broke through and washed away the clouds today.

I headed to Ridley Creek State Park. I planned to cover 8-10 miles traipsing over all three woods trails. At least that was the plan.

My stomach has been bothering me since Friday. I thought I had gotten past it but 1.5 miles in I realized I wasn't. By 5 miles I realized I needed to just go home. My head and my stomach were upset.

I broke a cardinal rule of hiking today. I didn't have a park map with me. Even though I know this park well I always stick one in my pocket. Except today. I didn't leave it on purpose I just forgot it. This is what I get for only halfheartedly laying everything out the night before.

And today is a perfect example of why you don't leave home without the map. For as well as I know the park, I was tired and didn't feel well and was having trouble picturing where I was. I knew where I was on the trail I was on but I get turned around sometimes where the trails intersect. I knew I didn't want go all the way back to the blue trail start. I ended up relying on landmarks (easier to do in Winter than now) and finding a way back to the car. However, the map would have helped identify a quicker route. Hike details here. 

At home I showered, ate a little and took a nap. I feel eh. Hopefully this too shall pass.

Keep smiling and keep moving.
-Paula