We were going to do this hike last weekend but laziness won and we slept in. So this weekend we got up bright and early on Saturday morning to go hike the Billy Goat Trail down at Great Falls. We last did this hike almost exactly one year ago just before Brady started at his new job and we decided it was about time we go do this again.
The Billy Goat Trail A is an extremely popular trail in the region and can be very crowded on the weekends. The plan was to get there around 8 and park in the Anglers parking lot which would have been free but we didn’t get there til after 8:30 and it was full. It was $10 to park up at the main entrance but the parking lot was still relatively empty and we hopped straight onto the towpath to get down to the trailhead. Even though it was first thing in the morning, the trail was already more crowded than last time. Since you’re scrambling on rocks for the whole trail, it’s definitely much easier to maneuver with less people, so on the weekend, the earlier, the better.
It’s somewhat hard to see the rock climbers on the other side of the river (see if you can find them!) and there’s also a kayaker in the river.
Hello there friends! It’s been a while but that will all make sense pretty soon… but for now, I’ve got a quick catch up and some favorites to share with you!
In the middle of June we got a new kitten, Maisie! It’s unbelievable how much she’s grown in 2.5 months! For whatever reason her nickname is Maisie-Ella Mozzarella, she’s a bitey little monster who loves to terrorize our 14-year-old cat Shadow, and she’s got the loudest purr I’ve ever heard from a cat so I guess we’ll keep her. 😉
I didn’t get to do a whole lot this summer but Brady and I did get away the first weekend of August to go camping at Deep Creek Lake with my family. While we were there, we went to Swallow Falls State Park for the first time and it’s easily now my favorite state park in Maryland. It gives off a vibe as though you were in the Pacific NW, probably more so because we were there just after a downpour!
I told you we are hooked! We sprung for a full weekend backpacking trip instead of just an overnight and we conquered around 17.5 miles mostly on Saturday and Sunday due to a late start on Friday. Ideally we would have hiked from the I-70 AT trailhead but that would have been 7 miles night one and we just didn’t have the daylight to accomplish that. So the plan was to leave at 3:40ish from Brady’s work, drive both cars out to Harpers Ferry, park and then take one car up to Washington Monument State Park and then start the hike from there. That would have gotten us there by at least 5:30 pm and been just under a 4 mile hike to the shelter for our first night.
That was the plan.
Hanna, my sister, was going to come with us for her first backpacking adventure and sleep in our tent while Brady and I were going to try hammock camping. We were expecting 2 Amazon packages to arrive that afternoon containing the second hammock, the tarp, and two 64 oz Sawyer squeeze bags for our water filter. Usually it gets delivered between 2:30 and 3:30 but we were still waiting on it to arrive once Brady got off work so we decided to delay for a little while and hope it came before we left. We played a card game and when it still hadn’t come, we decided to just go knowing it would probably get delivered a few minutes after we left. As we were walking to the door with all our stuff, guess what was delivered!
Finally we were on our way but since we were leaving later, we knew we were going to be dealing with heavier traffic trying to get out there. We arrived in Harpers Ferry around 6:30 but the signage for where to park was very unclear. We ended up parking at the Cavalier Heights Visitor Center but even that was frustrating because signs said we needed to pay and you could only park overnight with a permit… but there was no one there to pay! We ended up finally leaving at 7, without paying, to drive the 30 minutes up to our start point. Since we were only going to have 1 hour til sunset, we parked on Reno Monument Road in a small dirt lot and started the mile hike in towards Rocky Run Shelter.
We finally did it! The first backpacking trip for this duo is in the books and now we’re hooked. We hiked about 8 and a bit miles on the Appalachian Trail and got to enjoy the vista views from Annapolis Rock and Black Rock. If the views are this beautiful here on our east coast mini-mountains then I can only imagine how breathtaking the views are out west. We enjoyed this trip so much that we’re already planning to go out again this weekend.
I’m behind on posting our Disney trip and I want to get back to that because I want to have it journaled, even if it’s only for myself! My website has been having issues the last week and I’m hoping I’ve finally got it all figured out but it did throw me back a little. So for now, I need to get back to posting my current goings on before I’ve missed all the exciting happenings of my life
Our trek was a mini getaway since it was gear testing and was also a tad last minute. That’s not to say we weren’t prepared because we began collecting gear back in early April but a trip just didn’t work out until now when we were like, hey we’ve got nothing else going on, let’s go backpacking! Luckily I had all the food and stuff we needed without having to shop for anything so I spent the day on Friday getting everything ready while Brady was at work and we left the apartment around 4:45 pm once he got home.
We got stuck in traffic because of leaving so late and we didn’t arrive at the trailhead until 6 pm with a tad less than 2.5 hours before sunset. We were going to try and make it to the Pogo Memorial backpacking camp but we knew it would be mostly dark when we got there. Our backup was camping near Annapolis Rocks but I’d read online that camping there was allowed only in “designated areas”.
What did that mean?
Where were these areas?
How was I supposed to know where they were?
How many people could stay there?
I don’t like not having answers. Once we were on the offshoot trail towards Annapolis Rocks, there was finally a sign to answer my questions.
Time to revisit those August goals and see how things went…
August Goals Revisited
- Build core strength through my glutes, back and abs.
- Continue to build on my fitness.
- Significantly reduce sugar intake.
- Work towards a regular bedtime and wake up routine and getting healthier sleep.
Maybe 1 for 4. I think I had a rough August because there were a lot of things going on in multiple aspects of my life and it was hard to start a routine going. Hanna left for college two weeks ago so I’ve been missing her. Brady was interviewing for jobs, accepted an offer, and has been working on licensing things, I’ve been doing various work including teaching Pre-K kids for a few days! By the way, they are the most adorable little kids ever and I want to adopt them all! I’ve definitely found my age group if I ever wanted to go into teaching.
After a few days spent with adorable Pre-K kids, I had a day off on Wednesday to go hiking with my hubby! He’s been getting paperwork done so he can start his job as soon as his license comes in. So exciting! We went down to Great Falls to go hiking because apparently there are miles and miles of really cool trails that I’ve only just found out about recently.
It cost $10 to get into the park which was pretty depressing because it was the very next day that the Centennial celebration for the park began and entry would have been free. If only we had known…
We picked up a pretty and descriptive trail map from the museum/tavern house and headed towards the Billy Goat A trail. It is described as a 1.75 mi hike with lots of rock scrambling and that good balance is necessary. You have to be in good health to do this trail and it apparently takes 2-3 hours to complete.
My phone died for no reason and wouldn’t turn back on so I had to use Brady’s phone to take photos which was depressing since his camera isn’t very good.
It was a beautiful hike though and better photos wouldn’t have done the area justice anyways. I was surprised at how many people were there in the middle of the day mid-week but the parking lot was mostly full and there was a good lot of people out on the trails.