Hello there! Please keep us in your thoughts today as we try to move everything out of our apartment and try to clean it out to turn over the key. It’s amazing how quickly 365 days can fly by. This week has been crazy busy and extremely exhausting but I wanted to share a few photos of the last week, mostly from last Saturday where we spent a few hours hiking a couple of the trails, including the Switchback Trail, at the McKeldin Area of Patapsco State Park.
Fall colors at Centennial Lake.
This past Saturday was, yet again, another perfect day for hiking so Brady and I went down to Shenandoah National Park with my dad, brother, step-mom, and step-sister. It was a day full of crisp autumn air, colorful trees, and mountain views. I think the last time I was in Shenandoah was back when I was in middle school when I didn’t appreciate long drives so I can easily say that I appreciated this trip way more than I did back then. Adventuring with my husband is probably the biggest upgrade. 😉
We started our first hike just before 11 am with a .7 mile hike from the Lower Hawksbill Trailhead to Hawksbill Summit – which is the highest peak in the park. The hike was pretty much straight up hill from where we started but the views were worth the effort.
Last weekend Brady and I did our 4th and probably final backpacking trip of the year. We hadn’t gone backpacking since July so it was about time to plan another trip. The weather was looking like it was going to be the perfect hiking weather – topping out at 69 degrees both days – so we decided to section hike another portion of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. We’ve previously done a couple overnight hikes going north of AT-40 parking lot which goes by Annapolis Rock and Black Rock as well as the southern 17.5 miles of Maryland to Harpers Ferry.
For this trip, we did an out-and-back from the AT-40 parking lot down to the Rocky Run shelter – overlapping a previous backpacking trip by about 1 mile.
Our hike started by crossing over I-70 and passing between a couple of private properties before heading into the woods. About 3 miles in, there’s a short spur trail to the Washington Monument which is the only real vista view for this section of the trail. The monument is a small stone structure built in 1827 by the people in Boonsboro, MD and it’s the first dedicated monument to George Washington.
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.