Saturday, November 24, 2007

Nov 17 2007 Appalachian Trail Washington Monument State Park Northwards

My sister Amy and I have been planning a hike on the A-Trail for some time, and it finally occurred. We drove across the Potomac River at Brunswick and headed up to Boonsboro, Md., going along Highway 67. This part of the drive was highlighted by the mountains to the east, whose view started out red at the base and turned progressively more orange then yellow at the crest.

Our destination, just east of Boonsboro, was the Washington Monument State Park--a location that my Dad and I and friends had backpacked along over 30 years ago.

The weather was typical November: in the 40's, moderate breeze, and partly cloudy. We hiked about 7.5 miles; out destination was Greenbrier State Park, a man-made lake from CCC days. We ate our lunch there under a gazebo.

This monument was the country's first for George Washington--1827.

Trailhead Marker:
John at Trailhead. Shortly afterwards, we heard and then saw a pileated woodpecker fly overhead.
Amy on the Trail:
Rock outcroppings near the Monument
Gorgeous colors!
Several ferns growing by the trail
An odd colorful leaf just attached (by the wind?)
More brilliant colors

Unusual bug casings and carcass
Field of ferns prior to Greenbrier State Park

Lake at Greenbrier State Park. We ate our lunch under the cover of the Gazebo.
Views from the sides of the Gazebo:

Bufflehead Ducks at a distance
Above the lake appeared some rocky cliffs

View of the beach front

Canadian Goose prints disappearing into the water
We found this sign at the closed rest room very helpful; the porta-potty was not visible from here. We had to walk over a slight rise [to the north] to find the porta-potty.
View from the porta-potty.

An unusual sight: Witch Hazel blooming in November. In Springfield, we see it bloom in March, after the Skunk Cabbage blooms.

Brilliant autumnal foliage!
At the end of the hike, we climbed a darkened stone stair case to the top of the monument and were rewarded with this view, looking down towards Boonsboro and Sharpsburg/Antietam to the left.

John at top of the observatory
Our next hike will either start at Greenbrier Park and head towards Annapolis Rock [about 3 miles away] or start at Gathland State Park and head south towards Weverton Cliffs just above Harpers Ferry.


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