Friday, May 6, 2011

Monocacy NRMA Civil War Trails

On Sunday, March 20th, we headed out to do some hiking in Frederick County, MD on some of the famous Civil War Trails in the area.  Our destination was the Monocacy NRMA.  The trails were a bit muddy, unmarked, and there were also some creeks to cross so boots are recommended on this one.  We walked around for a while and discovered an old lime kiln along the trail. After a quick look at this piece of history we continued our adventure along the trail.

At one of the creek crossings we spotted a curious little fish in the stream.  These little fish, called Potomac Sculpin, spend their lives along the bottom of cool streams hunting for whatever little bugs might crawl along and become their next meal.   These little fish resembling saltwater gobies we a welcome find for the day!  Another good find in the creek was the stonefly nymph.  These are indicators of good stream health.

The geology of this particular area is also very interesting.  The NRMA is located in the Frederick Valley of the Piedmont Plateau.  Large deposits of carbonate rock including limestone, dolomite, and marble.  Along the trail we found several interesting pieces of quartz and obsidian.  Some of these pieces were likely washed downstream.   In other places in the area, fossiliferous formations have been exposed that contain trilobite fossils that are the oldest in the Piedmont region.

So on this trail, be sure to not forget your boots and maybe a compass in case you get turned around on one of the unmarked trails.  Also be aware that there may be hunters in the area during the fall and spring hunting seasons so flourescent orange should be part of your attire.

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1 comment:

  1. Those pieces of "obsidian" are glassified slag produced by an iron foundry located along Furnace Branch creek. I've seen some along the trail about 500 feet from the main trail entrance. It is an historical site once owned by the family of Robert Johnson, brother of Maryland's first governor.