Saturday, November 19, 2011

Deception and Distance

We have exciting news!  We have a new addition to our hiking crew.  His name is Sprocket.  He is a seven-month-old otterhound that we recently adopted.  He will be accompanying us on many of our hikes.  With that in mind, we will add a Dog Friendly rating to our current rating system.  So many people like to take their dogs with them when they hike and it is sometimes hard to know what places are good and if they even allow dogs.

Yesterday we went to Marshy Point Park located on the Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore, Maryland.  It is part of the Chesapeake Gateways Network.  A certain someone told us that this place would be a great place to find salamanders.  Little information was available online prior to our visit but when we got there, there were lots of trail maps and other information about the park.  The trails are all relatively short.  Many have boardwalks to give you the ability to see the bay and the Saltpeter and Dundee Creeks that run through the park.  One boardwalk ended abruptly with no ramp or steps to get you back onto the ground except a ramp made out of haphazardly placed 6"x2" boards. 

Also keep in mind, this time of year with so many leaves on the ground, there could be lots of things hiding under them…Like tree roots.  While I – Ann, was jogging with Sprocket down the trail, I failed to see the root that tripped me.  I went down like I was sliding into home plate.  I lost the dog’s leash, my sunglasses went flying, the whole front of me was covered in dirt.  I was a mess.  Luckily the dog didn’t run off and the only thing wounded was my pride.

There was no mention of pet policies on the website or on the literature at the park and no signs posted that said pets were not allowed.  We took Sprocket with us and park employees did see him and made no comment but I was doing some research before writing this blog this morning and saw that on the Chesapeake Bay Gateways website it says that pets are not permitted in the park.  I have yet to call them to find out which is correct.  So this is the deception, there were no salamanders there! I guess it could be because it really is the wrong time of year to be finding them, but you can find all sorts of things including amphibians if you make the right effort.  But still, disappointing nonetheless. 

Maintenance  ««««
Human Traffic  «««
Wildlife ««
Terrain Variety «
Difficulty «
Dog Friendly «««?

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Since we didn't find anything too exciting at Marshy Point, we decided to head to Gunpowder Falls State Park, located only four miles away.  We visited the Hammerman Area.  This was also a disappointing visit.  There was one trail that was visible from the one way road.   The Muskrat Trail was uneventfully short.  It went around what looked like a trash pile/maintenance yard and dead-ended at a blind that looked out into a marsh of invasive Phragmites australis.  Last year we visited the Hereford Area of Gunpowder, which was much nicer.  Even after being up almost all night and getting up after fiveish hours of sleep and hung-over we hiked a 12 mile section of trail that followed a stream and had a great time.

Maintenance ««««
Human Traffic «««
Wildlife ««
Terrain Variety «
Difficulty «
Dog Friendly  «««

Oops!  Did I forget to mention that we drove over an hour just to get here?  Yep, sure did and hardly found anything of note at either of these places.

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  1. Hi, I was looking into getting a jacket for hikes into the snow. And was wondering if I can get unbiased advise regarding the purching of a jacket. Should I buy a gortex one or a down one? Or what is your recamendation? Thank you very much.


  2. I like to wear a gortex jacket myself, also because it stays dry. I would avoid a down jacket unless you plan to sit still in the cold, I tend to get too warm wearing them!

  3. My dog's name is Sprocket, also! I've hiked up in the Hereford area of Gunpowder - The Gunpowder South Trail. Took my dogs with me and we all loved it!