Friday, May 22, 2009

A Hike at the Park

One of the reasons we even considered moving to this part of Maryland was the easy access to outdoor opportunities the area provides. All one needs to do is hop in the car and in less than 20 minutes, you can be at some great places to commune with nature. There's hiking and camping, picnic grounds, fishing, canoeing, kayaks, you name it. So when all the stars aligned last weekend bringing us a great weather day, minimal chores to get done and the boys were in relatively good moods, we decided to throw together an impromptu hike and picnic last Saturday.

And what a great day it was! We packed some lunch and some snacks and drinks, jumped in the car and headed for Rocky Gap State Park - a gorgeous area of Mountain Maryland about 15 minutes from our house. Rocky Gap has it all, a nice lake, a lodge, campgrounds, a beach, a mountain or two, golf course, and the requisite hiking trails. That's were we were headed. We haven't explored much of the park yet - most of our exploration had been limited to the Lakeside Loop Trail - a relatively flat, well-traveled trail that circles the lake, goes through the campground and begins and ends at the parking lot. Great for little kids, and lots of great views of the lake. But this time we wanted to check out something different, so at the trail heads, we consulted the map and saw a different trail - the Evitts Mountain Trail that connected to Lakeside Loop and would bring us back to the parking lot within a decent time for lunch. So off we went.

Neither Mark nor I checked the difficulty on the Evitt's Mountain trail. I mean, why bother, right? Our 2 year old and 5 year old could handle it. Right. Actually, it wasn't TOO bad. There were some areas that if someone would've fallen, it would've been disastrous. But what a gorgeous hike it turned out to be. A few minutes through the woods and the trail started going down, down, down, and finally wound up in a gorge with a rushing river at the bottom - we got to cross a neat wooden bridge and then start the major uphill. There were some huge rocks, some cliff-like topography, lots of birds and blooming spring vegetation. Matthew needed to be carried a bit, especially up the slopes, but for the most part, the boys did great and we made it back to the car in time to dig into lunch - well-deserved after a hike made for champions!

I'm ready to go again. So are the boys - all three of them! Nicest part? What we came to Western Maryland for - close to home, didn't cost us a dime, no fighting mass humanity to get where you're going and when you get there, not a soul in sight. We passed nothing but wildlife on that trail, and only started running into a few folks as we got closer to the more well-traveled areas. Lots to explore around these parts - and with the boys getting bigger, looks like a lot of adventures in the coming years!

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