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Monday, April 14, 2014

HoCo Recreation and Parks makes the Maryland Appalachian Trail doable

   I have wanted to hike the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail for a couple of years but the logistics have always made it a challenge.  The Maryland section is only 41 miles so it would not be difficult to do in 5 or 6 walks of 7-8 miles. Having to drive two cars to park one at the beginning of the walk and one at the end was a hassle.  To have one car meant only walking half as far to double back to the car.  This year I learned that HoCo Recreation and Parks has scheduled walks that do each section of the trail over 6 walks.  They provide the van transportation for $17 a person.  Last Saturday I did my first walk of 7.4 miles.

   Starting at Gathland State Park the trail was mostly uphill for the first mile.

The terrain was a real challenge with the very rocky ground that made footing in sections tough.  Not a trail walk for novices.

The trail followed the path of a number of Civil War armies on their way to Antietam and Gettysburg.  The rock cliffs at the top provided cover for soldiers.

The Trail has shelters along the way for over night lodging for long term hikers.  This shelter actually had two levels.  The Maryland section of the trail is very popular with hikers.

The highlight of the hike was the Weverton Cliffs that rise 750 feet above the Potomac River.

   From the cliffs it was a one mile walk down to the river with 16 switch backs to where our van was parked

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