Back to Basics

Last week on a gorgeous spring day the hike on the American Discovery Trail was decidedly unsuccessful.  It started off beautiful as I walked the bridge crossing the river to Annapolis.  But less than two hours into the walk I was stuck on a road with no shoulder, nowhere to step off the road, and was facing into a blind curve with cars speeding around at 50 m.p.h.  This was a walking trail?  I did not want to die for this, so I retraced my steps, took a detour (thanks to a Google Map) but only ended up at a multi-highway intersection with no pedestrian crossing.  Traffic was intense.  Perhaps bicyclists could have managed more safely, but the Annapolis area simply does not expect pedestrians to be walking on roads.  Given the fact that Rick and I had driven two hours just to get to the starting point for the day, I have come to the conclusion that this adventure might not be worth it in time or cost of gas—at least not in the Annapolis-Washington area.

So this morning, with another stunning spring day on a Friday off, I suddenly decided to go back to basics.   The Appalachian Trail is practically in my backyard…well, maybe eight miles away.  All of a sudden it seemed rather silly not to take it on again.  Around twenty years ago I hiked much of the local AT with my children on Sunday afternoons.  It’s not  a “new” adventure, but I haven’t done much of the trail for awhile.  There certainly is no traffic.  It will save me adding much carbon to the planet’s atmosphere in order to get to the trail—at least until I cover all the AT miles nearest my home.

So today I started at Boiling Springs (mile 1112) and walked north across the Cumberland Valley for 10.3 miles.  I was surprised by how well maintained the trail is through this area, and it really is quite beautiful.  What a great walk and a good workout!  Here are a few cell phone photos:

Leaving Boiling Springs and discovering a Jack-in-the-pulpit on a break.

A farm in the Cumberland Valley and a healthy patch of swamp cabbage
A robin’s egg and dandelions look better at the edge of a farm field.
A sprouting crop of some kind of grain and a cluster of Virginia bluebells.
A contented cow and the Conodoguinet Creek.

Not bad for a back-to-basics 10.3 mile day in the Cumberland Valley.