It’s a new year, which means, it’s time for a new hike! My latest hike with MAHG was on the northern part of Catoctin Mountain, in Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park, near Thurmont, MD.
Cacoctin roughly parallels South Mountain (about 7 miles to the west), the mountain the Appalachian Trail follows in its course through Maryland, making this the closest hike I’ve done to the AT in Maryland (besides the AT itself).
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One of the reasons I joined MAHG was to let other people do the work of finding hiking trails and mapping out routes. This works out especially beautifully when they find a hiking spot I didn’t even know about, almost in my own backyard.
Today’s hike was along the Middle Patuxent River near Columbia, MD, in in an area MAHG calls the “Gorman Stream Valley”. Various mapping services call the area “Gorman Park”. Howard County, in which the area is located, doesn’t even appear to have a proper name for it, not listing it in its parks directory or hiking trails list, and refers to it only as “an undeveloped area called ‘the Gorman Area’” in a news release for its deer management program this winter.
Whatever the proper name for this area is, I’m still happy to discover a new place to hike, especially one that's only 15 minutes from my house. So I signed up almost last minute last night, after waiting a few hours for someone to drop out of the full RSVP list and open up an empty spot.
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Going for a new record of three hikes in a week since I returned home from the Appalachian Trail, I got up at 4:30 am (annoyingly, half an hour earlier than I had set my alarm) and set off shortly before 6 am for a “very strenuous” 12.3 mile hike in Shenandoah National Park with MAHG.
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