Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving hike

We had planned a day-after-Thanksgiving hike, but the Scouts who needed it for advancement didn't show up for the final check / permission slip / rendezvous meeting. So I went with the dog to check out the intended route, given the paper map and even Google Earth might be outdated or misleading.

One possible trail was on Joppa Farm Road from U.S. 40 westward. Once I started walking it, though, I decided it wasn't that great for a group, as the railroad bridge has a one-lane passage with a partly blind curve, and before Route 7 could be reached the road narrowed with no foot path other than ditches on either side.

Joppa Farm road near railroad tracks

Then I went south from the Little Gunpowder Falls to the Big Gunpowder Falls. Even though the U.S. 40 bridge has no parking near the river, I thought I could find a spot to leave the car(s). At Jones Road I found an abandoned motel that would serve in a pinch, though it wasn't a great option. Hiking west from that spot on Jones Road I passed an industrial area that seemed worth avoiding, but then found a large open area that turned out to be a nearly unmarked parking lot for the State Park.

Interesting water bars/trail steps - large wood chunks with routed-out cross hatch patterns, only they're angled down the trail rather than off the trail. I think the path is more stable than it would be without these improvements. They could use a little rework perhaps, to direct runoff to the side of the trail better, and to cover the full width rather than partial, since we tended to walk on the unimproved side.

The view at stream level was spectacular, especially given the fact this is near several highly traveled East Coast corridors.

For later reference, here's a Google map to the trail head parking lot:

View Larger Map

Close up of one of the water bars

Water bar with credits

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