Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Years Day Hike

Well, it's 15 hours into 2015 and purely by chance I have taken a step toward addressing a few things I would liked to have done more of in 2014 - I went for a hike and found 5 geocaches along the way.
Ready to set out

Dave texted me yesterday that he and Leo were planning on trying to get in a day hike today somewhere not too far from home and asked if I wanted to go. We didn't have anything specific planned at home, so I said "sure." Within a few hours of that we had a plan to meet at my house at 9:30 this morning and drive an hour down I-95 to Susquehanna State Park in Maryland, where we would have a number of different trail options to choose from to cobble together a 6-8 mile hike, and still be home by 3-ish.
Along the Susquehanna River

After a little New Years Eve celebrating last night and getting to bed at around 1:15am, I was questioning the wisdom of my choice, especially given that the high was only supposed to be around 35 degrees.
Beaver damage

As it turned out, the excessive layering options I brought along weren't necessary, as it was a sunny cold day, but not Arctic by any means. The first 2.5 miles or so were along the banks of the river on an old rails-to-trails trail that was like walking on a sidewalk. The gurgle of the water over the little sections of rapids was peaceful. At one point there were a grove of trees with obvious beaver damage, but they looked older and not very recent.
Giant American Beech

Getting away from the water, the remainder of the hike was on parts of the Deer Creek and Susquehanna Ridge trails, along with some of the connector trails. Plain forest in the winter (with the occasional glimpses of roads and civilization) isn't always the most beautiful kind of hiking, but it was great to get out.
Even bigger White Oak

Highlights of the hike (besides for the river views) were a pair of amazing old specimen trees; a giant American Beech and a 200+ year old White Oak. Gorgeous.
Ridge top river view

When all was said and done, we had covered a fairly leisurely 7.0 miles, found five geocaches including an earthcache, and were back home at my house by 3:30pm. It was a very nice day, and a good start to the new year.

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