From the couch to the trails

Tag Archives: Hidden Gem in Maryland

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I don’t know, it’s like we just can’t seem to get these hikes right.  HA HA!  This week we set out to do a 10 mile hike around Prettyboy Damn.  All of our hiking info so far has come from the internet.  Well this hike info must have been posted n 1992??  We arrived and the route suggested was not even close to a trail.  There was however a trail just steps away from were this one started so we followed that one, thinking that they could possibly join once we got there.  Yeah, no such luck.  We hiked for about 2 miles down to and along the Reservoir.  (MapMyHike lost us for a bit on its GPS so it reads a little less) Then we attempted going through the forest trying our very hardest to make a path to where the other trail was said to begin.  We ended up with lots of scratches and thorns on our legs and a dead end to our trail.   I will tell you I am PRETTY sure that you burn more calories and work up more of a sweat trying to get through that brush.  I would have sworn that we climbed much higher and for longer than the MapMyHike recoreded.    I was super tired any my heart rate was definitely up.

This small hike was a bit of a tease.  A tease because first of all the trail no longer existed but also because the second trail we found lead us down to the water which was beautiful and blue and deep.  PERFECT water for swimming in but it is protected.  It is one of the water sources used to hydrate and bath us Baltimorians.

For all of you Ideal Protein dieters I had an egg before setting off as well as a dash of Vanilla shake in my coffee and a Blueberry Cran Protein drink.  I did not feel very strong this hike.  I felt tired almost instantly and my heart was pounding on the inclines which were very manageable.  I think the difference for me this week and last week was that I made sure to hydrate a LOT the day before last week and this week not so much.  I only added a few ounces to my daily dose of about 80oz.

If you are looking to get a pretty secluded glimpse of the reservoir this is a small hike that will allow that.

Directions:

On our GPS we plugged in the address

2230 Tracey Stores Rd, Baltimore MD

We followed Tracey Store Rd until we reached  Gate 5.  (There is an area where Tracey Store Rd meets Tracey Store Rd turn right and follow Tracey Store Rd to the dead end.   The path to the water is an easy cleared walk downhill and an uphill walk back but, like I said before very manageable.  I’d say it’s about .60 miles each way.   Once you get to the water there are only remnants of a trail.  But you can follows the waters edge for a bit.  We turned right at the water.  This right turn is what lead to the thorns and the scratched up legs so I don’t really recommend it unless you plan on wearing pants and feel like blazing a trail of your very own.  🙂

As we pulled away from this hike I was feeling itchy, tired and deflated.  First of all my son did not come along this week so I was bummed about that and then the trail did not really exist.  AND the part that did exist tuckered me out almost instantly!  I even said to my husband maybe I am not really cut out for this hiking thing.  So he says well you had another 8 miles planned into your day how about we just take a walk.  Little did I know what he was getting us into……

To Be Continued……………………………………….

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Let’s just say that our first family hike did not get off to such a smooth start.  We were very unorganized in the morning rushing to grab and go all that we would need (which was not much).  So there was a little frustration there….  But the hour long drive brought us plenty of light conversation and pretty Maryland views.  We even arrived a little early to the park.  The gates were not set to open until 9am.

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Well around 9:15pm we started getting frustrated that the gates STILL were not open.Image  By 9:40pm I was on the phone with the DNR trying to figure out if maybe this part of the park was not open on Sundays.  Low and behold 5 minutes after the phone call someone arrived to open the gate.

Finally we were off on the trail.  ImageWe got a later start than we had intended but luckily the cover of the trees gave us plenty of shade and the humidity was not so bad, not so bad at all.  The hike to the falls was SOOOO short and non-strenuous.  The terrain was very easy to navigate.  There were boardwalks, rocks to hop over the stream, dirt paths and rock formations.

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Along the way we saw some pretty cedar trees and some other old trees with beautiful exposed roots.

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The falls were gorgeous!!  So very pretty.  We had the place to ourselves for about 20 minutes before anyone else arrived.  We got to swim out to the falls , dig under rocks to find bugs and just enjoy the peace and quiet.

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We did not see lots of beautiful flowers but there was certainly lots of green.  ImageThere were some very impressive rock formations to see.

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It really did feel like we had our own piece of paradise.

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Here is my favorite picture of the day!Image

You can absolutely bring kids along with you on this hike.  Maybe even pack a snack and stay for a few hours.  I loved that the falls even made my son smile and clap.  Which if you have a teenager you know this is not always easily done.

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The water was clean we filled up a water bottle just so we could see how clear it was.  ImageAfter about 45 minutes of playing in the falls we headed back towards the car.  You can opt to come back along the trail the way that you came OR you can go up around the back and top of the falls and cross the river up there.  There is a trail to the left of the falls that you can take up and around the back of the falls.  There was a fun little rock crevasse that had what looked like rock steps.

The loop back around was a little more strenuous but I would still classify it as easy.  PLUS you can sit in the water where the before the falls turn into falls.

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There was a small area at the bottom of the falls that would allow you to jump into the water pool below but it was too small for our taste and not worth the risk.  So after playing around in the water for a while we took the hike back to the car.  The loop behind the falls met up with the same trail that we came in on.  So it was a nice leisurely walk back.

I would recommend this trail if:

You are looking for someplace to take a short walk and cool off

If you have smaller children with you

If you want to just check out some beautiful sights

If you are looking for a work out you might want to skip this one.

The trail is easy to find

We came from route 24 just drive through Rock State Park

make a left on to St. Mary’s Road and then a right on to Falling Branch Rd.  The parking lot will be on the right hand side.