Today we figured we would step it up a notch. Little did we know how many notches we would actually go up. It was a fairly mild day so we slept in and got a later start on the trail. It was so easy to get to to the trail. I was amazed to know that this little jewel was just a few miles from where I work 3 days a week. I had NO idea!
We took 695 and exited on the Belair Rd ext going North. The parking lot was about 6 miles down on the right (Just after you cross the Gunpowder River). We had no problem parking and the trail was easy to find. We went through a tunnel that lead to the trail. Just on the other side of the tunnel you can opt to go straight and follow the river or turn right and go into the “wildlands”. We went right. We followed the pink trail markings
up and down and up and down the hill. For as much of a work out as I did not get last week this week made up for it this week. This part of the hike was mostly just hilly. No stream crossings. The pink markings lead us to the next trail which were the blue markings. We followed the blue trail. The blue trail comes to a fork in the trail. We stayed stayed right. At about this time I was pooped!
We used an app called MapMyHike. At this point MapMyHike said that we had gone about 2 miles. It was not long before we came to another fork in the road. This is where the blue trail(Stocksdale Trail) met the yellow trail (Sweathouse Trail). We stayed right and followed the yellow trail. This is where we got to really cross the streams and play in the water. As we were walking a bug PUFF of butterflies showed up. They were flying all around us. It was so cool. I thought we saw a lot of butterflies last week at Falling Branch Trail but that was NOTHING compared to today.
We played in the stream for a bit. The water was about 2-3 feet deep. We were disappointed to see that the watering hole that we had read about was so low and was not really great for swimming. But the butterflies made up for it.
After playing in the stream for a bit we climbed up and down and up and down some more. The hills are not super steep but they are enough to get your blood pumping for sure. MapMyHike says that that the steepest hill was about 3.4% grade. At this point we thought we were winding down our hike. We THOUGHT we were looping back and meeting up with the blue trail again. As we sweated our way to a clearing we looked up and what did we see???? The actual watering hole.
And boy was it welcome. We were all sweaty and ready for a dip. The water here was about 5-8 ft deep. There were fish swimming around and the water was very clear. When standing in the water up to just about my waist I could see my feet.
After spending about 30 minutes swimming and trying to teach the dog to swim… Yes teach the dog, the Labrador Retriever, how to swim. He was not a natural. He was about as graceful as Honey Boo Boo. He clunked around in the water, we are not even sure that he ever kicked his back paws. It was great entertainment for us but I don’t think that he enjoyed it much. He opt’d to spend his time back on the land. On a side note, we learned today that dogs need foot protection when hiking. Oh poor Boh’s paw pads are so sore swollen and even torn in some spots. He is home now with medicine on his paws all wrapped up and healing. Poor guy 😦
After the cool off and fun around the watering hole NOW it had to be smooth sailing heading back to the smaller trail along the river side… Yeah…. no such luck. It is here that we later realized that we took our wrong turn. At the watering hole we were unable to find the markings that showed us which way to go. So we reasoned that we were supposed to follow the yellow trail back to the blue trail and then back to that fork in the road where we bore right, and go left instead…. so off we went. We were just about half way back through the yellow trail when MapMyHike announced that we were now on our 5th mile. Hmmmm…. that is interesting. The entire loop should have been just under 5 miles???
Oh well nothing to do about it now but to continue on. We made it to that blue fork in the road and followed it left, getting a little pep in our step thinking now we MUST be close to the end. It was about then that we came to another fork in the road. To the right was blue markings and to the left was orange markings. My husband said that we would follow the orange trail. Good thing too, had we taken the blue trail it would have lead us right back to that watering hole, and I am pretty sure I would have had a melt down just like a 2 yr old if I had ended up back there. At this point my feet hurt, I was tired and I did not have any water left. I was pretty close to panic mode. You see just days ago I ended up in an Urgent Care Center with confusion and fatigue the cause…. dehydration. Well dehydration and the diet that I am following is a low carb/high protein diet and I had skipped the high protein part by not staying on protocol. I did not want that feeling back and I was so afraid we were going to have to back track all of our steps to get out, there would be a good chance dehydration.
Crisis averted though, thanks to my sweet dear husband. We followed the orange trail which looped us back to the blue trail but it was the part of the blue trail that was heading us in the right direction along the Gunpowder River. The last mile back on the trail my phone died and the dog slowed down a bunch. It was here that we learned about his poor paws. He made it to the car though and we were not on the road home soon enough!! 🙂
Today was the first time I used the MapMyHike and I messed up a little bit. The trip was split into two trips and then my phone died before the end of the hike but here is the gist of the hike.
If you have small children you could hike the blue trail (bare left instead of right at the first split) and travel along the riverside up to the watering hole. It is about a 1 mile hike each way with easy terrain.
However if you are looking to work up a sweat with a reward at the end I would follow the path stated above UNTIL you get to the watering hole. I’d look a bit harder to find the path that leads you back to the blue path….
OR if you really want to sweat do it the way we did it… but pack more water. 🙂
For my Ideal Protein friends I started out the day with a restricted bar and an egg. I drank lots and lots of water along the way. Immediately after finishing the hike I had a pink lemonade drink. My coach recommended that I follow up my hike with an absorb-able protein (ie. a drink). Then had lunch, dinner and snack according to protocol. I have to say I am feeling pretty good so far. I was expecting to be a bit more fatigued following the hike but thanks to my awesome coaches advice I feel like I CAN DO this while on Ideal Protein.