Hiking the Catoctins

I went hiking on Hog Rock Nature Trail in the Catoctin Mountains yesterday.  It was really great.  I got there just after the park opened, and except for a small group of hikers at the Vista, I had the trail to myself.  I went past the Vista and started on the Cunningham Falls trail, but doubled back after about an hour.  Honestly, I wanted to go all the way to the Falls, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take and I had things to do back home.

At the start of the trail there’s a little box with a trail map.  I quickly read the note inside the box that said there were a lot of trees down due to the hurricane, which I took to mean Hurricane Irene from last August.  If I had read the entire note, I would have seen that it referred to the 2003 hurricane, Isabel. Which confuses me just a bit, because there were so many trees down that it was a little sad, and I think I’d remember all of those trees being down during my previous hikes.  I think the park lost more trees due to Irene.

I didn’t bring a camera with me because all I wanted to do was hike for the sole purpose of hiking.  But I couldn’t help but take some shots with my phone.  I guess once you’re into photography you’re into it for life.  There were a lot of wild flowers, maybe weeds that dotted the landscape with tiny dots of color.

Fortunately, there was a small spring flowing from somewhere uphill.  I sat down for a few minutes with eyes closed just listening to the babbling water, the rustling of the chipmunks in the dry leaves, the woodpecker doing his thing, and the other birds calling out to each other about how wonderful this morning was.

I love the serenity.  I love the mountains.  Going there makes me feel whole.