In pursuit of a healthy day after Thanksgiving I loaded lovebug up in the car and we headed out to Sugarloaf Mountain to take a lovely afternoon hike. We have gone several times over the last few years and it is one of my favorite places to go. I hiked this mountain during adventure camp as a kid and with a few camp friends got quite lost on the mountain; it was a great day then and I have yet to have a visit to the mtn leave me anything but refreshed and joyful.
It was busy up at the mountain. Lots of families, I assume, wishing to burn off their turkey coma with a good walk through the fallen leaves of Frederick County. We drove up to our usual spot on the Eastern view and started along the white trail. We reached the crossroads to head to the first outlook (our usual route) when I decided we should extend the length of our hike on this day. Typically, our hike is 2ish miles and takes less than an hour. But the weather was beautiful on this day, so off we went onto the blue trail otherwise known as “White Rocks Trail”. This would lead us up to the top of the mountain through a 5-6 mile journey.
This started off quite well. We were having a great time and running into quite a lot of people during the first 45 minutes of our hike. I really enjoyed the new views of expansive forest that was quiet but for the traditional sounds of nature. I think it is this quiet that I truly appreciate about this hiking spot. Yes, it takes about an hour and a quarter to drive there (I avoid major highways to complete the restful experience) but it is worth every second on the road to escape the noise and bustle of surrounding thoroughfares.
After the first hour, the compatriots along the trail dissapated and we were left to enjoy our trek alone for quite some time. The hills were strenuous and I think I underestimated my recovery from last weekend’s race (not to mention the family 5k on Thursday). Nevertheless, we pressed on stopping occasionally for water and a carrot. About 3 miles in we finally reached the summit of White Rocks. What a beautiful view of the Frederick countryside and surrounding hills and valleys. It was a clear day and lovely to see and hear the ends of autumn before we creep quickly into winter’s barrenness.
After a rest at the top, it was down the mountain for us, and then the twists and turns of about 3 more miles through the woods. We encountered differing terrain along the path back to our starting point. The thick layers of crunchy leaves led to many wonderful sounds but also a few slips and ankle twists. Even Buddy had one little slip, which I must say gave me a chuckle as I am constantly fighting to keep up with the four-legged wonder. We came to a road/valley where we were to cross and continue through the blue trail until we picked up again to reach the white trail and then back home. Alas, this was yet again a steep ascent for which my calves and glutes were not so excited. Even my furry companion had slowed his pace a bit. I was feeling a bit hungry, but knew that we had to press on.
Finally, after one short wrong turn, we made our way back to the white trail and then back along the road to our car. It was a two and one half hour adventure for us on this day of about 6 miles. We both blissfully accepted the meandering car ride home with a soda for me and a nap (on the drivers lap no less) for lovebug.
Here I sit, two days later, still quite sore from the climbs up and down, but tremendously grateful for what might be the last fall day before the soggy, frosty winter commences. Today as the cold rain pours down and the woody creek is covered in damp grey haze, I’m so glad we made our trek longer. It was a sense of peace that was truly needed before the rush of the holiday season.