On Saturday Amy, Rob and I drove up to Prince Frederick to go on a winter guided hike, hosted by the American Chestnut Land Trust (ACLT). I found out about the hike through an announcement placed in the newsletter that comes with my SMECO bill (which I actually read, go figure!), and was very excited as I’ve seen the brown road signs for ACLT trails up and down Route 2/4 for months and have always wanted to check them out.
The hike started at 1:30 p.m. on a crisp February afternoon. I initially thought I’d regret not bringing a hat or band to cover my ears, but the hike proved to be just strenuous enough to get my blood pumping and keep me warm! From the Double Oak Farm trailhead, we started out on the Double Oak Farm trail which connected us to the Goldstein Bay Farm trail. Set entirely in the woods, we hiked past Horse Swamp and eventually ended up with a choice: East Fork or West Fork. We chose the East Fork, and were rewarded with a winter’s view of Parker’s Creek through the leafless trees (see photo at left).
The hike back followed the same trail, so Amy, Rob and I actually split from the group and headed back at our own (much faster) pace. We really enjoyed the trail, which challenged us with a few steep climbs (see photo at left: that’s Amy making it to the top of one particularly slippery slope!). The ACLT owns about 1,000 acres and manages another 2,000; all-in-all they provide access to 15 miles of trails, accessible through either the south or north locations.
One of the best little tidbits I learned about these trails is that they’re publicly accessible year-round (yeah!) and they allow (leashed) dogs (oh yeah!)!!! In fact, several pooches accompanied us on our hike, including Heidi (see photo at left). I can’t wait to explore the rest of the ACLT trails once spring hits our area and the world starts to wake up a little and show some color!
Photos, from top left: The group that went hiking was at least 15 strong. Amy and Rob show their enthusiasm for hiking by sticking their tongues out at me. The afternoon sun shone down on us through the bare trees. Rob and I pause for a picture while waiting for the tail-end of the group to catch up. This tree is looking right at me! (Or, I’m looking through it, whatever.) Amy and I pose for a photo at the end of the East Fork. This fungus-covered tree looks like a giant pair of trousers to me. Amy: “Where are my keys? I didn’t drop them on the trail, did I?” Rob: “You want ’em? Come’n get’em! hehehe”