Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sugar Loaf Hike

Friday night, I cleaned all our family Camelbaks and filled them up with water.  Saturday morning, my wife made us some delicious sandwiches and packed up a picnic lunch for us (thank you, Sweetie!).  We suffered through an agonizing amount of little-boy whining (Why do we have to go?  I don't waaaaaant to gooooo.  It's booooooring.  Why can't we just stay home?).

Aside:  Have I mentioned how much I am starting to hate that word, "boring"?  My youngest child has been using it a LOT lately to describe ANY activity that doesn't involve video games or eating pizza. 

We eventually got everything and everyone packed in the car and headed across the Potomac into Maryland. Once across the Point of Rocks bridge, we hung a sharp right turn and headed down to have a picnic lunch and go for a hike around Sugarloaf Mountain south of Frederick, MD. 

Sugarloaf is unique in that it's privately owned, but open to the public AND free of charge.  There are several trails criss-crossing throughout the park, and you can either download a trail map on their website, or you can pick one up at any of the kiosks in the parking areas.

Hike Stats from Garmin Connect:  I don't know if this will display in topographic mode the way I was viewing it when I clicked on "embed."  If it doesn't, then I recommend clicking on "TOPO" in the upper right corner to get a feel for where we hiked around the top of the mountain.

This is the view from the parking lot looking toward the eastern lookout spot where we stopped to have lunch and begin our hike.  The weather was PERFECT for our hike today - mid-60s, partly cloudly and breezy.  I wore shorts and a lightweight sweatshirt and felt fine all day.

From the eastern lookout, we could see Gaithersburg, MD about 15 miles away to the southeast.  Here 8 year old ES is pointing something out in the distance to 6-year old YB.

The trails are mostly well-defined hard-pack dirt and some rocky parts here and there.  All the trails are well-marked with color-splotches on the trees.  We started out on the White Trail (hence the mark on the tree above), walking counter-clockwise around the mountain toward the northern lookout.

ES checking out the view from the northern lookout.

Of course, there are several geocaches around Sugarloaf.  YB was VERY excited that he found this geocache at the northern lookout.  Unfortunately, it had slipped out of its hiding spot and fell down into this crevice.  

None of us could reach it.

Next, we headed up the Red Trail toward the summit.

ES checks out the view of the Potomac River from the top of Sugarloaf.

Me and my boys on top of Sugarloaf

Going from the summit back down to the parking lot, we took the Green Trail which is mostly stairs.  We saw several people rock climbing on either side of the stairs.

Back at the parking lot, ES borrowed my wife's camera to record Lotis' participation in the day's hike.

Checking out things in the distance.

YB said, "Do you want to take a close up?"  Next thing I knew, they had jury-rigged their own version of a zoom lens. 

I never heard the boys say, "this is boring" during the hike.  I actually heard them say pleasant things like, "I like climbing on rocks," and "no, we like it here" (when it was time to go and I was trying to get them to come with me toward the parking lot).  That was a nice change from the battles we waged to get them in the car to leave the house.

Deja vu, no?  I wonder if it'll ever change (i.e. the boys will go willingly).

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a nicer day weather-wise and we had a wonderful family outing.


Hilary said...

You sure are creating some fine memories for those boys.

Tanya said...

Awesome memories! I actually went there when I was probably ES' age...but distinctly remember us taking the trail with STAIRS! ;o)

Love, love, love how the boys improvised on their zoom lens and how they capture Lotis outings on film too.

Tabor said...

PERFECT DAY! Kids do not know what they love if they are never exposed. I have hiked that 'mountain' AKA hill many a time when I lived near there. I even ran into Clinton's Press Sec. coming down with his kids one spring. There was also a family from the Indian embassy that got lost overnight on the hill, although I cannot figure out how! Must try this innovation in my photography!

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