An odd juxtaposition: I spent the week in Las Vegas at a company offsite (as usual accomplishing the squadoosh typical of off-sites) and returned to snow and ice in Maryland. I hate Las Vegas - it is probably the worst possible city (well, Orlando is close) for a business trip. Back in the day (pre-laptops, pre-Blackberries) there used to be downtime on business trips, but now they are pretty much "fly at the last minute, work, fly back as soon as possible" so the major features I look for in hotels are fast Internet connectivity and a good (and free) health club - and hotels in Vegas have neither. One neat thing - on the way back, my flight was delayed and the Las Vegas airport has a fitness club - for $10 I killed an hour working out instead of killing an hour enriching Starbucks' bottom line.
So, last weekend Carl and I decided to hike the northern side of the Avalon area of Patapsco State Park, revisiting the scene of the crime. We'd had about 5 inches of snow earlier in the week and there was still a few inches covering any shaded area. That seemed to attract the mountain bikers, as there were scads of them about. The river level is up quite a bit, maybe we are slowly pulling out of drought territory.
From the Park 'n Ride we hiked the Soapstone Branch Trail down to the Patapsco River, then about 2 miles on the paved hiker/biker trail upstream to the Buzzards Rock trail back up the ridge. Three or four miles on the Santee Branch trail brought us back to the Soapstone Branch Trail, with some nice ups and downs but no killer climbs. Not much wildlife out - a bunch of deer resting up between making assaults on suburban landscaping and that was about it. A total of about 8.5 miles
Googleicious map of the hike below and more statistics here: