The East Coast is doing a Seattle impression - we are in a week long rain every day pattern. However, after heavy rain and thunderstorms moved through Saturday night, Sunday morning dawned cloudy but dry. Since the Kentucky Derby had been held the week before, and next week will be the Maryland Preakness, we knew it was time to hunt the elusive blooming Mountain Laurel, who apparently are big horse racing fans.
The Gunpowder River trails in Hereford goes through lots of Mountain Laurel and as we started the hike a few were in bloom. We generally do a 5.8 mile loop on the Gunpowder South and Panther Branch Trails, and if you go in a clockwise direction you quickly pass a picturesque but small waterfall.
This area of the Gunpowder River is like Club Med for beavers and there are gnawed and falled trees all over the place. We passed a few individual white and pink mountain laurel that had popped into bloom.
However, only about 10% of the bushes were blooming - I guess the rest are waiting until Preakness weekend. About .75 miles into the clockwise loop, there is a canyon wall (well, "canyon" by Maryland standards) that is covered with Mountain Laurel but once again we were not there at the peak - very few had popped.
That was about it for the elusive blooming Mountain Laurel - the rest of the loop was uneventful. With all the rain we've been having, everything is lush and green - maybe this year the deer will have plenty to eat and will stay away from my landscaping...