Even though global warming has thrown a number of weather events our way, Carl and I have gotten in a lot of hiking recently. One rain-threatened Sunday we did the venerable 5 mile loop that visits the 3 peaks of Sugarloaf Mountain. Carl brought along his shiny new Samsung Android 7' tablet with GPS, but we were unable to get a WiFi connection to have it download the topo map for Sugarloaf. But if we got bored and wanted to play Fruit Ninjas we were all set.
Lot's of people out on the mountain trying to beat the rain. On the final stretch back to the car we passed the oddly decorated tree shown above. The ornaments were used gift tags, old luggage tags, dry cleaning receipts, etc. Interesting but puzzling - were they trying to point out man's inhumanity to trees? Apparently this is new tradition at Sugarloaf - another hiker here has pictures of more elaborate decorations.
Carole and I managed to sneak in a 25 mile bike ride on the North Central Rail Trail, which is apparently now called the TCB trail - either because of sponsorship by some national frozen yogurt chain or in honor of former Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources secretary Torey C. Brown, who knows. A very nice middle of the week ride - until we hit bumper to bumper day camper teens on balloon tire cruiser bikes clogging up the trail. A few hundred "On your Left! No, your other Left!"s and we made it past them and went up to the rattlesnake infested waterfall, turned around and went back to the start in Ashland. Which is where we noticed the statue of a bunny humping a bench - I guess symbolizing rabbits inhumanity to concrete structures.
We closed out the morning with a great lunch at one of our favorite places in Timonium, the Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.
Carl and I followed that up with something I haven't done in over 15 years - we drove down to Shenandoah National Park and hiked on the Appalachian Trail and some side trails. First we went up Compton Peak, at about 2900 feet in elevation with right purty views.
Being radio nerds, there is only so much scenery viewing you can do before you get out the slingshot, put wire antennas in the trees, connect Carl's Elecraft K1 to the antennas and Carl's drill battery and start sending Morse Code cries for attention out into the ether. Our antenna was only 15 feet up and we were not loud - and we had no cellphone connectivity to announce our operation at the Summits on the Air Watch site. But we perservered and eventually made contacts with hams in Oregon, Califormia, Saskatchewan, Minnesota and other places.
From there we drove further south on Skyline Drive and did a short hike up to the top (3300 feet) of Mount Marshall, locally known as Mount Moron for some reasons. More great views, then we turned around and drove 120 miles back to Frederick, Maryland. Shenendoah National Park is a phenomenal place to hike but it is harder these days to justify 8 gallons of gas for the roundtrip...
Carole and I did get out on the boat and explored Whitehall Bay and Whitehall Creek, looking for Cantler's seafood restaurant. But it turned out Cantler's outfoxed us by hiding on Mill Creek until we left. That was supposed to be followed up by the first annual Radio Nerd Raft-up where 11 of us spread across our boat and the Makowski's boat would head out for a three hour tour and then anchor and consume mass quantities of radio nerd wife produced vittles. However, the weather didn't cooperate so it turned into doing the exact same thing but replacing the boats with Mike and Kathy's house.
Which turns out might have been a good thing - apparently at our marina a boat owner left candles burning in the boat, which overnight caused a conflagration damaging several boats and some dock spaces. Luckily our boats were safe in their little boatel shelves. Details here.