Ok, I'm NOT dissing eastern hiking, simply observing how different it is from what we know in the wide-open west. The drive to the National Park was not through BLM or Forest Service lands, but rather along a winding rural road lined with multi-acre estates and colonial looking mansions. Stone, brick and big driveways with quaint views of a meadow or a brown forest. The white tail deer are cute and petite. The parking lot is HUMUNGOUS, and I'm sure it fills up before 10am every weekend (and weekday?) in the summer. Although the parking lot was less than 1/4 full the day we were there, we passed a ton of people on the trail, mostly wearing big, long, puffy jackets and also wearing enough black to make John comment on how he needs more black in his wardrobe now that he's in the east again. The river was huge, the creeks were running, there was water everywhere, and although it was frigid, a generally damp feel and smell was all around us.
But what was absolutely wonderful was seeing our friends, spending some time outside, and learning about a new (to us) short long-distance trail we could hike or bike someday: The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. You could basically walk from the southern tip of Maryland to Pittsburgh. 830 miles. So many things to daydream about!
While I'm daydreaming about busting my bike out of storage and bolting on the fenders to get it tour-ready, here are some pics of our afternoon.