Walklist: 10 KM VOLKSMARCH EVENT REVIEW - PATAPSCO STATE PARK, CATONSVILLE MD USA - 10/31/98 by Kevin Shaw
- 10 KM VOLKSMARCH EVENT REVIEW
PATAPSCO STATE PARK, CATONSVILLE MD USA
October 31, 1998 by Kevin Shaw
On a brilliantly beautiful Halloween Saturday afternoon,
my pooches India and Peaches and I met our friend
Marty Brumback at the Hilton area of Patapsco State
Park in Catonsville MD for the 10 km walk the Columbia
Volksmarch Club hosted in honor of the memory of
John Barkdoll, former trailmaster of the Club who had
laid out trails in this beautiful area a few years back.
I wasn't certain about bringing the pooches, since the
brochure said that pets weren't allowed at the start/finish
or in the developed areas of the park, but interpreted this
correctly that they were allowed on the trails in the woods,
which was where most of this event took place. We did
talk to a ranger about halfway, and he did clarify the situation
for us in a nice way, obviously a dog lover himself. We kept
the pooches away from picnic areas and shelters per his
directions. Most State Parks in Maryland don't allow pets in
parks at all.
The start/finish was in a shelter with plenty of refreshments
available, being run by a local Boy Scout Troop. I opted for
the A award available for this event, which was a glass mug
honoring the event and the memory of John Barkdoll. There
was a 10 km trail rated 2+ marked with pink streamers, and a
15 km trail rated 3 marked with blue streamers. Both Marty
and I have not been walking enough to feel confident enough
to tackle the 15 km trail, so we headed out in search of pink
streamers. Marty also grabbed written instructions, with a map
of the park trails on the back. The trail was well marked, but
in a few places it was nice to read the map and written
instructions to confirm where we were, how far we had gone,
and where we were headed.
The trail started out in the Hilton picnic area but quickly left
the developed part and into the woods, brilliant with peak fall
color on this late October afternoon. It also didn't take long
before we were headed downhill on the Sawmill Branch Trail, a
rather rocky trail with some tough footing in places. In this
part the trail was for use returning to the finish also,
so we exchanged pleasantries with several walkers headed uphill.
We crossed under the railroad in a tunnel, with a stream flowing
in the middle. The pooches cooled off their feet a bit,
one of the many chances they would have to do this during the
entire course. This was pretty close to the bottom of the hill
as we found out. Shortly thereafter, after ambling over a few
more rocky spots, we hit our first "relief" from the rocks on
a unique spot in the trail- we walked on the top of a pipeline,
carrying water down the hill to the main branch of the Patapsco
River. Marty and I could not recall ever walking on top of a pipe
for such a great length, probably at least 100 yards. It was
pretty smooth going really, though a bit strange.
The trail then flattened out, and we hit a major turn at the
swinging bridge over the Patapsco River. Peaches was not so sure
about crossing this rather unstable surface, and was quite
relieved to be back on terra firma on the other side. I rather
enjoyed it actually. Marty was walking India and
as is the usual character of India, she wasn't fazed by this
somewhat unstable walking surface. I do believe, however, that
both pooches would have preferred to swim across.
We then walked a few kilometers along the river on a back country
road that only very occasionally carried any traffic. We met a few
walkers in this section, and some bikers too, as there was some
sort of bike organization outing at a shelter along the route.
Turning left on a road at a stop sign, we crossed back over the
river on a more conventional bridge then left heading back on a
natural trail that had apparently been recently cleared out.
We crossed a stream at the site of the future John Barkdoll
Memorial Bridge, just prior to reaching the checkpoint.
A temporary bridge allowed us to cross on this day, but soon
this new Memorial Bridge will be built. We refreshed ourselves
at the checkpoint, and engaged in a conversation with a friendly
woman working the Checkpoint for the Columbia Club, finding out
more about John Barkdoll, and some of the members of the Club
who we both had known in the past.
We retraced our steps after the checkpoint stop back over the bridge,
then passed Lost Lake, a place for the under 16 and over 64 to fish.
Then we were on a paved trail, about half the width of the road on
the other side. This was the Grist Mill Trail. We kept looking for
the Grist Mill, but did not see it. The trail was really nice though,
still reasonably flat and quite pleasant. The woman who we were
talking to at the checkpoint had been relieved, so she was finishing
up the walk, and walked with us for a few km on this part. A stalled
CSX train loomed above us on the railroad grade, a long one that
stretched for at least one kilometer! We passed a stream that
tunnelled under the railroad right of way, high up the bank.
At the 8 km point, we met back up with the trail we took on the way out,
at the big swinging bridge. I offered to take the pooches over it again,
but they declined. They did take advantage, however, of a nice pool of
clear,cool water soon after that pipeline section, to get a drink and
cool off their feet. This was just before the tunnel under the railroad,
which marked the beginning of the uphill march to the finish.
The walk uphill was a slow one for us, and we stopped a few times to catch
our breath and enjoy the beauty of this varied terrain. It also was quite
narrow in spots, so while meeting up with others headed downhill we had
to stop and get off the trail a bit to let them pass on by. It was
rougher physically on the knees, legs and feet on the way down, but
tougher on the wind on the way up, though the footing is easier.
The finish was eventually reached, and the reward of making it up the hill
was great. We put the pooches back in the car and then headed for the
finish pavilion. We thanked the Club volunteers for a most enjoyable
walk, and enjoyed some chili, hot dogs and sodas the Boy Scouts were
selling. I should have thought to bring some back for the pooches,
but I didn't. There were about 260 walkers on this first day of this two
day event, with 80 on the 15 km trail, and 180 on the 10 km trail.
With a one day event in not too far away Fairfield PA on Saturday,
perhaps many more will get the chance to enjoy this walk on Sunday
as the only event in the area. The weather promises to be great again.
I really felt a sense of accomplishment after finishing this walk,
and hope to return here again someday to walk these lovely trails
and back country roads once again.
Visit Wendy's Walking page at http://walking.miningco.com
Send posts for the list to walklist@...
To unsubscribe, compose a message to majordomo@... with
the message: unsubscribe walklist
(or, for digest subscribers:) unsubscribe walklist-digest
See the Subscriber/Contributor Agreement at