Oh, this was nice!
I had intended to walk this trail when I flew in Wednesday, but a five-minute delay in pushing back from the gate at DFW turned into a 3.5 hour delay due to storms, then fuel, then more storms, then a weird routing that added 45 min of flight time. Supposed to get in at 1400, instead got in at 1630. So no hiking on Wednesday.
My meeting today finished early, so I had lunch (see post for Lexington Restaurant), and then headed over to the park.
There is a fee to walk here. It’s $3 for Marylanders, and $4 for the out of staters like me. I only had a fiver, so it was $5 for me. There was no water here, and the restrooms were closed. A portapotty was set up outside instead.
They have a nice, large map up in the parking lot.
I arrived around 1330. The trailhead is just in back of the restroom. You can see the brown sign for the trailhead to the left of my rental car.
The lake has one boat ramp, if that’s what floats you.
The trail is really nice. This is representative. There are places where the trail was covered in pine needles, which was really nice underfoot. There were a LOT of places where the trail was a muddy bog, due to a lot of rain lately, including today. My newly waterproofed boots were not a lot of good since I put my foot into a trail-based river more than once.
There are two places where a little point juts out into the lake. Notice that it’s starting to look a little gray?
Driving to get to the park, and then in park, I noticed a lot of these light or golden leaved trees. The leaves were dried and withered, but were quite stunning against the darker background.
There are a lot of streams flowing from the area around the park down into the lake. Some are very pretty. The trail has bridges at some of the stream crossings, but you have to jump over others, or walk on roots or rocks.
At one point about a mile into the hike, I walked through this boggy area. It was here the water started working its way through the boots and into the socks.
After this I walked across the top of the dam. It was a plain old road. On the other side, about 200 yards along, the road, I came up to a pond that was absolutely full of what I think were frogs, LOUDLY creaking. At this point, it also started to rain pretty heavily. I had the hood of my rain suit up, and was listening to the putative frogs, and just kept walking down the road. Not realizing that the road was no longer the trail… until I ran into a real road (as in highway), more than a mile away.
After I realized I was not on the trail anymore, I turned around and headed back. Several possible trails that branched off from the road just ended up as dead ends, in one case ending up in somebody’s back yard. I backtracked all the way to the frog pond, and there I saw:
I have to say at this point that the trail is really well marked, and that the marking works well when you use you eyes to look for the damn marker.
This part of the hike, on the east side of the lake, was just beautiful.
This is what the lake looks like from the north end.
This marker was planted in the ground around mileage marker 3. It has a “D” on the south side, and no other writing. I do not know why it is there next to the trail.
This was kind of cool. The runoff was not unexpectedly riling up the lake. The streams on the west side had a distinctive tan color. I saw this plume from one of the streams holding somewhat together as it flowed into the lake. It made a neat effect.
This is what it looked like from the other side.
We had what looked like a tree downed by a beaver near the water.
The trail was really wet and boggy and had active water flowing on it on the north and west sides. I was slogging through pure mud in many cases. This isn’t terribly unexpected given the near-constant rain over the past couple days. I experienced at least five steady, pouring rain during this hike. I ended up taking off my rainsuit pants and working them into a pack cover.
I got back to the parking lot around 1700. Given I walked an extra couple miles, a pretty good time.
There is cell coverage over most of the park. Some of the gullies didn’t have signal.
This was an excellent walk overall, really enjoyable in spite of the rain.
The hike clocked in at 9.23 miles per the GPS. The posted trail mileage is 7.8, but my detour by the dam added a bit.
Here is the GPS track overlaid on Google Earth. Note the detour off to the east…
Hmmm, note that you can see a couple areas where the GPS lock satellite lock – the points on the SW corner. I can guarantee I wasn’t walking on water in those places.