Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On the trail again, part 2

As promised, here is the second part of my tale of our recent vacation jaunt.
Having been able to base at my friend's house in Harrisburg, on the second day of this vacation we headed to Maryland for a day trip, stopping first at Mount St. Mary's University.
We wanted to walk out to the grotto, take in some of the beautiful statuary and, of course, walk through the cemetery there.
Here are some of the wonderful shots that capture a bit of that stop. If you ever have the chance to check this out, please do so.

After we spent a bit of time there, it was time to get back on the road to our next destination, Catoctin Mountain National Park.

I had never been there, but my friend said it was a beautiful spot and we could do some hiking, so off we went.

We stopped at the visitors center, picked up a map and asked the park ranger which trail he would suggest. Since we're not spring chickens, but also aren't couch potatoes, we didn't want the most challenging trail. He hemmed and hawed a bit, and then suggested the trail to Cunningham Falls. It was supposed to be a bit more than 3 miles round-trip; we figured that was easily doable before dark.

So we set off -- and quickly realized the term "trail" is a bit of an overstatement.
There were no markings at all, and because of all the leaves, you kind of had to guess as you went up and down in the woods, over here and back there, walk, walk walk. We finally passed some people heading in the opposite direction and asked if they had gone to the falls. They hesitated, said yeah, and we asked if we were almost there.
"Ummmm," was about all the reply we got.
We finally decided to rest on a fallen tree for a few minutes, and then thought it would be most prudent to head back.
We hated not getting to the falls, but we had been walking a long time and there was still no water in site.
After getting back to the parking lot, we decided to drive through the park, which was gorgeous. And then we headed up the road to Cunningham Falls State Park. At a lake pulloff, a man in a wheelchair told us there was supposedly an area along the main road where you could park and get to the falls.

We finally found that and at last made it to the falls. They were beautiful.

Now to get there from the national park, you would have had to cross that main road, we discovered. We're still a bit mystified by that national park trail.
So if you ever get down there and want to see the falls, go to the state park. Take one of the other "trails" on the national park side if you just want to trek through the woods.
Still, it was a terrific trip, we had lots of fun ... and have great memories of that long trek to nowhere.
Once again, thanks, Lynn, for a great vacation. And thanks, Danielle, for the great photos.

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