Eidolon at Sideling Hill and Hiking Cacapon Mountain, West Virginia

Some of you probably thought I fell off the side of the earth. Have no fear, I have been busy at home.

I finally had some time to get away for a weekend and decided not to make a long trek to the hinterland. I guess I should explain my methodology on choosing places to visit. I own National Geographic's Back Roads Explorer which is basically the TOPO mays for the entire US. I wish they sold the TOPO maps for the entire world because I'd be the first one to plunk down the money for them. I take a good long look at the TOPO maps for the midatlantic region and then try to find a mountain that has some good elevation and, ideally, a hiking trail. Most of these maps were drawn by hand probably in the 1930s, so many of the hiking trails are obsolete or have been moved.

Once I arrive in an area I am then challenged to find the trail, if it still exists. I suppose I could do more but I am lazy and the search for the trail adds a dimension to the trip. So, on Saturday I decided to head toward Cacapon Mountain in West Virginia. I arrive in the area and decide to follow route 9 to see if I see a trail head. I stop at the Panorama Overlook to look at the map and I get a knock on my car window. Some guy is asking whether I am here for the Potomac Valley Audubon Society Hike. Being the flexible gal that I am, I replied, "Sure am. Where are we going?" It turns out the Potomac Valley Audubon people were planning a hike to a place called Eidolon which is about 350 acres that has been willed to the Nature Conservancy Trust over on Sideling Hill. So I tagged along. The place is quite pleasant and this is a picture of an abandoned cottage on the property. The NCT is attempting to get the Audobon Society to manage the property for them. The was the Audubon's first looksee at the place. I hope they can get the situation straightened out.

After we got done looking at the birds, bees, turtles, flowers and trees, I decided to get back on track and head toward Cacapon Mountain. I was instructed by the Audubon people to head toward the Cool Font Resort and use their trails to get to the mountain. The receptionist at the front desk at the resort was very helpful and gave me a lovely map. Maybe she thought I was a guest at the resort but, unfortunately, I was not going to plunk down the $895.00 weekend rate. The guests at the resort were all wearing matching teeshirts and looking very sporty, not many of them made it to the top of the mountain though. The trails to the top involved a 1000 ft. elevation change and I really enjoyed the hike. Here is a picture of the trail at the top of the mountain.

After the hike I continued on to Paw Paw and had dinner at the Sweet Magnolia Restaurant. Then I headed back to Maryland and deep into the Green Ridge State Forest to spend the night in the van. The moon was very bright and blasted light into my eyes during the night. That place is so peaceful and quiet.

IN the morning I decided to head back to the Western Maryland Rail Trail in Hancock after a hearty breakfast at the Park-N-Dine in Hancock. Here is a picture of that beautiful trail. It looks like Governor Booby has allocated some funds to extend this trail another 4.5 miles, more of our tax dollars spent wisely. Sometimes the government gets it.

It was a great weekend and the leaves are just starting to change up there. The weather was perfect. I noticed on the ride home there was an "Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area" west of Hagerstown. I am going to have to check that place out.