Edmondson Avenue, Gwynns Falls Bike Trail, Pigtown, Baltimore

Today I decided not to stray too far from home. Sometimes one just doesn't feel like getting into the car and driving. But this time I was smart and remembered my camera, I never seem to take pictures of my own beautiful city so I am glad I got to take some. I apologize for the smudgy pics, my lens was probably dirty and I think that poor camera is dying for overuse.

I left home without a plan. I knew I wanted to go to either the East or West Sides and once I reached the harbor I still hadn't made a choice. I decided to visit Lexington Market which was on the West Side so that kind of sent me in a direction. I hung out, ate some pupusas and drank an orchata, and listened to some jazz played by Fluteman I could have hung out longer but I wanted to get going. I headed west on Edmondson and decided to stay on the road. I finally got to take some pictures of some of my favorite churches.
Then I snapped some pics of some of the wonderful housefronts on Gilmore. I want to buy a few of these 3 story housefronts, maybe build a really big house inside so I have lots of room and a rollerink. Somebody who was running for elected office was out in Harlem Park whining about how the current administration let the neighborhood people down. I figure I'll let them stand around and complain while I snap up some of the great real estate around there. There seems to be lots of available parking in that area and I think that is a really really good thing at this point in my life.
I continued down Edmondson and took some more pics. The man in the picture his name is Joe. He insisted I photograph him as well.
I moved on, and got into about the 2000 block of Edmondson and a young gentleman alerted me to the fact that the bandana I was wearing around my head was the wrong color, a serious safety hazard. I inquired as to what the issue was with my blue bandana. The nice boy told me that my head decoration was that of the Crips and this was not Crips territory. We discussed whether I looked like a member of the Crips and we both agreed that I didn't look like a gang member. Then the nice boy offered to sell me some reefer. I politely declined.

I decided that just to be on the safe side I would remove my bandana, it was starting to smell bad anyway. I headed south on the Gwynns Falls bike trail. The Gwynns Falls is a beautiful stream in the heart of Baltimore City. Unfortunately, it is the most polluted stream in the state because of massive quantities of broken sewage lines. The city's sewage line system is several decade old, however, the city is going to spend and tax us 900 million dollars so they can fix it. I bicycled the trail last year in August and it really stunk. But this year it seemed to be less stinky so hopefully someone is making some headway on the project. These are some pictures of the trail.
This is a set of row homes on Frederick Road that are some of my favorite. I like the bowed front with the 3 little windows.
Pigtown is a neighborhood that has always harbored the rejects from society. Black or white, it doesn't matter, as long as you are poor, slovenly and addicted to some sort of controlled substance, Pigtown was the place for you. Due to the ever escalating price of real estate, all that is changing but not overnight. There is still lots of the original members of the hood to make everyone feel comfortable. I walked northeast on Washington Boulevarde and an older gentleman driving a green sedan noticed me. He honked his horn, I ignored him.

I meandered through the hood on Carey and Carroll and this creep passed me again several times, honking his horn and waving to get my attention. You would have figured that the presence of my backpack, my fast pace and my nasty looks would have been enough to dissuade this man's enthusiasm. Once I got on the outskirts of South Baltimore this guy had the nerve to pull over and ask if I wanted a ride, I told him, "No!!!" He leaves and a few minutes later passes me again honking his horn. I always like the prospect of money but not that badly.

My feet were feeling blistery so I stopped by my health club to soak and clean my feet in the pool. One day I will learn to take my own picture at the beginning of a hike rather than at the end when I am all puffy and dirty. I look better than I do in most of my pics on this blog. I covered about 13 easy miles today, it was fun.

Catoctin Mountain Park Hike

11 unsuspecting souls and one dog decided to join me through the Mountain Club of Maryland on a hike at the Catoctin Mountain Park. The trek I designed was an easy 6 mile loop encompassing Thurmont Vista,

Wolf Rock, Chimney Rock and a dip in the water at Hunting Run.

Since this trek was my idea I had to lead the group and make sure the trail was free and clear of deadly snakes.

I would have to sacrifice my life and good health for the sake of the rest of the group. Luckily, we didn't see any snakes which was a good thing.

We enjoyed all the vistas but the crowd was eager to get to the water for the cool dip on this warm August Day.
I think the gang was pleased with my hike/swim idea and many enjoyed the cool water. Will, the dog, didn't seem to want to leave.

I was a little worried about the final ascent but the group seemed to make it up the hill without a problem. Afterward a group of us went up to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes for some meditation, prayer and a refreshing sip of holy water. Some of my hikers were a little reluctant and thought that I was trying to convert them to Catholicism, but since I don't know the first thing about it, they didn't need to worry. We saw some very nice frogs up by the grotto in the stream. One of my hikers is captured looking at Jesus on the cross in this photo.