East Side Hike, Lake Trout Review

Am I starting to repeat myself? I think I am. A year ago I dragged 85 white people through Baltimore's Eastside, it was pretty funny, I get my kicks in strange ways. The weather sucked this weekend yet again and I didn't feel like going anywhere so instead of getting in the car I left my house on foot and started hoofing.
It was windy and cold, and I thought it would get warm, it didn't. I froze my noogies off. I was going to do a Baltimore tour but waved the white flag of defeat around 1PM since the ice from yesterday's storm made traveling difficult. I decided to quit at 12 miles, it was too cold to continue.

The nice thing about the cold weather was that I got to wear my hat. My hat covers my blonde hair, which caused for less attention than a usually get. Since I am thin I can pass for a drug addict, so for once I was able to slide down side streets without the entire neighborhood noticing. The downside was that it was so cold that nobody was outside willing to talk. I took lots of pictures because I am of the opinion this area is the most beautiful spot on earth (not kidding, I really mean it). I had so many pictures and liked them that I thought it might be easier if I put them in an album so they won't bog down blogger. The pictures are self explanatory, there are many of Collington Avenue, American Brewery, eastside row homes, and Greenmount Cemetery, also one each of the prison, pagoda, North Ave., Inner Harbor, St. Wenceslaus, and Fells Point.

Here is the Solo Eastside Hike Photo Album. It might be best to view it in slideshow form.

The great thing about the East Side is that it has a fair number of lake trout emporiums.
Guys, please forget the crabs, it's all about the lake trout: Fried, tender and delicious. Of course, these upscale lake trout establishments use only the finest in plexiglass to separate the customers from the asian waitstaff. I visited 'Chick and Trout' on Greenmount Avenue which, I learned from the example of another customer, was a great place for a quick meal after you have been sprung from the nearby hooskow. One can order their trout, proclaim their innocence and look over their paperwork to figure out when and where they need to return for their court date. One can also proudly show the other patrons their plastic bar-coded CBIF wrist band that they earned fair and square.

And just a side note, if you spend any time in the hood you would notice that many of its residents assume that spending time behind bars is something that can be expected in life and is unavoidable. The threat of incarceration as a result of breaking the law does not dissuade anyone from going about their business, whatever their business may be. The government keeps locking poor people up and the voters seem pleased with themselves for doing so, but, really folks, it has no effect.....big giant waste of money, time and effort.

Tibbet Knob, Long Mountain Bushwhack, Perry, Mill Mountain, GWNF, West Virginia

Sometimes I don't know whether I am an decent adventurer or the stupidest person on the planet. Last summer when I was on Halfmoon Lookout I couldn't help but notice a long mountain ridge to the west. This long mountain turned out to be called Long Mountain. Upon doing some homework I learned there was no trail along the Long Mountain ridge. Thus, my mind started spinning. I had to find out what was up there. I spent some considerable time designing a backpack trip that would incorporate some exploration. I set my sights on March because I was assured that hunting season would be over and bushwhacking would be at its easiest. All I needed was a partner in crime because this little number was going to be dangerous. So I set out some emails to trap some unsuspecting recruits. I only found one taker, Keith. Here is a picture of the Long Mountain ridge looking back at it from Mill Mountain.

Keith met me at Wolf Gap, and looked around with a quizzacle expression. Look at all this snow? Are you sure about this? I told him the questionable trail conditions were all in his mind. I had to change plans at the last minute and add several miles to this hike since with the snow/ice/slush conditions it was going to be easiest to head up to Tibbet Knob and then around to Long Mountain on Route 691. Here is a nice picture off of the Knob looking north with Great North Mountain on the right, Long Mountain on the left and Halfmoon directly ahead.
Keith and I were able to find a route up on Long Mountain off the Long Mountain Trail. The first 2 miles of bushwhacking on the south side of the mountain were relatively easy and enjoyable. The views back to Wolf Gap were spectacular even though the day was slightly cloudy. However, once we got to this rock in the middle of the mountain we decided to stay on the ridge rather than travel below. There were spots were there had been a horrible frost or a gypsy moth infestation because there was absolutely no tree canopy. The bushwhacking was brutal, making the trip to Big Savage back in December look like a stay at a Hilton. There must have been a bad forest fire also in the area during the last year because there were several spots that were covered with char. Keith and I were covered with black soot very quickly. However, we did see something up there that I have never seen before in the MidAtlantic...a hoodoo! Who knew?
There was a fair amount if snow at the top that had started to melt. The snow came in handy because we were able to boil it as an unlimited source of drinking water. We camped at about the mid-point of the mountain ridge, setting up camp with a nice fire right before it began to rain. Once we went to sleep the temperature dropped into the 20s freezing everything back up. I calculated with performed 4.5 miles of bushwhack.
Sunday morning we lost an hour due to the time change so we decided to alight into Perry and travel 2 miles on the road. We stopped off at someone's alpaca farm to take pictures and then a neighbor, Rebecca, stopped by to chat. I gave her my blog address so hopefully she will see her pic. We headed north until we came to the Halfmoon Trail and then

started ascending the other side on the Great North Mountain. Things were going fine until we got 3/4 of the way up only to be hit be some treacherous conditions of snow/ice/slush. There was a brutal snow-covered climb on the Tuscarora Trail shortcut. I started to bitch, Keith put up with it.

We took the Mill Mountain Trail as fast as we could given the conditions and ever annoying full packs, which could have been left along the road somewhere but we were too stupid to think about it until after we got on top of the ridge. We didn't visit Halfmoon, we didn't visit Schloss, I bitched and complained a lot but we finally got to the summit near Wolf Gap only to be treated to another treacherous decent in deep slush. Keith took his own picture.

Here are the numbers calculated to the best of my abilities on DeLorme: 24.20 miles 5959 ft. elevation change. The mileage may be a little light.

A Short play written by Cham

Loyal readers:

While I was on the mountain this weekend a play I wrote was given a staged reading by the Baltimore Playwrights Festival at the Fells Point Corner Theatre. You know I have my priorities and I, regretfully, couldn't be there for the festivities. However, I would like to thank Terry Kenney for directing, Rich Espey who took on the role of Mike and Lisa Mezrich who played Susan. Here it is:

Annapolis Rocks, Black Rock AT Maryland

The Appalachian Trail in Maryland is beaten to a pulp. That doesn't mean it's a bad place to go, it just gets heavy usage. Annapolis and Black Rocks are those rock formations you see off to the left of I-70 heading west on South Mountain, between Hagerstown and Frederick. Many people choose this place to start their hiking careers. The access is easy, the parking lot is on Route 40, west of Myersville at the peak of the mountain, it's paved and right off the road. It can be reached in a one hour drive from both DC and Baltimore.

You will see some excellent views....of I-70 from both rocks. You can also listen to to the gentle hum of the cars and trucks off in the distance. If the day is clear you can see all the way to Sleepy Creek over by Martinsburg in WV which will be directly west, the George Washington National Forest in WV will be southwest, the big moutains past the GWNF will be the Spruce Knob/North Fork Mountain area of WV, and if you look all the way to the south you will see a lump which is probably Signal Knob in the north section of the two Massanutten ridges. Past Hagerstown you will see Indian Springs in Maryland. Many of these exciting locations have been covered extensively in this blog.

I chose this area because most of the decent places to hike were still covered with ice yesterday, so I stayed closer to home hoping to find an ice-free hiking arena.
There was not a fleck of snow or ice in Baltimore so I thought I would be safe on South Mountain. I couldn't have been more wrong. Once I got on the trail at 7AM I quickly encountered lots of gray ice. I got sick and tired of crunching through the crust and skidding around so I performed a U-turn at Wolfsville Road, only making it a 16 mile day.

Since I had time on the way back I decided to play tourist, make a video and take pictures. So if you visit Annapolis Rocks, it is only 2.5 miles from the Route 40 parking area, and if you are willing to travel a bit further you can reach Black Rock. I'd highly recommend Black Rock as an excellent place for a suicide. The cliffs are some of the highest in the area, they slope gently so your body will bounce a few times before hitting the large jagged talus at the base. If somehow you survive the fall, chances are you will expire later from internal injuries because it will be days before anyone notices your body, the base area doesn't get much foot traffic.

Yesterday I saw many happy loving couples on the trail. These are usually couples in their 20s or 30s where you get the feeling they have been dating for a mere few months and don't yet have the hard look of married people. They often grab their bookpack from college and go for a quick walk on the mountain as an alternative to watching TV all day. It's always fun to watch who carries the shared pack. 20 years ago it was always the male. Now, more often than not, it is the assertive young woman whom you may also find walking a few steps ahead of her man. Of course, I shouldn't speak negatively, you can find more than a few of my annoying hiking dates at the foot of Black Rock.

Here is a very boring Hiking101 video. Don't watch it unless you have trouble sleeping, it's over 8 minutes long and very unhumerous.

Update 8/31/10:

I'm getting a lot of hits from people about this so I figured I would put up a little Google Map to show everyone easily where Annapolis Rocks and the AT is:
View Annapolis Rocks Black Rocks in a larger map