Favorite Local Places: Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

I’ve been there twice now and it is a beautiful BEAUTIFUL place. I first went with my environmental science lab class and we got a tour of the marshland. Our guide could talk with a passion about the place forever and the passion was contagious. I really suggest booking a tour. The guy is also hilarious. It’s a must see place and a must-go trip.

Jug Bay has an enormous amount of wildlife to see. On my two trips I’ve seen lots of osprey, bald eagles, herons, sand pipers, snipes, a coot, turtles, muskrats, snakes, laughing gulls, and red winged black birds. Geese too unfortunately. If you go in the fall, Jug Bay is a hot spot for migratory birds.

Here is their website: http://www.jugbay.org/

They have Osprey nests with webcams on them which you can watch live on the website.

Here are some pictures from the trip.

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That little bird shaped speck is an osprey. There are a lot of Osprey there.

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there were a lot of little tadpoles swimming right there. You can kind of see a swirming mass of little brown things.

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Cypress tree 🙂

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Cypress tree at wider angle

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knees of the cypress tree 🙂 so cooooooolllll

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These are pictures from my second trip to Jug Bay. Some friends and guests went kayaking and canoeing there.

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For fun picture I took of the bathroom and snack area in negative

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the little dark spot near the shore is a muskrat

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paddler of canoe to my front

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paddler of canoe behind me

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me seated in the middle of the canoe between the people showed above

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friends in canoe that caught up to us

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friends in kayaks behind us

Red Foxes: Dayton, MD (Update)

I have been up the road a few times in the last month and there has been plenty to see. All the cow farms have their beautiful cattle out and about grazing. The resident snow goose is still at it’s little pond on Tridelphia Rd. BUT, there have been other spottings.

I’ve seen Cedar Waxwings, some Herons, plenty of turtles, a snake (black I think), a beaver (up close but not personal), and a red fox.

The Cedar Waxwings, Herons, turtles, and snake were at Big Branch Recreation Area. Herons, turtles, and the beaver were at Pig Tail Recreation Area. The red fox was on Tridelphia Rd just up the hill from the pond that the snow goose lives in. The red fox was seen lurking around during the day too. My dad says that’s weird behavior for foxes.

Oh, I saw a hawk in Glenelg a little over a month ago. The part of Glenelg I’m talking about isn’t too far from Dayton. It was in the trees about 50 feet from Olde Time Liquors. Some crows had something to say about him lurking around though.

Roses: Pics From Grandpa’s House

The following are plants from my grandpa’s house from mid May.

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His azaleas were past their peak, but still not too bad looking.

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I missed the peak days for his poppies too but he had one or two still hanging in there strong

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Looks at these beauties! Are they big and beautiful! They were growing on the stump of a tree my grandpa chopped down.

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I don’t know what kind of flower this is but it’s a sweet little thing. My grandpa cut most of them down unfortunately.

Favorite Local Places: Maryland Appalachian Trail Section #2 – High Rock to Wolfsville Rd

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These are the photos for my latest Appalachian Trail hike that I took this last Saturday (2/9). A magnetic feild zapped my phone about 10 or 20 minutes into the hike and erased all my battery life, so all but the last two pictures are the only pictures I was able to take. The first four are of High Rock and/or the view from it. There are two pictures of shelter, the top being a new example of one  and the next being an old example. The last picture is of Devil’s Racecourse. Essentially, its a boulder covered stream. Apparently, from what I was told, they were deposited there during the last Ice Age. When you walk across, and as you are descending the slop before you get there by where the old shelter was, you can hear the stream running underneath it. It’s pretty amazing.

There was a poem inscribed on the inside of the old shelter. I copied it down because it’s beautiful and profound. Here it is:

“Be the silence
woo the dream
bear the thought
become the thing”

I don’t know if the person who scrawled in on the shelter wrote it or if it was already an existing poem. Let me know if you have heard or seen it before.

I injured my knee on this hike. Funny how I keep injuring myself on hikes, this and the last one (which was my first hike). I guess that as I keep on hiking, I will stop accumalating injuries, at least I hope so.

I also collected a few rocks on this hike too. I will take pictures and post them soon.

Oh, to reiterate from what I said in my last post abotu hiking the Appalachian Trail: I went hiking with a group of people through Howard County Parks and Recreation. It cost $17, and they drive you  just about all the way there and back. I hope my bad luck with injury does not keep you from trying this amazing experience. I was the only one out of 24 to get injured the last time (1/12) and the only one out of 17 to get injured this time. Howa

Photo Source for Old Shelter: http://www.cnyhiking.com/ATinMD-HighRock.htm

Photo Source for Devils Racecourse: http://www.meretrix.com/~harry/images/at07/

Favorite Local Places: Appalachian Trail Section #3 – Wolfsville Rd to Route 40

On January 12th, I started my attempt to hike the all the Maryland Appalachian Trail Hikes (offered through Howard County Recreation and Parks). The first one offered was Section #3. February 9th is Section #2 and in March will be #1. There are 7 sections I think. Either way, by the end of the year, I hope to finish them all. If I do, in a three year time span, I earn a patch. I earn a 100 mile patch if I accumalate another 60 odd miles on Virginia and Pennsylvania trail sections offered through Howard County Recreations and Parks. I hope to get both, though that won’t be easy if I transfer where I’m planning to transfer (as of last fall – UNLV). It was (is) January so the landscape was drawn in browns, whites, and the pale blue of the sky. It was also incredibly misty/foggy so when we reached a summit to look out over, the distant line of mountains was nearly invisible as was almost half the view. The mountains in the distance, when you could any of it, was merely a dark blue line tracing the horizon, weaving in and out of fog. I highly suggest hiking the section though I’m sure it looks much prettier in the spring, summer, or fall. It’s 8.4 miles and begins with a steep hike up, which was a bit dangerous when I went with the snow on the ground, hiding rocks everywhere. It’s moderately difficult terrain and I suffered some foot injuries so make sure to tie your boots tie, expect stumbling on some rocks if you want to look away from the ground, and don’t go if you can’t or don’t think you’re ready for an 8.4 mile hike. It was tough, even for the four youngest people there (I am included). Most were 40 and above with some late 20 and 30 year olds there. I fell back on the second half or so till I was the last while the 3 other youngest ones were at the front. Like I said, I was at the back and I’m 21, turning 22 on the 29th. Age means little, it’s your health and fitness that make a difference. When I jogged at Centennial Lake, I always got lapped by joggers and runners older than me, some surely into their 60’s and 70’s.

I hope you look check into going on these trail sections. We go in groups and you drive to the park n ride in Long Gate (Ellicott City) where we take a van the rest of the way to the starting point. It’s $17 to $20 and you do have to bring your own snacks and lunch. They start in the morning (8am) and end in the middle of the afternoon (4pm or later depending on traffic and other complications of the sort). Plus, we stop for ice cream at Baskin Robbins on the way back. 🙂

Unfortunately, my pictures are a bit worse than usual. I wasn’t thinking about how hard I had sweat and that it was getting on the camera lens and I had forgot to extra clean the lens before embarking leaving the house. Sorry.

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Favorite Local Places: Howard County Fair *Special Edition*

Sorry, folks, I didn’t get pretty much any pictures for what I’ll be talking about.

On Sunday, the second day of the fair, I went down at about 8:30 in the morning and stayed till four.

First, I went to see the Draft Horse and Mule show. I didn’t stay very long because I wanted to see the Vintage Auto show too but I got a great look at some Percherons’ (French Draft Horse. They were absolutely beautiful. Of course, another reason I wasn’t too excited to stay was that I’m still getting over my fear of horses.They had started lining them outside the ring and that was making me nervous. The only reason I even went was because, though a young adult book series and consequently looking up the type of horse they talked about, I grew to really like Percherons. I’m trying to get over the fear, but it’s hard.

As I said, I went to see the Vintage Auto Show next which was amazing but then I went to see the exhibit they had on Honey Bees. I got to look at a Live Honey Bee nest and talked with a lovely woman named Ruth for a good while about Honey Bees and other stinging insects, about different types of honey, about how you become a bee keeper and about being a bee keeper. I also bought two sample tubes of honey with flavors I hadn’t had before; blackberry, meadowsweet (which is supposed to have a marshmallow flavor), and a South American variety which is supposed to have a caramel flavor (and I’ve tried it and it so does).

Then I went to a 4-H Activities Hall and talked to two people about nature centers/parks I could visit in Howard County, to a person about the HERP project where they ask volunteers to send in and take pictures of reptiles and amphibians so they can track populations throughout the state of Maryland till 2014. I’ve sent some pictures in already but it gave me a chance to see some pictures of what I should be looking for and where to find them. Also, I talk to Master Gardeners (a program or community of highly experienced gardeners you ask help and advice from). I got some advice to protect against stinkbugs (wire mesh around the plant, a light clay spray you can get at farm stores that needs to be replaced after a rain, and getting tiny kids (from the family) to literally remove the bugs from the plants as a fun activity and pay them a penny per stinkbug). The clay spray seemed best to me because they said most bugs, including stink bugs hate the little film of clay on the tomatoes (you have to spray it on the tomato itself) and that the wire mesh you would put around the plant would restrict it’s growth. The spray easily washes off after you’ve picked it. Though you have to replace it after every rain, I think it’s the best option unless you have a LOT of tomatoes and then, maybe I would go with the mesh.

The rest of the fair for me was buying cool stuff (I’ll post about the places later when I find their business cards) and eating (Jobe’s Bit Beef was amazing though I got Pit Turkey and their XXX hot barbacue sauce and Tiger sauce was AWESOME, the tiger sauce being mayonaise and horseradish). Oh, and the family and I walked through the barns holding farm animals.

I highly suggest the Howard County Fair for anyone in the area. It’s a five dollar entrance fee and the food is expensive but they do have a lot of free activities. The expensive food can be pretty freaking great and they have bands and amusement park rides at night. Check it out!

The Howard County Fairgrounds are in West Friendship, MD.

Favorite Local Places: Patuxent Reservoir Watershed Pig Tail Recreation Area, Dayton, MD

This is also in Dayton, MD and is not far from the Big Branch Recreation Area. Big Branch offers more wildlife spottings but this area is just as pretty. Here is where I see more Herons. I saw at least two, maybe three, today. I see Woodpeckers a lot here too. With some hiking, biking, or on the water, you can get to some very nice sights.

For those who like to DIY,or people who don’t like to buy stuff they can gather, both this spot and Big Branch are great places to find rocks, walking sticks, tree slices, driftwood, tree stumps, and other nature stuff that can be turned into something you might want that would cost WAY TOO much in a store (or online). I picked up a walking stick today and some rocks. For pagans who want to incorporate woods and plants into their rituals, these are great places to collect them, as long as you have a guide or know what you’re doing. Many dieties have wood and plant correspondences and this is a cheap way to include a little nature into your rituals.

More than anything, Pig Tail is a beautiful place. It just happens to offer all sorts of other reasons to love it.

Favorite Local Places: Patuxent Reservoir Big Branch Recreation Area, Dayton, MD

The Patuxent Reservoir Big Branch Recreation Area in Dayton, MD has been one of my favorite spots since I was a little kid. It’s not far from my Grandfather’s house so I went there a lot growing up and I’ve always liked it. You can hike, kayak, canoe, fish, take pictures, or just look around. There’s even a playground. It’s great for spotting wildlife and if you hike back to the big bend where the Patuxent opens up more, you’ll spot eagles ospreys, and even a family of otters (which is rare in Maryland, at least in these parts as far as I’m aware of). Herons, hawks, turtles, karp, King Fishers, snakes, and deer boast frequent spottings though you’ll probably have to hike to see the deer. I’ve seen the osprey and the more frequent spotted animals though I’ve only seen a dead snake there. I can’t wait to hike back far enough to see the otters. Beavers can be seen too, though I’m not much a fan of them. Of course, The Reservoir offers good bird watching and even watching the dragonflys’ is cool too. Check the place out. It’s on Triadelphia Rd in Dayton, MD.