Recently (June 8th), I went on a hike with Howard County Recreations and Parks to Great Falls National Park. It was a beautiful hike and I recommend it to anyone physically able. Here are pictures from the hike.
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.
These are pictures from my second trip to Jug Bay. Some friends and guests went kayaking and canoeing there.
The following are plants from my grandpa’s house from mid May.
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.
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.
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.