Wasn’t sure we would make it to Baltimore this year, to decorate our favorite building in our favorite park – Cromwell Valley Park. But we did! Heading across the field towards the Greenhouse Path (Not sure when they started calling it that), up in the distance we see the little house. Many years ago it was a bath house for the family that use to live near here.
Wondering how many more years our little house will weather the storms. I wish there was a way myself or any of the park volunteers could restore it.
And here I am, decorating.
Our finished Christmas gift to the park.
Time to make a Christmas wish…
We walk the trail to the woods and then head through to the old balancing reservoir shaft.
On to the Sycamore Trail
This is new. Built in 2019 by a Scout for his Eagle Scout Badge.
Hike towards Mine Bank Run. Can still tell this run continues to overflow it’s banks. Stopped to check out what I call the Bubbling Pond. They call it Marble Spring. It bubbles up from lime underground mixing with the water. Not much bubbling today.
From Mine Bank to the Lime Kiln Trail. I am still amazed at how these were rebuilt.
View from the top looking towards Long Island Farm.
The sky was spectacular this evening. This is at the park.
This one was taken from the Eastern Shore at the Bay Bridge. We pulled off of Rte. 50 to eat and look at the water and ships.
Kathy took this one from the car, heading towards Vienna.
Another great road trip to North Carolina. Kathy already there for a week before I headed down to pick her up. I was to stay a week also but the weather took a turn for the worse and we came back a couple days early.
It was very foggy when I left Salisbury, Md. to head south. The fog did not dissipate until well after Edenton. I missed the windmill farm, but Kathy got a photo of it.
One of my favorite stops is at the Dismal Swamp. About 1/2 way there.
Arrived at Indian Beach, N.C. and we took a walk. Shrimp boat.
The seagulls here are unlike the ones in Maryland that will hover over you waiting for food.
A Royal Tern
The next day John came down to take us out on their boat. That was very nice of him. With all this Covid stuff going on, we hardly see each other.
Heading under the Atlantic Bridge Causeway.
Easing past Sugarloaf Island, headed towards the N.C. Port. Docked there for the time being is the USS 50 (LSD-50), Carter Hall. Landing Ship Dock.
Here she is a little while later pulling out of port.
Not far from her is this interesting vessel – Go Ms Tree. Formerly named Mr. Steven. GO Ms. Tree – often shortened to Ms. Tree – is a fast, highly maneuverable vessel that was chartered by SpaceX in 2017 to support their fairing recovery program. The ship has been heavily modified by SpaceX so that it now has a large net structure designed to catch fairing halves as they descend. The name ‘Ms. Tree’ is a pun of the word ‘Mystery’. (from SpaceX website)
Pass this area of the port and ran smack dab into a fog bank.
Made it through there and we all, except John, got off onto Shackleford Banks.
My shot of Kathy and Gail, from up on a dune.
Kathy stepped on a couple Hermit Crabs.
Left Shackleford and headed over to Beaufort. You need to swing around Rachel Carson Island. Shrimp boats everywhere.
Sea Tow is like AAA of the water.
The CaryAli. Wow! A steel and aluminum ship. Built by Alloy Yachts in 2013. For just $25m she can be yours.
Looking through the Watercraft Center at a ship painted on a wall…
Went up Taylor Creek for a bit, looking at all the boats and quaint little houses. Turned around and headed to Pivers Island Road.
We made it under the bridge but then the water started getting shallow so we headed back to the Beaufort Channel and then towards Bogue Sound. Passing NOAA on the way. There are a lot of colleges and government research centers down here.
I guess it makes a good kayak launch?
After John and Gail left, to go back home, Kathy and I went over to Swansboro to find a nice place to watch the sunset. Saturday night and the town was packed! So we left and the sun was heading west fast, so I pulled over at Dudley’s Marina on Rte. 24 and Kathy took a photo of me taking a photo of the pelican sunset.
The ‘New Norm’ I hope not for too much longer. The next day we went back to Swansboro to look around
Domestic Muscovy Duck.
Another shrimp boat. Shrimp burgers from the food truck were huge, along with their oyster burgers and soft crab sandwiches.
Love the water – when it isn’t freezing. Or knocking me on my butt!
Our next adventure was to Cape Lookout Lighthouse, via a tour boat, where everyone was practicing social distancing, for the most part.
We cut over to the beach, hoping to find some 1/2 way decent shells. No luck.
Even some of the better shells were being fought over. This guy wasn’t giving up his shell find.
We leave the ocean side of the isle and head over to Wreck Point. Trudging through the dunes and marsh.
Balancing the Light.
Heading back towards the lighthouse.
Checking out under the dock…
Boardwalk to the lighthouse area.
This guy was going close to shore and other boats blasting his horn and making all kinds of noises.
On the way back, on Shackleford Island. Scratching an itch with his food.
Another day, another adventure. Off to the side of the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium is a nice little hiking trail. About 1.2 miles.
We thought this coloration was the tree itself (Holly)
But it is lichen. Nice info signs along the trail.
One side of the trail is a marsh. The other side is the Bogue Sound.
Sign in front says End of Trail. Sign behind it says Last Marsh Overlook Ahead?
Well that is a mouthful to say! Pronunciation is Pro-ton-o-tar-y, which by itself is a Chief Clerk in a court of law, which is apropos to what I have been going through the past couple of months (another story, another time). But with the warbler attachment, it is just that – a warbler. A trail full of them. This was a 2.3 mile hike.
For whatever reason, All Trails stopped recording our trip so I used their default map, adding an extra red line at the bottom left of the trail because we walked the road back. Not much parking. You need to park on the grass along the road. The guy that lives in the house to the left of the entrance trail was cutting the grass. He does a good job maintaining it. It is turkey hunting season and he wanted to know if we seen any? Glad this property belongs to the Nature Conservancy – No Hunting! I hate ducking bullets!
Some of the plants we saw
The path goes from Creek Rd. to Nassawango Creek. A nice trail with some boardwalks. No steep hills to climb. Molly did well and there were only 3 other people on the trail. We were spaced out accordingly.
It is part of a cypress swamp and the ‘knees’ always remind me of faceless people.
Signage along the trail.
More stuff along the way…
This was interesting. One of the bottles had AA written on it and I thought how weird is that? I looked it up and and it is an Ancient Age Bourbon Bottle. I immediately saw Alcoholics Anonymous!
Well, Molly says enough of this. Although it has been a wonderful, peaceful hike, it is time to feed me! Thanks God for a wonderful hike with minimum people out there.
Quite a few of these photos were taken by Kathy. Thanks Kathy!
Kathy and I kind of guessed that our hiking days would be put on hold for a while and even though the weather looked bleak, we decided to head out. And we were right. On March 30, 2020 Governor Hogan said it was no longer a suggestion, that it is now a Directive – Stay at Home.
On the 29th we drove to the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area. Down the one path and back is about 4 and 3/4 miles. The other path is about 10 miles. We will bring our bikes for that one.
From the map you can see that it is pretty flat and a lot of marsh area. A nice trail though. We may bring our kayaks here one day. There is a boat ramp to the right, a few hundred feet over.
It suddenly turned from a management area to a Refuge.
Not a lot of wildlife to be seen. A few geese, a bunch of Red Wing Blackbirds…
And a couple snakes on the trail.
Also a possible mud turtle?
We did come across some wild asparagus, which Kathy had me taste, just in case we need to go into survival mode in the near future. Heck with that Bear Grylls crap! I will use my cell and have food delivered!
Not sure about these guys. There were hundreds of snails on the shore and low on the grasses. Looking close at the middle one, I see eyes or something…
Big bird house.
In the first photo you will notice the telephone poles. We followed these all the way to the end. And that is what they did – ended.
I spent a few hours looking at old maps and Googling Lodges and Oyster Houses on the Manokin River and Broad Point, but had no luck. This electric and the below well pump stand, had to be to something…
I did not see any building foundations but we did see a pier.
Up close and from Google Earth it looks like there once were boat slips here.
Of course, as we were heading back, the sun started to come out.
A nice day for our “Last day to hike in the parks” We now take strolls around our neighbor hood.
On Friday the 13th, while at the gym, I asked one of the trainers what was the gym going to do about the current situation – Corona-virus? He said it was the main office’s call. I told him it was a pain in the ass for Kathy and I to wipe off our equipment, not only after we use it (which we have always done) but also before, because so many idiots do not wipe theirs down. Sunday night we decided we would not be going back to the gym. Monday afternoon the Governor announced all gyms to be closed. So now we hike and luckily there are a lot of places here on the Eastern Shore to go to having very little contact with people.
First hike Monday was the Salisbury Park which includes the Zoo. Short hike of 1.8 miles but a very brisk one.
Wednesday was a hike at Chincoteague. We usually ride our bikes there but opted to hike. This hike was about 3-1/2 miles at the Woodland Loop, Bi-valve trail and then along the bay.
Glad to be able to hike and I wish all to be well.
In my last blog, First Hike 2020, I spoke of looking for the Paul Leifer Trail at Furnace Town and how we thought the only access was from the gift shop, which closed in October. Well I sent an email to Furnace Town asking about access to the trail and they told us to go through the gate and then head to the trail, so we did.
Through the gate and head to the right, where you will see the Iron Furnace. Go to the left and there is an information board with a map and cautions that the boardwalks are very slippery.
Some interesting signage and some not so interesting!
The boardwalks were not only very slick, some were falling apart.
Molly didn’t mind and she did a lot better on this hike.
Some of the sights along our hike. It was very quiet here.
Heading back out after about 1-1/2 hour hike. A couple shots in the ‘town’.
Our hike, via All trails: Under a mile but very adventurous!
But the best sign was this one…
Life is full of next bends!! Thanks God for pointing the way to each and every bend, not that I am always paying attention to where you are pointing…
I hope our first hike of 2020 is not indicative of the rest of our hikes this year. This was a very non-descript hike – just a short path through the woods near Furnace Town. We were hoping to do the Paul Leifer Trail but you need to go through the Furnace Town gift shop/museum to access it. That closed on October 31st!
To access the trail we hiked, we headed down Millville Rd to an opening in the woods. The trail was marked with these little signs. Quite a few scattered every 20 yards or so.
We saw some water down the hill, away from the trail so we headed for it.
Part of the Cypress swamp.
This was probably the first hike that Molly struggled to keep up. She will be 15 soon and has not been feeling well. When I first started hiking with Kathy and Molly about 4-1/2 years ago, Molly could do 6-8 miles without any problem. Now, not so much. We end up carrying her for a good portion.
Up over the hill was this.
A little green on a drab day.
So the trail heads into the woods, just this side of the canal and then back up to Millville Rd and puts you on the road for a bit.
On the map below, to the east of the yellow line is where we should have been but couldn’t. But that is ok. Any day you can get a hike in, short or long, picturesque or drab, flat or hilly, rain or shine – it is all good. We can’t think of a better way to start the new year!!
It was a beautiful day Saturday, December 28, 2019 and there is nothing better than taking a hike on a beautiful day. If we had known it was going to be as warm as it was, maybe we could have went kayaking instead! Next time. We have a lot of favorite hikes that we do, but sometimes we look for new places. Although we have been to the Assateague area many times, we saw a spot on the map we never have been to – Rackliffe House and trail:
This historic site is behind the visitor center. There are 2 trails that lead there. We chose the wooded one instead of the asphalt.
Across from where Kathy is sitting is a path to Sinepuxent Bay with the Verrazano Bridge in the distance.
A very short beach hike.
Leaving the beach we head towards the house, passing the golf course.
This Geo-cache was hanging in plain site. At first I thought it was a wildlife camera.
Always nice to have a choice in the paths we take in life.
Historic house – from their website:
Rackliffe House, a 1740s merchant-planter’s home overlooking Assateague Island and scenic Sinepuxent Bay. Rackliffe House was constructed in the 1740s by Captain Charles Rackliffe, the merchant-planter grandson of one of the earliest English immigrants to Maryland’s seaside. The large two-story, three-bay Manor House features Flemish bond brickwork with random glazed headers, a steeply pitched gabled roof with kicked eaves, and large windows. Captain Rackliffe intended the house to be seen across the water. He built it on a prominent ridge atop a man-made terrace with expansive views of the water and island.
In its time, Rackliffe House has witnessed marauding Spanish galleons, Barbary pirate ships, and English men-of-war. The house has stood through the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Today, thanks to the restoration efforts of the Rackliffe House Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, historic Rackliffe House now serves as a coastal museum that interprets 18th-century life along Maryland’s seaside.
The second part of the loop includes a pond and a stream
I thought all the bugs died off during the last freeze. Termites.
We leave the visitors center and the Rackliffe Loop and head over to the ocean. Always a favorite. And again we sought out an area we have never hiked. North of the Youth Group Areas. We hiked behind the sand dune and saw this. Who they keeping out or in?
Rounding the corner to the beach.
The beach with not a lot of shells, just this small group;
Getting ready for the new year.
Not that we run around nude on the beach a lot, but this sign makes you wonder! Kathy says this use to be an unauthorized nude beach many years ago.
Beautiful day, beautiful hike and beautiful beach! Thanks God for another beauty!
While at Indian Beach, North Carolina, we decided to visit the Cape Lookout National Park. To get there we needed to catch the ferry from Harkers Island. They have a nice visitors center there. A few blocks away is/was a museum, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum. It is still closed from the storm of a year ago.
it was about a 4-1/2 mile ferry ride, making one stop at Shackleford Banks. People like to stop there and look at the 100+ wild horses on the island. Kathy and I visited the western end of this island back in June. Nice trip. Didn’t see any horses though.
Arrived at our destination and stopped at the Keepers House first.
We missed being able to climb up to the top by about a month.
Instead of taking the boardwalk to the ocean, we took a service road.
The ocean. Too many people before us so the pickings were slim for seashells.
So, Kathy decides instead of us walking back up the beach, we should cut across to the bay side. “Are you sure?” “Yes” Ok!
Not just a marsh but also a bunch of inlets of rushing water. I didn’t know we were doing this kind of hike or I would have worn my water shoes and not my Tevas!
Although I was only at the beach for about 4 days, it was so nice to get away! Ha! Get away from what??!! Kathy and I always go to the beach! A wonderful trip. Thanks Gail and John.
Kathy and I figured we would get at least a couple days of biking and hiking in before the weather took a turn for the worse (Hurricane Dorian). Chincoteague is always a favorite spot. First we biked over to the Bivalve Trail on the bay side.
Then we headed over to the ocean.
Packed up and headed through town to see if we could find a decoy carver’s shop. No luck but found this old house – Sign on left says: Capt. Timothy Hill House. Islands oldest home. 1800. Another sign says privately owned, visitors welcome.