On Saturday, February 4th, we were being lazy inside when I felt the need to get outside and take a walk. The temperature outside was hovering at about freezing but the air was fresh and the sky beautiful. Jeff was somewhat hesitant and slow to get a move on, but he gave in as usual when I suggested a spur of the moment hike. I wanted to go see Hagerstown’s Edgemont Reservoir which I had just been reading about online. Apparently, engineers had deemed the dam unsafe and they had drained the entire lake this past July. We had not been there in years and it was hard to imagine it without water.
We grabbed our day packs, and drove out through Boonsboro taking Rt 66 north to Rt 64 West at Cavetown. Here is where Jeff decided to go his way (the scenic route), instead of mine, so we did a big loop which followed Warner Hollow on a gravel road from the NE, arriving downstream at the reservoir and right back onto 491, not far from where we had left it.
It was shocking to see the tall drainage control tower sticking up into the air at the dam end and just a small puddle of water around it,. I’ll bet the wildlife took awhile to adjust to the new habitat.
We decided not to hike there, since we basically just saw the whole thing by car. Instead we drove out to where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road a little North of there and parked on the shoulder of the road.
The first part of the trail was steep and had stones moved into place for steps in the steepest spots. Our heart rates and heavy breathing told us we needed to hike up hills more often.
Icicles were dripping down the rocks as we came closer to Raven Rocks. They looked like cave formations, with rim stone dams and bacon draperies, except clean and clear.
The rocks were large and impressive. I liked the zipper effect where one section had broken away.
We saw a couple of people and their Irish Setter out on the rocks but it was nice and quiet. I love hiking in winter. You avoid crowds and can see through the trees to the views beyond.
We checked out the rocks for a bit and then continued our climb.
It leveled out when we reached the ridge top and walking was easy. There were glimpses of the big valley to the west but no clearings to get a good view. We came to an intersection branching off to a shelter one way and a spring in the other, but we stayed straight.
About a mile or so in we met a hiker in full pack who was wondering how far to the shelter. We were glad we didn’t have to sleep outside tonight. Little too chilly for that. We were nice and warm while hiking along at a good clip, but cooled off fast when we stopped.
We figured the next view point would be at High Rock, where we would turn around and head back. When we got there it was full of loud people and more graffiti than I have ever seen in one place. Freshly painted. There is a road that leads right to it from the North and it is a party spot. Supposedly hang gliders launch from there and I would love to see that, but I imagine that would draw a huge crowd. We stayed just long enough to get a look at the view and got out of there.
We could see the Whitetail Ski Resort, in Pennsylvania, in the distance. All the snow is man made this year. We have yet to have a decent snow and I am beginning to think we won’t get one at all. Last year we had 42 inches in one storm. A foot would be nice. We might have to go out to Blackwater Falls, West Virginia for our snow fix.
The sun was getting low in the sky as we hoofed our way back along the nice level ridge. We made good time, which also kept us warm. It was only a 6.4 mile hike. There was a whole group of folks that we met on the way back who were staying at the shelter that night. Guess they would be keeping each other warm. I was looking forward to sitting by our fire again.
-Wendy lee, writing at Edgewisewoods, Gardens and Critters