The First Hike Of The Year

Here we are, nearly a third of the way through 2023 and Rachel and I were finally able to find a day we could go out and enjoy a trek through nature.

A few factors played a part in delaying our first hike of the year: part of it was an inability to match up schedules (both work and leisure were interfering), weather has been very on-trend with Mid-Atlantic climates (rain and wintery chills are hiding around every corner), and travel took up some time (bonjour Paris).

Finally some decent hiking weather.

We finally had a day off together that would be warm enough to go for a hike so we took advantage for our first hike since… wow… since Guanajuato, Mexico.

The first decision was to pick out where to go.

We wanted something not-to-intense to warm up our legs and see how well Griffin could handle it (spoiler: this tiny mountain goat had zero signs of rust) and somewhere close-ish.

We settled on Catoctin Mountain Park. For those of you not from the Mason-Dixon line area, you may know it better as where Camp David, the Presidential retreat, is located.

Permanent restrooms are always nice at trailheads.

As we pulled in, we proceeded up the mountain. We’ve started from the main parking lot plenty of times and wanted to see something new. Further up the road, we came to a small lot on the right for Hog Rock. Sounds cool.

We parked, hit the restroom, and taught Griffin how to safely cross the street – look left, then right, then left again – before setting off on the path.

The Hog Rock path ended up being much more a nature walk than a hike. It was on a well-made path and many of the trees had signposts in front of them that told what kind of tree they were. There was little in the way of elevation changes or any bit of difficulty.

We approached what ended up being the namesake vista which was rather short compared to the surrounding trees so the view was okay. It did, however, present an opportunity to try and get Griffin to pose for a photo.

We completed the quick mile-long loop and ended up back at the parking lot earlier than expected so we took to the other trail that connects to the lot to extend our hike. This one trailed out towards Chimney and Wolf rocks, the two paths we’re more familiar with.

Signs of Spring.

Sometimes, I take for granted the fact that we live in a pretty area of Appalachia and we have some decent hiking around us. Given that and the popularity of my aforementioned Guanajuato and Sedona hiking posts, I plan to give you more stories like that going forward.

This was an excuse to catch some fresh air and stretch our legs. I’m hoping to get some good local hikes in the coming weeks and can share my experience and recommendations with you.

Being that we knew we wouldn’t be doing anything strenuous and we had some lunch plans for afterwards, we only had a couple snacks that we brought along. We ended the hike at a good time as I was beginning to hit a low that would have been a struggle to come back from mid-hike.

Do you enjoy hiking? Are you from the mid-Atlantic region? Where do you like to hit the trails?

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