AT in Maryland Between Routes 40 & 77

Trail Profile

Trail Profile

The section of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland between Routes 40 and 77 is roughly 10.3 miles in length, and it’s probably the easiest (AT) hiking in this part of the country.  There are two overlooks (Annapolis Rocks and Black Rocks Cliff), and the hike ends with a beautiful stretch through rolling farmland.

The famous AT symbol on the site of a trailside watering hole

The famous AT symbol on the site of a trailside watering hole

With that said, the wind howled with gusto this past Sunday, and Jane and I took a wrong turn at the 4.5 mile mark, while Candee finished the last half of the hike walking with a complete stranger.  I was pretty upset with how the trail was marked during parts of the hike, but how can you stay mad at a volunteer who carried a hefty amount of white paint out into the middle-of-nowhere?  I guess one could say that the gray setting was a bit film noir, and suddenly it seemed like Rod Serling stepped out from behind a tree to tell us we were in the Twilight Zone.  Nevertheless, in the words of Shakespeare, all’s well that ends well.  I think I’ve met my daily quota of film and literary puns now!

At hikers love their cairns

AT hikers love their cairns

Generally, people give up on New Year’s resolutions, and Candee and I had three this year: do all of the AT between Va. Rt. 7 and the Pennsylvania line (hers); hike all of the trails in Green Ridge State Forest (mine); and walk all of the Tuscarora Trail in West Virginia (mine again).  We should finish the first two sometime during Thanksgiving week, but it looks like the Tuscarora will have to wait.

Campsite on AT--privy included!

Campsite on AT–privy included!

Okay, back to Sunday’s hike.  Like many other places on the AT, the trail is smooth between the big parking area on Route 40 and the “touristy” Annapolis Rocks overlook, but much of the middle ground is rocky.  Surprisingly, the last big descent went off pretty well as we dropped toward Wolfesville Road in a series of switchbacks, and in spite of getting off track for thirty minutes, we finished with plenty of daylight to spare–even with the first day of “daylight wasting time” looming large.

View from Black Rocks Cliff

View from Black Rocks Cliff

Candee wrote extensively on Facebook about her conversation with her new friend, while Jane and I merrily walked along.  He came east from San Francisco to hike and camp on the Maryland section of the AT, which is pretty cool considering that he’s a veteran of the John Muir Trail.  Who says we don’t have great trails and vistas here in the east!  Unfortunately, he dined on his last bit of rice during his final night in the woods.  That doesn’t sound all that appetizing.

Side view at Black Rocks.  These were the most difficult pictures I have ever taken.  The wind literally tried to take my camera for a ride!

Side view at Black Rocks. These were the most difficult pictures I have ever taken. The wind literally tried to take my camera for a ride!

We’ve done a number of day hikes while trying to polish off the AT in Maryland, and I’m reminded that a few of the hardened thru-hikers do something called the Maryland Challenge every year.  The challenge is to hike all 41+ miles in Maryland in 24 hours.  To put it in modern terms, that sounds totally cray cray, but anybody tough enough to walk from Georgia (or Maine) to Maryland might see things differently.

Rocks, rocks, and more rocks.  I was beginning to think that I have rocks in  my head!

Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. I was beginning to think that I have rocks in my head!

Anyway, these rising amateur hikers are ten miles closer to knocking off one of our resolutions, and whatever lies between Route 77 and Pen Mar Park is the last leg of the journey.  Then there’s a seven mile stretch of Long Pond Trail that’ll finish off Green Ridge.  Either should make for a great hike!

Getting really close to Rt. 77.  I could

Getting really close to Rt. 77. I could almost see the car!

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Looks like beautiful and peaceful country. I’m so jealous in many ways I’m not able to see these things. However, we do have the Great Lakes and all the goodies that come from living close to them.

    Reply

    • Posted by LevelWalker on November 16, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      If I recall correctly, this is Candee’s favorite AT hike so far. There are to nice overlooks, and the terrain is pretty good. You UPIES have some great scenery! I’m jealous too!

      Reply

  2. Anytime y’all find your way in my country, give a holler and we’ll do the Upper Peninsula! Talk about Bigfoot country! It’s right up your alley Tom.

    Reply

  3. Posted by candee on November 20, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Nope…my favorite A.T. hike up to this point is rt. 77 to Pen Mar!!!

    Reply

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