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Eleven hardy hikers, accompanied by five canine companions, enjoyed perfect weather at Catoctin Mountain Park, near Thurmont, MD, on Saturday, June 10th. We gathered at 9 AM, welcomed returning regulars, greeted some new faces, and headed for the hills.
We paused at Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock to take in the views and for blister repairs and then headed to beautiful Thurmont Vista for lunch. After lunch it was on past the Charcoal Trail (where four hikers and one dog split off for the shorter 5-mile hike option) and up to the Blue Ridge Summit. At the parking lot near the summit we took the opportunity to thank a troop of Boy Scouts, and their leaders, for maintenance work they were doing on the restrooms and picnic area.
We then hiked part of the Hog Rock Nature Trail, where, thanks to a brochure from the park service, we identified many different species of trees. At Hog Rock (elev. 1620 ft.) we saw Catoctin greenstone, remnants of a lava flow which occurred more than 600 million years ago.
During the day, we spotted a variety wildlife, including a couple of garter snakes, groundhog, chipmunks, squirrels and deer (particularly popular with the dogs). We also heard numerous birdcalls, some of which members of the group identified.
The group completed the full 8 miles and returned to our cars at 2:30 PM.