K9 Trailblazers Dog Hiking Club
October 26, 2002 at Cedarville State Forest
Trip Report

(click on thumbnail images for full size picture)

3.5 or 7 miles

It was a dark and stormy night...

But fortunately the much needed rain cleared up by Saturday morning for our October hike at Cedarville State forest, near Brandywine, MD. This was our first K9TB hike at Cedarville, but a favorite hiking spot of hike co-leader, Cheryl Babik, who introduced it to us. The day started out cloudy and cool; perfect hiking weather for the 9 hikers and 6 dogs that gathered at the trailhead.

We had a group of veteran K9TBr's and one rookie. Our K9TB pros were:  Cheryl with Jess, Lisa and Chuck with Jester, Alice with Diva, Jennifer with Tigger, Nancy with Callie, Nancy's friend Barb, and hike co-leader, Jeff.  Pat showed up with our rookie, Rory, her new Terv pup.

In keeping with the season, our pre-Halloween scare was the notice that hunting season had begun in the forest. But other than a seeing a few camouflaged hunters, and hearing a couple distant shots, we didn't have any further surprises.  Cheryl provided the treats:  homemade dog biscuits for all the dogs!  Alice also provided some chocolate treats for our human hikers.

With the tricks and treats out of the way we headed out down the "White" trail for the first loop of our hike. The trail followed a mostly level path through the beautiful autumn forests.  Human hikers enjoyed the fall colors.  The trees were just starting to change, and the greens were fading to yellows, reds, and oranges.  The dogs enjoyed the cool fall weather, the sights and smells along the trail, and showing newbie, Rory, the ropes on the trail and at our breaks at the well marked trail junctions.

We finished up our first loop in a bit over an hour, and said good bye to Pat and Rory, and Jennifer and Tigger.  Rory did a great job, and we all look forward to hiking with our junior K9 Trailblazer on future hikes.  With our good byes said, the remaining group headed on down the "Blue" trail for our second, 4 mile hike.  This loop highlighted a couple of interesting natural and man-made features in the forest.  After hiking through the forest, and past some old, abandoned camping areas, we came to the headwaters of the Zakiah swamp; Maryland's largest freshwater swamp.  The sun had finally burned off the remaining clouds and fog, and made the fall colors seem even brighter.  From there we headed past the competition archery ranges.  The archers must have been scared away by the threat of rain and hunters, because none of the many ranges were occupied.

Our last leg of the hike took us past a nice watering hole that gave the dogs a chance to take a well deserved break.  Jester and Callie particularly enjoyed the water, with Callie really wanting Nancy to join her.  Fortunately, in spite of Callie's best efforts, Nancy was able to stay dry.  The group finished up the hike with lunch by one of Cedarville Forest's historic features: a charcoal kiln that provided fuel for Maryland parks up into the 1950's.  After lunch, with 7.5 miles of new trail mileage under our belts (and collars), the hikers loaded up their cars and headed back home.

Special thanks to Cheryl for not only picking out a great hiking area, and volunteering to co-lead for the first time, but also going far above and beyond the call of duty by providing homemade treats.  This was truly a hike of firsts:  Our first trip to Cedarville, Cheryl's premier as a hike co-leader, and Rory's first hike.  We're all looking forward to seeing those firsts repeat!

Boo Rory resting up for the hike Charcoal kiln Down the fall trail
A rain swollen stream Rory says "Hi" to Tigger Fall foliage part 1 At the trail junction
A quick break Jester watches intently Autumnal trails New growth
Ground pine Heading for higher ground The headwaters of the Zekiah Swamp Some kind of autumn berry
Through the archery range Fall foliage Part 2 Big mushrooms after the rain A quick swim near the end of the hike