K9 Trailblazers Dog Hiking Club 
September 8, 2001 Hike at Little Bennett Regional Park
Trip Report

An eager group of 16 people and 14 dogs gathered for chocolate and dog biscuits before heading out on "shared use trails" (horses/bikes) and wooded paths to view the natural and historic scenery of Little Bennett Regional Park. Our hike took us past old tobacco barn and log cabin and then bushwhacking along Dark Branch stream looking for "urban artifacts" (more than 50 years old.) We found 4 wrecked cars and a small cabin.

A special highlight of the trip was a side trip to the old Hyattstown saw & grist mill. The mill functioned from the 1790ís to the 1930ís as a "custom" mill, grinding corn and feed for local farmers, and as a "merchant mill" grinding wheat for more distant markets. The building, restored in 1996, is now home to the Hyattstown Mill Arts Project. We had a snack while we took turns holding each otherís dogs so the humans could go inside to view ceramics created by local artists. Then we were invited to take our dogs for a walk along the wooded paths lined with modern sculptures where we enjoyed both the lovely setting and beautiful art. Dr. Cindy Bolognese, our club naturalist, pointed out the "mile-a-minute plant" and other interesting vegetation and discussed environmental consequences of introduced vs. native plant species. 

We continued along the old Hyattstown Mill Rd. past the site of Zeiglerís Saw and Bone Mill, built around 1860 to grind animal bones for the area farmers to use as fertilizer. The easy hikers then continued back to the parking area while the hardy hikers returned to the trails, passing through the forest and meadows. We crossed a swinging bridge (to the delight of people and dogs!) to visit the old Kingsley School House which was in use from 1893 until 1935, when the Great Depression caused families to move away in search of work. After lunch and a brief rest, we hiked along a very pretty section of Little Bennett Creek and worked our way uphill and down to where the Allegheny Mound Builders make ant-hills several feet high and wide. We were careful not to disturb the millions of ants in each one as we continued back down to Little Bennett creek and returned to our cars.

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