"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
~ John Muir
This past Sunday was the warmest it had been in months. So after attending Palm Sunday Mass, we decided it would be the perfect day to get out of the city and go on a family hike. We headed out to Gunpowder Falls State Park, a sprawling 18,000 acres of land made up of marshes and wetlands, along with steep rugged slopes, streams, and over 100 miles of trails. The four of us (me, Fred, Jeromy, and little Shiloh) walked along the Sweathouse Trail of the park, blazing a nearly 2-mile hike each way. The two-and-a-half hour hike took us on a beautiful journey through some of the most beautiful terrain. Although the trees were still a bit "winter bare," small flower seedlings could be seen sprouting here and there. Birds chirping away and the sound of the river and small streams created a melodious concerta, serenading us as we made our way deeper into woods. Jeromy found himself a nice walking stick, provided by a fallen tree whose branches littered the forest floor. He also managed to find what he calls a "really cool rock," which we decided to let him take home as a souvenir. Shiloh, who had never before been on a walk beyond the city limits, was in Beagle heaven, sniffing all sorts of new smells, and exploring a whole new environment. She was VERY surprised when we came across a horse along the trail! A very nice lady was riding a beautiful mare, and stopped to say hello to us. Shiloh looked at this great big horse, took a few steps back, and let out a deep Beagle howl, or bay as it is commonly called. The mare just turned to look at this little creature making all that noise, gave her a little sniff, and kept on walking. The horse wasn't the only animal we encountered; there were a lot of people with their dogs, and we even caught a glimpse of a black rat snake basking in the sun on a big boulder
It was wonderful to watch Jeromy climbing slopes and huge rocks, hopping from rock to rock in the shallow parts of the riverbed, pointing out the family of ducks he glimpsed from a distance, and just enjoying himself to the fullest. He and his daddy talked endlessly about adventures, camping, hiking, etc... they both have many plans to go out and do more "rugged man stuff"! As for me, nothing could be more perfect than being out with my family on a beautifully warm and sunny afternoon. As we made our way back along the trail, with our muddied shoes and exhausted leg muscles, all we could talk about was how much fun we had, and we can't wait to go back!