Monday, February 1, 2016

Annapolis Rocks Snowshoeing

After last week's storm, we couldn't resist the opportunity to get the snowshoes out again. We picked up a friend and her dog and and met another friend at the Annapolis Rocks parking area on US Highway 40 west of Frederick, Maryland. Fortunately, road crews partially cleared the parking lot. We've hiked up to Annapolis Rocks and to Blackrock a number of times. This is the first time we have snowshoed up there. The first quarter mile of the hike has to be the least charming stretch of the entire Appalachian Trail. The trail goes under the US Highway 40 bridge, following a ledge perched over Interstate 70. The roar of traffic makes it impossible to talk even to the person hiking next to you.

After we passed under the bridge and turned up the hill, away from the highways, the hike improved rapidly. South Mountain still had nearly two feet of snow on the ground. There was a pretty wide path in the snow from hikers who had been up to Annapolis Rocks before us. We had lunch in the sun at Annapolis Rocks. From there, we headed north to Blackrock following only one set of snowshoe tracks. Then we hiked down the hill from Blackrock. The snow was still fluffy on the north-facing slope. We had a good time glissading down the trail. At the bottom, when we reached the creek, we decided it was time to head back.

We had a great time out in the snow and we saw a total of six other people (two of whom were climbers camped at the bottom of Annapolis Rocks). On a normal day, this area is crazy busy with hikers.
Michael at Annapolis Rocks
 The view northwest from Annapolis Rocks
 Our friends snowshoeing
The view from Blackrock
 Sumac seeds
Blackrock Creek. The trail continues on the other side. This is where we turned around.
My snowshoes on trail.
 The trail and shadows in the late afternoon sun.
 Michael and our friends hiking up the last hill on the way back to the car.
Michael had to do an emergency repair on his snowshoes. The rivets on the binding strap pulled out (this is probably his third time using these...we'll be contacting the manufacturer). He used utility cord to make a field repair, which got him back to the car.