60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Baltimore
by Evan Balkan (Menasha Ridge Press)
© Evan Balkan/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
Very nice hike/walk. Long grass made it difficult at times. Nice close neighborhood hike.
I've hiked different sections of the MPEA a few times since September; northern and southern trails. The trails are usually in very good shape, and are probably great for bird watching with all the meadows, grassy areas, and bird houses. You're likely to cross a number of foot bridges as you hike near the Middle Patuxent, over its feeder streams and some low lying areas.
A few loads of wood chips could help mitigate the numerous and sometimes large mudholes that force hikers to skirt the trail.
I find the trail markers ambiguous sometimes. Another color or two for trail blazes along with a few small plaques at key points of interest would be nice. The numbers are pretty useless when you don't have the printed trail guide, or the number have washed off of the yellow marker tape.
"The leaves in the canopy above breathing the fresh green wind--deer bounding across the silent path in front of us--a barn swallow peering from her nest box, beak clenched until we pass---May apples blooming hidden under their green umbrellas---and the scent of jasmine in the air. A good hike." Elizabeth -- a fellow hiker with me on this trail wrote the poem above to describe her experience on the trail this day. I hike this trail about once a week with my hiking group and vary it between the 2.5 mile option and the one described in this guide. You experience a lot of varied terrain, trees, flora, fauna, and animals for being in a rather small environmental area. This is a perfect after work hike but don't forget your hiking boots as the terrain is rooty and rocky in places as is most of the terrain in Maryland. There are no stream crossing, unless like me you want to, and although the trail is packed dirt it is mulched in several areas. Additionally, there are two foot bridges that take you over small babbling brooks flowing towards the Middle Patuxent River. About 25 yards after traversing the first wooden foot bridge you can take a right (not a trail but more like beaten down tall grass) you will enjoy a fantastic view of the Middle Patuxent River within about 20 feet. This is the only way that you will see the river for the first 3 miles of the hike and is worth a detour of a few feet.
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