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Get outside and enjoy the end of summer.

IronweedWe had a great hike around Kendall Ridge, Maryland on this past Thursday. I bet you have never been there. It was a 2 mile walk – part of the 120 miles of paths in Howard County. It was 1 of 10 walks I am leading this year for the Columbia Association.

The woods have changed so much over the past few weeks. Dark green canopies cover the paths. Noonday cicadas drown out all human noise including the airplanes, and Joe Pye, Ironweed, jewelweed and golden rod offer a bit of color.

Grape.360Part of the difference in the woods or the edges of the woods is the result of the vines taking over the forests. All the trees were magically draped with vines climbing up 10, 30, 60 feet covering trees of all sizes. We saw a range of grapevines (fox, summer, riverbank, etc.), Virginia creeper, poison ivy, English ivy, cut-thumb/mile-a-minute, porcelain berry, honeysuckle, and trumpet vine.

It was a special walk along boardwalks reaching across streams, floodplains, and engineered wetlands. We saw stressed sycamores and locust trees, lots of black walnuts, and a series of dying ash trees. It was interesting to envision what life must have been like pre-colonization, and after Daniel Kendall received his 400 and 500 acre land grants back in 1701 (Kendall’s Delight and Kendall’s Enhancement). The forests are recovering as are the streams and a whole host of flora and fauna, including many native and non-native species. It is a seldom visited path that extends sound from the Kendall Ridge Pool. Go try it one day. You will forget you live in a city.

Take-a-way: For a list of future hikes this fall visit this schedule of events. Don’t leave the trails just to the PokemonGo searchers!

Explore Columbia on Foot in 2016

lake kitt walkersHere is the CA walking itinerary for 2016. SAVE IT!!!  As I did last year, I will be sharing stories of the history, the natural world, and the future of the places we pass. Please note that two of these walks are on Saturdays and the rest are on Thursdays. They all start at 10 am. Last year we had a great turnout for each of the walks. Come walk and meet your neighbors as we all explore Columbia on foot in 10 new and exciting locations. (more…)

#Optoutside on Black Friday

Think outside...no need for a boxDon’t shop! You don’t need it.

Go outside! Connect with others and the natural world.

Check out these blog posts: Top Ten Hikes in Howard County, MD  and Best Places to Visit in Howard County, MD.

Take-a-way: There are a lot of neat places to visit in your own backyard so go check them out and take a friend.

 

 

Zion National Park

zion rimOne of the most visited and loved national parks in this country is Zion in southwest Utah. It is so beautiful that it is flooded by Americans and people from many other countries. It is so admired that one cannot drive into the park on many days throughout the spring, summer, and fall because of limited parking. When this happens, you have to (more…)

Lessons from a City Park – a guest post by Julie Dunlap

800px-East_Rock_from_SSS_Hall,_October_17,_2008Most people ascend East Rock for the views. Atop the 366-foot basalt cliff, they can admire office towers, steeples, neighborhoods, and harbor views of New Haven, Connecticut, and, on a clear day, glimpse Long Island Sound. But for me, climbing the stony Giant Steps Trail recalls my first heady night in graduate school, when new friends suggested a moonlit hike in a city park. That dark scramble, more than the starry summit vista, filled me with wonder and freedom as only an outdoor adventure can do.

The 427-acre East Rock Park originated as a naturalistic landscape in 1884, designed by Donald Grant Mitchell as a respite from (more…)