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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mary, Mary...

I've written several times how beautiful the rolling hills and countryside of Virginia are, but Maryland is proving to be no slouch in the scenery department. Located just an hour's drive from Falls Church, the Cedarville State Forest in Waldorf was a riot of fall colors and peaceful trails during the 4¼ hours I spent walking along several footpaths, covering 9.2 miles (14.8 kilometers) as I gained about 400 feet (122 meters) in elevation. My photos don't do justice to how truly beautiful it was to be walking through those woods:

The remains of an old charcoal kiln. Cedarville State Forest was a product of the New Deal, established by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC unit in this area was primarily made up of African-Americans, who used kilns like the one above to produce charcoal for their work camp. The CCC was one of those socialist, deficit-generating make-work projects designed to give FDR's 47% (probably more during the Great Depression) something to do in lieu of their taking responsibility for themselves. And, of course, the CCC left us with a legacy bereft of anything worthwhile...except for three billion planted trees,  and 800 beautiful recreation areas like the one I visited today.

A toad tries to look inconspicuous. I also got a pretty clear view of two large deer as they ran through the woods.

My camera has a pretty cool "painting" effect that can be applied to photos. As an example of how technically inept I am, I didn't discover my Nikon could do this until I took this picture.

I walked through an archery range at one point. Fortunately for me, no one was doing any target practice while I out there. The forest is open for hunters, as well, though hunting isn't allowed on Sundays. I could've sworn I heard several gunshots at one point, though, and just to be on the safe side, I wore a bright orange tank top over my usual hiking shirts.

This rider was one of four people on horseback that I encountered on the trails today.

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