Sunday, September 22, 2013

On the Road Again - Sykesville to Woodbine

On the rail road that is. Picking up where I left off in June on my quest to hike the B&O Old Main Line, I hiked from Sykesville to Woodbine, or at least to Morgan Road, about a mile from Woodbine. Four and a half mile each way. Nine miles in four hours with time to stop and smell the creosote and snap a few pictures. It was a perfect day for hiking; cool and partly cloudy, temperature in the mid 60's. Beautiful! Saw lots of wildlife:  at least a half dozen deer, hawks, geese, a blue heron, cattle, horses, bright colored song birds and even a box turtle trying to figure out how to get over a rail to cross the tracks. After a train passed over him, he turned back the way he came. Here is a view of the old Sykesville yard looking back toward the east.

I parked beside Baldwin Station in a lot on the old Sykesville freight yard, which has some old rail cars. It also serves as a staging area for Maintenance of Way vehicles for CSX. The 29 mile marker is about a quarter mile from Baldwin Station just around a bend heading west. The short Sykesville tunnel is another quarter mile down the tracks. It has two bridges over the Patapsco River, one on each approach. The river makes a sharp bend to the north around the ridge that the tunnel goes through. So, between the two bridges the track is in Howard County for a few hundred yards, then back into Carroll County. After the tunnel there are four at grade road crossings in the next four miles: Gaither Rd., Hoods Mill Rd., Rt 97 and Morgan Rd. about a quarter mile past the 33 mile marker on the approach to Woodbine. I encountered two eastbound trains during my hike and heard the whistle of a third train, headed west, as I drove out of Sykesville at the end of my hike.

I have posted more photos of today's hike at this link, but the pair of geese below, cruising the Patapsco, were too beautiful not to include here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Doable Dorsey Tunnel Walk Around

Today was the first time since July 4th that I had a few free hours. So I hiked the Alberton Road trail on the Baltimore County side of the Patapsco River, heading west past the the Dam at Daniels and up to the eastern portal of the Dorsey tunnel. Back on May 19th I had attempted to find a feasible walk-around of the tunnel between the tunnel and the river. I found only a trace fit for deer and mountain goats, to steep and unsafe. Today I found a decent trail over and around the tunnel on the high side of the tracks. It can be accessed at the 19 mile maker. Enter the woods on the right side of the tracks,  and then look for the trail on your left that slopes up the side of the hill. It will take you to the far (western) side of the tunnel.

While I was on the trail I saw two mature deer hightailing it away from me with their while flags flying. But then I ran into this little fawn grazing beside the trail. It did not bolt. We studied each other quietly as I approached and was able to snap a few pictures,