Sunday, April 25, 2021

Hiking Frederick Municipal Forest: Three Saws Trail to Catoctin to Rocky Stream Trail

Just when I think I've hiked every trail in the DC area I discover a new patch of green space. This past weekend we found ourselves hiking a 4 mile loop in the blandly named Frederick Municipal Forest. The trail, as name suggests, is located outside of Frederick, Maryland, about an hour away and it was positively delightful.

The hike starts and finishes with a tricky, yet not especially treacherous, stream crossing. Finding your way across without getting wet feet takes some effort, but is doable. From there, the trail gently climbs until you hit a cozy pine forest, where the trail then descends back to the starting point.

The trail promised a waterfall, and sure enough, as we nearly finished the hike we came across said water feature. It was quite picturesque and made for yet another fun stream crossing.

We did the hike with friends and their three year old, PF. We saw one hiker and a couple of bikers along the way, but other than that, we had the forest to ourselves.

While the hike and catching up with our friends was great, the real highlight was watching PF navigate our adventure. He covered the full range of human emotion, from excitement (yay, we're going hiking!), to fear (I want to go back home), to 3-year-old stubbornness (I don't want to walk, I don't want to go in the backpack, I want to sit down in the middle of the trail), to pure joy (climbing on rocks and logs), to utter exhaustion (sound asleep in the backpack).

As we made our way up to the Pine Forest I informed our friends that there was a geocache in the area. They'd never heard of geocaching, so I got to give my best sales pitch why we should stop hiking and search around for a hidden container of goodies. They were down the with the idea. Most adorably, PF was totally on board with searching for treasure. Once I told him that was our mission, he kept chatting to me about how we were on our way to the treasure.

Thankfully, the cache didn't disappoint. Not only could we arrange for PF to find it, but it was filled with lots of goodies for him to pick from.

As hikes go, this one was a much needed and appreciated treat. Of course, now PF is going to expect treasure every time he goes into the woods, but that's his parents' problem now. You're welcome.

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