Friday, July 01, 2022

Baltimore Adventure Day 2 - Hiking, A Cool Waterfall and All The Berries You Can Eat

Our destination for today was Rocks State Park. We roused the kids early to make it to the parking lot of Kilgore Falls bright and early. We'd read that the falls were very popular and that the parking lot fills up quickly. We arrived at the parking lot around 8:00 and found it totally empty. For the hike and time spent at the falls, we had the place to ourselves. By the time we returned to the parking lot, there were a couple of additional cars there. I think our saving grace was that we went on a weekday and not a weekend.

The trail, falls and surrounding area was perfect for the kids to explore. Turns out, A. isn't much of a walker, so having a relatively brief walk to and from the falls was perfect for her. The kids got to splash around in the water, though it was very chilly. It's pretty cool that we could expore the bottom of the falls, then climb up some natural stairs to the top of the falls and hike back that way.

After the falls, we made our way to a another part of the park for some fishing. Oy, was that a bust. There were absolutley no good fishing holes along the trail we tried. When I did try to cast into one location, I found that I'd added too much line to the reel when I did my last line replacement. The result was an instant tangled mess that I needed to take extra time to untangle and reset things. Seriously, this was my most pathetic fishing attempt ever, though I suppose I walked away with some valuable lessons learned.

After the side trail, we drove to the parking lot near the King and Queen's seat; a large rock formation that's one the park's main features. While fishing, I'd shown the kids some raspberry bushes that had yet to develop any fruit. When parked at the King and Queen's seat, I realized that we'd parked in front of a massive raspberry bush that was filled wiwth ripe fruit. I gave the kids my speech about eating wild berries (you only eat those that an adult has 100% confidence in; some berries are tasty others will make you very, very sick--you can't tell the difference by looking at the berry alone), and then we got to work picking and eating. It was a fun and yummy experience for all.

After our berry picking session we had lunch at the nearby picnic tables and then walked the relatively short distance to the King and Queen's seat. The rock formations are beautiful, but are way too exposed to the massive drop-off to let me let the kids explore them in any detail. We stayed far, far from the edge and took photos. I did appreciate that there was at least one inscription on the rock from 1879, which was cool. We also saw a couple of laternfly's which was both neat and troubling (they're handsome looking, yet very invasive and damage crops). Shira and J. did another 1 mile hike in the area. A. protested and I had a small work emergency pop-up. I used that as a cue to have A. and myself return to the parking lot. I busted out my bluetooth keyboard and ssh'd into a server to work on a fix while A. picked more berries and played at the nearby playground.

One other notable feature of Rocks State Park--at least at the Kind and Queen's Seat Parking lot--the bathrooms were next level good. I'm telling you, they were immaculate. Shira rated them 5 stars.

On our way home, we stopped for ice cream at Jerretsvile Creamery and Deli and it was quite good. Becuase of the approaching 4th of July holiday, they had a special: any kid under 12 who could recite the Pledge of Alligiance could get a free ice cream. A. nailed it and scored herself a dish of cookies and cream.

Rocks State Park turned out to be the perfect outdoor space to spend the day at. If you've got a crowd that wants the beauty of nature without tons of walking, Rocks is just what you're looking for.

We finished up the day with movie night opting to watch Sonic 2. While not quite as good as the original, it was still very good. The mix of humor and wholesome goodness that's packaged as an action adventure movie for kids is a tough combo to pull off, but the Sonic team manages to do just that.

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