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April 21, 2011

Five things to do outdoors this weekend

Temperatures in the 70s this weekend, folks. At least that's what the weather-guessers are calling for. Take a few hours for yourself. Here's some suggestions to get you going:

1) Recruit members for your Park Quest 2011 team. Registration for the free Maryland Park Service contest begins at 10 a.m. Monday. The cutoff is 1,000 teams, a number that likely will be met within a week. Now in its fourth year, Park Quest challenges teams to complete puzzles, geo caches and other adventures througout the summer at 24 state parks. Teams get their passports stamped by park staff after each successful Quest. Finish 10 out of 24 and get invited to the Finale in Sepetember to compete for prizes. Sign up at the Park Quest website.

2) On Saturday, join the Howard County chapter of the Sierra Club for a 7-9 mile hike at Catoctin Mountain Park. The jaunt includes stops at Cunningham Falls, Wolf Rock and Chimney Rock. Bring lunch and water. Meet at the Bagel Bin off U.S. 40 in the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, for an 9 a.m. departure. Or contact the leader to meet at the Catoctin Visitor Center. Call James Perschy, 410-964-1902,

3) Choose one of two boating activities being offered Saturday at Abingdon's Anita C. Leight Estuary Center. At noon, Birding by Boat leader Phil Powers will help you spot marsh birds of Otter Point Creek. It is suitable for ages 10-adult. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children 10-13. Proceeds benefit Envirothon. The center also is leading a canoeing clean up to celebrate Earth Day. The event runs from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is suitable for ages 8 and older. The cost is $10. Call 410-612-1688 to reserve a spot.

4) REI Timonium is holding a free bike maintenence workshop Saturday at 1 p.m. The basics will be covered--flats, lubes, adjustments. Save a spot by calling 410-252-5920 or online.

5) Help the staff at Gunpowder Falls State Park spruce the place up on Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Belair Road parking lot. Add your muscle power to crews painting, building a stairway and split rail fence and general trail improvements. Tools, garbage bags, and materials supplied. Bring work gloves, boots, and energy to help get the park ready for summer. Call 410-329-6809 for more information.

Posted by Candus Thomson at 7:00 AM |
About Candus Thomson
In a world of paper vs. plastic and candy mint vs. breath mint, my early memories involved a debate about the merits of freshwater vs. saltwater.

On the one hand, a great uncle’s fishing cabin on the Susquehanna River beckoned, but so did family gatherings on the Jersey Shore.

The correct answer, thankfully, was, “both.”

As The Sun’s outdoors writer for more than a decade, I’ve fished across Maryland in one day, hiked the width of the state in one hour, camped overnight in the median of I-95 to experience the wildlife between the fast lanes and chased mountain bikers in a 24-hour marathon race.

Those are some of the highlights. I’ve also fallen in a raging Gunpowder River during a trout survey (photo available upon request), had a shark spill its guts on my clothes and been stuck in a sub-freezing Vermont wilderness with men armed with flintlocks and hatchets, shuffling along on ancient wooden snowshoes.

And, in my travels I’ve met lots of you, who share a love of the outdoors and the good times and mishaps that go along with it.

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