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May 5, 2011

Five things to do outdoors this weekend

Happy Mother's Day to all you outdoors mothers...and fathers and kids. Looking for something to do together this weekend?

Here are five suggestions:

1) On Saturday, join the staff at The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Visitor Center in a celebration of the spring hiking season, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. May marks the arrival of northbound thru-hikers from Georgia and an upswing in day-hikers and overnight hikers out to enjoy the milder temperatures. Festivities will feature an official unveiling of new visitor center exhibits and displays, kids’ and Leave No Trace activities and stories from recent thru-hikers. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters is in Harpers Ferry at 799 Washington St.


2) On Sunday, give mom a scare (like you haven't already done that) by taking her for a zip-line ride at Terrapin Adventures in Savage. Moms get a free ride with two adventure purchases of equal or greater value. Use promo code MFF15 when booking. They're open daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Phone: 301-725-1313.

3) Take the kids to a fishing rodeo Saturday in Bel Air at the John Carroll School Pond, 11 a.m. The event, open to kids 15 and younger, is part of the Maryland Fishing Challenge. Kids under 16 are eligible for prizes and will be entered in the Grand Prize drawing in September. Need some more details? Give Bob Wall a holler: 410-245-0854 or

4) Spend either Saturday or Sunday exploring the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel. On Saturday at 10 a.m., learn about "Nature’s Other Carnivores--Plants." The interpretive program is suitable for kids 8-10. On Sunday at 2 p.m., discover Patuxent’s amazing variety of life from big to small and fuzzy to slimy through interactive games, adventure walks and stories. This event is suitable for kids 5-7. The visitor center is on Powder Mill Road between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 197. Call 301-497-5887 to reserve space.

5) Take a bike ride on the Indian Head Rail Trail in Charles County and stop by the art exhibit at the Mattawoman Creek Art Center. Local artists and their depictions of the trail on on display, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. The 13-mile trail is paved and the scenery varies. 

Posted by Candus Thomson at 10:42 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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