Outdoors Girl: End of the trail
So this is it. The last Outdoors Girl post.
I'm heading off for the family's annual striped bass and bluefish fishing vacation on Chappaquiddick Island and when I return after Labor Day it will be to a desk on the Metro staff, where my Sun career started 23 years ago.
What a great 11 1/2-year romp through the outdoors. What an honor to follow in the footsteps of Rachel Carson, who had this job in the 1930s, fly fishing guru Lefty Kreh and Maryland outdoors editor emeritus Bill Burton. What a pleasure to meet and talk with you on the trails and on the water.
Thanks one and all. And thanks to my editors, who didn't always get where I was going, but had the courage and sense of fun to say, "OK."
I hope everyone realizes how lucky we in Maryland are to have so many great outdoors opportunities, from Garrett County's rugged hiking trails and the fabulous rail trails that criss-cross the region to fishing the Chesapeake Bay and paddling our coastal bays and tributaries.
Nothing is more than three hours from your front door. So let's make it a pact, you and I, to expand our horizons:
3) Hike part of the Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail. The whole thing runs about 41 miles, but you can bite off a piece along South Mountain to gain an appreciation of what a magnificent path it is. If you do it the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16, stop at South Mountain Creamery to see a real dairy farm at work.
4) Climb Backbone Mountain in Garrett County, the state's highest point. Reaching the 3,360-foot summit, called Hoye-Crest, can be done in less than an hour at a leisurely pace.
5) Go crabbing. Need I say more?
6) Renew that fishing passion. Buy a seven-day freshwater license ($7.50) or tidal license ($6), borrow some tackle or visit Tochterman's Fishing Tackle in Baltimore or Anglers Sport Center in Annapolis and let the knowledgeable folks help set you up. Tochterman's has been in business for 95 years and Anglers has been around for a half century. You don't need to spend a fortune to catch a fish.
7) Keep an eye on the General Assembly. Watch your County Council. Write a letter or send an email to support an outdoors activity or a bill to protect our natural resources. All this good stuff belongs to you.
8) Prime the pump and create the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts by taking a kid along. Rent one if you have to. I do.
9) Start now getting a group together to participate in next year's Park Quest adventure. It's fun, it's challenging and you might learn a new outdoors skill.
That's it. You're on your own. Happy trails and tight lines.