Time to burn some calories
I’ve had enough cookies, eggnog, and leftovers that I had to let out my belt a few notches. I bet a lot of you are in the same boat. There’s a simple solution to this problem, though, and all you’ll need is a pair of comfortable shoes and the right winter jacket to get started. For the average person, an hour of hiking will burn about 400 calories. That’s the equivalent of just three Christmas cookies. I know I ate a lot more than that, so I better get walking.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be hosting its annual New Year’s tradition of “First Hikes” at three dozen parks across the state. In our area, there are several places to choose from if you want to participate in a New Year’s Day hike. Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather and bring along a water bottle. Drinking water is good for you, too.
Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby
This hike is categorized as an “easy hike for families” on a trail that is stroller accessible. You’ll be walking 3.6 miles which should take about two hours. The trail leads right out to the Chesapeake Bay where you can search for fossilized shark teeth. Refreshments around a cozy fire at the pavilion will conclude the event. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Meet at 10 a.m. at the bathhouse. RSVP via email to [email protected]land.gov or to call Calvert Cliffs State Park at 443-9754360.
Chapman State Park in Indian Head
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to de-clutter? Come to Chapman State Park from 2 to 4 p.m. to make the park 25 pounds lighter by picking up trash along the shoreline of the Potomac. You’ll get leaner and the park will get cleaner. It’s a “moderate” hike with a round-trip distance of two miles. Bring work gloves. Meet at the Mt. Aventine Mansion. RSVP by calling 301-743-7613 or emailing catherine.don[email protected]land.gov.
Greenwell State Park in Hollywood
Join a ranger to hike the orange trail, which will take you through the forest, along the beach, past the wetlands, and through the fields. Bring along a mug for hot cocoa afterwards. It’s a “moderate” hike for families, approximately 1.5 miles total, and is not stroller-friendly. Meet at the pavilion at 11 a.m. Dogs on leashes are welcome. RSVP by calling 301872-5688 or emailing pointlook[email protected]land.gov.
Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary in Upper Marlboro
Meet at 10 a.m. at the Visitor’s Center for a 3.5-mile hike on Poplar Springs Trail that will last about two hours. The hike is considered “easy to moderate” and is perfect for dogs on leashes. Four-legged friends aren’t required; participants without dogs are more than welcome to come along, too. Families are encouraged to call Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary at 443-510-9920 to register or contact Kyle Prinkey at [email protected]land.gov. Afterwards, refreshments will be served at the Visitor’s Center, where participants are welcome to stop in to learn about the history of the park and meet some of the resident animals.
BOW workshops offered
The Becoming an Outdoors Woman Program (BOW) has two exciting workshops coming up in 2019. Registration is open now for the day-long workshop “From Field to Table,” which will take place at The Lodge at Black Pearl in Dorchester County on Feb. 2. Black Pearl Farm contains
nearly 860 acres of flooded fields, croplands, marsh, and woodlands and borders Blackwater National Refuge. No, groundhog will not be on the menu, but goose will be. Larry Hindman of Yellowdog Retrievers will provide retriever demonstrations. Participants will go into the field to learn basic waterfowl identification and the proper care and cleaning of waterfowl. Then they’ll head into the kitchen to learn the tricks of the trade for cooking waterfowl from professional chef Vicky Mullaney. The cost is $125 and includes lunch and a copy of The Lodge at Black Pearl Cookbook as well as a cooler bag with some tasty surprises for the road.
Another upcoming event is the Beyond BOW Winter Workshop at Wisp Resort in Garrett County on Feb. 9. Last year’s workshop was canceled because there was no snow on the ground, but I have a feeling that moving the workshop up to the beginning of February will guarantee the proper snowy conditions for this event. But just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate, a full refund will be issued if there is not enough snow to hold the workshop.
Participants can choose between different activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, identifying trees and animal tracks in winter, or ice fishing. The cost is $80 per person, including workshop fees for two classes, all equipment including snowshoes, skis, and/or fishing gear, trail passes for skiing, and lunch. You’ll need to get your own valid Maryland fishing license prior to the start of class. And lodging is up to you.
Visit https://dnr.maryland. gov/wildlife/Pages/Education/bow.aspx for more information and to register for the events. Registration fills quickly for these workshops, so don’t delay.