Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cosca Regional Park - Clinton, MD

Last Sunday morning, Daryl and April so graciously gathered me from my St. Patty's Day Hangover Cocoon (aka, my bed) and helped me knock out my first Maryland hike!  We ventured to Cosca Regional Park in Clinton, Maryland.  60 Hikes describes the park as a 5.5 mile loop.  But my guess is it was significantly less because of the short amount of time it took - which was perfect because April had requested a shorter distance, and waves of nausea induced by one too many Irish Car Bombs had me glad that the park was petite as well.  Though short and sweet, we had a blast - totally worth leaving the cocoon!

Cosca Park features some really great amenities.  For you family folk, there are more playgrounds than the population of children in Maryland.  Everywhere we turned was a playground - not a single child present, but tons of bright shiny play areas.  There is also a small lake where you can fish and a Nature Center with a butterfly garden.  The fact that there was an abundance of things to do, yet the park was curiously empty, led to what April called the, "Blair Witch Element" of this particular nature reserve.  

For example, 

1.  There is a Nature Center which is beautifully designed on an elevated area so that as you wind up the ramp, there are coy ponds and flowers to gaze at on your way.  But once you get to said Nature Center, it was completely silent, and completely empty except for one employee and creepy science things like a poor lone bunny in a cage.  Daryl and April said the facilities were clean - always a plus - but as we left, a shiver ran up my spine for the poor bunny.

2.  As we began the hike, there was a really cool tree (pictured below) on which the trunk had all kinds of initials and hearts carved into.  It was something I'd never seen before.  But then, much deeper into the hike, in the middle of nowhere, was a very similar tree - and that's when April said, "I think we're getting into some Blair Witch territory here."  

3.  The trails are not well maintained.  Had it not been for Daryl's amazing orienteering skills and ability to spot the smallest or most faded speck of green paint on a tree trunk (signifying the next turn for the Green trail), I would have given up on the trail being a loop and turned back the way I came more than once.  However, the park is so small that occasionally you hit a fence and a road.  It was very reminiscent of The Happening or The Hunger Games or any other film or book where they put you in a fake environment and you have to claw your way out.  

But Hark!  Before we knew it, we came out on the other side of the lake and the trail really is a loop!  I was incredibly disoriented when we first came out of the brush, but also relieved that we had made it to the other side.  And honestly, the scary movie element of the trail had us giggling about finding a dead body the whole way through - we're sick like that.  

The park will be a great place to visit in the spring and summer.  There is a small lake where you can rent paddle boats, and I'm sure for children, the nature center would be quite a great experience.

Daryl and April

There's always time to learn - even when you're in the bathroom.

Blair Witch Tree Number One

Lone Owl at the Nature Center

Green Party Trail

April took this - very arty!

I'm so happy that I could hike with Daryl and April - they came super prepared with water and yummy snacks and are great company (and navigators) when I'm not at my best!  I hope they'll join me again for exploring!

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