Nice hike in the Catoctins
My day began around 11:00 AM at the visitor center. I grabbed a trail guide and made my plans. While at the visitors center I watched the many butterflies coming to the purple coneflower planted out front. I took a few photographs of the butterflies and then headed for the trail. It was my first time in this area so I wasnt sure what to expect.
The trail climbed steady for the first fifteen minutes and then leveled off. The woods were open and very quiet. My plan was to hit Wolf Rock but at the first trail junction I decided to continue straight and visit the Thurmont Vista. The trail continued pretty much on the level until the last few tenths of a mile where it went upwards to the vista. It was pretty disapointing. Just an opening cut in the trees to look across the valley at the town of Thurmont. Very un-natural and not scenic.
From here the trail continued to Wolf Rock. Once reaching a sign saying Wolf Rock I was faced with a rock wall. The only way I could see to get on top was to scale the wall. Not prepared for that I hiked a path left to a cut up the rocks but could only get so far without again scaling. The rocks were incredible quartzite. White rocks glowing was real neat. There were tunnels going through the rocks, crevaces between them, and rocks on top of rocks. Anyway I figured there was an easy way up so I went back and hiked the other way where I found a trail up the rocks to the top. Walking across the top to where I was I jumped and stepped over deep crevaces in the white rocks. It was real neat.
I decided to eat lunch here when I noticed on the highest rock above an adult Black Vulture. I went up to get some pics and surprisingly the bird just sat there. He perched on a rock growing up among the other rocks seperated by a five foot or more gap from the other rocks. I sat down and ate. He finally decided to fly and I packed up and headed out.
Walking back towards the trail I was amazed at the things I had missed, more crevaces, more tunnels, more rocks. This was a real neat place! My only dissapointment was not seeing any of the rattlesnakes that are supposed to be around there..maybe next time.