Check out this infographic I made!

Check out this infographic I made!

McDaniel Getaways Pinterest?!

The Revised Bloede Dam Analysis

I’m revising my previous post about the Bloede Dam:

"I’d truly hate to see it go[, but now I understand the reasoning behind it]." 

Got the itch to pitch a tent? Check this out!

Got the itch to pitch a tent? Check this out!

For most of human history, people chased things or were chased themselves. They turned dirt over and planted seeds and saplings. They took in Vitamin D from the sun, and learned to tell a crow from a raven … And then, in less than a generation’s time, millions of people completely decoupled themselves from nature.

Do you suffer from Nature-Deficit Disorder?

AccessDNR's flikr Photostream - Huge collection of amazing pics of Maryland scenery

Bloede’s Dam - Patapsco Valley State Park

This dam is one of those places that instantly transports me to my childhood whenever I see pictures posted of it. In my first posting, I cover how to get to the trail that leads you to it.

Bloede Dam by Ben Spires (tahunanui) on
Bloede Dam by Ben Spires

==> Here’s some history of the dam

…and here’s an interesting story about a proposal to remove it. <==

I’d truly hate to see it go :(

The Gillis Falls Trails - Rustic, Secluded, Relaxing

I’m back again to offer a great idea for a peaceful daytrip in the great outdoors, and as always, it’s less than an hour from the McDaniel Campus. The Gillis Falls trails feature varying terrain and even more diverse wildlife, while offering beautiful vistas of some prime Carroll County nature.  I structured this post after my last in order to provide fluidity between related posts – and so that y’all can easily decide which of my suggested destinations interest you most!

Destination: Gillis Falls Trails– Mt. Airy, MD

Distance: 2.7 miles

Skill Level: All skill levels

Admission: Free  (during the winter months, the trail is only open to hikers on Tuesday and Thursday)

Trail Conditions: Uneven dirt and stones with some larger rocks in the paths – upon my last visit I witnessed a great deal of fallen trees as well. Some stream crossings, one that can become quite wide and deep (so consider crossing without your shoes).  Suitable for hiking, biking (my favorite here), or horseback riding. The trail was originally created as a horse trail, and is still used by many equestrian enthusiasts. That being said, be sure to watch out for road apples.

Facilities: None

Elevation: Some short hills in the beginning, flat stretches in the middle, and a “kicker” hill at the end.

Directions: The Gillis Falls trail is located a bit over 30 minutes from McDaniel. Directions to the parking area can be found here.

Possible Activities:

  Wildlife Encounters

On my various trips to this trail, I have encountered all sorts of critters. Birds are abundant in the wooded areas and the Gillis Falls stream that the trail follows is home to a wide variety of aquatic life. 

  Picnics and Cookouts

Though the trail isn’t very furnished, it is very nice and secluded – allowing for relaxing picnics in any area of your choosing, be it by the water’s edge, or in a tranquil clearing.


-National Geographic’s maintains a page dedicated to the park which provides photos and a description. Check out the comments on this page to see what certain visitors have said!

-On the posting for Gillis Falls features a few wonderful pictures of the area’s water features, sprawling fields, and other beautiful scenic views.


Tucked away in the woods of Mt. Airy, MD, the Gillis Falls trails cater to a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts.  The rustic feel of the “barely-touched” wilderness gives visitors a sense of privacy and seclusion. On one of my visits to this area, I brought a friend who had her three dogs tag along. The wide sweeping trails and beautiful scenery made for a wonderful day, and I’m sure the dogs would agree.


Get out and enjoy the fresh air!! And stay tuned to my next post highlighting some of the best spots to view autumn scenery in Maryland!



The Robinson Nature Center in Howard County, MD - Close to some pretty cool trails, and awesome facilities!

The Hashawha Trails - extremely close, extremely cool


In case you missed it, in my last post I provided an overview of one of my all-time favorite getaways located in Maryland’s Patapsco Valley State Park (about 45 minutes from campus).  This time around I will be venturing a bit further into a local trail that is sure to make for a pleasant escape from the college grind.

Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a ‘hiker’ I urge you to read on – this trail requires very little skill.

Destination: Hashawha Environmental Center / Bear Branch Trail – Westminster, MD

Distance: 4.5 miles

Skill Level: Beginner to moderate

Admission: Free

Trail Conditions: Smooth and simple dirt paths, worn-down grassy trails through sprawling fields, leisurely gravel roads. As with most trails you can expect fallen trees, trenching caused by rain, and a few stream crossings.  Some areas of the trails are marked as closed since they may be overgrown or in need of maintenance, but overall the trails are kept in excellent condition.

Facilities: Bear Branch Nature Center , bathrooms, pavilions, benches, and a few small fishing docks.

Elevation: Short hills in some areas but for the most part the paths are quite flat.

Directions: Hashawha is located 11 minutes from campus up 97 N, directions to the entrance can be found here. Once on John Owings Road, you can’t miss the entrance sign.

Possible Activities:

Wildlife Encounters

·Birding is popular in the park as there are numerous species native to the area. In a few spots in the park there are shelters used by a variety of birds such as: owls, hawks, and sometimes even bald eagles!

·You may find wire feeder traps submerged in the creek which often are packed full of crayfish.

·Small nets are placed at various locations around the trails for visitors to be able to closely observe the aquatic life.

Picnics and Cookouts

·There are various areas in the park with picnic tables, benches, covered pavilions, and grills.

·The trails are maintained well enough to pull a cooler into the woods if you prefer a more secluded picnicking spot.

Ultimate Relaxation

·Set up a blanket near the banks of the Bear Branch stream that runs throughout the park and listen to the calming sounds of running water– an excellent way to unwind and de-stress.

·Catch and release fishing is available on the grounds for those interested.

National Geographic’s maintains a page dedicated to the park which provides excellent photographs and a short description. A quick skim through the comments section on this page reveals numerous satisfied visitors and their opinions of the trails.

When it comes to nature, words simply aren’t enough. All over the web Hashawha visitors have shared their experiences with the world. Bloggers have shared photographs of the beautiful surroundings and wildlife that they encountered on their treks.

With various hidden getaways, flowing streams, tranquil clearings, and peaceful fields –the scenery at Hashawha Environmental Center can be truly breathtaking. Not only is it located so close to campus, but the grounds are expansive and allow for private excursions.  The park is extremely multifaceted, with varying terrains and elevations visitors at any level can take to the trails. You get to decide how easy or challenging your trip will be, since there are so many different options at the park.

So my fellow McDanielites, I urge you to pack your bag and hit the trails – the great outdoors is calling!!