Port Republic, MD – I am sitting on a bench on the American Chestnut Land Trust trail at Parker’s Creek in Calvert County in a canopy of hickory and oak trees.
Paw paws, fat swollen fruit in mid-September, pungently falls to the forest floor.
Pileated woodpeckers and jays high above rain down acorns and hickory nuts as they squawk and feed in the canopy of old growth forest.
Life is good at the American Chestnut Land Trust.
With 1,800 acres of preserved beauty, ACLT has some of the more challenging hiking trails in the region.
Both Double Oak, which we reported on earlier this year, and Parker’s Creek have steep hills, but scenic vistas.
There are places on the trails—and there are some 19 miles of them—where all you see is a ridge line. Beyond the ridge can be bright green marsh or treetops.
A land conservancy effort began in Calvert County in 1986.
By 1987, the ACLT was formed and began constructing trails on the south side near Parker’s Creek.
In 1995, ACLT began working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to preserve properties on the north side of Parkers Creek.
While some of the hills are imposing, the trails are unpaved except for the occasional railroad tie steps on one of the steepest hills.
For those of you who are bug phobic, I am pleased to report that despite my treks through many of Southern Maryland’s popular hiking trails this past year, only once, during a hike in St. Mary’s City have I encountered ticks.
Despite what appeared in the spring to be a bad year for ticks, I haven’t picked one off of me since.
Since then I have walked on the western shores of Charles County, St. Mary’s Lake and Calvert Cliffs and I have encountered none of the bloodsucking critters.
I did get into a mess of chiggers over at Flag Pond, but that was my own fault.
There is only one cure for those critters: stay out of tall grass.
Parker’s Creek is a great place to picnic or just enjoy for the beauty of it. It is solitary and found just off Scientist’s Cliffs Road near Port Republic.
The weather is perfect. Go take a hike.
Contact Joseph Norris at email@example.com