Self implies Other

This was not just another dog walk. It was a reboot – at one of my favorite spots for long contemplative walks: Greenbury Point in Annapolis.

What is nice about this loop behind the Greenbury Point Nature Center is that along the way, there are reflective quotes posted …by such greats at Ralph Waldo Emerson. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Waldo_Emerson

You will often come across fellow travelers along these paths: couples walking together, parents with their kids or just folks walking their dogs. But anytime I have been there, it has not been “crowded”. Those who walk here are respectful, and there is seldom any litter.

My video on YouTube

If you desire a visit, just Google Map “Greenbury point nature center” and enjoy your discovery.

#savegreenburypoint on facebook will reveal just how loved this area is by the community.

Winter Solstice Deer Hunt

It’s been tough to get into the woods this season, with the wet weather and my work schedule, but I was able to dedicate yesterday and today to some deer hunting. The experience gave me a first and some discoveries.

Always hunting for meat first, antlers second, I was content to get what I could these two days. Yesterday was a little rough – in the morning I shot and missed a doe, about 45 yards away. It’s muzzleloader season, so there is no quick follow-up shot. Even though my rifle has iron sights, it is normally my most accurate weapon. After waiting until about 10AM, I left with a plan to return.

After some Christmas shopping, I returned to sit for a couple hours and saw nothing… except for the deer scared off as I walked to my stand.

This morning I was up in my stand nice and early, and as expected, a herd came by at 7:40AM. I had a decent line on them, but they were farther away than I like. About four walked by, and there appeared to be just one left for me. He entered my shot zone and I shouted “meh” – and he stopped, as they usually do. That’s when I shot. He dropped right there.

I took out my range finder and discovered it was a 71-yard shot. Even with an excellent shoulder shot to the lungs, my deer typically run a few yards and fall. How is it that this one fell right where it stood? I soon found out.

The sense of relief after shooting a deer, after hours of sitting, not to mention the driving to and from, is always a calming moment. It’s as if all the planets, the sun and moon aligned perfectly just for me. When the deer hits the ground, all is right with the world, at least for one day.

Walking towards the deer, I was not sure what to expect. Today was a first. As it turns out, even though I aimed for the lungs, for whatever reason, the bullet hit the young buck in the ear for a clean head shot. He died instantly. Apparently, my aim was high and to the left – or he quickly moved his head. Whatever happened, I was glad for the quick kill, which is always my priority… and why my preference is to hunt with a shotgun or rifle.

Today’s harvest was very smooth. I strapped the deer to a tree for the “field dressing” (removing organs) and then dragged him in my plastic sled to the farm road. My shot was down hill into a ravine with a creek, which gave me a nice flat path to a convenient spot for a return with my Jeep. Dragging about 100 lbs. up and down hills and over fallen trees is not a good time. Unfortunately for today’s harvesting effort, this deer was on the smaller side, although “every cloud has a silver lining” and the lighter weight made this morning’s drag less tiring.  Today is the first time I removed a deer from the woods along this creek, and hope to take this same route next time.

My hunts usually end with big does hitting the ground. It’s rare that I have an opportunity to harvest a large buck and today was no different. There is still time, although it looks like there will be only one more morning for me in muzzleloader season, with the rest of the opportunities reserved for my crossbow in January. The good news: today I have discovered new deer paths and a superior spot to place my second stand, plus an easier exit out of the woods. There is always a silver lining.

Into the woods for firearms season

Yesterday I ventured into the woods where I deer hunt every year, on a friend’s property in PG county. A few hours of checking my stands and cutting back growth was refreshing exercise on this sunny fall day. Next week I will return for a couple days of post-Thanksgiving hunting during Maryland’s firearms season.

From Maryland DNR Guide to Hunting and Trapping 2022-2023

War in the Chesapeake

I visited the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitors Center on Kent Island yesterday morning. This is home to a beautiful information center about the history and current attractions of this part of the eastern shore, including a waterfront park. The center is the “go to” place to plan adventures and weekend visits in Queen Anne’s County.

Chesapeake Heritage and Visitors Center:

Local History & Heritage Archives – Visit Queen Anne’s County (visitqueenannes.com)

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail:

Star-Spangled Banner Trail – National Historic Trail Stewards (starspangledtrail.net)

From the National Park Service: The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, established by Congress in 2008, is a 560-mile land and water route that tells the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. The trail traces American and British troop movements, introduces visitors to communities affected by the war, and highlights the Chesapeake region’s distinctive landscapes and waterways. It connects historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and commemorates the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the U.S. national anthem.

The Benefits of Getting Outside

The advice below are excerpts from WebMD’s “Health Benefits of Getting Outside.” WebMD is a popular resource for medical facts about healthy living. More and more, doctors are recommending that people get outside to improve and maintain good health… a simple walk or bike in the park for as little as 15 to 30 minutes is excellent for both our body and mind. Here’s why:

  • Walking outside makes you more likely to exercise, especially if you’re a kid.
  • It helps you get Vitamin D, which is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system. It also helps your body absorb more of certain minerals, like calcium and phosphorus. Your body needs sunlight to make it, but you don’t need much. In the summer, just getting sun for 5 to 15 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week, should do it. In the winter, you might need a bit more.
  • Imagine what a walk will do when even a simple plant in the room, or pictures of nature, can make you feel less anxious, angry, and stressed.
  • When you get outside your house, it’s not only Mother Nature you see. You also connect more with the people and places in your community.
  • The outdoors helps set your sleep cycle. Cells in your eyes need enough light to get your body’s internal clock working right. Early morning sunlight in particular seems to help people get to sleep at night.
  • Outdoor activity can help improve your self-esteem and fight anxiety. More relaxed activity like a walk, bike ride, or work in the garden seems to work even better than hi-intensity exercise. Exercising outside is superior to inside a gym: Sunlight helps keep your serotonin levels up. This helps raise your energy and keeps your mood calm, positive, and focused.
  • In one study, kids with ADHD were able to concentrate better on a task after a walk in the park than they were after a walk through an urban area.
  • Sunlight also seems to energize special cells in your immune system called T cells that help fight infection.
  • Studies show that time in nature can boost your creative problem-solving abilities.

One last tip about the sun and safety: “Protect yourself from the sun with long sleeves, sunglasses, and a hat. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher, even when it’s cloudy. Try to let people know where you go, especially if you’re going alone into a wilderness area,”… but it is a good idea even for a park.


Harvester Artwork: Celebrating the Outdoors

Thursday afternoon on the B&A Trail

I had the opportunity to dedicate my afternoon to a little outdoor recreation, so I picked the B&A Trail to log some serious seat time on my mountain bike. This paved trail is the pride of Anne Arundel County Parks and Recreation and is part of the National Rail-Trail Network. The B&A Trail is the location of the old Baltimore and Annapolis railroad line, which was very popular before the aggressive growth of automobile transportation. Just think, all the talk today is of “sustainable” transportation… and here we have the perfect little path for that.

The trail head is located just outside the City of Annapolis, near the World War II Memorial and Jonas Green Park on Route 450 and the Severn River. I was tempted to start at Jonas Green Park, but I wanted to keep today’s ride pure B&A, beginning and end. The maps show the trail as 13.3 miles from the start at Boulter’s Way “mile marker 0 mile” until end of the line on Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie. I started from the “south parking lot” off Route 450, so my app recorded 13.97 miles.

It was a long ride, there and back!

Long winding road

This asphalt trail is really perfect for road bikes, but I don’t have a road bike (and probably never will), so I slugged it out on my ancient Trek mountain bike… and made sure the tires were fully inflated for a smooth and efficient ride. When starting from the Annapolis area trail head, you really don’t encounter many interruptions to the speedy momentum you gain on this paved trail. As you get closer to Glen Burnie, there are firm stops at lights and the car traffic starts to slow things down. The majority of the ride is straight ahead, as you would envision a railway to be, but here and there you have wooden and concrete bridges, little bends and a few blind curves – so you have to be aware and pay attention for others on the trail.

Half Time

The Ranger Station at Earleigh Heights is the perfect half time pit stop if you need it. It’s an old railway station and really looks the part. The bathrooms are clean and modern – not your usual public park restroom fare. Inside the station, there is supposed to be a display of the history of this building, which includes a store and post office, but alas, the office was closed. In addition to these amenities, there are many benches, picnic tables, working water fountains to hydrate and fill your bottle, and even a bike repair kiosk. It is a perfect place for a break on this long trail ride.

Wildlife

The county considers this long trail a park, and indeed it is. There are benches all along the trail, with little enclaves of park-like settings. In fact, it is so park-like, you will encounter all types of wildlife along the way. The first animal I saw along the side of the trail was a rabbit, and then counted three more as I road to the end and back. There are many birds at the various wet-land areas. The most interesting encounter was a big buck deer, with antlers, that jumped across the path in front of me and then ran off into the woods. I kicked myself for not having my phone ready to record this event, since I was taking photos and video along the way. Towards the end of my ride, I came across, of all things, chickens. They were running about, pecking at the grass, as if they had just escaped from their pen in someone’s yard.

Connections

The B&A Trail is not just for bikes. Half the people I saw on the trail were walking or jogging. It is a nice tree-lined park for a quiet walk, if that is all you want. This trail connects to the BWI trail and there are connections to other trails, such as the East Coast Greenway, as well as groups who advocate for connections – like BikeAAA* for the Anne Arundel Trail Network. I am just discovering all the connections, but it seems that if you really wanted to, with the right map, you could just ride on forever… or until you get a flat or get hungry. I will leave this exploration for another blog post!

*BikeAAA provided the repair stand/pump at the Ranger Station and holds an annual event called the Lifeline 100 (Oct. 2, 2022).

About Anne Arundel County Trails


Harvester Artwork: Celebrating the Outdoors

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