DISTANCE
8.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,158 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

backpacking
25 days ago

Disappointed with my planned weekend getaway. I was at Pogo Memorial Campground around noon when a group of about 30 scouts and 10 masters set up a dozen or more tents. I packed up and headed to Annapolis Rock. At the junction I ran into 20 girls with backpacks planning to stay there. I hiked down to Pine Knob where I read the maximum number in one group permitted to stay on the shelter grounds is 5 per party. That must also apply to remote campgrounds like Pogo and Annapolis Rock too? This was my first time on the AT in 20 years, which I used to backpack religiously. I moved away many years ago and returned for a long visit. I was looking forward to a nice trip down memory lane. I felt overwhelmed with the large number of large groups. The population explosion of the DC area has made what was once an out-of-the-way retreat a popular outdoor recreational area for thousands. The former makeshift gravel pullout at the US 40 trailhead is now a large paved parking lot. I arrived at 9:00 a.m. and the lot was full. When I returned to my car at 6:00 p.m., it was still mostly full. The buses parked there didn't help matters--and should have given me a warning about what was to come. Increasing the size of trailhead parking lots isn't a good idea. It just attracts more people and larger groups. I can't imagine the environmental impact of so many super large groups. When I hiked the AT so many years ago, you'd run into solo hikers and couples all the time. We'd befriend each other at campsites and share stories. The larger groups as expected kept to themselves. What I encountered this past weekend was nothing but large--very large--groups. I felt completely lost on my old haunt. Sad is me. I enjoyed the 10-mile workout with 35 pounds on my back, however.