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Hiking in the high country

September 05, 2006|by ALEX SMELGUS

Well, many of you, when you get home from school, huddle up in your house with the TV on and an Xbox in front of you. That's probably a normal school night for you. But for a cool weekend, you might want to consider doing something else. Possibly hiking a trail?

If you're thinking that you don't know any trail to hike, let me tell you about the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trial runs from Georgia to Maine - about 2,170 miles long, including 40 miles in Maryland. I've never hiked the whole AT and probably won't anytime soon. But this weekend, you could hike two or three miles.

You'll need to have a lunch that won't spoil - chips, jerky, bread and some Vienna sausages or another canned meat that could be made into a sandwich. Bring plenty of water.

Start your hike by traveling on U.S. 40 heading toward Frederick, Md. You'll cross Interstate 71, then immediately on your right, you'll see a parking lot. Park there, and look to your right for the beginning of the trail. Follow this access trail to the AT, where you will either cross over Interstate 70 on a bridge (heading south) or turn right and walk north toward Annapolis Rock.

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Be warned, the first half mile or so has steep parts, but it's not so bad after that.

You should bring a backpack to store the food and water, maybe a camera and possibly a journal. Your bag should be light since you will be carrying it all day.

You can start out and walk a little more than two miles to Annapolis Rock. This is a great place to have a break, eat lunch and take some photos. It gives a great view of Greenbrier State Park and of Hagerstown. You could return the same way for a round trip of about four and a half miles.

Or continue hiking on the AT about another mile to Black Rock for another spectacular view. This is our last stop, so eat lunch here if you haven't yet, and you might want to take some photos. After this you're going to hike back down and go home.

So, this weekend, instead of letting your brain fry, how about you get outdoors and hike that trail up to Annapolis Rock.

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