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Topic: TR: Sideling Hill/Woodmont< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 9:55 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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Since it was the first weekend of April, I had already had a trip planned out since September.  And that is because the Woodmont Natural Resources Management Area, in western Washington County, is divided into an area open year round, and another open April-September.  I had been there in September and gotten lost, so I wanted to return to see if I could make a better loop, and of course, explore some of the areas trails I had not been on.

This time I started at the Western Maryland Rail Trail lot in Pearre.  I cross back over the road from the west side of the lot, to a smaller parking area for the Sideling Hill WMA.  A gated road heads up a hollow.  Instead of taking it, I take a rough woods road heading northeast, steeply up a pine covered ridge.  At the top is a long narrow clearing with a partial view of Sideling Hill.  Past the clearing I take a woods road along the ridgetop.  It's in reasonable shape, a few blowdowns, but obvious.  It merges with another and continues north.  (This second woods road starts across from the east side of the WMRT lot and would include a more gradual climb.)  At a fallen fence marking the boundary between the WMA and Woodmont NRMA, the trail becomes more mossy.  The woods road disappears into brush just before its end at a more obvious woods road, but in sight, so it would be difficult to get lost going north.  (Heading south is another story, as it turns out this was where I got off track first time I was here.)



From here I continued on the good woods road north, along the edge of the seasonably open area of Woodmont.  I pass the woods road leading up to the summit of Sideling Hill, and then reach the two log cabins.  One is in good shape, the other collapsed with a pond out front full of frog eggs.  A bit further I reach a couple of trail junctions, including an old logging road that had been planned to be part of the thankfully cancelled ATV trail system.  I decided to take it, mainly to familiarize myself with more of the trail system.  Mistake.  Plenty of blowdowns to climb over, but that was not the issue.  A good climb, but of course not the issue.  Numerous briars and thorny plants, and I was wearing shorts.  My legs still show it.  Oddly, once I started descending on a side trail, the shape got better.  I then reached the next trail junction, soon figuring out that there was no trail there, so I bushwhacked my way to a clearing, where a rough trail started to the east.  Got better after a junction with a second overgrown trail.  A bit after that I made it back to the good woods road.





I go east, near some pine stands, before descending into a ravine and bottoming out at a creek crossing.  I leave the good woods road for one ascending from the ravine heading south.  I find a good rock for lunch, settle down, and decide to keep going when I see a dead coyote in the stream just below me.  I climb the pine-narrowed woods road, until I reach the edge of the large field.  I bushwhack to the middle of the field, where a woods road runs along the meadow.  Here there are views towards Sideling Hill, and obscured ones east.



I follow the meadow trail south, under the overly sunny skies.  I pass an old structure overcome by vines before leaving the meadow, and also entering into the seasonably open part of Woodmont.  It takes a narrow ridge south, before soon dropping off it in a mixed forest.  I spot at least two turkeys along this section.  At the bottom I cross a creek on a plank, and arrive at the dirt road leading to the closed-to-public Woodmont game farm.  I cross the creek again on the Heller Bridge (actually a culvert), and then find a good rock next to the creek for lunch.  A good view downstream is present, as the creek drops below moss-covered hills.





After lunch, I head south on a dirt road, climbing out of the ravine.  At the top, it heads south, with the off-limits game farm in view.  When it bends towards said farm, I first head out to a field with a good view of Tonoloway Ridge and Cacapon Mountain, and then to a second dirt road heading south along the ridge in the Camp Cleveland direction.  At the second Camp Cleveland sign, I turn off the dirt road onto a woods road.  (The camp is another off-limits area, as I learned last time).  I take this woods road, approximately level, as it follows the ridgeline.  There is one point where it is fully brushed over, which would b at a trail junction.  I had to bushwhack my way around, and make sure I was continuing on the correct trail.  At the next trail junction I decided to get out my compass.  Both possible way forwards were along the edge of an old clearing, getting overgrown and lined with pine trees.





I was where I thought I was, so I headed east, and then south at the next sudden trail junction.  I headed downhill, on a woods road which turned east into a deep V-shaped side hollow.  Once at the bottom I reached another logging road, just downstream of the dam for Lake Jenkins.  (The lake, of course, is one of the closed areas).  The stream here gently cascades down its course in the large hollow, hewed in by the rocky banks in line with the tilt of the rock formations.





Further down the streamside woods road, I soon start the last big climb of the day, as I leave the stream behind.  It climbs a good partway up Long Ridge, looking back at a lightly rock strewn slope.  At the top the woods road splits.  I take the lower one.  (The upper, yep, closed area!)  This takes me back down towards the stream, above a rusted fence line and below a litter strewn slope (from ruins above) until I end up at a gate on Pearre Road, across from the Western Maryland Rail Trail.  And from that points, it's just under a mile on the paved trail back to the parking area.


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EJS
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 9:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Part 2

Photos

After the main hike I decided to take a short out-and-back to Sideling Hill Creek.  I chose a trailhead on Riser Road.  Riser road starts at the summit of Scenic 40 at Sideling Hill.  It heads south dropping down the mountain.  The top is a rough narrow paved road, turning into a white knuckle rough narrow gravel road.  I passed the trailhead, then turned around once I realized I had.  

An obvious woods road trail heads north, downhill from the small parking area.  It levels out, and thanks to seeps and small streams it is soft in places.  It branches, and I take the left fork, descending further.  Plenty of big branchy blowdowns in this section.  But it also looks like former blowdowns were cut through about a year ago, perhaps two.  I enter a hollow containing hemlocks and rhododendrons with other trees; this is actually an ancient oxbow bend of the creek.  Once the trail levels out in the creeks floodplain, it curves around until reaching Sideling Hill Creek at the site of an old ford.



From here one can walk upstream or downstream until the bank fades into a steep rocky bluff.  The creek is of medium width, gently cascading down its twisted course.  The rocky bluffs are typically strongly tilted, sometimes to vertical.  The lowlands are heavy in rhododendrons; the bluffs plenty of pines.  Banks can be rocky or sandy, but thanks that the sharp bends I could not even go a quarter mile in either direction.  The area is vaguely reminiscent of Trough Creek, though without a road following it, the rock formations are more tilted here, and the bluffs seem often lower, but that maybe due to the small length I covered.













Next time I'll see what I can cover by starting on the Allegeny County side.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 05 2014, 1:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sorry I missed this TR the first time. I liked seeing the tiltrock dive right into the creek in a couple of your shots.
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2 replies since Apr. 11 2014, 9:55 pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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