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Area mountains can provide refuge from heat

July 24, 2015
Bob Madison - Chronicle Sports , Shepherdstown Chronicle

It's late July and the heat has made its annual return. It's partner -- humidity -- is riding shotgun to make outside activity a sweaty one. The early days of August don't promise any relief.

Leaves are drooping on unwatered plants. The trees sag their despair at our fate. Dust has come to some areas normally given their allowance of rainfall.

Is there any refuge from the attitude-wilting sun?

Not too far away is the Appalachian Trail and its higher elevation and oft-seen cooling breezes.

Ride across the Potomac River and cruise into the center of Boonsboro. At the traffic signal where Rte. 34 and Alt. Rte. 40 meet, take a right turn and travel the few miles up to where Washington County and Frederick County meet the Appalachian Trail in the backyard of the South Mountain Inn.

Convenient parking is available to the side of the restaurant, and the trail is ready to be your cooling agent and therapist at the same time.

The trail is not too steep nor too filled with rock outcroppings or thorny brambles. The swaying of the top branches in the hardy trees is like comforting music and the few songbirds in their boughs provide another soothing and relaxing source.

In late July and early August, the shade is a powerful temptress. The air is cleaner than that in the more stagnate valleys or downtown streets of the area's small towns.

And there are other morale-boosters provided by nature.

Wild flowers and their nectar-filled blooms can attract more than tired-of-the-heat humans.

Hummingbirds may be found visiting the grouped red flowers of the cardinal flower. Swallowtail butterflies chase after the bull thistles that can take root in the shallowest of soils.

Also along the trail are the delicate flowers of fringed pink, fall meadow rue, columbine and yellow ice plant.

The long stalks of the bear's breeches provide a visual treat with their many-flowered clusters of pink.

If you prefer blue or purple flowers then you'll be pleased to find wild lupine on its lengthy stalks and Jacob's ladder and its shower of dainty blooms.

The rocky terrain could have enough sunshine to give the ground-hugging sea thrift a place to show off its hardy, pink blossoms.

If pink is your choice of color in wild flowers then there could be deptford pink along your way. The five-pointed petals are located on the very small plant.

Both sneezewort and beard-tongue have have white flowers and are known to spring up in the elevated land. The yellow flowers of a variety of daisies and dwarf bird's foot could be seen by the advanced naturalist with an experienced eye. Dwarf bird's foot has the same appearance as violets and can be yellow, orange or even purple in color.

Before you know it you will have spent two hours in the cooler and shaded areas.

And you will have outfoxed the too-toasty conditions that still prevail only a half-hour away in your own back yard.

Bob Madison

Chronicle Sports

It's late July and the heat has made its annual return. It's partner -- humidity -- is riding shotgun to make outside activity a sweaty one. The early days of August don't promise any relief.

Leaves are drooping on unwatered plants. The trees sag their despair at our fate. Dust has come to some areas normally given their allowance of rainfall.

Is there any refuge from the attitude-wilting sun?

Not too far away is the Appalachian Trail and its higher elevation and oft-seen cooling breezes.

Ride across the Potomac River and cruise into the center of Boonsboro. At the traffic signal where Rte. 34 and Alt. Rte. 40 meet, take a right turn and travel the few miles up to where Washington County and Frederick County meet the Appalachian Trail in the backyard of the South Mountain Inn.

Convenient parking is available to the side of the restaurant, and the trail is ready to be your cooling agent and therapist at the same time.

The trail is not too steep nor too filled with rock outcroppings or thorny brambles. The swaying of the top branches in the hardy trees is like comforting music and the few songbirds in their boughs provide another soothing and relaxing source.

In late July and early August, the shade is a powerful temptress. The air is cleaner than that in the more stagnate valleys or downtown streets of the area's small towns.

And there are other morale-boosters provided by nature.

Wild flowers and their nectar-filled blooms can attract more than tired-of-the-heat humans.

Hummingbirds may be found visiting the grouped red flowers of the cardinal flower. Swallowtail butterflies chase after the bull thistles that can take root in the shallowest of soils.

Also along the trail are the delicate flowers of fringed pink, fall meadow rue, columbine and yellow ice plant.

The long stalks of the bear's breeches provide a visual treat with their many-flowered clusters of pink.

If you prefer blue or purple flowers then you'll be pleased to find wild lupine on its lengthy stalks and Jacob's ladder and its shower of dainty blooms.

The rocky terrain could have enough sunshine to give the ground-hugging sea thrift a place to show off its hardy, pink blossoms.

If pink is your choice of color in wild flowers then there could be deptford pink along your way. The five-pointed petals are located on the very small plant.

Both sneezewort and beard-tongue have have white flowers and are known to spring up in the elevated land. The yellow flowers of a variety of daisies and dwarf bird's foot could be seen by the advanced naturalist with an experienced eye. Dwarf bird's foot has the same appearance as violets and can be yellow, orange or even purple in color.

Before you know it you will have spent two hours in the cooler and shaded areas.

And you will have outfoxed the too-toasty conditions that still prevail only a half-hour away in your own back yard.

 
 
 

 

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