Hiking the Billy Goat Trail (Section A)

15 Aug

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A few months ago, Bryan and I took a Monday off to spend the day together in celebration of dating for 6 years.  To celebrate, we started with a big chocolate chip pancake breakfast including eggs and bacon at McLean Family Restaurant.  This is a spot I frequented in high school.  Oh the memories!  To leverage that party-o-carbs, we followed breakfast with a great 4 mile hike on the Maryland side of Great Falls.  We chose Section A of the Billy Goat Trail.

The hike offered more than an easy trail walk with a variety of rock scrambles and climbs up slightly intimidating rock faces.  It was certainly a good work out and reasonably strenuous, but I felt adequately prepared after the Old Rag hike in late May.  In general, Section A is known as the most strenuous compared to Sections B and C.  It was also a pretty warm day at around 90 degrees with decently high humidity.  The company, scenery, and the little ponds made it so worth it (see the slideshow above).  Bryan was particularly excited with the number of turtles we saw.  I suggested a turtle and snake sighting count since the reviews of the trail encouraged keeping eyes peeled for little creatures in the various small pools and ponds.  The hope was for as many turtles as possible and preferably 0 snake sightings.  In the end we came upon 17 turtles- yes 17!- and 1 snake.  ICK! It was one of those side slithering ones too.  *shudder*

The trail was easy to follow with clearly marked blue blazes on trees or rocks along the way.  The trail was a loop that ended with a towpath following alongside a pond.  That is where we saw the majority of our turtles.  There were small turtles, medium ones, and even those big mean snapping turtles.  They were frightening from a distance truthfully!  All in all, a lovely little hike.  I’d do it again and perhaps add Sections B or C to the day as well.

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