Though the fall foliage was a bit lackluster, the weather was at least perfectly autumnal as our group met up with a guide at St. John Vianney to begin our 5-mile fall colors hike on the American Chestnut Land Trust’s newest trail. The PF2BAY trail, which had its official ribbon cutting in late October, connects the center of Prince Frederick (at St. John Vianney Family Life Center) to the North trails at ACLT’s Double Oak Farm. It’s a primitive trail that offers many different challenges, but it takes you through some pretty scenery.
During the 3-hour hike, we traversed different types of terrain as our guide, Steven, explained the local flora and fauna. Not only did he point out different trees, vines, fungi and invasive plant species, but he quizzed us on them as we went along. We also learned a little about how the local wildlife relies on these trees and plants.
While the hike was fun, we all had to watch our steps. There were many areas where it was easy for hikers to lose their footing or trip on small tree stumps or roots. Plenty of tripping hazards were hiding under a cover of leaves. We made our way slowly and had plenty of opportunities to stop for a drink of water or a photo op as Steven pointed something out to us.
If you go on one of these hikes, I would recommend a walking stick or hiking boots with very good traction at the very least. This particular hike did not end where it began, so some in our group had to leave cars at the finish point to drive other hikers back to the starting point.
ACLT offers a few guided hikes throughout the year. The fall colors hike attracted adults of all ages and fitness levels. I think it would’ve been difficult for children, had there been any in attendance, and it was challenging for many members in our group. But as we approached Double Oak Farm at the end of the hike, we all felt a great sense of accomplishment.
American Chestnut Land Trust