My training schedule for the Super Hike had me hiking 15 miles this past weekend. I asked my father-in-law if he wanted to join me, and he suggested a trail he had hiked portions of and wanted to try more. The Mason Dixon Trail runs though Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. It connects the Appalachian Trail with the Brandywine Trail and runs through a number of popular state parks in all three states. In fact, it connects two of our favorite place to hike: White Clay Creek Preserve and State Line Woods Preserve. Perfect!
The website for the trail is not very informative. The only map I could find is a hand drawn map with the trails drawn and the states labeled, and thats about it. There is a mileage calculator, which is nice, but offers no other information about different sections of the trail.
We began at White Clay Creek Preserve and quickly found the blue blazes that marked the trail. The trail itself was extremely muddy, due to the large amount of rain we have had the last few weeks. There were a few spots where the creek had obviously risen above the trail. After about two miles of trekking through the mud, the trail led us out on the road. Which we enjoyed… for the first half a mile. And then the sun became too hot and walking along windy and hilly country roads with absolutely no shoulder became dangerous.
Which is not a huge deal if you are briefly walking on a road to get to the next trail entry point, right? Little did we know, the Mason Dixon trail would keep us on the road for the next EIGHT MILES. We walked through neighborhoods, a few city parks, and at one point, we crossed a major intersection where there was no pedestrian crosswalk.
I have to compliment the Mason Dixon crew on how well marked their trail was– even through neighborhoods, there were blue blazes on telephone poles, guard rails, and stop signs.
We did eventually make it to State Line Woods Preserve. But it was a pretty miserable hike. I learned a valuable lesson: don’t take suggestions from my father-in-law. Just kidding! But seriously: in the future, I will do a little more investigation before I try a new trail, like look at an actual map.