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Backpacker Magazine – August 2012

From The Field: East

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

by: Sarah L. Stewart

Moxie Bald Trail (Photo by: Jeff Chow)
Moxie Bald Trail (Photo by: Jeff Chow)
Tom Branch Falls, Deep Creek Loop (Photo by: Donnelly-Austin)
Tom Branch Falls, Deep Creek Loop (Photo by: Donnelly-Austin)
Lake Mansfield Trail (Photo by: Broudy/Donohue Photography)
Lake Mansfield Trail (Photo by: Broudy/Donohue Photography)

Rapids Bridge Trail, Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.
Tony Linforth Washington, D.C.

This urban oasis offers sanctuary for deer, foxes, and even a family of barred owls. “Near dawn and dusk, you’ll potentially hear the owls’ ‘Who cooks for you’ call,” Linforth says. Spotting tip: “If the crows seem agitated, that’s a good indication the owls are nearby.” On this 2.7-mile loop (which you can extend for miles in either direction), get your best shot at seeing a fox along shaded Rock Creek; the trail parallels the stream for roughly a mile. Trip ID 802431

“Just before you cross Ross Drive, keep an eye out for an obvious trench, a remnant of a Civil War-era Union rifle pit.”




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Oct 24, 2013

When hiking with kids, teach them how to stay found without using a compass or map by reading "Felix the Sugar Glider: Be Safe. Hike Smart." (Amazon). This book uses a fun approach to staying found on or off the trail. And for anyone wanting to know how to use a compass, this book makes learning how to use a compass easy. Before you hit the trail, be sure to calibrate your compass to the declination of where you will be hiking. Go to: http://magnetic-declination.com. A compass doesn't need satellites, a signal, or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it. Learn how to orient yourself using a compass, a compass and a map, a map and no compass, no compass and no map. Look for it on Amazon, "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart". The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking. Learn to stay found day or night by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. Learn what to pack for a day-hike, trail ethics, what to do if you get lost, how to get rescued, and survival packing (for the car and for the trail) just in case you end up unexpectedly spending the night outdoors.

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