If you’re feeling the need to walk off some of yesterday’s calories, head out to a local park, refuge, trail or recreation area for some fresh air and exercise. One of our favorite places to #OptOutside is Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park. Running 184 miles from West Virginia through Maryland and into Washington, D.C., the towpath and trails of the C&O Canal offer great opportunities to discover historical and natural treasures. From the popular trails around Great Falls to the quiet splendor of the upper sections, it’s a place we’re thankful for. Photo by Patty Ballay (www.sharetheexperience.org).
National Wildlife Refuge Week is a great time to remind everyone that refuges are some of the best places for birdwatching. One of the most thrilling birds to spot is the bald eagle. A majestic symbol of our nation, bald eagles are found in every state except Hawaii. Males and females work together to build large nests, and you’ll often see them hunting over open fields and water. This one just left its perch at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Photo by Curtis Gibbens (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Today is the anniversary of the bloodiest day in American history – the Battle of Antietam. More than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederacy’s first major invasion of the North and gave President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s hard to imagine the horror that ravaged this Maryland community when you walk the now peaceful fields of Antietam National Battlefield. Photo by National Park Service.
The violet light of sunset reflects on the water at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland, while this great blue heron concentrates on its next meal. Great blue herons live year-round in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and spend most of their waking time fishing. Growing up to 4 feet tall with a wingspan of more than 6 feet, they are graceful birds flying through the air or wading in the water. Where is your favorite place to watch great blue herons and other birds? Photo by Kaila Ferrufino (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Imagine a network of pathways and waterways through a corridor rich in natural beauty and historic importance. The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs from Pennsylvania through Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Visitors can explore by biking, hiking, riding or paddling. It’s a great place to get exercise the mind, body and spirit. Photo of Bonds Landing on the Potomac by Monica Larcom, National Park Service.
The Potomac River roars over rocks and ice in this winter shot from Great Falls Park in Virginia. A short drive from downtown Washington, D.C., Great Falls and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park on the opposite bank in Maryland offer terrific outdoor recreation. Locals will tell you, it’s home to some of the best views and hiking in the area. Be sure to obey all signs and stay away from the falls. Photo by National Park Service.
Here’s a spellbinding shot of this week’s snow at Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. With 25 miles of hiking trails, popular trout fishing streams, great camping spots, horseback riding paths and beginner skiing areas, Catoctin is as fun as it is lovely. Photo by John Zuke, National Park Service.
Today marks the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. With over 23,000 combined casualties suffered by both the Union and Confederate armies, it remains the bloodiest day in American history. It’s hard to imagine the horror that ravaged this Maryland community when you walk the now peaceful fields of Antietam National Battlefield. Photo by National Park Service.
It’s Flag Day! One of the best stories about Old Glory is from Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Maryland. During the 1814 Battle of Baltimore, a massive flag measuring 30 feet high and 42 feet long flew over the fort. After a night of British bombardment, Francis Scott Key saw the flag still waving above the fort and was inspired to write the words for the “Star Spangled Banner.” It remains a moving sight to this day. Photo of a Blue Angels demonstration over Fort McHenry by Trent Pitsenbarger (www.sharetheexperience.org).