Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 203 - Sugarloaf Mountain

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Eastern Overlook
Today was the first of what I hope will be many trips to Sugarloaf Mountain in northern Montgomery County.  I had to go to Gaithersburg this afternoon to celebrate my mother's 83rd birthday, so I decided to walk at Sugarloaf on my way.

Canine Visitors
I have been to the base of the mountain before, and driven on some of the roads around it, but I was never sure about where to go, where to park, what parts were private, which were public, etc.  And the same was true today.  I arrived at the base of the mountain and found that there were no parking places.  There was a long, low brick building with only a sign saying that it was Stronghold Administration, but it did not appear to be open.  I waited in the parking area until another car arrived, and when it went through a gate and up a road across from the brick building, I followed in my car.

The road took me up the mountain, one way, past picnic areas and trails.  Near the top of the mountain was a sign for the Eastern Overlook, with a parking lot.  I parked in that lot and got out.  I was one of only a few people there, but there were many more cars.

I walked first to the overlook and took some pictures, then took off along the road again, on foot, toward the Western Overlook.  A number of people with dogs on leashes were coming the opposite way, so I concluded they must belong to the cars that were at the Eastern Overlook.  Sugarloaf must be a popular spot for dog walking.

The Fort
I arrived at the Western Overlook, and there was another parking lot there, with more people.  At this overlook was a stone building that looked like a fort.  My later research determined that it is indeed the overlook itself.  One merely had to go into the door of it, to find steps leading to the rooftop.  However, there were no signs indicating such, so I did not know to go in and find the steps.  It did look a little forbidding.

Steps to Summit
There were rough log/stone steps in the parking area of the Western Overlook that lead to the summit of the mountain.  A family with teenagers spilled out of one of the cars as I was walking by.  They were arguing about whether their dog should wear his sweater for the hike to the summit.  The father was also offering gloves and hats and towels and bug spray, fully expecting to freeze and sweat and swat.  The girls were rolling their eyes and teasing their father and making fun of his concerns.  They finally talked him out of everything but the sweater for the dog and took off up the steps.
Western Overlook
Sugarloaf is a privately owned tract, which you can read about on their site; because it is not a government owned/operated park, the signage is not what I expected for helping me know where to go or how to get there.  But it is a beautiful place, and their web site promises loads of azaleas in bloom in the spring, along with many wildflowers.  I will be back, map in hand, to explore its many trails in warmer weather.


Visit my photography show, "My Maryland," at the public library in Urbana, Maryland, on the lower level of the building.  It is there until the end of April.

Hurricane Sandy Relief: Donate to the Red Cross, and I will mail you a 5 x 7 print from any of the photos I have posted on my blog OR any photo on my website.

Forward to me via email a receipt for donating to the Red Cross. Tell me whether the photo is from the blog or the website, and Include its title along with a mailing address. The name on the receipt to the Red Cross must match the name of the mailing recipient. Send the receipt and the photo request to

Click on any photo to enlarge it.
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Cam's rules for the Daily Photo Walk:
  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use whatever camera is easy and convenient for walking comfortably; always have a backup camera at the ready in case of mishaps (I use the Nikon Coolpix P7700)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

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