I was able to knock out Map 6 of the Mason-Dixon Trail Saturday along with the beginning of Map 7 heading into Havre de Grace. This is the third time I’ve been out on the M-DT with the first being last summer with my son and then earlier this spring. My goal is to section run/hike the entire trail so this gets me about halfway done.
Quick shout out to the Mason-Dixon Trail organization and those responsible for maintaining Map 6. The trails were in good condition and exceptionally well blazed. Almost over-blazed with one every couple hundred feet at most. They looked very fresh compared to ones I’ve seen on other sections and made navigation a piece of cake. Well done!
In through this next section, I texted my wife and told her to add an hour to my expected arrival time. I totally underestimated how hard this section was going to be. I was guessing I could run an easy 12 minute pace, however I was hovering in the 15 minute plus range. There was a lot of rocky, technical sections and the elevation changes were just relentless. At 10 miles, I noticed I had already gained 1800 feet.
The trails through Susquehanna State Park are well blazed with many round MDT markers found on trees thrown in as well. There weren’t nearly as many blazes though as the first half of this section. So while it was appropriately marked, I started second guessing myself in places because I had been conditioned to see a blaze every couple minutes.
In the picture above, you can just see a man entering the frame. I made the left and started following him up the hill. He asked if I wanted to pass, but I told him I was fine. We struck up a conversation and he mentioned how he was hiking a 15 mile loop. Turns out Saul is a local ultra runner and we had a great time chatting about races we had done. He must have been enjoying our conversation because he started running and would then proceed to drop me on every hill we encountered. The guy is 60 and in much better shape than me. Gives me hope that maybe I don’t have to slow down too much over the next couple years.
Be careful on Rt 155. This is a very busy road and there’s virtually no shoulder on several sections. The good news is that almost the entire section is a gentle downhill heading east.
Unfortunately, my day didn’t end here. I started map 7 on the other side of the US 40 bridge so needed to do the first couple miles heading into Havre de Grace. I had basically run out of fluids at this point so I was really dragging and looking forward to getting into civilization so I could quench my thirst.
And then I hit US Rt. 40. There were 2 blue blazes signifying the trail turns right, however the bridge is not pedestrian accessible. You need to either take a bus or get a car ride across. I walked into the Royal Farms across the street and commenced drinking about everything cold they had in the store. Overall, I had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed this stretch of trail. I can’t wait to get out and tackle Map 5.