I rang in 2012 a little later than most, with a sunrise hike on New Year’s Day with my new guy friend, Ted. He has had a few-years tradition of going to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland to start a new year, and invited me along.
Logistical detail #1: neither of us has a car. So I picked up a rental car when flying back to the DC area from a visit with family and friends over Christmas week.
We left about 6 a.m. from Takoma Park, where he also lives, and were on the trail by 7, arriving at an east-facing overlook by 7:20. Ted had determined that the sun would start peeking out across the horizon at 7:26, and it was right on schedule. We couldn’t look at it for very long, though, since the fiery red ball got intense pretty quickly.
Two other guys also were at the overlook, and as the day advanced we ran into more and more people on the trails and a steady parade of cars driving up.
We hiked for another few hours, exploring a variety of trails throughout this privately owned park that is opened to the public. You can see Ted in the photo, at one of the trees along one trail that is decorated for the holidays by some mysterious Santa elf.
We finished our hike just as it started to rain, so it was perfect timing. And then we had a real schlepp back home: first dropping off the car at the airport then taking a shuttle to the terminal, a bus to the Metro, the Metro to Takoma Park and then the bus to his house for dinner.