Sunday, November 06, 2011

Hard Rock in Woodstock

Yesterday we headed out to Woodstock to explore some of the hiking trails in that area of the Patapsco Valley State Park. We parked next to a group of mountain bikers who were packing up after their morning ride.

One of the guys asked if we were familiar with the trails in the area and I him told we weren’t. He helpfully recommended a trail leading up to an abandoned granite quarry that is now a hidden lake.

“It’s pretty awesome up there,” he offered.
 He was right. After crossing over the river into Baltimore County we easily picked up the trail with the help of an excellent trail map I purchased last year from the Department of Natural Resources.
 This portion of the park is pretty popular with the horse crowd. We shared the trail with groups of riders as we trekked up about a mile to the quarry.
This quarry is one of many that once thrived in this part of the Patapsco River Valley. According to this history of the area written by Paul T. Morgan, the granite mined here is considered “the finest, hardest granite rock on the North American continent.”

“Granite from Granite made the walls of the Baltimore Custom House. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. sent a Dr. David Owen on an inspection tour of building material sources. Of Waltersville and Fox Rock quarries at Granite he reported: "For about a mile square at this locality is an outburst of quartzose, granite of magnificent quality, both as regards beauty of appearance, compactness of structure and uniformity of color, texture and composition. I have never seen anything superior in this country. Indeed, I doubt whether it can be excelled in any country. It cannot be surpassed for strength and durability by any building material in the world." The original Smithsonian Institution in Washington is built of granite from Granite.”

Having Patapsco State Park so close by is one of the best parts of living in HoCo. This trail just across the border is one we will definitely visit again.
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