That is not what I like to hear. 

Today I passed a ridge runner. Ridge runners are volunteers who traverse the trail and keep an eye on how things are going on the trail. They also teach and educate hikers about proper leave no trace practices. He asked how my hike was going and I responding with great but where did all these rocks come from?


Maryland has been very unpredictable. It greeted us with almost 4 miles of a towpath trail as flat and smooth as could be. Then turn a corner and it’s like a dump truck emptied a payload of rocks on the trail. Then smooth again. 

After my comment the ridge runner said, “it’s about to get a lot worse for you ahead” that’s not what I like to hear. But it never came. Sure there were more Rocky spots and a steep incline at day’s end but nothing too tough. I have noticed that everyone’s perception of easy, long, hard and almost there varies dramatically from hiker to hiker. Generally I don’t even listen to what others have to say about upcoming terrain. I take each step one at a time. And today those steps were basically pain free. 

My slower pace and fewer miles have made my feet much happier despite the rocks. I arrived at my destination by 3pm and have time to relax and visit and enjoy. 

Happy Hiking

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.