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4th Annual Christmas on Sugarloaf (moderate)

  • Dec 25, 2013 · 10:00 AM

Here’s the perfect way to celebrate Christmas—hiking on Sugarloaf! Combine the views, the scenery, the company, the exercise, the weather, and the holiday cheer, and you end up with something special every year. With few bugs and fewer people, there’s no better place close to home to enjoy a natural Christmas.

As a monadnock, Sugarloaf stands out from its surroundings, providing spectacular views in all directions from several cliff overlooks and offering some of the best hiking near the Capital area. The mountain is home to a wide variety of trees, wildflowers, and assorted critters. It has an interesting geology and a fascinating history, including being the site of a proposed presidential retreat (before Camp David).


Photos from our previous Sugarloaf Christmases:

—2012:  http://goo.gl/RSBuqo
—2011:  http://goo.gl/Vy7dfh
—2010:  http://goo.gl/XstFyo

Leaders are Vicky Hsu and me.

The Hike: We’ll do a 9-mile circuit hike with about 3,300 ft. of elevation change (moderate or 3.2 blisters). There are some strenuous stretches and many ups and downs. This is not an easy hike.

What to Wear: You will need to dress for the weather in layers so that some stuff can come off as you warm up hiking. Consider the wind chill in addition to the temperature, so an extra jacket or windbreaker is advised. Consider wearing ear covers, gloves, a hat, sunglasses, and a scarf or high collar. The trails are rocky and may be icy, so hiking boots are strongly recommended. Don’t forget your walking poles if you use them. Carrying an extra pair of socks is a good idea.

What to Bring: Bring two or more quarts of water, a bag lunch, and leftover holiday treats (especially, homemade) to share. (Lunch is around 1 pm, so you may want to eat something before leaving home.) Bring binoculars and a camera if you like.

When & Where:  We’ll meet at 10 am at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Kiss & Ride (http://goo.gl/Lvp6uQ). Parking at the trailhead is very limited, so carpooling is important. 

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Nice to see you all during the hike! The uploaded pictures are also available in this link at higher resolution (since Meetup reduces the picture resolution): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/n2k20s5dixv8ybb/Z9nCozQx2p

    Have a great new year ahead! :)

    December 29, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ah! I'm mistaken, the site still preserves the original resolution, just click on the image.

      1 · December 29, 2013

    • Mike

      Very nice pix! Thanks.

      December 29, 2013

  • Mike

    Merry Christmas! No snow on the ground, but occasional icy patches on the trails and very chilly temps. The climbs (and some hot toddy) kept us warm. See http://goo.gl/UJ1Q3r for the full photo album.

    December 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Mike, is there room for carpool?

    December 24, 2013

    • Mike

      Yes, I've added a car rack. (Just kidding, but yes.)

      December 24, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi Mike, I'm going to be 5 minutes delayed

      December 25, 2013

  • Carter C.

    [masked]-3720. Planning to meet y'all at metro in a few!

    December 25, 2013

  • Allen G

    Hi Mike, We're not going to make this one after all. Hopefully we'll make another one soon. Enjoy the hike!

    December 25, 2013

  • Maria

    Hi Mike! Olga and I are still undecided about the hike. What is the latest time to confirm?

    December 24, 2013

    • Mike

      Beauty hike is more important than beauty sleep.

      December 25, 2013

    • Maria

      I agree. But my friend is procrastinating and messages me she needs more time (here, Olga, everybody knows now you are a sleepy head). We will try to catch up with the group somewhere at the trail. Hopefully.

      December 25, 2013

  • Carter C.

    Mike, any sense of how long the hike takes (from past years)? Trying to gauge if I can fit it in and still make my family dinner.

    1 · December 24, 2013

    • Mike

      We should finish the hike around 3:30 pm.

      December 24, 2013

  • Allen G

    Hi Mike, Just sent you an email, but I will also post here. My sons and I would like to come on this hike. For us it is easier to go directly from Herndon to Sugarloaf rather than go to the metro first. Can you post a meeting time and place at Sugarloaf so we know where and when to meet up? Thanks,
    Allen

    December 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be arriving by Metro. Is there room for me to carpool?

    December 23, 2013

    • Mike

      Yes. Carpooling from Grosvenor is not a problem.

      December 23, 2013

  • Sami

    I would like to carpool from NOVA. If anybody has a spot in their car please let me know. I can chip in for gas

    December 20, 2013

    • Stan

      Where are you in NOVA? I'm coming from Arlington.

      December 22, 2013

    • Jeanne

      Im in alexandria . Wllling to drive or carpool

      December 23, 2013

  • Lenore G.

    I'd like to meet the group at sugarloaf, although I know parking is limited. Mike, where and when should I meet the group?

    1 · December 22, 2013

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