What we’re about
A sometime squirrely group of folks in the Greater Washington DC area bound by the belief that life is best taken one step at a time. Events are primarily day hikes (from easy to difficult), but include other outdoor activities, including multi-day adventure trips, and occasional social ones.
We use the "It's quite a feet" hike rating system:
- Easy, less than 2 blisters
- Moderate, 2 to 3.5 blisters
- Difficult, greater than 3.5 blisters
where 1 blister = about 5 mi., or about 2500' up or down.
Events may also be listed at Sierra Club Potomac Region Outings (SCPRO).
For members used to Meetup groups: There are no stupid Meetup reminders (unless I forget to check the box); instead, you'll get one or two notices per month from me about upcoming events. I've been told this is much more annoying. There aren't that many events anyway because this is a Meetup for people who have better things to do.
Finally, RSVP'ing on Wandering Soles for events is nice, but does not imply a commitment. That is, it doesn't matter if you RSVP or not, only if you show up or not. Come to think of it, that doesn't matter much either. If an event is limited in participation or requires a registration, you'll be asked to email directly a (hopefully) live human being.
COVID: To help reduce the odds of others getting sick, we prefer that you be fully vaccinated against COVID when you come, and that you bring a mask and mask up when you’re in a group or close to someone you don’t know.
Upcoming events (4+)See all
- 20th Annual Commemoration of AntietamNeeds location
> RESERVATIONS: You must reserve (not only RSVP) for this event by contacting me directly (Mike.Darzi@Gmail.com) by email, not Meetup message. Final details about the meeting time and place will be emailed to you a few days before the event. Dinner reservations require a deposit (below). <
Join us for our 20th Annual Commemoration of Antietam, one of the Civil War’s seminal battles. We will start with an afternoon hike that winds around Antietam National Battlefield, followed by an evening drive through the annual Memorial Illumination. This is a great way to learn about Civil War history. All are welcome, including kids and leashed dogs.
The hike is a moderately difficult 11 miles (2.5 blisters) over mixed surfaces (roads, farms, woods) and rolling hills on one of the best-preserved Civil War battlefields. Shorter options are available. Highlights of the hike include Antietam National Cemetery, the Visitor Center, and Antietam Creek, as well as the Dunker Church, West Woods, the Cornfield, North Woods, East Woods, Mumma Farm, the Sunken Road, and Burnside Bridge (photo)—all infamous as sites of brutal fighting. Bring a bag lunch and water.
This year, we’ll spend a little extra time visiting the newly renovated Visitor Center.
The Memorial Illumination commemorates this bloodiest single-day battle in American history with 23,000 candles representing that day's casualties. Our drive through the Illumination will be from about 6 to 7 PM. During the hike, you'll see the many volunteers preparing the candles, making the Illumination all the more moving and impressive.
After the Illumination, there will be an optional dinner (7:30) at Tapia’s on Main in Middletown. Dinner participation requires a $15/person, non-refundable deposit that goes toward your dinner cost (i.e., you get it back at dinner). Reservation spots will be provided to the first 15 that pay the deposit electronically (Paypal, Venmo, Zelle) to email@example.com. You should email me first to make sure there is room.
- 11th Annual Christmas on Sugarloaf (moderate)Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland, MD
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, fewer leaves (better views!), and fewest people, there’s no better place close to home to enjoy a natural Christmas. (Says the ghost of Christmas Natural.)
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).
The hike is an 7.8-mile circuit hike with about 3100 ft. of elevation change (moderate or 3 blisters). There are some strenuous stretches and many ups and downs. This is not an easy hike. A map of the hike route is posted as a photo below, to print, if you wish.
LEADERS are Vicky Hsu and Mike Darzi.
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.
Bring two or more quarts of water, a bag lunch, and leftover holiday treats (especially homemade) to share. Bring binoculars and a camera if you like.
WHEN & WHERE:
We’ll meet at 10:00 am at the Potomac Overlook parking lot on Sugarloaf Mountain. Enter Sugarloaf from the main gate at the intersection of Comus Rd. and Sugarloaf Mountain Rd. Follow Sugarloaf Mountain Drive (not "Road") between the barns (then porta-john on left) and up the mountain, pass the East View lot, then pass a side road to the West View lot, then follow signs to the Potomac Overlook lot. (Use the porta-john before coming to the trailhead.) From the gate entrance, it is 1.8 miles to our parking lot.
There is no formal carpooling. If you need a ride, try posting a request in the comments. (Offering to pay for gas may help.)
- 48th Annual New Year's Day Hike on C&O Canal Towpath (easy)Pinstripes, Washington, DC
Hikers (and non) will continue a long tradition (since 1975) by gathering in Georgetown on January 1 to kick off a new year of hiking! Come join old and new friends in ushering in the New Year, while working off some of that holiday cheer you’ve accumulated. Leashed pets are also welcome.
We’ll walk 5.1 miles along the C&O Canal Towpath to the Little Falls Pump Station, and back. You can walk at your own pace and turn around sooner (or later) if you want to do less (or more) than 10.1 miles (2.1 blisters). A handout (to print, if you wish) for the hike is posted as a photo below.
Frank Wodarczyk, Paul Elliot, Gabriele Ludwig, & Mike Darzi.
WHAT TO BRING:
Bring snacks or a bag lunch, and water. Dress warmly in layers and wear rain/snow gear or bring an umbrella if there is a chance of precipitation. Feel free to bring leftover holidays treats to share.
WHEN & WHERE:
We’ll meet at 10 am on the west side of Wisconsin Avenue, NW, south of M Street. There is a small plaza in front of the Pinstripes Bistro (1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC) that is next to and above the C&O Canal. If there is no crowd there, start one. Note that street parking is conveniently free on New Year’s Day.
If you are so inclined, you may also join some of us for après-hike fare at Pinstripes Bistro (where we start and finish the hike) starting at 1:30-1:45 pm.
- SCPRO Winter Potluck Party11800 Old Georgetown Rd, Rockville, MD
Help us celebrate the Sierra Club’s Potomac Region Outings (SCPRO) and usher in a new year of outdoor activities by joining us at this (indoor) winter potluck party. The party is open to all—outings participants (past, current, or future) and leaders (past, current, or future), as well family, friends, and curious onlookers—so feel free to invite others.
FOOD & DRINKS
You may bring—along with the needed serving utensils—an appetizer, or a main or side dish, and your own beer or wine. Please avoid desserts, chips, nuts, dips, and other snacks in deference to still fresh new-year resolutions. We will provide fruit snacks, dessert, water/soft drinks, and plastic/paper ware. If you can’t, don’t want to, or forget to make a dish, don’t let that stop you from coming as there is sure to be more than enough food!
WHEN & WHERE
Sunday, January 21, 2024, 5:30-8 pm, Bethesda Club Room, White Flint Station Condos, 11800 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD (GoogleMaps). The entrance is at the NE corner of the Chapman Avenue and Old Georgetown Road "T" junction (see photos below), and the room is on your right just after entering.
Metro: The location is one block north of, or 0.4 miles from, the Red Line’s North Bethesda Metro station, 5679 Marinelli Rd (GoogleMaps).
Parking: Street meter parking is free on weekends. There is a Metro parking garage (5627 Marinelli Rd; GoogleMaps) that is also free on weekends, and a commercial garage at Pike & Rose (11580 Old Georgetown Rd; GoogleMaps). Each garage is about 0.3 miles away.
If you have questions about the location or what to bring, contact Mike (Mike.Darzi@Gmail.com).