The goal of the photo albums of the previous part of the hiking database was to document as much interesting and unique information about the hikes or backpacks as possible. These albums have a goal of showing beautiful unique places. Photo quality and consistency is of primary concern here. Photo albums have an option of slide shows. To activate it, click on any image and the slide show arrow on the top left corner. Right next to it is the pause slide show button. Each image can be further expanded by clicking on it. The time interval between images for the slide show is set to 3 seconds.
Azalea Gardens Near the Triadelphia Reservoir:
The garden is located in Howard Co., MD almost on the border with Montgomery Co. It consists of many types of azaleas planted over the years by the late Brighton Dam (on Triadelphia Reservoir) superintendent. Call the Brighton Dam Visitor's Center to confirm that the azaleas are in bloom before the visit. Free access. http://www.wsscwater.com/info/releases/042909.cfm
Lilypons Water Gardens:
Aquatic Gardens, located in Adamstown, MD, is named after the early 20th century opera singer Lilypons. It is a commercial garden, selling aquatic plants, primarily various types of lotuses and water lilies, but many other as well. They also sell decorative fish, fountains, and pool illumination. The land is next to the Monocacy River and not far from the Sugarloaf Mountain. Also known for different kinds of birds. Free access. http://www.lilypons.com/contactus.asp
Ladew Topiary Gardens, 05/10/2009:
Ladew Topiary Gardens are north of Baltimore, MD. They consist of the museum with it's famous library room (one of the 100 best rooms in America), the topiary gardens, flower gardens, huge field for picnicking, grass field, nature trail, etc. Flower and tree gardens are spectacular. Topiary part could be better. Curators are knowledgeable and friendly. Souvenir shop is good. Great place for a family visit. Entrance fee. http://www.ladewgardens.com/
Bryce Canyon National Park is the most beautiful place I've seen. Warm red and cold white colors of the sandstone formations create a very special effect. Add to this natural arches, the so-called hoodoos, the Amphitheater shape of the Park. I would like to mention very well designed set of trails going inside the Amphitheater, nice campground, great lodge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryce_Canyon_National_Park, http://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm
Driving on Highway 15 in Maryland along the Catoctin Mountains few mils before the border with Pennsylvania one can't help but notice a giant golden-plated statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue is located on the hill above Mount Saint Mary Catholic University. The University has some very beautiful old buildings which are very worth visiting. Near the statue is an old Catholic cemetery. There is a large parking lot and a path to the Grotto of Lourdes, which is a replica of the famous Grotto of Lourdes in France. Along the path is a shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton - the first Catholic Saint in the USA who lived nearby. A little to the side one can see a large pool near which is a fountain with Holy Water. Close to the parking is a conference center where one can get a free map of the grounds. http://www.emmitsburg.net/grotto/
Endless Mountains Region Of Pennsylvania:
I cannot describe how beautiful and unique the Endless Mountains (an area in the North-Eastern part of Pennsylvania) are. They are also very diverse. One can find huge number of enormous waterfalls in the Ricketts Glenn State Park: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/rickettsglen.aspx, Gameland 13 and its surrounding areas: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_game_lands/11363.
There are multiple ecosystems with lots of different flowers along the Loyalsock Trail: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/hiking/loyalsock.aspx and http://www.lycoming.org/alpine/ that passes through the Worlds End State Park: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/worldsend.aspx. Attractions along this 59 mile trail include rivers and creeks with several waterfalls, ridges, some of which have overlooks, mountain bogs, lakes. It provides several loop options for hikes and backpacks - long and short. There are winter cabins in the park.
It is best to start exploring this extraordinary area with these 2 books: "Hiking the Endless Mountains" by Jeff Mitchell and "Pennsylvania Waterfalls" by Scott E. Brown.