China was so polluted that our lungs still hadn't recovered after more than a week of being home. We decided to take advantage of an unseasonably warm day to go hiking at Montgomery County's only mountain, Sugarloaf, hoping that all of the huffing and puffing from hiking the hills would clear out our lungs a bit. Here is Sugarloaf Mountain, looming in the distance:
It is difficult to capture the steepness of the trail with my camera. We were definitely huffing and puffing as we scrambled up this hillside.
There are some rather spectacular views of the rural part of Montgomery County from the top of Sugarloaf. That little speck of white in the center of all the blue is the Potomac River shining in a patch of sunlight on this partly cloudy day.
Here you can see it a little closer. I guess those must be the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in the background.
I was very grateful for these stone steps and handrail that we came across on the way down. It's definitely more difficult to descend on a steep trail than it is to climb it.
Sugarloaf has lots and lots of huge boulders.
After we finished our hike at Sugarloaf, we decided to engage in the old "Let's see where this road goes" method of exploring. So I don't know exactly where we went, except that this is Lilypons Water Gardens, which I had heard of before. It's somewhere northwest of Sugarloaf, I think.
I can never resist stopping to take pictures of the local inhabitants.
My continuing obsession with beautiful Sycamore trees....
The afternoon light was pretty amazing. It was glowing a lot more than this picture would indicate.
A barn with Snoopy decorations!