Fitness and Exploration Meet in Linthicum

By Glenn Haller

I am a relative newcomer to Linthicum, having moved here about 21 years ago, shortly after my second child was born.  I live on the west side, on White Ave off of Andover.  We are a quiet community of one acre or more properties.  My wife and I bought the property to have some space for us and our kids to enjoy and to still be close to major highways.  I have since discovered an extra bonus, the joy of walking in this area.

I used to do a lot of volksmarching which involved driving often an hour or more, walking for about two hours and returning home.  Pre-kids and other responsibilities this was a great way to see the larger area from Northern Virginia to Southern Pennsylvania. These days I prefer to start and end my exercise at my front door.  For a while I biked the trail but decided to stop a few years back. These days I stick to walks with a little running.

A few years ago I started using one of the wrist-born step counters. I have switched to one that also measures heart rate and stair flights, and even tells time. Combined with the app on my phone I get some good information about how far I walk, how fast, and how many flights of stairs I climb. They don’t call this place Linthicum Heights for nothing. I can’t go anywhere around here without climbing some hills. 

Most days I get at least 5 miles (for me that is about 11,000 steps) and 20-25 flights of stairs. On weekends I usually get more.  This includes walking around work and around the house as well as walking more briskly for exercise.

Places around here I enjoy walking:

Nursery/Elkridge Landing/Winterson – from my house around this loop and back is about 2.5 miles. One way is a steep downhill with a long slow climb back up. The other way is a long slow descent followed by a steep climb up Nursery.  I have worked in a number of buildings along this route.  Not much nature here but it is quiet in the evenings and on the weekends. 

White Avenue to the BWI Trail – when I need a quick walk with a lot of stair flights I walk down to the end of White. If you have an old map you might think that White connects to Elkridge Landing but it stops at the bottom of a hill just short of the trail.  Over time more houses have been built between my house and Main Ave and between Main and the dead end, with each neighbor improving the road a bit. When the weather is dry I enjoy the steep climb up the hill to the trail. After it rains though water collects at the dead end and I have to take another route nearby to the trail. I can get a quick mile or more just doing this. 

If I turn left at the BWI trail I can work my way to where the trail comes out by the school, turn left past the LFYAA fields, left on Main and back home.  At some point we expect that Andover will be widened and it will be safe to take Andover back to White – today that would be suicidal.  A shorter option is to climb the large hill over-looking the airport (there is a slight path there) which comes out by the Andover pool, back to Main and back home. 

If I turn right at the BWI Trail I have several options.  If I cross over into the airport I can go climb the steps at the parking garage (lots of stair flights but it slows the pace down considerably).  The view from the top of the garage is great.  That is about another 2.5-mile route. I recently found a safe pedestrian path to the airport terminal along this route. It is not well marked.  On Sunday mornings I like to kick on the after burners and do a walk/run to the Amtrak Terminal and climb to the top of the garage there.  Also a nice view.  Along the way I pass a good example of the storm water bay conservation effort (as opposed to the effort by Hammonds Ferry and Andover).  This is about a 4-mile journey.

Most of my walking is done alone, which I prefer.  It gives me time to think and explore.  I do like to join others occasionally for a walk/eat/walk.  We will walk to a local restaurant, enjoy a guilt free meal and walk home.  The most distant restaurants I have walked to are Los Portales and Olive Grove, each about 3 miles away.  More likely choices these days are Chili’s and Ruby Tuesday.  The Ruby Tuesday walk takes me along Winterson behind the movie theater which gives me a chance to monitor the progress of the new apartments. 

I also walk into Linthicum proper from time to time.  I walk up to the middle school for LSIA meetings. It is about 1.25 miles each way so I get half of my days’ miles this way.  I have walked into town to pick up my car from the service station, to the Linthicum fall festival, to the post office, etc. 

So what do I get from all of this walking? Over the past five years or so I have dropped and kept off about 60 pounds, lowered my blood pressure, resting heart rate, A1C, and LDL, and raised my HDL sometimes to a level higher than my LDL. I have cholesterol to live for!  I also get to talk to neighbors I would not otherwise see that often.  Walking calms me down when I am stressed and elevates my mood.  In this last year my watch has recorded over 2500 miles and 8000 flights of stairs.  Walking is a low impact way to get and stay healthy.