Merchant’s Millpond State Park
On Saturday, the dogs and I got to spend a precious hour at the Merchant’s Millpond State Park. The park was a little further away than I expected and I was attending a free Planetarium/Laser show at Elizabeth City State University (highly recommend– it was awesome!) at five PM, so I didn’t have much time to explore.
But this park doesn’t need long to make a good impression. It is GORGEOUS. And get this– I had it all to myself! Just like my December rollerblade last year in Evansville, Indiana, I was surprised to be the only one out and about. Yes, it is December. But it was still sunny… and the park was still stunning. And actually, I highly suspect this particular park is going to be beautiful year round (The future season compares can put that to the test).
Like Blacksburg’s Falls Ridge, the Merchant’s Millpond State park was made possible by a private donation and the help of the Nature Conservancy. The park is a mixture of coastal pond and southern swamp ecosystems and features plenty of bald cypress trees, mistletoe and dangling Spanish moss.
The dogs and I started our journey on a white-blazed trail. On the Appalachian Trail, we have hiked hundreds of miles guided by white blazes. It was interesting to be following the familiar color…with very different views than the mountains of Southwest Virginia.
There is one property of the terrain, I’ll need to adjust to. Those darn Bald Cypress knees!!! Henry walks so low to the ground, his leash keeps getting tangled.
The park currently has over 3,250 acres, 9 miles of hiking trails and canoe rentals to further explore Lassiter Swamp. I barely scratched the surface! I will definitely have to make a return trip and I definitely don’t have to wait for winter to pass.
When you hike in the “off-season”, there are some advantages. You don’t have to worry about crowds. You don’t have to worry about ticks or snakes. And in this particular park, you don’t have to worry about alligators.
That’s right. One last thing! Merchant’s Millpond State Park has alligators.
Yikes! Yet another reason I need to keep Henry from getting tangled on Bald Cypress Knees! (Photo by VA-Tree Hugger)
More pictures of my December trip to Merchant’s Millpond State Park are available on my Flickr site.