National Walk in the Woods Day and the Bull Run Occoquan Trail

July 7, 2011 at 1:00 am 4 comments

One of the advantages of following The Year of Living Unofficially on Facebook is you can have a dialogue with Britt and Chris about upcoming unofficials. When I heard that May 21 was National Walk in the Woods Day, I suggested it and they decided to put it on their agenda!!!

Trail Selection
I researched local hikes and discovered the 18 mile Bull Run Occoquan Trail nearby. It came with rave reviews:

“Every once in a while you can get surprised by a trail. The Bull Run/Occoquan Trail falls into the category of being a BIG surprise. Right in the midst of the urban sprawl of Fairfax/Prince William Counties is a small piece of paradise. ”
(Source: http://www.midatlantichiking.com/events/15823601/?eventId=15823601&action=detail)

“Hikers going from the Hemlock Overlook Regional Park to the Bull Run Marina may pinch themselves to make sure they haven’t been transported to a stream somewhere in West Virginia – it’s that kind of experience. ”
(Source: http://www.patc.us/hiking/destinations/bull_run.html)

“It is a truly amazing resource in the heart of Northern Virginia ”
(Source: http://regionalparks.blogspot.com/2010/10/bull-runoccoquan-trail.html)

Originally we were planning on doing a 6.45 one way hike between Fountainhead Regional Park and the Bull Run Marina. Alas, I was running late with shuttling the vehicles, so we did a round trip from Fountainhead Regional Park. We went four miles up and then four miles back.

The Hikers!
The Year of Living Unofficially‘s Brittany had to attend a bridal shower that day, but Chris hiked along with us. My mother joined us and did a three mile outing with her two dogs Sunny and Willie. Ryan, of course, came and even though the dogs are getting up there in age, both 14 year old Jimmie and 11 year old Henry finished all eight miles.

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Mom and Sunny
My Mom– Still Tried and True!

Section Overview
Our section was the first four miles of the trail. There were enough hills to get your heartrate up, but not too many to exhaust you. Much of the trail skirted creeks and offshots of the Occoquan River. It was pleasant and peaceful.

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Still Waters
Water Off the Trail

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Scenery From Trail
View From Trail

Fauna
We didn’t see any deer, but we did see deer tracks. As far as actual animals, we saw a toad, a millipede and we got to be introduced to two new species. We spotted a Scarlet Tanager (Sadly no pictures). The most interesting newcomer was a group of Ichneumon Wasps busy using their long tails to bore holes into a dead tree to deposit their eggs.

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Deer Tracks in Mud
Deer Tracks in Mud

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Toad (Without Flash)
Toad

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Millipede
Millipede

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Ichneumon Wasp Profile
Icheneumon Wasp

Flora
May 21st was a good day to hike this trail to see some flowers. We got to see blooming Azaleas, blooming Mountain Laurel and various wildflowers along the way.

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Blooming Azaleas
Blooming Azalea

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Mountain Laurel
Blooming Mountain Laurel

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Yellow Wildflowers
Yellow Wildflowers

Although it’s not the Appalachian Trail, I’m thrilled to have such a wonderful trail so close by. The Year of Living Unofficially has a recap of this hike as well. Acknowledging that I am biased, I share my favorite line:

Vicky was an inspiration — she just entered her third trimester but with her energy and perseverance you would never know she was carrying around the extra weight of a baby in her belly.

🙂

More pictures of our Bull Run Occoquan Trail hike can by found on my Flickr site.

Bull Run Occoquan Trail – First Four Miles
Trail Map

Length: 8 Miles Round Trip

Elevation Gain: 400 – 700 feet?

Directions from Occoquan, Virginia

1) Take 123 North for about 5 miles to Hampton Road. (Look for the brown sign for “Fountainhead Regional Park.”)

2) Turn left on Hampton and go 3.2 miles to the park entrance on the left. (Look for another brown sign.)

Entry filed under: Bull Run Occoquan Trail, Hiking, Pregnancy, Uncategorized. Tags: .

Occoquan Baby Shower Leaving Your Mark on American Beech

4 Comments Add your own

  • […] out for another hike.  We decided to continue our progress on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail.  For National Walk in the Woods Day, we had started at Fountainhead Regional Park and did the first four miles of the trail.  This […]

    Reply
  • […] we thought we would see if we could locate some more established trees near our new home.  During National Walk in the Woods Day I took a shot of a small pawpaw tree near a creek at Fountainhead Regional Park.  Figuring where […]

    Reply
  • 3. Our Birth Appendix – Third Trimester Exercise « TGAW  |  October 3, 2011 at 1:00 am

    […] Swimming (31.5 laps) Thursday – 1 hour Elliptical Friday – 1 hour Bike Saturday – 8 Mile Hike at Bull Run Occoquan Trail Sunday – Weight Lifting, Yard Work at Grandma’s […]

    Reply
  • 4. obstacle course mud run  |  July 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm

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