National Walk in the Woods Day and the Bull Run Occoquan Trail
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!!!
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. ”
“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. ”
“It is a truly amazing resource in the heart of Northern Virginia ”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Bull Run Occoquan Trail – First Four Miles
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.)