This 3.2 mile easy to moderate loop day hike occurred on February 3, 2018. Participants were Wanda Damon, Nichole Brandon, Clayton Limbaugh and Mike Calabrese.
We met at 8:00 AM at Prince of Peace UMC and carpooled over to Doves Landing Park from there. Four brave souls for this hike: Wanda D., Nichole B., Clayton L. and Mike C. It was 16 degrees when we started. The pens that we used for the signup sheet wouldn't write because they were freezing up. I was weary about hiking in the cold as it was not supposed to get above freezing until around noon. And I told everyone that we could abort this hike at any time if anyone was too cold.
So when we got to the park we took a group picture and then started down the trail. We took the northern route the first mile or so directly to the confluence of Broad Run and Cedar Creek. At this point the body of water becomes the Occoquan River. We talked along the way about this and that. It was Wanda's first time actually hiking. Nichole was scouting this trail as a possible hike for her sons, who are in the scouts. What was amazing was as we hiked the cold got a bit more bearable.
There was a blowndown just before we got to the confluence. When we got there we took pictures, rested and had conversations. Wanda's Camelbak hose had frozen. We offered her our water but she said that she was OK. We could see the Bristow RD bridge way in the distance over Cedar Creek.
After our brief stopover we started back up the trail again. This was the biggest 'up' on the entire hike, though it wasn't bad. We hit the orange blazed loop, took that and then did a check to see if everyone was OK or if they wanted to head directly back to the vehicles. Everyone was OK so we walked a bit and proceeded to hit the white blazed loop.
The white blazed loop was fairly scenic, pretty level and was well marked. Then we got to the 'T' intersection and the end of the white loop. We saw what looked like a small tree on a tripod made out of roots, We turned left and proceeded back to the main trail and to our vehicles. There were a series of blowdowns on this stretch of the trail. I will report these to the county and the Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition.
We were done by a little after 10:00 AM. The temperature when I got home was a balmy 27 degrees. I think that everyone enjoyed hiking this trail. My only concerns were the lack of blazing along the main trail, which I will also report to Prince William County and the PWTSC.
One important thing that we did discuss on this hike was the possibility of starting future First Day Hikes (those occuring on January 1 of each year) at 1:00PM as opposed to 9:00AM to give people a chance to sleep in after celebrating New Years. I will change the hiking schedule to reflect this. Hopefully, it will be warmer later in the day.
So the POPUMC Hiking Group finally got off the ground and onto the trail! Thanks to those that came out. We'll do it again in March, 2018. It is my hope that we will attract more hikers, hike leaders as well as some different places to hike over the coming months.
Group pic at the start of the hike.
By Mike Calabrese
The confluence of Broad Run and Cedar
Creek By Mike Calabrese
Group pic at the confluence.
By Wanda Damon
The tree with the tripod roots.
By Mike Calabrese
Group pic and the end of the hike.
By Wanda Damon