Battle of First Manassas, VA Day Hike


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This 5.1 mile moderate circuit day hike occurred on Sunday, April 8, 2018. Participants were Clayton Limbaugh, Dave McIntire, Tom O'Brien and Mike Calabrese.

We were supposed to do this hike on Saturday, April 7, 2018. However, with the ominous forcasts of snow and rain for Saturday all week I decided to cancel this hike on Thursday, April 5, 2018. I really did not want to cancel another hike as I had done so twice already this year. So I threw out an alternative 'rain date' of Sunday, April 8, 2018. But the snow never came and and it barely rained on Saturday, April 7, 2018. So we should have pulled this hike off on Saturday. But 3 people rsponded to my Sunday hike alternative so all was good.

We met at POPUMC and left there by 1:00 PM. We carpooled in Tom's car to MNBP. The weather was breezy and in the 50's when we started this hike. We started around 2:00 PM and did the battle of First Manassas loop clockwise. We first stopped at the Henry house, crossed US 29 and then stopped at the Stone House. A volunteer gave us the free tour condensed history of the Stone House. It was a tavern, an inn and a field hospital for both sides during the Civil War. It also had numerous owners.

We then did a good sized up and took the first right turn that we came to. This took us into the woods and to a monument whose name now escapes me. We then cut over to the blue trail and took that through the woods, across a field and then down to Bull Run. We were just past the half way point now for this hike.

We then walked along Bull Run for about three quarters of a mile. I was somewhat dissapointed that the Blue Bells were not fully in bloom yet. There were some out. But they were not yet at their peak. We then reached the stone bridge, turned south along US 29, walked a boardwalk for about a quarter mile, did a long up and then got to the Van Pelt homestead.

We then did a short down, crossed Lee Highway (US 29), then did a short, level stretch to Youngs Branch. We crossed the creek on a bridge, did a moderate up for about a half mile, then turned right onto the 'home stretch' of this loop trail. After about a half mile we again reached the visitors center.

Tom and I had to use the rest room. After we returned to the Visitors Center main area we could not find Clayton and Dave. A volunteer at the front desk said that they went into see one of the short movies that showed the history of both Manassas battles. We thought 'Why would they do that?' Then we had a tough time finding them in the dark theatre. But we did and settled in to watch the movie, which was very good.

We finally left around 4:45 PM and were back at POPUMC by around 5:15 PM. We said our goodbyes and then went home. Though I have hiked these trails many times I am always struck by the historic significance of this area. A lot of people gave their lives here for a cause that they believed in. Though the south won both battles here, the north prevailed, won the Civil War and gave us the additional freedoms that are enjoyed today.

Mike C

Group pic at beginning of hike
  Group pic at beginning of hike.
   By Clayton Limbaugh

Fields of gold
  Fields of gold.
   By Mike Calabrese

Blue Bells not quite in bloom
  Blue Bells not quite in bloom.
   By Mike Calabrese

Cannon, Jackson and Cannon
  Cannon, Jackson and Cannon.
   By Mike Calabrese



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