On 01/19/2022 Tom O'Brien and I explored the approximately 5 miles of the
Potomac Heritage Trail within Prince William Forest, VA
We met at the church rear parking lot and departed at 9:00 AM in separate vehicles to
Prince William Forest Park
in Triangle, VA. We left Tom's vehicle at the very end of the picnic area parking and the traffic circle. This was the closest to the spot where we would be getting off of the PHT. We then drove my vehicle over to the shopping center at the corner of VA234 Dumfries RD and Waterway DR in the Montclair area of Manassas,
I reconned another portion of the PHT within Prince William County, VA on 11/30/2021. You can read about that trip here.
VA. We parked in the middle of the lot and then started off to hike the PHT within PWFP.
We crossed VA234, turned right and walked about 200 feet to a gated road. On some maps this road is called Spriggs LA. We turned left onto this road, then passed a huge water tower. We then got to the three way intersection with Burma RD. We continued onto Burma RD and in about 350 feet we turned left onto the northwestern terminus of the North Valley Trail and the hiking trail portion of the PHT. The route of the PHT is still fluid within Prince William County, VA.
We immediately encountered numerous small and medium blowdowns between Burma RD and the bridge crossing over Quantico Creek. This was due to a recent snow storm in the area. We would encounter literally 200-300 small blowdowns, 20-30 medium blowdowns and 2-3 large blowdowns between Burma RD and Lake One RD.
It was very tiring navigating around these blowdowns. Once we passed the Lake One RD intersection, where we took a break, the going got better. It was obvious that trail crews within the park had done their magic and had cleared all blowdowns from the trail for the rest of our trip. These volunteers and NPS employees worked very hard to clear the hundreds of blowdowns on these trails. My hat is off to them.
The rest of the trip was a lot easier. We took a break at the Pyrite Mine Overlook, got onto the South Valley Trail, turned left at the "swinging bridge" and took the Laurel Loop Trail back to Tom's vehicle and the end
of the hike. It took us over 3 hours to complete this trail due to the massive blowdowns on the western end of the NVT.
I reported the trail conditions that we encountered to the proper people when I got home. I got responses back thanking me for the report and that they would work on getting this section cleared within a few days. It was a good hike. It was unusually warm for January and most of the snow and ice had melted. I do think that this was a good hike.
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