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Doves Landing Park Orange Trail Day Hike, VA

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This attempted 2.6 mile hike of the orange trail at Doves Landing Park, Manassas, VA took place on Saturday, February 5, 2022. Participants were Tom Corcoran and Mike Calabrese.

This hike definately did not turn out like we thought it would. I met Tom at the parking lot of Doves Landing Park at around 8:18 AM. Tom is doing a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail starting on April 3, 2022 and asked if he could do a shakedown hike with us. I said sure, why not. So Tom was hiking this

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Read about the last time that I tried to hike this trail.

trail with the full backpack that he will be wearing when he starts his AT thru hike. His pack weight was around 35 pounds.

During the week a few people told me that they would not be coming on this hike because they were concerned about the temperature. I understood. However, the temperature would not be as great a factor as the flooding was today.

So we started our counterclockwise loop of the orange trail around 8:20 AM. The east to west northern tier of this trail was very nice and event free. I have to tip my hat to John and Sharon Allen, the volunteer maintainers of the trails in this park. They do a great job of keeping the trails looking good. When we got to the confluence of Broad Run and Cedar Run I took a picture of Tom. Then things got dicey while hiking the section of the orange trail from west to east along it's southern tier.

We immediately started seeing massive ponding along and around this trail. The water was very deep in some spots. This was due to the heavy rain that we received within the last few days that had saturated Broad Run and Cedar Run. We had to bushwhack anywhere from five to twenty-five feet north of the trail in order to make any headway. It was very slow going. I was getting cut up and had to fight through the Greenbriar while bushwhacking. There were times when we could walk on the trail and times when we had to resort to bushwhacking.

At one point we came upon a good sized puddle on the trail that had three small fish the size of sardines flopping around in it. They must have gotten deposited during the flood surge along the Occoquan River. It was really weird. I knew that they would not survive long in that puddle so we picked them up and threw them back into the river.

The flooding was getting worse as we proceeded eastbound on the southern tier. I knew that if we had to, we could bail on the pink trail and take it and the intersecting orange trail back to our vehicles. So we passed the pink trail, hiked another 1,000 feet or so and came across a huge pond of water across the trail. It must have stretched over 100 feet from the river northward. We placed our walking sticks in the pond at

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various points and the water was averaging over two feet deep. It looked like the water would go up to our pants pockets. We reconned up and down this pond for at least a half hour. Our boots were already wet, our pants were already wet and we didn't feel like getting any wetter. So somewhere between the pink trail junction and where the orange trail turns left and north in the new section, we decided to abort this hike.

Then we walked back to the pink trail, took it north to where the orange trail intersected it again and then returned to our vehicles. It was great hiking with Tom. He expressed interest in our Giles Run hike near Lorton, VA hike in March. I hope that he joins us.

This is the second time that I have not been able to finish hiking this orange trail. The first was last summer due to bad blazing by PWCPRT. In my opinion, this flooding situation is a major issue on this trail. At one point in time the county was going to construct a trail 50 feet north of the southern tier of this trail due to ownership issues. What happened to this proposal? The county is going to have to move the trail further away from the river and/or build an elevated boardwalk along the river something like the Neabsco Boardwalk. If everyone has to bushwhack and get all cut up everytime that it rains when hiking this trail, people are not going to come back to hike it again.

Mike C

Entrance kiosk
   Entrance kiosk.
   By Mike Calabrese
Tom C at confluence
   Tom C. at confluence.
   By Mike Calabrese
Fish in puddle
   Fish in puddle.
   By Tom Corcoran
Pic of where we aborted hike
   Pic of where we aborted hike.
   By Mike Calabrese

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