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Andrew Leitch Park, VA Day Hike

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This hike occured on Tuesday, January 1, 2019. Participants were Mary & Ronald Gordon, their grandson Xander, Jeanne Bacot, Randall & Laura Bartlett, their son John, Ann & Jon Fowler, their sons Andrew & Thomas, Dave McIntyre and Mike Calabrese.

As usual we all met at the POPUMC parking lot. Since this was a First Day Hike we met at 1:00 PM so people that stayed up for New Years Eve could sleep in. Unlike last year the weather today was exceptionally warm. It was 60
degrees at sunrise, 57 when we started the hike and would fall to the low 50's by the time that we finished.

So we drove all of the cars to the eastern trailhead of this 3.5 mile hike. We left my vehicle there and then drove the remaining vehicles back to the western trailhead and started from there. We had 13 participants for this hike. That was a good number in that the group was not too small, not too big but just right for hiking.

We started out in the woods for the first 1,000 feet or so. Then we hiked another 1,000 feet or so along a power line right of way. This area was extremely muddy from all of the recent rains. We would occasionally leave this ROW to cross a bridge, go up on the ridge or take part of the well maintained gravel paths in the middle pf the park. But we would always return to the muddy power line right of way. It was muddy. All of us would get muddy shoes and pants by the time it was over. And some of us would slip and fall in the mud. But we all survived.

There was one blowdown within the first few miles of the hike but we managed to get around it with no issues. Generally speaking, with the exception of the mud the trail was in decent shape. The trail blazes were faint and probably need to be refreshed. Hopefully, some volunteer group will do that eventually. Long term plans call for this trail to be moved from the power line ROW into the woods so that the footing is better. The bridges along this trail were in the woods in anticipation of the trail being moved there eventually. The signage was good at the beginning and the end of this hike but very sparse in the middle.

During the hike we had some great conversations among us participants. I learned a lot about those that I was hiking with and I'm sure that they learned a lot about me. I think that the kids had fun though I'm sure that their parents made them shower and put on some clean clothes after this hike. I know that I did.

Once we returned to the eastern trailhead I shuttled all of the drivers back to the western trailhead so that they could retrieve their vehicles. They followed me back to the eastern trailhead, we loaded up the vehicles, returned to POPUMC and said our goodbyes.

This was a decent hike. The weather was perfect. If the trail would not have been so muddy it would have been a perfect hike. But the trails have
been muddy for the last 3 or 4 hikes that we have done because of the record amount of rainfall that we have received over the last few months. We are scheduled to return to this park in July, 2023. Our next hike is at Leopolds Preserve near Haymarket, VA on Saturday, January 5, 2019. I hope that the weather will be as good as it was today. And that we encounter less mud on the trail.

Mike C

Group picture near end of hike
  Group picture near end of hike.
   By Mary Gordon
Looking at the digital map
  Looking at the digital map.
   By Mary Gordon
On the trail @ Andrew Leitch Park, VA   On the trail @ Andrew Leitch Park.
   By Mary Gordon
Jon & Randall @ Andrew Leitch Park, VA
  Jon & Randall @ Andrew Leitch
  Park.  By Mary Gordon
Ann, Laura & Dave @ Andrew Leitch Park
  Ann, Laura & Dave @ Andrew Leitch
  Park.  By Mary Gorton

Taking a break @ 2 mile mark

  Taking a break @ 2 mile mark.
  By Mike Calabrese

Navigating a blowdown

  Navigating a blowdown.
  By Mike Calabrese

Navigating a blowdown 2

  Navigating a blowdown 2.
  By Mike Calabrese

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