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Leopold's Preserve, VA Day Hike

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This hike occured on Saturday, January 5, 2019. Participants were Tom O'Brien, Dave McIntyre and Mike Calabrese.

Sometimes it pays to take a chance. The forecast for this hike did not look good all week. It showed rain the first half of Saturday, the day of this hike. I didn't want to hike in the rain. So I said in an email that I would show up if anyone wanted to hike in the rain. The forecast changed overnight and it now said cloudy for the first half of Saturday, then rain. But it was still misting when I got to POPUMC to lead this hike. I didn't want to hike in the rain.

First Tom showed up. Then Dave showed up. I asked if they were sure that they wanted to do this hike. They did. So we set out to Leopolds Preserve precisely at 8:00 AM.

We got to the preserve parking lot at around 8:45 and started the hike. I wanted to hike this trail clockwise like I did when I last hiked it about 2 years ago. Right after we started hiking a HUGE dog came running down the trail at us. It's owners were close behind. I don't remember what breed the owner said he was but he was BIG and friendly. We would end up seeing 4 or 5 additional dogs with their owners on this hike. And miraculously, the misty rain stopped.

There were no blazes or directional signs on this trail. There were interpretive aigns that had a small map of the trail along with a 'You Are Here' dot on it. That's about it. So even though I had a georeferenced map of this trail on the Hiking Project app, the blue dot on the map was not on the trail. And the direction shadow was not working. So we made some wrong turns. Next thing I know we were coming out to Throughfare RD not far from where our vehicle was parked. I didn't want to walk back to the vehicle and start over so we just started hiking counterclockwise.

We got to a pond and tried getting past it a few times. But we kept going around in circles. We asked some young men that were walking by which way was south. They didn't know. Tom saw what looked like a trail further down the telephone ROW that we kept coming back to. So we took it. Then things started looking familiar to me, though from the opposite direction.

We made it to US15, which was the half way and southernmost point on this trail, hiked along it for a short bit, then went back into the woods. The eastern side of this loop was along a railroad track and the north branch of Broad Run. There were some ups and downs, some interesting ruins and some nice scenery. The bridges on this trail were well designed. The trail itself was good though again, it was very muddy due to the recent record rains that we have experienced.

We came to a 4 way intersection and guessed that going straight was the correct path. We guessed correctly. We made it back to the vehicle shortly before 11:00 AM. And it didn't rain! In fact, the sun peaked out a few times while we did this 4 mile loop hike.

So taking a chance paid off for us on this hike. We had a nice walk on a fantastic trail and the weather was good. The only downer was the mud. But we survived.

Mike C

You can read more about Leopolds Preserve and it's history at:

Leopolds Preserve

White House Farm Foundation

Northern Virginia Conservation Trust

The Villiages of Piedmont at Leopold's Preserve

White House Farm Foundation 2016 Report

Map of Leopold's Preserve, VA
  Map of Leopold's Preserve, VA.
   By Mike Calabrese

Exploring ruins along the trail   Exploring ruins along the trail.
   By Mike Calabrese

The trail @ Leopold's Preserve, VA   The trail @ Leopold's Preserve, VA.
   By Mike Calabrese

Intrepretive sign @ Leopold's Preserve, VA
  Intrepretive sign @ Leopold's Preserve, VA.
  By Mike Calabrese

Tom & Dave @ Leopold's Preserve, VA
  Tom & Dave @ Leopold's Preserve, VA.
   By Mike Calabrese

Group selfie @ Leopold's Preserve, VA
  Group selfie @ Leopold's Preserve, VA.
   By Mike Calabrese



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