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Merrimac Farm WMA Loop Trail, Nokesville, VA

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This fairly easy 2 mile (which ended up being 2.5 mile) loop hike took place on Saturday, July 3, 2021. Participants were Abby Brue, Jason Brue, Dave McIntyre, Tom O'brien and me.

I was looking forward to this hike. The reasons were that the weather was going to be much cooler than what we had been experiencing in northern Virginia during the week and that this was going to be a short, easy hike. The weather came through as promised. We had a low of 62 that morning and somewhere in the low 70's with low humidity later in the morning. And while this was a fairly flat hike (no ups to speak of), it wasn't as easy as I thought that it was going to be.

As usual we met at

Prince of Peace United Methodist Church

in the rear parking lot and left precisely at 8:00 AM. We made it to Merrimac WMA by around 8:20 AM. Jason and his daughter Abby were waiting for us at the north parking area of the WMA. We took a group picture and then started on the hike. We would be hiking the 1 mile Upland Trail and the 1 mile Bluebell Trail. Initially it was nice and cool. We were hiking along an old road that had lots of shade trees along it. It was very nice.

After we passed a decent sized pond at around mile .3 the trail became a mowed surface with only partial shade. The grass had not been mowed in awhile. We came to a barn at mile .5, then turned left. After .2 miles we saw a stone house at the end of a trail to the right. We should have turned there. We didn't. So we walked out to Deepwood LA, turned right, walked along it and turned right onto a driveway back to that same stone house. We probably added about .5 miles to this hike by missing that turn. Sorry about that.

We took a break at the stone house. There was a lady sitting in a chair on the right side of the house. We did not speak to her. We went around to the left side of the house and started on the Bluebell Trail. This was a scout project from around 2015. We passed a former spring house, then entered an area of very dense foliage. Thank God that there were orange triangles and faint blue blazes along this stretch. There were boardwalks at the beginning and at the end of this dense foliage area. We hit the one mile mark shortly after entering this area.

It is sad that scouts create these very nice projects to earn various badges. Then, after they move on, no one takes care of what they created. That was the case here. The trail was not discernable at certain points. And to add insult to injury there was what we think was stinging nettle along this part of the trail. We all had severe itching on our legs after a short time hiking this section. Even those of us in long pants. We were all hurting. Abby did very well along this stretch. We also saw nice benches that the scouts had built along this section. But the foliage was so thick that you could not get to them. And some of these benches were starting to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance.

Eventually we left the Bluebell Trail, got back to the barn around the 2 mile mark, turned left and started back along the Upland Trail. We got back to the pond, took some pictures at the pond, then hiked the short stretch back to our vehicles. We opted to hike back to our vehicles the same way that we hiked in since it was nice and shaded while the trail on the other side of the pond wasn't. We ended the hike around 10:15 AM.

This was a decent hike. We did not see any other hikers at this facility today. The blazing and signing could be better but it worked. Someone needs to do some serious weed whacking along the dense foliage portion of the Bluebell Trail. Maybe some present day scouts could go along the Bluebell Trail and clean up the nice trail that the former scouts had created? And the resident game warden never came out to check our credentials. I was disappointed. Another hike in the books. Thanks to my fellow hikers for coming out for this hike.

Mike C


Entrance signs
   Entrance signs.
   By Mike Calabrese
Group pic @ beginning
   Group pic @ beginning
   By Mike Calabrese
Along the Upland Trail
   Along the Upland Trail.
   By Mike Calabrese
Pond on Upland Trail
   Pond on Upland Trail.
   By Mike Calabrese
Barn @ Upland/Bluebell TR JCT
   Barn @ Upland/Bluebell TR JCT.
   By Mike Calabrese
Stone House @ Bluebell TR
   Stone House @ Bluebell TR.
   By Mike Calabrese
Spring House,  Bluebell TR
   Spring House, Bluebell TR.
   By Mike Calabrese
Stinging nettle!
   Stinging nettle!
   By Mike Calabrese
Orange marker, blue blaze
   Orange marker, blue blaze.
   By Mike Calabrese
Map of where we hiked today
   Map of where we hiked today.
   By Mike Calabrese


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