Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Hike

As I mentioned in my last post, Daughter#2, The Son In Law, Ann and myself took a hike on Christmas Eve. We drove to Hemlock Overlook, which is part of the Northern Virginia Park system. Daughter#2 had been here before with her high school soccer team to do some team building exercises, but it was the first time for the rest of us.
We hiked about a total of two hours, give or take. Most of the first part from the parking lot down to Bull Run was downhill, which made me a bit concerned about the return part being all up hill when we would all be tired. Plus the footing was a bit tricky. We couldn't see the ground under all the leaves so you were never quite sure what your foot would land on as you stepped. I was worried about turning an ankle, but luckily that didn't happen. Once we got close to the river, the trail was easier and the footing, for the most part, not that big of a challenge. It had rained a bit the day before so we also had to avoid mud in places. The weather was fine for December. Not overly windy, but cool so we did have to bundle up a bit.

Here we are taking a short break. The sun was low on the horizon and we're more or less looking back into the sun for this picture.

Our hike took us along Bull Run for the most part. Here Ann poses for a picture along the river.

Here is Daughter#2 with her husband, The Son In Law, along with their dog Gracie, aka The Black Demon. There are some small rapids on the left side of the picture.

About halfway into our hike, the trail had the river to our left and train tracks to our right. Eventually the two crossed and we went underneath the tracks. Had we followed the tracks, we would have arrived shortly in the historic town of Clifton.

After crossing under the tracks, we had to cross a tributary that led into Bull Run. Ann was having none of it. Ann is a non swimmer and is not crazy about any type of water. Daughter#2 eventually was able to convince her to give it a try and cross she did. I think I might have had more difficulty in the crossing than any of us. My glasses are bifocals (thanks old age) and its difficult looking down and properly judging things like where to put my foot. However, we all made it across without incident.

These shots are actually taken on the way back so its our second time across.

Daughter#2 is an Environmental Specialist with VDOT and The Son In Law works for the Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension Service so between the two of them they provided a wealth of knowledge on the local flora and fauna and the water. Plus they're a very cute couple.

All in all it was a fun outing not to mention some great exercise. It certainly helped burning off some of those holiday calories. I'd like to try it again in the spring or summer when the leaves are all out. I'm sure it will be an even prettier hike.

1 comment:

daughter #2 said...

Hemlock is a fun place. I've been there a bunch of times b/c growing up I went to day camps over the summer that took us on field trips there. Later on in highschool I went again, as Dad mentioned. There is this one obsticle where you jump on this swinging rope and traverse a mud hole. Well one time when i was there with a camp group, I decided to jump off into the mud hole on purpose, and before long the whole group was covered in mud and having a ball. And the hippy GMU college kids that work at the place weren't going to tell us we were doing it wrong b/c it's all about your interpretation, free thinking, etc etc. ha, im sure the counselors were thrilled. Also, the zip line was pretty awesome.