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This past Saturday some friends and the Fellow and I went to a nearby Virginia state park to do a little hiking. Well, we should’ve known by the name that this particular park probably wasn’t the spot we were looking for. After paying $5 a car (!) for all 5 of our vehicles to park, we started to navigate the confusing parking/visitor center.
One of our party members had gotten there early and said he was waiting in the visitor’s center parking lot, but we couldn’t find each other (he had wandered off) for about 20 minutes. It’s remarkable how much we rely on our cell phones. There was no reception at the park, so it felt like trying to organize a meet-up in the 90s. We nearly left a note on his car and started hiking without him, but we finally got our group all together and decided on a route.
We decided that since we are all not the most active of people and not prepared for any long distance that we’d do one of the shorter hikes – about 3 miles. We started off at what we thought was the beginning of the trail. It turns out that it was actually the last leg of the trail and took us to the end instead. Now, I’ve always been very upfront about my lack of an internal compass, but either we all were discombobulated, or the map wasn’t the best.
We turned around at the end of the trail since it hadn’t been too far of a walk and headed merrily on our way all ready for a short hike. So we walked, we waited, and we looked, and the trail never left the fence line. It followed the fence line into a cow field and across the cow field, and into a horse pasture – all those big, beautiful, open fields, and all that hot sun. We had all figured that we’d be in a wooded area and hadn’t prepared for that much sun. We finally got to the end of the trail and decided to take a walk around the pond where the trail ended. After coming full circle, we sat down near a rest area to drink some water and munch on some granola bars and chat. While we were resting, one of the park rangers went to empty the trash, slung the trash bag over his shoulder, slinging trash “juice” all over one of the group’s hiking packs. I’ve got to say, I was not impressed with this first excursion into the “other” Virginia’s state parks.
After some conversation, we decided that we were up for a bit more, and one of the guys said he knew of a trail nearby which would be fun, so we picked up our packs and walked some more. We walked, and we walked, and we walked, and then we finally made it to the trail head – our water was gone, we were sunburned, and we were tired. That trail itself would’ve been about 4 miles, and then we had to walk back to the car, so after sitting and discussing, we decided we’d try that trail another day and park nearer to the trail head.
All in all it was a fun day; we hung out, chatted, saw some pretty sites, and got some exercise in, but still, I have to chuckle that we hiked all the way – to the trail, then turned around.