Sunday, September 18, 2016

Change of venue

I usually walk the trails at Pleasant Grove because it's a great trail system and it's very near my home. I can be there in minutes so I don't waste any time driving when I could be walking. That's especially important on weekdays when I'm working and in the fall and winter when daylight hours are so short. But, on Saturday I had most of the day to myself because Clay was working. Thanks to the dry weather I haven't needed to mow, so after making breakfast and finishing work, Maya and I headed down to Walnut Creek, a park in southern Albemarle County.

The park surrounds a very pretty, man-made lake backed up behind a small earthen dam. There's a really nice looking beach, but it was fenced and closed for the season. I saw one rowboat out on the lake and it would be nice place to take my canoe sometime. I had been to the park once, many years ago, when someone I knew was doing a trail run there, so I knew there were trails suitable for hiking.
There are a couple of old home sites,
including this very well preserved
standing fireplace and chimney.

I parked in what I hoped was a central location, found a map of the trails, and we set off on a new adventure. Although there is a lake nearby, I wasn't sure how much access we would have to drinking water, so I carried water for both of us, using a hydration backpack I had received as a gift. The trails are color coded and well marked.
We did not see a lot of wildflowers, but the first
picture I took was this very colorful fungus.

There were a few other people out on the trails - some walkers, runners, a couple mountain bikers, and one group of guys playing frisbee golf on the 18 hole course that is part of the park. Maya was somewhat disappointed in the lack of deer, but given the time of day and number of other people around, I wasn't surprised.

The trails are rockier than those at Pleasant Grove, making my feet a bit sore this morning. We covered over seven miles of the trails and there's a lot more there to do, so we will be back.

The dam is the green swath on the left with a trail in the center.

One of our (my) rest stops.

Maya drank a little water each time I offered
it, but she never seemed desperate for it.

The trail map is very nice. It looks like a lot of trails, and it
is, but most of them are not that long.

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