A Foggy Morning Hike Through a Hidden Gem

*This post is a little shorter than I’d initially planned. I had my second COVID vaccination yesterday, and today I’m feeling a bit under the weather. (It was worth it. I’d do it again. I’m so grateful and relieved and happy and hopeful, and I can’t wait to hug my vaccinated friends and family. I’ve missed hugs.) Now, with that out of the way…*

I’d mentioned in a previous post that we want to do more hiking and get outside more this year, and I’ve featured one of our hikes already. Here’s another.

On Saturday, we pulled ourselves out of bed at 7:30 in the rainy, foggy morning, and made our way to a beautiful hidden gem.

I suppose there are lots of people in the area who’ve visited Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve before, but I honestly had no idea it existed. I’m so happy that’s changed!

It’s an amazing, quiet place with lots of native flora. I kept having to stop and take pictures. It was just so lovely.

It’s bluebell season here in Virginia, and I can’t get enough of it. They’re so vibrant – purple when they’re young, and then their signature color as they grow and bloom.

The hike itself was low-key and easy. The rolling hills weren’t difficult to manage at all, and the scenery was distracting enough that I probably wouldn’t have noticed anyway.

Next time, I think we’re going to try something a little more challenging, but for now, I’m so happy to know this place exists, and I absolutely plan to go back.

An Icy Battlefield Hike

One of my goals for 2021 is to get outside more and do some hiking. I used to really enjoy hiking, but in the last few years, I’ve become something of a cave creature. It’s time to change that. Movement is good. A dose of sunlight every now and then is healthy, so I’ve been told.

At any rate, this weekend we met up with our friends Liz and Anthony for a low-key hike at Manassas National Battlefield Park. I’m a little embarrassed to say I’d never visited the battlefield in Manassas before Sunday. It was Liz’s choice. She and Anthony can always be counted on to join outdoor adventures and find the best hiking spots.

Here we are, back in 2016 in Alaska, after rowing out to the Mendenhall Glacier.

It’s good to have outdoor friends, I think.

Since Graham and I are pretty out of shape, we opted for an easy hike on the First Manassas Trail. Or, it would have been easy. See, we didn’t anticipate that the trail would be an ice rink.

We didn’t bring our trekking poles or our ice cleats. But with some caution and some borrowed gear from our friends, we did pretty okay.

Over the course of the five-mile loop, there are lots of historic sites and markers.

It’s a pretty good combination of field and forest, with a river and some wetlands.

It’s a really lovely trail, honestly.

And there aren’t any super steep hills. Until the very end, anyway.

I confess that by the last mile, I was ready to be done. My hips were killing me and my knees were pretty sore, but I made it to the end. Fast forward to today, and I’m hobbling around the house and muttering “ow” every third word. But, I have no regrets.

And there are more hikes in my future.