I had the whole day to myself almost…and plans were made to go for a walk/jog about 8 miles from here in Prince William Forest Park. The morning was beautifully overcast….not rainy, just cool and fragrant, one of those perfect days….and off I went.
Waterbottle, jogging shoes, shorts…off we go!
When I pulled in to the park, the sign on the entrance shack at the gate said that they only charge for car entry between 9am and dusk! Well THIS is a bonus! It was 7:30 am so I guess I got to go in for free!
I wound my way around toward the visitors center, found the parking lot….there was only one other vehicle there, some guy had just taken off on a bike ride. A whole park to myself? Wonderful!
The visitors center, of course, wasn’t open yet. So I couldn’t pick up any pamphlets or maps that would help me find my way, but I did find this map in the yard:
See the road that kind of loops around in the center? It didn’t look too bad! I saw where I was on the map ((Even though there were no dots that said “YOU ARE HERE”)) and off I went. I had been told yesterday during class that this would be the perfect place to go, and that the distance around the loop was somewhere between 6 and 7 miles.
At home I’ve hiked around Salem Lake many times, and it is 7.6 miles around….so….not a problem!
I walked a song, jogged a song, walked a song, jogged a song….and was only passed by one biker the whole time!
Doesn’t this look pretty!? The air smelled so good and fresh!
I stopped on a bridge to take a picture of the creek flowing by…..there was not a SOUND to be heard other than the birds…..
On the off-road trails, it was even MORE secluded! I only took one side hike, just a short one…I was afraid I was going to get lost out in the middle of somewhere where I couldn’t be found ---best to stick to the regular road just in case!
Don’t you love to see trails and wonder where they go?? I do I do! Look at that green…it was such a beautiful morning!
This marshy area was SO beautiful! And I saw deer! Not that I really could get any in a picture…
I hiked and I hiked and I ran and I walked and I sang out loud to the nature because there was no one around to hear me….
And about mile 8.5 ---- MILE 8.5?!? ((Yes I was tracking my movements on my phone using the imapmyfitness app)) I started to get worried about where I was! Surely, the visitor’s center has to be coming up soon?
It’s a LOOP right?! Didn’t I stay on the loop? I thought so….when I took that side trail, I turned right around and came back after I hit the creek again…
After I hit mile 10 ((TEN!???)) I stopped to chat to a ranger guy and asked him how much farther it was to the visitor’s center ---- You see, I had passed signs with arrows, I pretty much knew I HAD to be headed the right way, but it sure would have been helpful if they would have said how far it WAS to the visitors center from the sign….
And I walked and I hiked, and I couldn’t make my legs jog anymore, and I felt like crawling -----
Total miles? 12.58. TWELVE and a HALF PLUS miles!!
I swear, that loop of road didn’t look that big on the map at the visitors center! AND..it would have been helpful if there were some clues on that map to tell me how far it was…..I just kept going thinking that I had to reach the beginning of the circle SOON!?
So needless to say, the rest of this day has been much about NOTHING. I showered. I grabbed some lunch ((So hungry I could eat a horse!)) and napped for two hours, and here I am.
I’ve got a lecture/trunkshow with the Cabin Branch Quilters tonight….I’ve got fun pics to edit down from yesterday’s workshop. And tomorrow? I’m headed back home….I don’t think I’ll be hiking anywhere for the next few days…. ;c)