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2014 National Park "Free Entry" Dates!! January 20th Martin Luther King Jr. Day; February 15-17th Presidents Day weekend; April 19-20th opening weekend of National Park Week; August 25th National Park Service Birthday; September 27th National Public Lands Day; November 11th Veterans Day

Monday, January 20, 2014

#5 Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve

Chestnut Ridge Trail

What a great day to get outside! With temps pushing 60 degrees, and tomorrow's forecast of 4-8 inches of snow and much colder temps, this was a great opportunity to get one more hike in on a beautiful, sunny day.

Today, I checked out a 4.6 mile hike at the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve. A beautiful area with numerous trails, culminating with a trek up Chestnut Ridge trail to a panoramic overlook.

Scenic overlook looking Southwest

 It was a nice view; the skies mostly clear, and as I faced west, I saw the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance. The greenstone and white quartz rock provided a perfect resting place, so I sat, taking in the sun, watching hawks glide, enjoying the peacefulness.

Catlett's Branch-East
Catlett's Branch - West

A number of small streams begin in the area, coming up from the ground and running quite clean and clear as they head off into more developed areas of the towns below. I followed along Catlett's Branch, through this hollow and that, as I worked my way through the preserve.

William Dawson grave-site today

Dawson grave-site (date unknown)

I am becoming more accustomed to the individual and family cemeteries I come across. Today, it was a cemetery for William Dawson, born in 1802, and passing 51 years later. I can't find much pertaining to him, though did find this old photo of his grave-site to go along with mine.

Beverly Mill
I ended the hike passing by Beverly Mill (also known as Chapman Mill.) It is a historic mill from the pre-civil war era, built in 1759, and powered by Bull Run Creek.

The author in his element!
The vista, the history, and the clear, sunny, beautiful day made this trip worthwhile. I would certainly come here again, being mindful of both day, and time of year, as to avoid the crowds.

Keep hiking friends,


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