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Friday, March 28, 2014

#14 - North Valley Trail

Friday, and a day off of work! With rain in the forecast, I knew the best time to get outside was this morning. There were light showers as I departed, but knowing I would have some protection from the forest canopy, I headed out to hike the North Valley Trail at Prince William Forest Park. Riley heard me packing up, was raring to go, so she tagged along.

The rain gave me an opportunity to check out some new gear and make sure I was packed appropriately for Spring. I was very happy with how everything held up, with the exception of my camera bag, so I'll need to research some options that allow me to cover ground, keep the camera dry, and still get the photos I want.

Quantico Creek and the bridge to North Valley Trail

Portion of the North Valley Trail

Quantico Creek

North Valley Trail is a great trail, with many sights to see as you make your way along. The quietness, interrupted only by the sounds of the creek, forest, and grasslands, is soothing and beautiful. What's nice about a day with some light rain is you feel you have the whole area to yourself. Today, I was passed by one trail runner, and came across one other hiker coming from the opposite direction. Two people in 3 hours or so allows you to really enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

North Valley Trail

North Valley Trail at old Pyrite Mine

One of the many beautiful grass and pine areas

Western edge of North Valley Trail
Of course, if we're headed out where there is water, Riley wants to swim and play. It won't be long before we start seeing northern water snakes, but for today, the creek was running at a perfect level, with the water nice and clear.

Riley trying to catch salmon ;->

Always looking for a pool over her head so she can swim

Happy Dog

Today's hike was six-miler, and just a perfect day. The wildlife, the flora as we head into Spring, and the beauty of the area, made for a great hike.

Lower end of Quantico Falls
A nesting pair of Mallard ducks

Until next time,

Happy Hiking!

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