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Sunday, September 28, 2014

#38 - Hemlock Overlook to Bull Run Marina

Back in April, I hiked 8 miles of the Bull Run - Occoquan Trail, from Bull Run Marina towards Fountain Head Park. I was surprised at that time how much I enjoyed this trail, hidden away in Fairfax County, VA (See hike #15 for that hike.)

Fast forward to Sep 12th, where I hiked the next leg - from Hemlock Overlook to Bull Run Marina. All I can say is "Wow!!", as this hike just gets better and better as you go along. Want hills? You got 'em! Flatter paths along the water? Check! Rocks, roots, twists, turns, forest, fields, wildlife and plants? This trail offers a little bit of everything.

I settled on a 10 mile (total) out and back, and with it being mostly wooded, a Summer's morning turns out to be a perfect time of year.

The path starts out dark and cool; descending to the waters edge...

Where on my previous hike (further East), I was already along the reservoir, I was surprised to see at this juncture I was still along the stream portion of Bull Run.

Trail head ending at Bull Run

Bull Run

The path lead along Bull Run for some time; a rocky, root hazard path that followed along this beautiful stream. Heading East, the stream began to slow as the effects of the dam and reservoir began to show.

The trail veered inward, where hills and switchbacks took over. It was quite beautiful; sunlight filtered through and the trees cast their long shadows.

There were stream crossings along the way, with bridges and other trail maintenance provided by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. They've done an excellent job in getting through any areas of water or mud.

Trail maintenance through a low lying area

Surprisingly, the trail ascended up and out into a field of tall grasses that made for some pretty views and a shot of blue sky as cloud cover moved in.


I made it to the end of today's destination 5 miles away, taking a break before doubling back. The trail was so nice, it didn't bother me that this was an "out and back" circuit. There were too many good things to see.

One of about 6 Blue Herons I saw this day

I couldn't have asked for a better day; the scenery, the effort, all of the different elements of nature.

The beauty of this day is in remembrance of Amalia, whom I passed a makeshift memorial for.

Keep hiking, friends.

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