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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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

#42 - Bald Cypress Trail - Virginia Beach

Sand dune at Virginia Beach
Not far from the sand dunes of Virginia Beach, there is an oasis that contrasts greatly with the oceanfront and commercialism nearby. Known as the site of the first landing of the Jamestown colonists in 1607, First Landing State Park offers over 20 miles of trails through forest and swamp - with a few surprises along the way.

This is the northernmost point in the United States where Spanish moss flows freely; draped across the bald cypress that thrive in this environment. It is a beautiful, yet eerie, hike back through time. The fresh water here has been used by native Americans, the first colonists, mariners, pirates, and soldiers throughout time.

It was a perfect day to be outside, with colors just beginning to burst, long shadows from the Autumn sun, and salty air from the nearby ocean and bays.

I followed the trail down along the Lynnhaven River, which ties in with Broad Bay. All of this joining where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay.


With saltwater on one side of the trail, freshwater on the other, and color all around, this made for an interesting, beautiful day hike.

I could have gone on and on, but the day was getting ahead of me. Six miles is all I would log. I cut over to the Cape Henry Trail, a multi-use trail for hikers and bikers, to begin my return loop.

Back in my car, I glanced over to the ocean, wondering if those first settlers, short on supply, knew what they had started...

Keep hiking, friends!

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