Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Manassas Battlefield Park, Over the Years

Manassas National Battlefield Park is one of my favorite outdoor spots because it has so much to offer.

A long strenuous hike? 
A quick picnic with beautiful scenic views?
 Perhaps you want to soak in the rich history of this historic park?
Enjoy it all here at Manassas Battlefield Park. 

    While this park certainly attracts the nature lover it also attracts those interested in it's historical significance. Every year, more than 900,00 people visit this park, and remember the two major American Civil War battles that were fought here. 
    The First Battle of Bull Run was fought on July 21, 1861 and The Second Battle of Bull Run was fought between August 28 and August 30, 1862.  The First Battle of Bull Run was the first major land battle of the Civil War. 

    Even when the sun is shining and the trees sway with a peaceful breeze, one must ponder the significance of such a historic and tragic event. 

    The park itself has many events such as Battlefield Hikes and Bull Run Kayak Trips in which park historians will take you through an historical journey throughout the park. 

    My adventures at Manassas Park have been more private and personal. I've enjoyed many picnics, long hikes and even adventures in the water over the years. 

This past July I enjoyed a fantastic hike and a beautiful Sunday afternoon picnic. The clouds danced in the sky and the colors of the fields were phenomenal. 
July 2012

July 2012

July 2012
July 2012
July 2012

July 2012

July 2012

July 2012

July 2012

July 2012

I've hiked at Manassas Battlefield Park dozens of times and each time has been a beautiful and enjoyable experience. The views are always phenomenal and there is always plenty of new things to explore and adventure. 
The below pictures are from April 2012.
April 2012

April 2012
April 2012
April 2012
April 2012

The below pictures are from a hike in July of 2010. The water was beautiful that day which allowed  us to climb down and enjoy skipping stones and exploring. While the water is always beautiful you are not always able to actually go into was just a lucky day!
July 2010

July 2010
July 2010

This park is a place you'll want to visit time and time again.
 Each hike will be an unique experience that will leave you excited for your next visit! (and next one and next one....) :) 

Scott's Run Nature Preserve. Picture Post :)

You will want to visit Scott's Run Nature Preserve at least once! 

Stunning Views!

 A sunshine filled day at Scott's Run Nature Preserve. 

The water level was perfect and we were able to climb and play in the waterfall. 

Don't forget to check out my previous in depth post on Scott's Run!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Scott's Run Nature Preserve, A New Favorite BUT Please Stay On the Path :)

Ben and I take pride in going "off" the path while out in nature.

After all, isn't "adventure" the point of it all anyway?

This past weekend I learned a lesson that perhaps staying on the path isn't a bad idea after all.....

The start of our hike 

I've been to Scott's Run Nature Preserve a total of two times. The first time I experienced an unexpectedly breathtaking hike with a gorgeous waterfall and incredible views. The Potomac River was low enough that we could cross it at many spots with no problem at all. What an fantastic day!

Look how low the Potomac is! Plenty of spots to play on!

Walking across the Potomac River!

Beautiful Views! Low Water! Perfection!

On this fantastic day we stumbled upon a group of hikers who said they "followed" the stream down to the bottom instead of taking the strenuous hills that we had hiked on. It sounded like a great idea! Simply, jump in the water at some point on the very top of the hill and just climb your way down to THIS spot. Sounds easy enough......
A beautiful resting place at the bottom of the waterfall

Breathtaking Views
What I learned yesterday was that they probably meant they followed the other TRAIL down to the bottom and simply did not hop into the rocky, slippery, fast moving YET gorgeous river. I will say it CAN be done. It IS an adventure! Will I do it again? NO! :)

This above picture perhaps will put things into perspective. This is the hike the FIRST time we did it. You follow this trail up the hill and then go up and down a few hills and you are (safely & easily) spit out at the bottom of that gorgeous waterfall.
Now, yesterday we decided to "make a left". You see where I am on those rocks? Imagine if I stepped off them, turned left and then hiked a few miles through rushing water, rocks, and mini waterfalls.
Take this view and throw in some deeper spots, a few mini waterfalls and some nice steep drops, twists and turns.
Sadly, our phones were away most of the hike to protect them from the water so the pictures don't do the hike justice.

Finally we emerged at the very top...exhausted...a little nervous...yet exhilarated.
See? We finally made it!!!!

Oh? Wait? What is that we notice? The water level is....HIGH. I felt some panic sweep over me thinking about having to climb that entire trek again! I proclaimed "We will go swimming if we have to!"
Crossing this was a bit more difficult :)

Luckily, it only went up to my thighs in certain areas and we were able to jump rocks and somehow make it across!

Beautiful enough to go swimming in!
If it wasn't for the rushing current of the Potomac.

What a beautiful hike! Nature is always beautiful!
But next time, I may think twice before climbing down a my crocs.....
Halfway down the river.....finally an easy spot!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Secret Adventures, The River Glass Trail

What is an adventure? What characteristics must something possess to qualify for this title?

According to the wonderful capabilities of google,  the definition of adventure is, 
1) To take a risk
2) To proceed despite risks
3) An unusual or exciting experience
4) An undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks

Sounds like fun to me! 

The "River Glass Trail" is a name Ben and I created when we realized our favorite place to hike isn't even on the map. 
In fact, they don't have a name for it, there is no trail map and the only way to find it is to stumble upon a hidden parking lot. I probably couldn't even tell you the complicated back roads it takes to get us there.
We found our secret hiking spot two summers ago after a beautiful Sunday drive. We like to play a game to try and get lost along the beautiful back roads of Virginia.
As I was commanding "left", "right" or "straight", we turned down a road that led us to a dead end with a few cars parked along the side. To our right, it looked like there were trails and we heard water rushing in the background. Ben quickly glanced over the map and we decided we would take a risk and embark on this unusual and exciting experience.  The adventure began.
Now it is a mile or so hike to the actual "beginning" of the trail. As you walk down the gravel road the sound of rushing water gets closer and crisper. The woods become thicker and more chaotic as you are tossed further into nature.
June 2012, the end of the gravel road 

 Finally, you are presented with a beautiful view of the Potomac River. And right across the way, is technically Maryland. 
July 2011

The hike is always beautiful and fun, winding in and out of woods with a fantastic view of the rumbling water.  On calm days, you can play in the water and jump between Maryland and Virginia. 

March 2012

March 2012, fields and fields of blue flowers

June 2012

June 2012

June 2012

March 2012

May 2012

The best days, the most adventurous days are when the water is low enough to walk up and down that hidden section of the Potomac River. Within the sand and dirt, we have found the most incredible river glass we have ever seen. Some pieces, dating back to the early 1800's! 
Hence, The River Glass Trail.

March 2012, tons of glass that day!

This trail has inspired me to create these river glass pendants and these pendants have become a main seller for my etsy shop


We have gone on dozens of hikes on this trail and without fail I always say, "this is the best hike of my life".

 The wildlife, the beauty and the glass! The feeling you get when you find a beautiful blue or an orange or a piece with a date on it! One of my favorites is a chunk of blue from 1854. So very cool. 

Each one of these pendants holds a very special quality about it. They are pendants created from an adventure.
After the miles of hiking, the treading through the water, the digging through the sand, the cleaning, polishing and the wire wrapping you are left with a wonderfully unique pendant.
These pendants represent nature, adventure and the unknown...
Taking risks can lead us to such beautiful things!