Sat, Feb 23 2008 - George's Hike (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Ruwan Alwis, Leila Scott, Qiong Jin, Bobbe Frasier, Chris Rusco, John Fogle, Cameron Burns|
The combination of bad weather and under-the-weather factors whittled our group from 18 down to 5, but that's all we needed to run George's Hike. I, for one, was really glad we were able to make it out there! With just two cars and an easy-going bunch, things were pretty easy to manage. After meeting two others at the pre-carpool at ~7:15 (AM!), we made our way down to the primary carpool spot, added two more folks to the group, and then took off for George Washington's Birthplace National Monument Park. This seemed like a good starting point for George's Hike on the day after his birthday. We weren't going to stick around too long there, but did leave a couple of Georges in the donation box. Outside the visitor's center, I did hear an eagle squawking but didn't see it. We didn't see any eagles at the Potomac River beach, either.
Keeping the hike itinerary and objectives in mind, we quickly moved onto the next park, the neighboring Westmoreland State Park (W.S.P.). Timing was important, because low tide for the area was at about 10:30AM. We took the short trail to the park's fossil beach. Westmoreland is one of the few parks in the area that allows its visitors to keep their fossil finds (unless they are of significant scientific value). I showed some of the types of fossil shark's teeth and misc. bones that could be found at some of the more productive collecting beaches in the Mid-Atlantic region. After scrambling over fallen trees at the beach, we did a quick scan of the beach. No finds worth writing home about, but a few pictures were taken for the scrapbook. We quickly moved along to the next planned stop. While driving from W.S.P., We did spot an eagle soaring over us on Rt. 3! This helped pick things up, in making for a more memorable outing. Also spied a kestrel perched on the telephone line several miles further down.
Back when I did a final scouting run-though of this hike, I accidentally stumbled upon the next feature of the hike. On the way from W.S.P., we pass a few resort beach areas, including Colonial Beach and Potomac Beach. Somewhere in there, there was a small stretch of beach at a roadside stop. There were probably thousands (I didn't bother counting) of tiny comb jellyfish swarming along the shoreline. These were the kind that were related to the ones featured on those deep-sea nature shows,...the type that bioluminesce green, blue, and red along their cilia. We saw a few of these little jellies, but nowhere near the same numbers like earlier.
One saved some $ and brownbag-lunched it, but the rest of us stopped off and took our lunchbreak at one of the fastfood stops on the way to Caledon Natural Area Park. We chowed down quickly indoors and then scooted along to Caledon where we took on the brand new (and well-blazed (minor "inside joke")) Belmont Trail. We tacked on a short, difficult-grade loop trail onto our hike. After looping back into the Belmont Trail, we followed this trail to the end part of Boyd's Hole Trail (gravel road). We made a stop at Boyd's Hole on the Potomac, but the only wildlife we saw was the life-like osprey statue perched on the viewing deck and a large bird perched on a tree in the distance.
We took the Boyd's Hole Trail to get back sooner than later, since it would be dark shortly. As we were winding down, walking from the top of the road-trail over to our cars, we saw another eagle perched high in a tree near the main road. Pictures were taken with care (even from below through the sunroof), and thankfully, no animals were disturbed on our outing. (We were already a little bit disturbed when we stayed signed-up for the hike, :oP).
Common threads and interesting facts about our bunch: two native Californians, one ex-skydiver photographer, two enjoy taking catnaps, two recalled good times cross-country skiing, three liked fried cheese curds/cream cheese, all were glad to have made it out for George's Hike (pretty sure?)
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