When you work full-time, sometimes you just have to sandwich in a hike wherever and whenever you can, even if it is not to the Matterhorn or someplace equally grand. This was the case Wednesday, when I had a 6PM Team in Training meeting in town. So I arrived at 7AM to the office, put in my eight hours, and left at 3:30 for Dutch Gap in Chesterfield County. Excluding time to change, walk to my car a half mile away from work, and round-trip transportation, I had only about 70 minutes for a short hike. There is a nice 4.5 mile loop there, but I only had time for about a two-miler: one mile in and one out, with time for short side trails, and some wildlife observation.
Dutch Gap is a wildlife area on the James River, where there was a large oxbow. Over time, humans cut a channel (left) to shorten the distance to transport materials by boat, and the river has rerouted itself a bit, leaving lots of rich wetlands spread over the area. It is a really interesting area to explore, even on a very hot day that felt more like early August than early May. I did the full circuit hike here some time back, which you can read about here.
Even though my hike was short, I still managed to see a number of animals, some of which will provide fodder to a few of my "what am I?" posts to come shortly. Here are a few photos from my hike, and also from observation of the wetlands along the road in the preserve on the way out.
This slider was sunbathing across an impoundment. He seemed to realize that I was no possible threat, but remained alert.
Most of my walk was in bright sunlight on a hot day, so the part that was wooded was even more enjoyable.
What a cool tree, eh?
Speaking of "eh," how about this pretty Canada goose, eh?
Is this a painted turtle, or is it a ghost?
On the road out, I came upon these cute Canadian goslings with their alert parents.
I actually hated to leave so soon, but I had promised that I would be at the TNT meeting, where we are going to discuss ways of recruiting more people to run, walk, cycle, and "tri" for a cure in today's continuing shaky economy, and how to make their experience better and more meaningful. So off I went! But you will see some more in the coming days about more of the creatures I saw on my all-too-short after work hike.
My vision is to describe hikes that I have taken. These will be sporadic, so if you like this blog, you may want to subscribe. If a lot of time goes on between hikes, then maybe I will write something about hiking in general, or describe an older hike from days gone by.