Monday, February 29, 2016

First Hike of 2016!

I had last Friday, a moderately cool and windy day, off from work, and decided to go for my first hike of 2016.  This one was like visiting an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while - Dutch Gap Conservation Area, a big oxbow on the James River.  It is only a 40 minute drive, and is a flat and easy walk, usually with lots of wildlife.  Despite the wind and it still being winter, I did see a fair amount of wildlife, mostly birds - plus a few large turtles sunning themselves.

I was last here in the fall of 2014.  You can see photos from that hike here.

Here is a map of my route, starting and ending at the upper right, and walking counter clockwise.  The circuit is 4.4 miles, but with all of the little extra side trips, I hiked 6.7.  And I had a fun several hours doing it.  You can see that much of the route is on a very narrow strip of land.

Here are a few photos of my little day hike.  My knee felt okay on the flat surface.  However, at one point I clambered up on a large rock to get a view of a wet area to look for salamander eggs, and when I stepped down, bending my leg way back hurt a great deal.  So I am worried about mountain hiking.

Some of the many animals that I saw were: great blue heron, an osprey (with a fish), a shoveler (I think that is what this large duck was), double crested cormorants, Canada geese, tufted titmouse, cardinal, black-capped chickadee, American coot.

There is lots of mature forest in this area along the river.

The swampy area near the river will likely dry out in a few months.

You don't want to touch this vine, unless you don't mind getting poison ivy.

 During 1864, the Confederate Navy attacked the USA fleet in this area in an attempt to break the siege of Petersburg, Virginia.  The attack was defeated by the US Navy.

This is a distant view of the bridge that allows this hike to be a circuit hike - instead of almost four miles one way, and then returning another four to get back.


  1. Great hike and I really like that bridge!!

  2. I love this hike, it is always a great one for a fairly close by hiking fix and for seeing wildlife. That's the first time I hiked down to a point to get a view of the bridge from that perspective.