Sunday, April 17, 2016

If You Don't Like the Weather, Wait Five Minutes

On the second day of my three day trip to False Cape State Park, I had planned on going hiking into the Wash Woods area.  This is an historical site to commemorate a place where there was once a community.  They even had a church.  So after a hearty breakfast, I joined the six hikers that I had met from Hampton Roads Hikers, and off we went.  It was fairly chilly, and quite windy.

Our hike was about 10.5 miles and covered a nice section of the park.  It was essentially an out and back.  This map shows our track.  We started at the visitor center, which is just north of the map.  At the southern part of the hike, there is a small loop.  Also, about halfway down, see the little spur that we walked heading southwest to the bay?  That is essentially where the other six campsites are located.  So if you wanted to camp there, you would have to carry in water at least 2-3 miles from the spigot near the visitor center.

As we hiked, the weather changed continually.  It would cycle through cold and windy to sunny and warm.  At one point, a squall came through and it snowed for a few moments.  I was continually adding and removing layers, including gloves and a winter knit hat.  Anytime we reached an open area, the wind was fierce!

Here are some pictures from the day of hiking, starting with one of the six people I met and hiked with from Hampton Roads Hikers - what a great group!

Do these look like stones?  We thought so, but upon checking, we found that each was a big ball of some kind of lichen.

Much of the path is essentially a woods road, very easy walking.

The winds were fierce this day.  Here some of the group looks at a map and several others relax.  Because of the wind, we did not see any meaningful wildlife.

Like every Virginia State Park that I have hiked in, the trail network is exceptionally well marked.

This is the "Blue Goose," which transports visitors from the Back Bay NWR to False Cape State Park for a brief visit.  I saw it again the next morning as I hiked out.

This is all that remains of a church that used to serve the once-upon-a-time community here.  It's kind of sad.  The bricks mark the church's approximate footprint.

Just yards from the church site is a little graveyard.

We climbed an observation tower and ate our lunches up there.  Over the flat terrain and the tree tops, we could see the ocean.

Know a good mechanic and body shop?  This car can be yours for a very reasonable price.

I believe that this is some kind of wild azalea.

Some of the group walk down the path through pine forest.

I really liked the budding red maple.  I can still remember, long ago, seeing ruffed grouse in early spring high in red maples feasting on the buds.

Our hike ended in mid-afternoon, and I relaxed at my camp for a while with a mug of hot tea as the wind whipped by.  I chatted with my fellow hikers for a bit, and we shared dinner together at one of their sites.  It had been a really good day, changeable weather being what it is.


  1. Great variety of pictures on from your hike!
    Yes, they sure do look like stones.
    Nice to have such well marked trails.

  2. Such a magical day we spent w/you, Art and you have explained it all in such a lyrical way - no matter the weather, False Cape is always awesome - I have visited the Wash Woods at least 5 times and every single time has been a delight - Love the pictures, Art, of the Goose Bus and Us, esp. the Old Car - Hope we'll hike together again in future forays:) Your Slow Strider pal, Lisa, Co-Org. HRH

  3. Thanks, Happy-K! I really liked those "stones." They were fascinating. It was a fun hike with some great new friends.

  4. Thanks Lisa! I am so glad you all were camping near me. What a great group. I joined HRH for the trial and am weighing whether to keep it going. You all are far enough away it might be difficult to join in for too many hikes. But, it is only $16....

    I've never been to Wash Woods. I once hiked from Back Bay Refuge to the NC border and back in the same day, but that was along the beach. I hope to camp and hike there again.