Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Best Laid Plans

My initial plans were to go backpacking in Shenandoah for yesterday through tomorrow.  But starting last weekend, I began to have some lower back pain, and even after a visit to the chiropractor Thursday, I felt as if this were not a great idea. But, thought I, I can still get up early on Friday, my day off, and do a day hike, getting done before the projected early afternoon thunderstorms rolled in.  But I came down with a migraine headache about 9PM Thursday and popped two Excedrin Migraine pills.  That knocked the headache out, but they have a super high does of caffeine, and as a result, I was wide awake by 1:30AM and never fell asleep again.

So my final plan was a short (5 mile) day hike in Powhatan State Park.  On this warm days with temperatures reaching 90 degrees (F), it was just the thing.  I saw and heard abundant wildlife - mostly birds and butterflies - and enjoyed a walk in the woods and fields of this nice park, just a 40 minute drive from my home.  Here is the track, parking at the star and following in the direction of the arrows, with a lunch break at the James River.

Some of the hike is in the deep woods, with grey tree frogs and oven birds, wood thrush, tufted titmice, and wood pewees calling,

and a cool stream or two where I saw this green frog.

This friendly butterfly, which might be a hackberry emperor, landed on my pack, and even on my hand!

Other parts of the hike went through large open areas, where field sparrows and common yellowthroats called continually, and I saw wild strawberries and brilliant flowers.

It was along the edge of the overgrown fields that I spotted this summer tanager,

indigo bunting,

eastern box turtle,

and this tiger swallowtail.

Down by the river, along the aptly named River Trail. is a dedication to my friend Holly Walker, who died of cancer a couple of years ago - way too soon.  Rest in peace, Holly.  Your dedication is at a wonderful spot.

I ate lunch by the river,

thought about Holly and how much she loved and knew about nature, and listened to the birds.  Then I partially retraced my steps to the car, where the air conditioning felt most welcome.

Yeah, my original plans didn't work out, nor did Plan B.  But Plan C turned out to pretty amazing in its own way!


  1. So sorry about different pains. Good you managed to get in that wonderful hike.
    You captured some beautiful scenes, blooms and wildlife.
    Especially like the indigo bunting, tanager, and butterfly.

    1. I usually find a way to make lemonade out of lemons. I really enjoyed this hike, and seeing all of the wildlife that I did.