So I decided to try to make the most of the $3 fee that it costs to visit Manassas NBP and went on a couple shorter hikes yesterday. Both of these trails are in lesser used parts of the park, and cover some of the events of 2nd Manassas.
I was a little surprised. I expected there to be a little more … oomph in these areas (and in the 2nd Manassas Loop trail) considering that the sesquicentennial is coming up at the end of this month, but they seemed pretty lonely trails. The Brawner Loop trail is well signed, and has a lot of informative placards, but the Stuart Hill Loop was a much wilder trail.
The fields were in bloom with summer wildflowers on the Brawner walk, which made some of the fields look like rippling gold. A lot of the grass is shoulder height on me, and it brought to mind ideas of what the plains must have looked like to settlers.
The Stuart Hill trail takes off from the park’s administrative HQ, which is I suspect the reason that it isn’t as traveled. It’s less open, and as I said before, a bit wilder. It winds through some trees and eventually opens up towards the site of the Lewis House. Along the bit of trail there, you can tell that at some point there was a paved road, that’s slowly being eaten up by the grasses. It’s funny how quickly the signs of civilization are erased — there’s virtually no sign of the two houses that are labeled on the hike, only information placards are visible, although I suppose in a different season foundations might be visible.
As I walked back, dragonflies scudded about, and the sun started to peak in the sky, making the grass smell baked. It was almost intolerably hot by the time we were done, even though it was barely noon. I’m looking forward to the end of another blistering summer.