So I ran into a bit of a conundrum. I was all happy with myself and though I’d hiked 13 miles, but when I pulled up my Garmin data, as you can see it’s only like 9.77.
Needless to say this bummed me out slightly, as I was hoping I was keeping pace with the training hikes for the One Day Hike that I registered for in April. I intend to do the full 100K, but I need to make sure I can actually hike the distance. I don’t want to have to drop out!
So, this hike. I hiked both of these routes separately back in August, but I wanted to do a more challenging hike, as well as see the changes to the trail in the winter. I also wanted to hike it backwards, as another interesting perspective.
I was also low on gas, so something that was close by was a great choice.
The previous day had had some stormy weather go through, so I made sure to check with the rangers to see whether or not any of the trail was washed out. They warned me that part of the section near Stone Bridge was underwater, and advised taking a shortcut to avoid it.
It was very windy, and I somewhat regretted not bringing my gloves with me. I often make this mistake, and really should just keep them in my backpack.
The park was mostly totally deserted, and I only had the haunted feeling of the battlefields (and my dog) to keep me company. There were brown fields and skeletal trees everywhere. The sky was a deep blue with streaky clouds.
The trail was muddy. Muddy is probably a bit of an understatement — the trail was often an open stream, or wet with water. My dog quickly became a mobile mud ball.
Wandering backwards through the park almost felt like wandering backwards in time – I followed back through the trail of events of Second Manassas, and then on to First Manassas. Both of those battles were fought during warmer weather though, so I didn’t quite have the same feeling of what the soldiers went through, but it was still spooky and quiet, particularly around The Deep Cut and the area where the Second Manassas memorial was.
On I went, though forest, where I could hear the wind making the trees rub together, making creaking noises, which were unsettling. Then I got to the part of the trail where it parallels Bull Run, where I was warned it was washed out. I of course had to see for myself, and true to the ranger’s word, the trail had been swallowed up by Bull Run, causing me to have to backtrack.
My misadventures weren’t over, though. After my crossing of Lee Highway, there was another river crossing, and this one was very much overtaken by water. I really didn’t want to have to backtrack more, so I managed to find a way across, albeit with one wet boot.
I’m hoping I can get a longer hike in soon, possibly something in the area of 18 miles!