Monday, September 12, 2011

Mason Neck State Park - Part 1

On Saturday we decided to drive over to Mason Neck State Park. There are other locations that are at Mount Vernon and Woodbridge, but this particular one was at Lorton. Lots of trails here and we only walked on one of them which took us a couple of hours. Now that we have rekindled our interest in this beautiful area, we will be going back several times to enjoy the rest of them.

Gregg has never been here before. I have but only the once as I went on an afternoon school trip when our son was still in elementary school. That was over 20 years ago. I don't really remember much of that visit as I was chaperoning not only our son but several of his school mates. I remember a bumpy and noisy ride on a school bus which ended up in an horrendous headache, top that with about a couple of dozen excited kids, I was so busy trying to corral the little darlings that I did not have the time or the energy to enjoy it very much. I can't even remember what we actually did once we got there, but there were shrimp nets involved and that's about it. I don't like to think that this was the reason but it's probably why I didn't go back for a very long time. In fact I must have selectively rejected it as I only thought about going again over the last couple of months or so, when I did a little surfing on line. I enjoyed helping out at school for years but for some reason that trip stands out.

We always start off at the visitors' center. It had a room with a few displays, one of butterflies and moths. We didn't stay in the building for very long and decided to take the trail that goes along the Potomac River. First of all we stopped off near the bird feeders.

There were several Goldfinches which I'm afraid flew off when they saw us coming. The path took us right by their feeders.

I did manage to get a few shots though.

Gregg told me he saw different types of birds, a couple of them were blue. Unfortunately I didn't see them as they had already disappeared. There was a very large tree with a bench right next to it. It was a lovely shady spot and we sat there for a while and watched the birds flit from perch to tree several times as people walked along the path.

After the past week of rain, rain and more rain, it was a beautifully sunny day and we enjoyed looking across the Potomac River. On the other side is Maryland.

You can rent canoes and kayaks but as we passed the parking lot near the landing, we noticed many people with their own on top of their cars, ready to take a ride on the river.






We noticed a bit of a run-down shelter on pylons just off the shore and we were trying to guess what it might be used for. We said maybe for fishermen or for a blind for photographers but we weren't sure. Next time we go to the visitors' center we will have to ask.

After all the bad weather we have had - with Hurricane Irene and last weeks torrential rain - the water looked more of a muddy brown.

Some trees had fallen into the river.

One had been there for a while as it was sprouting flowers.


Hello Maryland.....again.....

This was such a beautiful walk along the river.....




and I would have been happy to keep taking it but the trail started to veer away from the water....

and into a more marshy area and then eventually we found ourselves walking in a lovely wood....

with lots of other interesting things to look at.....

like.....

Here is a map giving you its location at Lorton.

Normally it would take under an hour to drive but it took a little longer as we had to detour because of a bridge that had been damaged during the bad weather. I expect it was undergoing safety inspections.

16 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

What a wonderful journey you took me on. I am so glad you overcame your (quite understandable) repugnance for this lovely place. A bus trip and small children and a headache could make anything look vile.

Now you have exorcised your bad feelings I am really looking forward to your future excursions here.

David L Macaulay said...

looks like an interesting state park and great pictures - where is it?

Craig said...

It's a beautiful spot and a lovely way to spend a day in the sunshine. Could that run down building be a "hide" for watching water birds?

NatureFootstep said...

auch, the more I scrolled the more envy I got. What a great place to spend a day or two. :)

Sunray Gardens said...

That was a lovely area to visit. Wonder if that little shelter was once used by fishermen sitting out there.
Cher Sunray Gardens

i beati said...

filling the soul I would say

Jane and Chris said...

I love to see the many types of fungi there are. Also think it must be wonderful to be one of those people who know what they all are without having to keep looking in the reference book!
Jane x

DJ said...

What a lovely area to visit and watch the birds and the river go by. Looking forward to part 2 :)

Out on the prairie said...

A very nice journey. With 3 units it could take some time to explore even more.

Mama Zen said...

Lovely pictures!

gigihawaii said...

Wonderful! I am so glad Virginia is not as developed as Oahu is. I wish there were more state parks here where nature is preserved.

Craver Vii said...

So glad that this visit went better for you than the last time. It is good for couples to spend quality time together like that.

imac said...

Interesting post, lovely park,
and your bird shots are great esp where you caught them in flight.

Valerie said...

So pleased that you did not allow a past experience to colour your decision to revisit - even after many years.... perhaps a bit like hating spinach (when almost "force-fed" it) as a kid, but then really enjoying it when venturing to try it as an adult!?
Loved the bird shots and the solitary canoe on the shore edge. Thanks again for sharing your journey.

diane b said...

The storm has left some damage. It must have been lovely walking by the river.

Margaret Cloud said...

I agree, this looks like a interesting park. You always take pictures of interesting things, I like that.