We started getting further away from the path that took us next to the Potomac River. If you are interested in finding out more about this river you can click here. I was very interested in how it got its name for instance, and read "'Potomac' is a European spelling of an Algonquian name for a tribe subject to the Powhatan confederacy that inhabited the upper reaches of the Northern Neck in the vicinity of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Some accounts say the name means "place where people trade" or "the place to which tribute is brought". The natives called the river above the falls 'Cohongarotton', translated as "river of geese", and that area was renowned in early years for an abundance of both geese and swans. The spelling of the name has been simplified over the years from "Patawomeke" (as of Captain John Smith's map) to "Patowmack" in the 18th century and now "Potomac". Some scholars have also suggested it is rooted in the ancient Greek for river, "potamos", blended with the Powhatan name "Patawomeke". The river's name was officially decided upon as Potomac by the Board on Geographic Names in 1931."
There seemed to be a lot of Goldfinches around. For some reason I don't get them at my feeders, so I was happy to see them here.
I am trying to find out what these pretty wildflowers are.
Self-portraiture gone wrong.....I was trying to get Gregg walking up the path but you can only see a smidgen of him on the right-hand side.
I tried again and finally caught him. I'm always trying those self-portraits and enjoy them even if they don't quite work out the way I want them. At least I got Gregg in the picture this time.
We found some very interesting trees, like this one still growing and yet hollow at the lower part of its trunk.
We both enjoy looking at the different shapes of trees....
On one part of the path I kept hearing what I thought at first might have been an animal or some kind of bird up in the trees. Every few seconds something hit the ground. I couldn't figure out if they were using us as target practice (no, not really) or whether it was nature's time for pods to fall. Here's one of them, it was pretty large and Gregg put our car key next to it to give you an idea of its size. That wouldn't feel good if it fell on your head!
Eventually we came across a picnic area and was glad for a place to rest for a while after a pretty long walk. We had forgotten to bring water with us but there was a machine nearby where Gregg bought a bottle. You can just make him out disappearing into the distance.
Underneath where I was sitting I was interested in the dirt near my feet - yes I even take pictures of dirt. I was interested in the dead leaves and those empty seed pods.
After a short rest we resumed our walk and we came across more mushrooms growing around the base of a tree.
As you can see from my previous post both Gregg and I had a great time taking pictures of mushrooms. I should add that Gregg took many of the photos during our time at Mason Neck.
We also found some interesting critters along the way. Here is a grasshopper, a couple of shells and what we at first thought was a preying mantis, but ended up saying we weren't really sure what it was.
and imagine how happy I was to see this butterfly. I have never taken a picture of a Buckeye before. He was absolutely beautiful!
and to cap the day off there was this cute little White-breasted Nuthatch not too far from the feeders where we started our journey.