Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mason Neck State Park - Part 3

That's Gregg making his way up the path. There were a few inclines but generally it was an easy walk that leveled out. Even the hilly parts were very easy, though there were spots you had to be careful where you put your feet.

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.

We found a tree that had fallen recently. The marks where it had split from its base were fresh.

Courtesy of the recent storms no doubt.

A wooden walkway took us across some marshy ground, as shown in the following photos.

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.

It was a little on the muggy side but the shade of the trees made it several degrees cooler.

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....

and on a few people had carved their feelings for all to see.

We both thought this one was extraordinary....

A small child could have run through that hole....

and it was huge, in fact all these trees must have been around for many years.

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.

The trail took us on a loop and we eventually returned to the place at the beginning of our walk.

On the surface of this pond it was green with algae.....

but the turtles didn't seem to mind.

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.
Gregg took these photos of the wasps.....

and I took this one of the caterpillar.

These yellow flowers were everywhere....

and so were the white ones....

and imagine how happy I was to see this butterfly. I have never taken a picture of a Buckeye before. He was absolutely beautiful!

I even found the fly interesting....

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.

It was a great day and we've now added Mason Neck as a place for many return visits.


  1. That is beautiful. I for one would be very, very glad if you went often (so long as you shared it on the blogosphere). Thank you. Lots.

  2. I believe your white flowers are sweet autumn clematis. Fair warning you need a very heavy duty arbor to manage but its worth the trouble.

  3. That's my kind of place, Denise. Loved the pictures, such a variety. At first I thought the turtles were on grass!

  4. Denise, I was simply enthralled by the photos, especially the one of the butterfly. That walk would have done me in after an hour. Thank goodness for that bottle of water, eh? lol.

  5. Wonderfull fotos and articles items, your blog fotos flowers nice also.
    Greeting from Belgium

  6. What wonderful photos. Looks like you two were having fun. Love the turtle shot, that is way too cute.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  7. Thanks for the series Denise.This park is wonderful with a blessed nature!Your pictures are brilliant!

  8. Lovely park! Of course, I am crazy for the turtle picture!

  9. How long did the walk take? There is so much to see!
    Jane x

  10. Indeed a lovely day.I like the boardwalk taking you over the marsh.

  11. What a lovely place to walk around. Like that Goldfinche and the hollow tree.
    In fact every square inch is worth exploring, if we have the time.

  12. What can I say, but Nature at its best.

  13. Thanks for posting. I love the pictures - they made me feel like I was there!

  14. Thanks for taking us on your hike Denise. Great shots of the caterpillar and butterfly!

  15. WOW! Thanks for the cool tour!

  16. most enjoyable!
    Loved your dear smile captured on the fly

    Aloha from Waikiki;

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


  17. The sweet autumn clematis vine in your pictures, while beautiful and fragrant, can become invasive in southern climates.

  18. Oh how I would have loved to have been on that walk with you. The trees and the mushrooms, flowers and birds all lovely and beside the pretty river with that name I always have trouble pronouncing.

  19. Always love to read your comments and thank you so much for visiting.

  20. I enjoyed the walk with you two. You are so fortunate to have had a nice day for this. Denise, I enjoyed all your pictures and your descriptions of each one, thanks.

  21. Gregg holding that tree up Denise, he obviously had a good breakfast.{:) fabulous new header.

  22. Really enjoyed your pictures and walking with your in this beautiful place.