Mother’s Day 2020 dawned bright and sunny, if a bit crisp in the morning, and I had only one request – a hike, please! Hiking has been a challenge recently: as Steve and I have lamented, now that everything is closed, it seems that everyone in the DMV has discovered our favorite pastime. I mean, really: the trails used to be less crowded, didn’t they? I have no problem with fellow hikers on the trail – indeed, I’m on record as saying I love seeing other folks out there enjoying public lands as much as we do. But still, it’s hard to socially distance when everyone and their mom suddenly hikes. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that the parks eventually recognized the issue and most of them are now closed. (While the rest of the country looks at reopening schedules, our stay-at-home order in Virginia is continuing for at least another two weeks, maybe longer.) So when I said I wanted to hike on Mother’s Day, I was aware that it might not happen.
But it did! Big thanks go to Steve, who did the research and found a trail option and then a backup option. We did end up going to our Plan B, but it ended up being great – we discovered a new-to-us trail that I can see us exploring a lot in days to come: Difficult Run Stream Valley Park. The trailhead was easy to find, and there weren’t many people on the trail with us: other than a couple of single hiker/runners, two families and a group of mountain bikers, we had the place to ourselves.
Steve packed trail snacks: NutriGrain bars for each of us, and M&Ms for the kids. At one point, Peanut started complaining of something “small and round” in her boot. I told her to hang tight until we got through a muddy section and then we’d figure it out. We squelched through the mud, then Steve turned her boot upside-down. When the offending object toppled out of her boot, she gasped in surprise: “OH! It’s an M&M!” Hiking with kids, I’ll tell ya – it’s never dull.
Difficult Run was beautiful! While I took in the peacefully bubbling stream, snapping away on my iPhone and my dad’s old Minolta, the kids were doing this:
Sitting in a mud puddle, poking tadpoles.
Got them moving eventually!
Eventually we came to a stream crossing. It was about the time we wanted to turn back to the car, but we decided to cross the stream first, just for fun, then cross again and head home.
Daddy went first:
My turn! View from the middle:
And of course, on the way back, we stopped and poked tadpoles some more.
So excited to live closer to trails like this one – and many more – this summer and beyond!
Have you been able to get out for a hike this month?