While we are all holed up at home, spring is springing all over the place! It’s been raining and gloomy here for most of the past couple of weeks, which has made the social distancing harder to handle – especially with two energetic kids in the house. By Sunday we all had energy to burn, and even after last week’s crowded trails, we wanted to try hiking again. I had some good intelligence that the famous Virginia bluebells were blooming, so we decided to check them out.
We normally hike the Bluebell Loop Trail at Bull Run Regional Park. This year, with the pandemic raging, the park is open for “passive use” only – which means hiking YES, but parking NO. The parking lots at Bull Run Regional Park were closed, and while parking outside park boundaries and hiking in to the Bluebell Loop Trail is perfectly fine, that would add 2.5 miles each way to our hike – just from the car to the trailhead and back. Fine for adults-only parties, but when you have two little hikers, you have to maximize every step. Bull Run Regional Park’s social media team was suggesting other options to folks who didn’t want to park more than two miles from the trailhead, so we decided to try one of the alternatives – Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Civil War buffs, this is the famous Bull Run battlefield. Steve and I hiked the battlefield itself years ago – pre-small hikers – but had never been to this part of the park. We made for the Stone Bridge parking area, lured by the promise of bluebells growing on the banks of the legendary Bull Run.
Crossed the bridge over Bull Run and saw…
That famous blue glory all over the forest floor!
We were a bit early – it’s always tough to time peak bloom for any flower show, especially when it’s not a flower that grows in the neighborhood (and can be monitored accordingly). Local friends – if you want to hit the trail later this week or this coming weekend, I think you’ll be in for a good show. As for us –
We had plenty of visual treats to enjoy!
The trail was a bit damp, but not too muddy. Peanut made the best shoe choice, wearing her wellies. Nugget decided on his Keen hiking boots, which worked well, but didn’t allow for puddle-stomping.
The wildflowers were growing all over the opposite bank of Bull Run, too.
We were careful to take precautions on the trail – we left as early as possible to avoid crowds (even so, there were definitely folks on the trail) and were cautious about touching anything. We also leapt off the trail to give people distance, and most reciprocated by kindly and responsibly walking all the way on the other side of the wide trail, at least six feet away from us. With the exception of two women who thoughtlessly breezed down the middle of the trail despite our attempting to give them plenty of space, everyone was responsible and considerate about personal distance.
I wait all year for this fabulous floral spectacle, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. It was a lot of fun to check out a different spot – while I missed our usual stomp along the Bluebell Loop Trail, mixing it up is good, too. And there’s a lot to explore out Manassas way – we really should make a point of getting here more often, and checking out some different scenery.
This weekly trail time is keeping my sanity intact – barely! Missing our annual bluebell hike was unthinkable, so I’m glad we were able to take some precautions and make it happen.
What are your local spring spectacles?