We visit family on their farm and walk the shore of Embleton Bay towards Dunstanburgh Castle on a beautiful Northumberland day during our UK June 2013 vacation.
We go from a pirate’s gathering at the extreme eastern end of Heater’s Island to the extremes of endurance on our paddle back to Virginia, our first self-propelled aquatic return voyage ever. In between we meet some very particular beauties, come upon a buzzards’ bungalow, and enjoy a picnic on the Potomac.
With every paddle stroke in the downstream flow of the upper Potomac we move our canoe past our inexperience on the water and towards our geocaching adventure. We land on Heater’s Island. We step up into a young forest, walk deer trail and no trail, sometimes the two of us, sometimes five, sometimes more.
Come along as two dry-land enthusiasts who’ve never rowed or paddled anywhere in anything choose an outing together on the upper Potomac River for their joint maiden voyage. Watch as we drift downstream to Heater’s Island, Maryland in pursuit of fun and adventure.
Cradled in the snaky meandering embrace of the Occoquan Reservoir, squeezed upward from water’s edge into hardwood-canopied undulating green folds of rise and ravine, and threaded through with narrow ribbons of stream and trail was our bit of wilderness in Fairfax County, Virginia — Fountainhead Regional Park.
“I have always hated to exercise just for the sake of exercise,” my good friend dagdvm once told me.
I agree completely. Sometimes it’s hard to just get on a treadmill and walk in place or go outside and walk in circles around some block or track or route or go out a ways and then turn around and come back. Yes, it’s exercise, but walking without purpose can get a bit monotonous. Wouldn’t it be great to have another reason to walk a good distance?
“Geocaching,” dagdvm continued, ” is getting me out and walking for hours at a time. It has to be good for my body.”
It sure does. If you go out looking for certain geocaches you’ll get some exercise without even thinking about it. If you go to a nice park full of geocaches you can walk around for hours having fun finding as many as possible. If you go to that park with a friend who belongs to an avid hiking superdog, well — it’s hard to think of a better way to spend a nice healthy day outside, and that’s exactly what dagdvm, her weiner dog Tilly and I did at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Fairfax County, Virginia on a fine Sunday in June.
Last Sunday afternoon in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park I found a geocache I’d first gone looking for in March, Bear’s Lodge (GC18HZ8).
This is the first time I’ve watched the park move from winter into spring. Walney Pond is transformed from frozen gray into an explosion of life, including lily pads, yellow irises, mallards, Canada geese, red-winged blackbirds and all of us humans who flock to be in the presence of all this beauty. Walney Pond is a worthy destination and the perfect point of departure for the trails that lead up and away into the woods beyond.