Showing posts from 2009

Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Milford, Maine
Dates: October 2, 2009; May & October 2010

Sunkhaze is an 11,400+ acre refuge encompassing the second largest bog in Maine. In addition to the bog, the refuge includes habitats such as upland forest, forested wetlands, streams, and others. There are several trails in the refuge, which is bounded by County Road and Mill Road. Some of the trails I have hiked were not in very good condition when I visited.

There is a 1.6-mile loop trail that goes to an observation plaform from the end of Carter Meadow Road. You can't park on or at the end of the road, so you have to walk 0.3 mi from the parking lot along County Road to the start of the trail. During winter cross-country skiers and snowshoers can go out into the bog from any starting point.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Great Falls Park

Location: northwest of Tyson's Corner, Virginia
Date: August 15, 2009

The Great Falls are a 76-foot cascade on the Potomac River northwest of Washington, DC. Great Falls Park, managed by the National Park Service, has a visitor center and extensive network of short trails on the Virginia side of the falls. I only walked to the overlooks of the falls during my visit. Being late summer, the water levels in the river were fairly low when I was there, but there were still kayakers descending the falls. You can also view the falls from the Maryland side along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, but it is not easy to go between the two sides.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

James Madison's Montpelier

Location: Orange, Virginia
Date: August 8, 2009

Montpelier was the home of James Madison near Orange, Virginia. After Dolley Madison sold the estate, it passed through a number of private owners and was modified extensively before it was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1983. From 2003 through 2008 the building underwent a major restoration to return it to the state it was in when Jame Madison lived there.

In addition to touring the house, visitors can go throughout the grounds, an archaeology lab, an old-growth forest, visitor center, the Madison cemetery, and other facilities.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Prince William Forest Park

Location: Triangle, Virginia
Dates: June-August 2009

Prince William Forest Park is a park managed by the National Park Service in northern Virginia and encompasses Piedmont forest in suburban Washington, DC. There are 37 miles of hiking trails in the park, a short mountain biking trail, miles of paved roads, and more miles of gravel/dirt fire roads open to public use. There is also a visitor center, picnic areas, playgrounds, two campgrounds, five small lakes, a ball field, and five cabin camps, four of which were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The terrain here is hilly, and nearly the entire area is forested. Those areas that are not forested are former home and farm sites that have been recently restored, including the Taylor farm site. The Cabin Branch Pyrite Mine is a popular (relatively speaking) hiking destination. The mine once mined pyrite to produce sulfuric acid and was recently restored. A trail/boardwalk now goes through the mine site where there are remna…

Shenandoah National Park

Location: northwest Virginia
Dates: July 18 and August 7-8, 2009

Shenandoah National Park is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Virginia. The park is long, narrow, and follows the ridge. Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail run at or near the top of the ridge for the length of the park. I visited the park twice in 2009 once on a short day trip on July 18, and the second time I stayed at the Loft Mountain Campground for a night.

Stony Man
Stony Man (elevation 4,011 ft) is the second highest mountain in the park and rises just to the south of Little Stony Man. It is one of the nicest mountains in the park, and I think the views from it are the best. The trail to the summit is about 0.9 mi (300 ft of gain) one way, and from the north it is about 1.1 mi (800 ft of gain) one way. The summit is just as you would expect: rock outcroppings with views to the south, west, and north.

Little Stony Man
Little Stony Man is an outcropping just to the north of of Stony Man. It is not a …

Leesylvania State Park

Location: Woodbridge, Virginia
Date: July 10, 2009

Leesylvania State Park is a small park along the Potomac River that was the site of the home of Henry Lee, the grandfather of Robert E. Lee. The park has a few short trails as well as a boat launch. I hiked on only two of the trails: Powell's Creek Trail and Lee's Woods Trail.

The Lee's Woods Trail is a 1.96 mile loop goes through forest and around the site of the Lee home. This trail also goes to Freestone Point on a hill overlooking the river. Freestone Point was the location of a battery of Confederate cannons during the Civil War.

The Powell's Creek Trail is a 1.28 mile loop travels through hardwood forest in a ravine and on a ridge to a viewpoint along Powell's Creek. All of the trails are interconnected to a degree with each other and with the parks other facilities.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Thomas Stone National Historic Site

Location: west of La Plata, Maryland
Date: June 20, 2009

Thomas Stone National Historic Site preserves Thomas Stone's gravesite and home, also known as Habredeventure. Stone was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and he also worked on the Articles of Confederation.

The visitor center has exhibits on Stone and the Declaration of Independence. I went on a tour of the house that lasted about 30 minutes. There are also a few short trails, including to Stone's gravesite.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

George Washington Birthplace National Monument

Location: Colonial Beach, Virginia
Date: June 20, 2009

This was the birthplace of George Washington in 1732 and was primarily a tobacco farm in the 18th century. The building Washington was born in no longer stands, but is marked by an outline on the ground. A memorial house similar to buildings of the 18th century was constructed in 1931 next to the original home site.

There are other buildings on the site, and it is operated by the National Park Service partly as a farm to maintain the character from George Washington's childhood. The area also has a replica of the Washington Monument and a family cemetery where George Washington's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather are buried. This area is located along the Potomac River less than five miles from Stratford Hall, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee.

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Virginia Civil War Battlefields

Virginia was the location of several battles during the Civil War. In the summer of 2009 I visited four National Park Service units that manage some of these battlefields.

Manassas National Battlefield Park
The location of the first and second battles of Bull Run

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
Includes the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Chancellorsville battlefields

Richmond National Battlefield Park

Petersburg National Battlefield

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.