On Sunday, April and I went out to Bull Run Mountain Conservancy for a hike. The fact that I kept saying, “Ya know, if you’d rather not go, I totally understand” probably meant that I was in desperate need of exercise. For the past month or so, I’ve been slacking off. At this point, I’m only running a couple of times a week, and I haven’t hiked with a weighted pack since September 16 (at Thompson WMA), or so my trusty blog reminds me. I still walk three to five miles a day, but I’m wanting for heavy cardio.
And in case there was any doubt in my mind that it matters at all, I loaded up a pack with a sleeping bag, 20 pounds worth of small weights, 2 ½ liters of water, and a few snacks. Best guess is that it all added to about 30 pounds. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the two or three pounds I’ve gained in the interim, so that’ll bring us to about 33 pounds (oh come on, it has to count for something). We hiked I think less than 6 miles. And it hurt. More than usual. Heave. Sigh. Heavy breath.
When we got to the Bull Run parking lot (in Virginia, off I-66 at exit 40), there were no parking spaces, so I moseyed my car up to the dirt wash by the port-a-potty and made friends with the ditch. I’ve already mentioned the lazy factor; by then it was past 11am, so the crowds were no surprise.
What was a surprise was the autumn hue with which the trail was tinted. I hiked Bull Run several times this past summer, but I made a new friend in her over the weekend. Hiking along I was focusing on the way my feet felt in my trail runners, which I was testing out in lieu of hiking boots. Every once in awhile I would look up only to note how unrecognizable the woods were. The pleasant October sun peeked through the trees and shone upon the blanket of fallen leaves, highlighting the path with warm browns and oranges. (That’s about as poetic as I get, folks. Might as well call it a night while I’m ahead. That’s all for me! Oh wait, no, I haven’t finished my story.)
The reason I love Bull Run is that the system of trails offers an array of interesting historical elements. Not only is it it a well known U.S. Civil War site (at least according to my elementary school Virginia history class), but also European settlers have inhabited the land since the 1700s. So squirreling through the woods, one can see an old mill, a family cemetery, a mansion and icehouse, and a well-preserved battle trench not to mention the expansive view once you reach the highest point.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, I’ve provided some pictures from the hike with apt descriptions below.
When all was said and done, I probably burned about 1,200 calories (according to the calorie calculator I found with The Ever Wise Google, and The Google never leads me astray), and I felt much better, as is usually the case with exercise and fresh air. And when I feel much better, I get in the mood to celebrate. So as not to ruin this mood, I commemorated the hike with two cupcakes and some froyo. I know you may be thinking that eating sweets defeated the point of the hike. But the cupcakes looked so lonely; I just wanted to make them feel loved. And trust me, they were loved.