Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Goose Creek hike

There are several great parks in Loudoun County, and I keep finding new parks that Loudoun County Parks, Recreation, and Community Services (PRCS) have created for our enjoyment.

One of the nice Loudoun County parks in our area is the Keep Loudoun Beautiful Park that is located along Goose Creek between Route 7 and the Potomac River. If you park at the small parking lot just off the south side of Rt. 7 next to the old iron bridge, it's about a 2.5 mile hike from there out to the Potomac River (one way), and there is a series of about half a dozen or so geocaches along the trail.

Back in December 2006, I participated in a NoVAGO (Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization) park cleanup event there. YB went with me and we had a good time, but he couldn't make it all the way out to the Potomac and back. It's been on my geocaching "to do" list ever since then.

YB on the Goose Creek Trail during the NoVAGO park cleanup event in December 2006. I think that trash bag is bigger than he was back then.

I'm happy to report we finally knocked this series of geocaches off the "to do" list yesterday. It had warmed up to a balmy 52 degrees outside, and I was bound and determined to do SOMETHING OUTSIDE and not involving video games.

Unfortunately, in the amount of time it took me to eat lunch, get the boys suited up, gear packed up in the car, and ready to go, a cold front moved through and the temperature dropped to 38 degrees. Accuweather said the "real feel" was 30 degrees with the wind chill. My wife asked the boys if they still wanted to go, and I was afraid they were going to chicken out on me. I was pleasantly surprised that they still wanted to go.

Traditional Blunoz self portrait, this time with a trail marker.

We didn't do the whole trek from Rt. 7. We started at Riverside Parkway this time, about 1.5 miles from the Potomac. My friend Woods and his kids came along, too, and I owe Woods a tremendous debt of gratitude. After we had been hiking for a while, we found another Loudoun County PRCS parking area along the trail. Woods graciously went back and got his car and drove it up to the closer parking lot so we wouldn't have to hike ALL the way back.

We ended up hiking about 3.5 miles by my GPS trip odometer, and the kids did a great job. Much to my surprise, I didn't hear a single complaint about the cold. ES started complaining his feet hurt during the last half mile or so, but I couldn't really fault him for that. I think it was a genuine complaint, not just a "I'm tired and bored and making up excuses for you to carry me on your shoulders" gripe.

We found three geocaches along the way, and I was glad a different kid was the first to find each geocache, so it sorta spread the wealth as far as that honor was concerned.

Kids on the trail.

Woods teaching the kids to skip rocks on the water.

Group photo at the first geocache.

ES signs the log at the last geocache. In the background, that's Goose Creek coming in from the left and the Potomac River off on the right. This is where we turned around and headed back.

I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction that we successfully broke suction on the TV and video games and got outside to do something this weekend. I hope you all enjoyed your President's Day holiday, too.


subtorp77 said...

It's great to be able to just get out of the house and go exploring, like this. Especially, when you can get the kids away from the telly and interested in nature. And I reemember my Dad teaching me how to skip rocks. Memeories that last. Yesterday was a little chilly up here, but still nice enough for a decent hike.

Hilary said...

I'd love to try geocaching sometime. It looks like you and your crew had a blast. Monday was a holiday here in Ontario too - Family Day. It looks like you also celebrated our day. :)