MASON NECK HIKE IS A DEFINITE GO TOMORROW! Please read on...
Eagles don't take snow days off, and neither do intrepid Over 40 Adventurers. This afternoon, I personally visited Mason Neck Park to evaluate conditions for our nature hike and outdoor bonfire social afterward. I'm pleased to report that everything is fine and we are set to go tomorrow. Roads and parking area are cleared and mostly dry, so no problem getting there or parking. The trails have a 1" snow crunch on top, but nothing deep and no mud. You may slip occasionally on wet leaves underneath, but overall hiking conditions are very good.
In fact, Mason Neck after the Wednesday snowfall is an even more beautiful winter wonderland with snow-laced tree limbs and Belmont Bay frozen over in a white sheet that should make eagle spotting easier. The weather forecast calls for partly sunny, no wind, and high around 40, which is ideal for our hike and fire pit socializing. Don't forget to bring your binoculars and shades. The fire pit is on a lovely bluff overlooking Belmont Bay. It has benches, but no fancy picnic facilities. So bring something refreshing and simple to eat and drink while we gather around the fire to admire the beauty of Nature and ourselves... :-) I'll bring some appropriate music, and Bob has kindly volunteered to be our designated fire ranger to make certain it gets started and is safely managed and extinguished when we're done.
We will meet up at the Visitors Center at the end of the three-mile park entrance road (High Point Rd). The center has a nice warm welcome room which will be open at 9 am. The park naturalist begins his presentation at 10:30 am, so please be there before then.
We're going to have a great time tomorrow. See you there!
Let's get out and enjoy the winter woods. Mason Neck Park on Gunston Rd. near Lorton is a beautiful and uncrowded wildlife preserve with miles of good trails. It's also a major breeding area for bald eagles, ducks, geese, and many other birds. At 10:30 am on Saturday, January 29, we will meet at the visitors center to hear a park ranger give a short lecture on eagles and wildlife at Mason Neck. Then we will hike for a couple of hours through the woods to the breeding area on Kanes Creek. The natural surface trails are well-marked and mostly flat on firm packed earth and leaves. Following the hike, the park superintendent has granted us permission to warm up using the park's fire pit area overlooking Belmont Bay. So bring some warming drinks and eats for a fireside picnic.
Total hiking distance will be about 4 miles. The park entrance fee is $4 per car. There are excellent toilet and picnic facilities available. Since this is an outdoor event, good weather is essential to make it work. Check back here on Friday evening for last minute updates. I will post a notice if we need to cancel the hike due to weather conditions. We look forward to seeing you there...