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Blue Bells at Bull Run

Blue bells are in bloom, so let's say hello to the long-delayed spring!

This link has photos taken last year by hikers in the same area:

This paddle is on very flat, calm water (no waves, wakes, tides or significant currents), but the round-trip distance is 7-8 miles -- so if you're a novice, think about whether you can paddle that far.  (If you turn back early, you will need to find a kind soul with a key to let you out of the gate at the marina.)

Sarah (with the pink kayak) is being kind enough to unlock the gate and hang around to let us in, so let's not keep her waiting. Please try hard to arrive at 11 a.m. or shortly before that. We usually get out and walk around among the bluebells. Depending on whether and how long we do that, we'll probably be out for a total of 3-4 hours -- so bring water, lunch, sunscreen, and your camera (in addition to your life-vest and other standard kayak safety gear).

WEATHER UPDATE SATURDAY 2PM: Water temperature on Thursday (latest info available) was 64 degrees. Air temperature is supposed to be 60 degrees at 11 am, rising to 68 by 4 pm. There will be a breeze of about 7-9 mph.

Last year, I was comfortable doing this in my Farmer John (sleeveless) wetsuit. If you don't have a wetsuit, that's OK, but dress for the water, not just the air. That means wearing synthetic fabrics that dry quickly and don't absorb much water. NO COTTON! NO JEANS! Layers that you can shed easily as you warm up are helpful. If you're not wearing a wetsuit, it's a good idea to have a change of clothes in a drybag in your kayak -- or, at the very least, in your car. Remember that if you do fall in, you will be cold and wet while paddling back.

To reach Bull Run Marina from I-66, take Route 123 South to Clifton Road, turn right on Clifton Road, then left on Henderson Road to a right turn on Old Yates Ford RoadThe address is 12619 Old Yates Ford Road, in Clifton, Va.

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